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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Charisma by-pass

Sanddef is providing a very useful service at the moment in translating Vaughan Roderick's series of blog posts on how things may pan out in Wales politically in 2008.

The one I have taken the most interest in is the post relating to that part of my own region which is in the former County of West Glamorgan. Here Vaughan predicts little movement in terms of the political tenure of the five parliamentary seats in the County. Even Swansea West, the one seat that looks most interesting, seems destined to stay with Labour if Vaughan is correct:

Geraint Davies the former MP for Croydon Central is the new candidate. That could be bad news for the Liberal Democrats. I think it's safe to describe Geraint as the Peter Black of the Labour Party. He's not a charismatic man nor a colourful one but he will work and work and work to ensure that he keeps the seat. The fact that he has moved his family from Croydon to Swansea in order to be nominated is proof of his unrelentingness and commitment. Without a doubt Geraint will try to match the Liberal Democrats leaflet for leaflet, petition for petition during the campaign and he will be a very difficult man to beat.

We will see. After all, as one comment suggests, Geraint Davies lost Croydon Central in 2005 for a reason, and it was not necessarily anything to do with a swing back to the Tories. I am still trying to work out whether the comparison with me is a backhanded compliment or not. Probably not.
It was meant it as a compliment, both to Geraint and yourself!
What neck ties does Geraint Davies wear? If they're Garish it could be neck and neck in Swansea West!
It is OK Vaughan, I have been laughing about it for days - in an uncharismatic way of course.
After all, as one comment suggests, Geraint Davies lost Croydon Central in 2005 for a reason, and it was not necessarily anything to do with a swing back to the Tories.

Croydon Central was the 8th Tory target in London (59th in the UK) in 2005. Geraint Davies lost it on a 4.4% swing, compared to a London-wide swing of 5%. Every other Labour seat lost to the Tories in London in 2005 went on a higher swing, often in the 7-8% range.

I'd say Vaughan's characterisation was pretty accurate.
hey Peter too much charisma leads to trouble.Look back at the politicians labeled as charismatic
They ended up in the News of the World,consigned to the middle or shacked up with a cheeky girl
Isn't Ken Livingstone described as charismatic?

Word on the street here in South London is that Geraint Davies did lose for a reason! And of course if he was matching leaflet for leaflet etc..
Geraint losing Croydon Central in 2005 can't be explained away by the national or regional swing - e.g. see Enfield North result.

To be fair, not all the blame can be laid at Geraint's door but a number of experienced and committed campaigners in Croydon believe that his actions and inaction over the 8 years he was the MP there made all the difference.

Claiming the circa £20k per annum second homes allowance for a property in central London while his constituency (and family) home was only 20 mins by train (services run 24 hours) from Westminster was undoubtedly a significant error of judgement on his part. Local voters (many of whom are central London commuters) were outraged at this and more outraged by his excuse for claiming it - 'couldn't claim taxi expenses for early morning and late night meetings'.

Word in Westminster was that Geraint had his eye on a seat in Wales (safer; not requiring much work) for some time before the 2005 election. Winning Croydon Central in 1997 was a big surprise for him. He didn't expect to hold the seat in 2001 which is why he didn't bother establishing a parliamentary office in the constituency despite claiming all of the available allowances which other MPs used to pay for local offices. Following a lot of pressure from the local party he eventually established a local office in 2002 but it wasn't until late 2003 that he succumbed to pressure to actually do some campaigning work in the seat.

Too little, too late. And the nose in the trough sealed his fate.
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