Robin Cook: 1946-2005

Robin Cook: 1946-2005

    The third of his generation to die so young

I’ve been away all weekend and it is only now that I am able to start a thread on Robin Cook – the former Labour Foreign Secretary who will always be remembered for his resignation speech just before the Iraq War started in March 2003.

Almost exactly a year ago on Politicalbetting we were speculating that in the event of a hung parliament then what we termed the “Ginger Alliance” of Cook and Charles Kennedy might emerge.

    It is quite shocking to recall that he is the third mega-figure from his generation of Scottish Labour politicians to have died at a relatively young age.

He follows John Smith, who surely would have become Prime Minister, and Donald Dewar who played such a major part in Scottish devolution. Cook could have looked forward to a senior position in a Gordon Brown cabinet which will be the less now that Robin Cook is no more.

It is always makes people slightly uneasy that the immediate political reaction to news of this nature is to look at the majority of the deceased and to speculate on what might happen.

No doubt even tonight prospective candidates are polishing up their CVs and party officials are in Livingstone trying to find suitable campaign premises and drawing up delivery rounds for the tons of literature that the good citizens of the area will have thrust through their letter-boxes in the coming weeks and months.

The result on May 5th was LAB 51.10%: SNP 21.56%: LD 15.41%: CON 10.15% and on the face of it this should be safe for Labour. The margin over the SNP is substantial and unless an issue can be developed that gives real traction to either the SNP or LD campaigns it is hard to see anything other than Labour holding the seat with a reduced majority on a much lower turnout.

Mike Smithson

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