Daily View 2×2: 24 July 2009

2 Big Stories

Norwich North by-election: result by lunchtime

Yes, it may not have been a late night for the candidates contesting Norwich North, but it was almost certainly a fairly sleepless one. Every party is spinning desperately to manage expectations. Sky News is reporting a likely Tory victory, with a scrap between the Lib Dems and Labour for the runners-up spot:

A party insider said: “The Conservatives are trying to play down what is happening but I think the reality is that Labour is in a fight with the Lib Dems for second place. The turnout has been poor in traditional Labour areas and I think the reality is that the Tories have taken the seat.”

Labour is braced for the loss of a safe seat in a contest forced by the resignation of MP Ian Gibson in the wake of an internal party sleaze inquiry. Mr Gibson, a popular local MP, quit last month after Labour’s “star chamber” barred him from standing for the party again.

We’ll see soon enough.

Swine flu fever continues

As the debate continues – are we panicking over nothing, or is the H1N1 virus a serious threat? – the Government’s response has also come under fire. The Tories have criticised the National Flu Service, claiming the system is “too little, too late”. A couple of days ago, Lib Dem health spokeswoman Sandra Gidley was also less-than-impressed:

GPs up and down the country have been swamped because the Government has fallen behind the curve. Whitehall infighting has meant that the flu hotline which should have been ready last October still isn’t up and running. Now we learn that ministers are continuing to dither and delay over who will be eligible to take the vaccine.

“NHS staff are doing a superb job in tackling this outbreak under difficult circumstances. It is time that the Government stopped boasting about how well prepared it is and started developing a truly national flu strategy.”

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

Election day leaflets from the Tories and Lib Dems and a story of my fame and other polling day tales (Nich Starling)

… the door [was] opened by a really rather attractive woman in her early twenties wearing the briefest of bikinis and appearing to be pulling on (but not quite wearing) a very brief pair of shorts. I used the leaflets in my hand to shield her more exposed lower parts from view as she apologised (really, an apology wasn’t necessary) and explained she was staining a fence and was wearing as little as possible so as not to ruin her clothes. She had already voted so I thanked her (for her vote).

We often forget that MPs are humans too… (Jane Watkinson)

Andrew George was featured in a recent BBC article and expressed the stress that him and his family were under due to the media coverage, and how they were not provided a platform to defend themselves. Even though I am not sticking up for those MPs that have broken the law, we do sometimes have to just stop and think that they are human beings with emotions, and some of them may very well have mental health problems that make the recent events even more unbearable.

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