I suppose I shouldn’t care so much about this given I don’t live in Richmond, but I wish there was a pro-Heathrow candidate standing in the by election, now to be held on December 1st. It feels wrong that there isn’t.
Labour could do the honourable thing and run a pro-Heathrow candidate. There are plenty of them within the party, those who see that the jobs that the expansion will create makes it worthwhile. It would also give them a USP in the constituency they currently lack. But I’d still be shocked if they did.
Zac Goldsmith wants to make the by election a referendum on Heathrow, but there’s no way it can be given all the candidates will be explicitly anti-Heathrow. It will be a referendum on Brexit, without question. I suppose as a Remainer, I should think that’s a good thing.
But I’m not so sure. I’m also glad I don’t live in the constituency since I would have no idea who to vote for. As a pro-EU, pro-Heathrow person, how do I register a vote that says I want a soft Brexit and that Heathrow expansion goes ahead? That’s apparently not available. Surely such a thing shouldn’t be beyond the political class – but all the same, there it is. Glad we all took back control.
But given the by election really is going to be a mini-referendum on Brexit, I would actually look past the Heathrow issue and vote Lib Dem. What’s more, I actually think the Lib Dems are going to win. The Tories not running a candidate is already smelling like a stitch up of some kind, with Theresa May getting confidence from somewhere that Goldsmith will eventually return to the fold. Or if that isn’t the case, at least feeling like having a Brexiteer in a seat – even one that has stormed out of the party – is preferable to a Remainer.
As a result of all this, Brexit really could ironically enough be the saviour of the Liberal Democrats (well, that and Corbyn). How odd. One thing is for sure: if the Lib Dems win on December 1st, it will be because of Brexit. What that means for the future of British politics will be interesting to find out.