Almost a week has passed since the results for Hampstead & Kilburn came through. It’s taken about this long for the adrenaline to drain from my body and my internal clock to tick tock its way back into shape after pulling an election all-nighter, but I’ve finally processed what has happened, and as the new coalition Cabinet concludes its first formal meeting, I feel ready to reflect on last week’s events.
One undeniable fact is that our part of North West London offered some of the most exciting battles of anywhere in the country. The new constituency of Brent Central was the only seat contested by two standing MPs: Sarah Teather of the Lib Dems and Labour’s Dawn Butler. It was a close run thing, but it was the former who eventually won on the night – or the following morning, to be precise.
In Hampstead & Kilburn, despite all three major parties telling us that it was a two horse race between one or the other of them, it turned out to be the most exciting three-way election extravaganza of them all. Chances are, of course, that you already know the result, but just in case you’ve been visiting relatives on the planet Zorg – and I hear it’s nice this time of year – it was as follows: After some drama involving errant ballot boxes and an excruciating re-count in the wee hours of Friday morning, the nail-bitingly close result was that Glenda Jackson held her seat, defeating Tory challenger Chris Philp by a mere 42 votes. Ed Fordham ended up coming third, less than 900 votes off the pace which, in general election terms, is pretty darned close. So in the end, the bookies, the pundits – even the bloggers! – got it wrong. Alas! How I wish that I’d put a cheeky fiver on Glenda to win; I’d now be sipping mojitos on a beach in Cancun…
The irony is that whilst Glenda pipped Ed and Chris to the post here in Hampstead & Kilburn, it is these two whose parties now govern our green and pleasant land. (Forgive me, by the way, if that doesn’t seem ironic to you, but I attended the Alanis Morissette school of irony, you see).
So congratulations are in order to Glenda Jackson MP, but I’d like to extend these to all the candidates who stood here – except that BNP woman – for leading such vigorous and passionate campaigns. I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of such historic figures as Chris, Ed, Tamsin, Bea et al. In politics terms they’re all still young’uns (ish), and I for one look forward to seeing what larks they get up to in the future.