Comment at end
3rd May 2010
WILL ‘BLAIRMANIA’ WIN IT FOR LABOUR?
Tony Blair has given his backing to the former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, one of those caught up in the row over expenses, who is standing again for Labour in Redditch. “She is one of the finest and most decent people I know,” he tells supporters. (See BBC election live event)
Today Tony Blair has been lending a hand to Number 47 on the Tory hitlist of about 100. Some may wonder why.
Redditch is the Middle England seat of former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, where her majority is only 2,163. Many may be surprised that Mr Blair, who won it for Labour in Middle England, not onece but three times, is backing Ms Smith. There are several reasons not to back her, not the least of which is her expenses record. Since I am of the opinion that the expenses issue was a storm in a teacup, notwithstanding that some expenses were seemingly dubious, that element of her record does not bother me. I was more concerned when she stopped Geert Wilders from entering Britain, a decision on which the government was forced to do a volte face just a few weeks after the following video report. And the Damian Green arrest raised concerns too, on Smith’s watch.
The Sky report below was broadcast just 4 months after Blair left office and as we were all fully expecting Bottler Brown to call an imminent election. We’re now finally at decision-time. Whether Mr Blair’s personal intervention will make any difference locally to the outcome of that seat only time will tell.
sismithin — 04 October 2007 — This a sky report based in Redditch with several students from NEW College Redditch. Also featuring ME Simon Smitha and showing my video of the day I interviewed the Prime Minister Tony Blair.
According to this report if the Conservatives were to take Redditch away from Labour David Cameron would be 2well on his way to Downing Street”. Of course there is another element in the electoral mix.
COULD ‘CLEGGMANIA’ LOSE IT FOR THE TORIES, SO WINNING IT FOR LABOUR?
This Independent report has some figures here, and refer to boundary changes expected to favour the Tories. It is described here as the ’28th most vulnerable seat’ for Labour. None of that was taking into consideration the RECENT Clegg factor, of course. Now, in many of the Tories’ targets, we may find that a swing to the Lib Dems will resut in the seat being left with Labour. Excerpt:
“Ms Smith has won the last three elections, but every time it was by a paper-thin lead. Her current majority is 2,128, making Redditch Labour’s 28th most vulnerable seat. All the Tories need is a 2.5 per cent swing to take it. And to make life harder still, boundary changes have added a patch of countryside known as Hanbury and the Lenches, which will bring some 2,000 predominantly Conservative voters to Redditch.”
“With all the talk of a hung parliament, minority governments, no clear majority, and the obvious fact that the next government is going to have to take some tough decisions on spending and taxation, we come to the question of mandate? Biographer of Tony Blair Anthony Seldon and historian and journalist Peter Hennessy, discuss what the government will need to do in order to carry forward a programme in difficult times.”
(Will add more here as and when.)