Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Something in the Hampshire water?

Given that the perversion of the course of justice proceedings are still technically sub judice it is not appropriate to add to the obloquy and bile surrounding Chris Huhne.

However, Mid-Hampshire is rapidly becoming the equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle for politics - for both the Tories and the Lib Dems.  Over the last twenty years, neither Winchester or Eastleigh has been blessed with a peaceful or stable political environment, which is mildly ironic, particularly in the case of the former whose bourgeois smugness is constantly paraded by the media, particularly the property sections trying to encourage the spread of unaffordable housing well beyond its previous bounds.

To take Winchester first, its mid-80s Tory paragon, John Browne, was forced out by his constituency association over allegations of financial and marital chicanery.  In 1992 he stood, unsuccessfully, against Thatcher's favourite, Gerry Malone, who had been parachuted in to avoid the denouement that the Scots inflicted following the poll tax and deindustrialisation - unsuccessfully enough that he did not split the Tory vote.

The 1997 election, where the Liberals took the seat by two votes, and subsequently triumphantly in the by-election, brought Mark Oaten into national politics.  Enough said.

As for Eastleigh, the Liberal Democrats took the seat following the death of Stephen Milligan in the bizarre circumstances of autoerotic asphyxiation.  Greengrocers queued up to open in the constituency, but the now-ennobled David Chidgey took the seat and was a successful MP for some time and retired gracefully.  Mr Huhne took over and inherited a decent enough majority which is now up for grabs.

In the light of the fate of local MPs, there may even be some comfort to be drawn if Nigel Farage does decide to wave his banner in the forthcoming by-election.  Which of the fates of former local MPs awaits him is a matter for reader conjecture and taste.

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