Merlene Emerson. Expect lots of yellow balloons and activists on the look out for babies to kiss.
And the local LibDems are clearly getting excited about the very good campaign led by Nick Clegg and the frankly disastrous one led by Gordon Brown. I can tell you that the media on this side of the world in Asia has already made its mind up that the game is up for him.
But its not up for Andy Slaughter, at least not just yet. It's not unusual for a local candidate of any party to survive in a seat where they themselves are popular even if their own party is not, and even his worst critics would have to concede that Andy has suppport locally. But a rise in the LibDem vote, coupled with Lord Ashcroft's millions for the Conservatives could well mean that we have a change of MP come May 7th.
It's never been my role on this blog to tell anyone how to vote and I'm not doing that now, but I will tell you that before I left I cast my postal vote for Andy Slaughter to remain our MP. I did that because my politics are left of centre naturally, and I have seen first hand the long hours and sheer effort Andy puts in to local issues. He resigned his Ministerial post to fight against the expansion of Heathrow Airport and has consistently spoken against his own government where he disagreed, most notably on the Middle East. So he's independent minded and locally grounded.
Most important for me though is that I think we need balance in this Borough. There is no chance whatsoever that Labour are going to win the Council back - the arithmetic is overwhelming after they were routed at the last local elections. So there will be another Tory council. I think we need a Labour MP to balance that so things dont get railroaded through. Our Council are very good at railroading things through as the residents of Goldhawk Road know to their cost. So I voted Andy because he understands (and indeed grew up in) the local area and would be an effective counter-weight to a Council that doesnt listen to local residents but does spend their taxes on propaganda newspapers that even Tory MPs think are beyond the pale.
Having said all of that, I've been impressed by Shaun Bailey. He's a people person, and has been involved in local campaigns that have already made a positive difference to local people. He responded to our own residents campaign ahead of Andy Slaughter and once he got involved the Council, who until that time were not interested in our views, suddenly wanted to meet us. On a personal level he is very difficult not to like, and his campaign team contain some very clever people who know very well how to use that, so his is a formidable campaign. If he gets elected he would make a good MP.
And Merlene Emerson, suddenly focussed on the Hammersmith campaign instead of her other campaign to win a seat on Richmond Council, is stepping up a gear too. She's also hard not to like on a personal level but given the fact she is running a part time campaign here and in Richmond she hasn't been around as much as the others.
So that's my take on it dear readers!, but whoever you vote for, please for goodness sake VOTE! Or don't bother complaining about anything afterwards.
Sorry for the slow down in blogging recently. I'm going to share some of my experiences here in a couple of days, but it has been humbling. Just today I have been meeting bloggers and journalists who risk their lives reporting an altogether more menacing political life. More on that later, for now adieu!