Is Heffer too right wing to become the “White suit” candidate?
If I was the Lib Dem PPC in the Essex seat of Saffron Walden I’d be getting very excited this morning following the announcement by controversial Telegraph columnist, Simon Heffer, that he plans to stand against the sitting MP, deputy speaker, and MP allowance claimer, Sir Alan Haselhurst.
- Just look at the numbers. The notional 2005 result in the seat was:
CON: 25593 (50.5%)
LD: 14715 (29%)
LAB: 8139 (16.1%)
OTH: 2258 (4.5%)
MAJ: 10878 (21.5%)
A quick check of Heffer’s Wikipedia entry would provide lots of material to go at. For the pro-hanging, pro-Iraq War Heffer was also a financial backer of Neil Hamilton’s unsuccessful libel action against Mohammed Al-Fayed. Hamilton, it will be recalled, lost his safe Tory seat at Tatton in the 1997 general election to the original man in the white suit, Martin Bell.
As a candidate you cannot imagine the pro-tie wearing Heffer being a warm people-person who would go down well on the door-step. In terms of interpersonal skills the Telegraph columnist is probably the match for Gordon Brown.
In a campaign, of course, he would attract a fair bit of coverage in the Telegraph and elsewhere but there’s a danger that this sort of move could be seen as a “vanity trip” which could eat into the Tory vote but would not attract backing from elsewhere.
I’m becoming very sceptical by all these ex-celebs and has-beens who fancy their chances as independents. Esther Rantzen’s planned run in Luton South looks highly opportunistic and the troubled incumbent, Margaret Moran, might be forced to step down anyway.
And could some body tell me who this person David Van Day, is? He plans to take on Nadine and is described as “the former Dollar singer” – I’ve never heard of them either. I think he has a tough job – in terms of name recognition and popularity Nad wins by miles.
That was why, of course, the sacked Number 10 communications boss, Damien McBride, included her on his smear email list – a factor, I would suggest, that will help her get re-elected in the neighbouring seat to where I am, mid-Bedfordshire, at the general election.
Let’s hope this all opens up some more betting markets.