Soubry vs. Palmer: Round Two?

I was going to post up a guest piece today regarding Labour’s selection for PPC, but news broke earlier that means it’ll have to wait. Soz, Simon.

Soubz has announced that she WILL stand in the 2015 election. This is a huge game changer, and will make the next few months hugely interesting, much more so than if they’d parachuted in some A-lister former wonk who’d never stepped outside Milbank, let alone London.

So will it be a straight rematch of 2010? Well, that’s a delicate question. Most people I’ve talked to about this seem to think Labour would be mad not to stand Palmer; he carries a great deal of votes that transcend tribalism. His one-nation inclusivity casework and ability to engage even when constituents diametrically opposed his various stances when in power pushes Soubry’s exclusivity (see Beestonia passim, I’ve not got space to list it all) into a harsh light, not to mention her priggish claim that she got into politics to ‘fight lefties’. Hardly a centralist, floating-voter wooing statement.

The most likely candidate to scupper Palmer is Nick McDonald. Supported by Broxtowe Council head-honcho Milan Radulovic, he’s a city councillor with a lot of clout in regional Labour. He’s secured UNISON’s backing despite regional branches seeming to prefer Palmer: Such an endorsement should not be taken with a pinch of salt.

Yet I feel he’s a non-runner with the electorate, too pro, too Jon Collins, too..well, careerist. I’ve not chatted to him yet, but from what (meagre) research I’ve done I can’t identify the charismatic spark with which he’ll hope to ignite the fire in every voters belly. I’m more than willing for McDonald or his supporters to prove me wrong; but if he gets elected by the local branches; or through an NEC over-rule, Labour could be taking a blunderbuss to their tootsies.

Atol Joshi and Greg Marshall could also cause some waves, more on both in future posts, as they need closer examination before I make sweeping predictions and assumptions. They’re both very keen to present their respective cases however, so I doubt I’ll need to apply tooth comb investigative journalism to get an idea of their positions.

On a more glib level, their is a starry attraction to the thought of a Soubz/ Palmer rematch. It lends a narrative to the campaign; in the same way rematches do in sport. For a blogger whose first campaign coverage was the 2010 GE, it’s manna from heaven.

I’m not a Labour member, I best stress that, so to endorse one candidate over another would be disingenuous. It would also be awkward, as in that over the years I’ve written on local politicians I’ve come to know, and on various levels, actually like, right across the political spectrum. (Well, not right across the spectrum: if a BNP idiot proffered his or her hand to shake I’d only respond if I said hand had spent some quality time between my buttocks beforehand).

Yet I will say that I expect; and will be mildly excited, to spend the next 22 months covering, the re-run of 2010. Palmer vs. Soubz, 2015? It’s the Big Daddy/ Giant Haystacks bout for us political nerds.