Friday, June 13, 2008

When parties ignore elections, press barons move in

The talk of Kelvin MacKenzie (or Kelvin Calder MacKenzie as he would be known to the acting returning officer) standing against David Davis in his by-election reminds me of an earlier posting on this blog.

When the story broke that Matthew Taylor is the great-grandson of Sir Percy Harris, a long-serving Liberal MP, I wrote:

Sir Percy was first elected to the Commons for Harborough at a 1916 by-election. There was an official truce between the parties, but he had to overcome strong opposition from Thomas Gibson Bowles, an Independent candidate backed by Lord Northcliffe and the Daily Mail.
Bowles's campaign seems to have been concerned with criticism of the way the war was being fought. But the moral is clear.

When parties refuse to fight elections, press barons are only to happy to fill the vacuum. The Lib Dems should have put up a candidate in Haltemprice & Howden.


MatGB said...

Disagree. Davis specifically wants to spark a debate. If MacKenzie does run, we've got the debate. Huhne, Campbell and Clegg have all said the real fight now is liberty vs state, Davis is on our side of that fight, unlike a lot of the rest of his party.

We've got the issue I came back into electoral politics to fight on. I'd rather it was one of us that's fighting it, but regardless MacKenzie makes it a real fight on the issue. Good.

Now we need to sin the fight.

Anonymous said...

Have you read the papers? I think there could be more to this than it seems, and we should wait and see before criticising Clegg's decision. If by standing aside in the by-election Lib Dems can deepen rifts in the Conservative Party (which is currently polling over 40%), it might be beneficial to the Liberal fortunes in the long run.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad day for NuLab when they have to rely on an arch reactionary opposed to everything the labour movement stands for to make the 42 case for them!