Tamsin Omond to stand against Green Party’s Bea Campbell Labour’s Glenda Jackson in latest act of epic narcissism
Posted Under: Elections,Green Party,GreenFeed,Uncategorized
“Not all companies get the urgency of climate change yet but their customers have more power than they think. Last week, I left the outer packaging of my shopping on the till at Tesco.” – Tamsin Omond demonstrating her commitment to environmentalism by leaving an underpaid cashier to clear up her mess.
I winced yesterday as I read of Tamsin Omond’s latest stunt. Under the banner of her newly established “Commons Party” she plans to run against the Greens and against left-wing labour MP Glenda Jackson in the newly created Hampstead and Kilburn constituency.
It is hard to get a detailed picture of what exactly this initiative is about. The Commons Party website is extremely light on politics and policy. What instead comes through in this campaign is an emphasis upon what I recently described as the “infantile politics of good behaviour“. Tamsin has proudly told the Evening Standard that she will donate a third of her salary to the local commuity and do one day of community work a week. Indeed theses pledges dominate the Commons Party website along with a challenge to other candidates to “match them”. Please forgive me, but I really couldn’t give a flying fuck. What legislators do with the great levers of state power, and the use they make of their significant public platform, is infinitely more important that demonstrations of personal virtue and self-sacrifice.
This patronising approach to her constituents is reinforced by certain unorthodox campaigning methods. Her canvassers will be “going door-to-door offering to draught-proof houses and sort out insulation.” And there I was, thinking that the “treating” of constituents by candidates went out in the 19th century.
As Random Blow notes Tamsin Omond “has a habit of setting up and leading her own organisations rather than working with others”. I am not implacably against people founding new political parties, but context really is everything. Right now the Green Party – with whom I have no affiliation – really are making tremendous leaps forward in gaining popular support, while simultaneously embracing a genuinely radical agenda. As their membership stats demonstrate, they are drawing thousands of new people into progressive and environmentalist politics. Against this background, Omond’s decision – not merely to do her own thing, but to stand against one of the Green Party’s most prominent candidates – smacks of a narcisstic disinterest in engaging with fellow activists.
Needless to say, Tamsin doesn’t have a hope in hell of actually getting in. Yet this constituency will almost certainly be finely balanced Labour and the Tories. If this campaign prevents Glenda Jackson from gettng back in, this will not only help Cameron into power. It will also remove a prominent voice on the left of Labour, as the party considers its post-election future. If the Greens also risk splitting the labour vote, they do so for the sake of build large and established and increasingly important progressive movement. The same cannot be said of Omond’s Commons Party.