Monday, 9 November 2009

What surprises me about the Jane Kennedy announcement today.

Wavertree's Labour MP, Jane Kennedy, gave an exclusive to David Bartlett today. She announced she would not be standing again at the General Election.

I found out, as I imagine did quite a few others, from the front page of the Liverpool Echo.

I wouldn't say I am entirely surprised at her decision. But what does surprise me is the way it has come out.

Standing down is quite a big deal if you are a high profile former Minister and its not that long ago that colleagues were asking her to stand for a position within the PLP. Over the years she must have worked with quite a few Labour politicians and been involved in quite a few internal party things. So extricating herself was always going to be quite complicated.

The textbook way to announce in these circumstances would have been to brief key supporters in advance (albeit sworn to secrecy) and make sure letters would arrive on the day of the announcement for others. That way you don't upset people who have put themselves out for you - or you don't upset them as much. You also prepare the ground for useful comment when the news breaks. After all you probably want the party to be able to deal with the news rather than being hit by it.

I would have expected the Labour blogs and websites I look at to have been ready with a JK resignation re action ( they could have automatically embargoed it for goodness sake) to appear immediately after the exlusive. Instead there is silence from the sources I would normally expect to comment.

This makes me wonder if her announcement took her Labour colleagues in Liverpool by surprise also. If so that's not a great way to treat people. It's also politically rather misguided.

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