Don Brind says its to inflict misery on Zac by helping him get re-elected
“The man’s a disgrace. His office is just along the corridor from mine and I never see him. He obviously doesn’t want to be an MP.
The thoughts of a veteran MP provide the perfect justification for Labour fighting the Richmond Park by-election despite the call from an interesting trio of young MPs for Labour to stay out of Zac Goldsmith’s “vanity project” Shadow Business Clive Lewis, shadow Treasury minister Jonathan Reynolds, and backbencher Lisa Nandy argue in Labour List the Tory could be unseated is Labour stay don’t contest the west London seat.
Theresa May has sought to neutralise Goldsmith’s protest against the Heathrow decision by not putting up a Tory candidate and the Labour trio argue “the fight will come down to a two way contest between him and the Liberal Democrats, whose vote will be split with the Greens and Labour, “If there is any chance of kicking Goldsmith out of Parliament, the vote against him must not be split. That’s why we think Labour should consider not standing a candidate in this by-election.”
There is a special contempt for Goldsmith within Labour ranks following his nasty and divisive campaign against Sadiq Khan for the London Mayoralty. As the New Statesman’s George Eaton memorably observed “There’s one thing worse than losing, it’s losing with dishonour.”
But for Goldsmith now the one thing worse than losing is winning – but with a dramatically reduced majority. He would denied to freedom his fellow old Etonian David Cameron has achieved for himself by quitting Witney. He would be a lame duck MP, the modern equivalent of Peter Griffiths, who won Smethwick for the Tories with a racist campaign in 1964. He was branded by Harold Wilson as “a parliamentary leper.”
The idea of a “progressive alliance” with Liberal Democrats and Greens favoured by Lewis, Nandy and Reynolds is, for the moment at least, a minority cause within Labour. The Liberal Democrats are scorned for their role in Coalition with the Tories and it’s noted that some leading Greens backed the green-tinged Goldsmith for Mayor.
The problem for Goldsmith, of course, is that his stance on Heathrow is matched by Lib Dem opponent Sarah Olney but her anti Brexit views are much closer to the almost three in four local voters who backed Remain.
So Labour’s “cunning plan” is for her to lose but not by much. And it looks like a reasonable bet Expect to see Lewis, Nandy and Reynolds given top billing in her election material.
The famous Baldrick line was deployed by Jeremy Corbyn used at Prime Minister’s questions — Theresa May’s cunning plan, he said was to have no plan. As May observed Baldrick was played by Labour supporter Tony Robinson who supported Owen Smith for the leadership. Robinson tweeted he is still a Labour member. “Haven’t left, active member for 40 yrs. But if David Davis needs any help with Brexit Baldrick stands ready to serve.”