Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crossing the floor

Some moments in politics can be bitter sweet. The eulogies when a long hated MP dies, the successful election of an internal party rival or, of course, political defections.

Defections are those moments when an often long standing party activist or elected representative has finally had enough and crosses the floor to a party they were, not five minutes since, denouncing from the roof tops as the foul fiends from the pits of hell.

It is of course a joy to receive such defectors in to your party. Does it not say in Matthew 18:12 "he rejoiceth more of that [one lost] sheep than of the ninety nine that went not astray." So it is with great pleasure that the Scottish Greens welcomed Lib Dem Cllr Debra Storr to their happy home. Free at last from the tyrany of the darkness she steps into the light.

Fret not Lib Dem fans for what the Lord taketh with one hand he gives with the other and they can celebrate tonight that the Camden New Journal reports that Dave Hoefling, Left List candidate at the last London Assembly elections, has joined the yellow peril - ironically on the night that their group voted against the London Living Wage on Camden Council (although it appears they supported his school governorship back in April so it's not new news as such).

Timing is, as they say, everything. Just ask Colchester's Lib Dem MP Bob Russell who shows that a small fish defector today can become your MP tommorrow, or in this case sixteen years after he defects. He also demonstrates that timing can be crucial if you have an eye to your future political career. Way back in 1981 he was fresh from being Labour's Parliamentary candidate and he managed to get elected to council in my old home of New Town Ward. Directly after the election he took himself off to the SDP and has never looked back since. Now that is timing.

Both Storr and Hoefling have been far more principled in timing their defections although I'm surprised at the latter who made great play of his trade unionist credentials when he stood for election and now joins the ranks of a local party who have voted against decent wages for council workers and is selling off local council housing.


Dave Semple said...

Left List and RESPECT were a very mixed bag - I mean, they even had defections to the Tories. God knows how that one works.

Pippa said...

Ahh New Town Ward, I kinda miss it, especially the Sunday pub quiz at the Grenny.

When do you reckon the good people of New Town will oust the lib dems in favour of some nice green councillors?

Jim Jay said...

New Town is good territory for us of that I'm sure although, saddo that I am, I was checking out the election stats for past colchester council elections (can't believe I'm admitting that!) and Wivenhoe Quay seems like fertile territory too - are there separate parties?

Pippa said...

Yes, Wiv Quay is very good for us, we have 2 town councillors and came agonisingly close to a third. There is a separate branch of the party down there. Ya know those wivenhovians don't like travelling to the badlands of colch :P