There’s nothing like getting a scoop in journalism. So I’m delighted to be able to announce today that the new MP for Cardiff South and Penarth will be Stephen Doughty. Many congratulations to you, Stephen, and commiserations to Dr Bablin Molik (Lib Dem), Luke Nicholas (Plaid), and whoever the Communists, Conservatives and other parties pick. Given that Alun Michael is retiring at the ripe old age of 69 and that Stephen is less than half Alun’s age, we can look forward to at least 37 years of Stephen’s beneficent rule. Who said that politics is unpredictable?!
I’m sure Stephen was the best candidate. But it hasn’t got him off to a wonderful start that allegations of gerrymandering by a certain father figure have been compounded by a twitter faux-pas*. (While we’re on the subject of twitter, perhaps it would be worth revisiting Doughty4CSP). One word of advice to Stephen – it’s great that you can call on advice from your more experienced friends and colleagues. But I can’t shake the uncomfortable feeling that Alun’s going to want his pound of flesh at some point.
And talking of seeking to influence decisions, I’m sure some of Alun Michael’s colleagues will be delighted at the strong stance he’s taking on making sure a local candidate is selected. People, for example, who were born and brought up here, tried to become an MP twice here and ended up representing this place. Or try a former Conservative activist who contested this seat and ended up parachuted in to represent these people.
*Western Mail 16 July 2012 (story not online):
Oxfam boss likely to be Labour’s new MP
…Yesterday some eyebrows among Labour supporters were raised after a picture described by Mr Doughty on Twitter as showing the campaign team that helped him secure the nomination included Mr Michael. Mr Michael did not publicly endorse any of the candidates seeking selection and has denied being part of Mr Doughty’s campaign team.
A Cardiff-based Labour source said: “Alun’s repeated denials that he had anything to do with Stephen’s campaign were laughable. As we can see from the photograph now published from his campaign victory party, Alun is there in pride of place along with close family members of several party staff in Transport House (Welsh Labour’s headquarters)…