Monday, November 24, 2014

Nick Clegg declares war on Islington

On Call Clegg today, reports the Daily Telegraph, the Liberal Democrat leader waded in to the controversy over Emily Thornberry and her photograph:
“I just think it was a drippingly patronising thing to do by Emily Thornberry. 
“Maybe that’s what happens if you become MP for Islington. 
“I just thought it was a jaw-droppingly condescending way of treating someone who just proudly hanging some flags outside their home.”
A bit over the top, you may think. Nick, after all, chooses to live in the edgy urban jungle that is Putney.

His remarks certainly surprised Terry Stacy, who will be standing against Thornberry in her Islington South and Finsbury next year. He told the Huffington Post:
"I don't know what is behind that comment," he told The Huffington Post. "I have no idea where he was coming from. It may have been a slide-by comment, I am a bit surprised." 
Stacy, who was leader of Islington council between 2008 and 2010, insisted that, unlike Thornberry, he was in touch with the seat's poorer constituents. 
"You can't get more working class than me," he said. "I still live in social housing. I was probably the only council leader that did live in social housing in Islington over last 30-years."
It used to be Hampstead that was known for being the home of rich socialists, but at some point that doubtful honour was passed to Islington.

It is a silly stereotype - I have been guilty of relying upon it myself in at least one column - because much of Islington is not like that at all.

The Huffington Post reminds us that the borough has child poverty rates higher than anywhere else in the country.

I don't suppose Nick comments were based on deep political calculation, but they can be seen as a reflection of the fact that Islington South is a seat that we had real hopes of winning in 2010 and have no hope of winning in 2015.

If this bias against Islington, justified or not, has any long-term effect it is likely to be in scuppering Margaret Hodge's chances of being Labour's candidate for Mayor of London.

So there is something to be said for being unfair about Islington.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Labour candidate for Redcar is an ex-SPAD from Islington