General Election 2019 is such a gamble for Boris Johnson – John McLellan

Ho ho ho… a December general election it is, and those who will be called upon to go knocking on doors in the darkness of cold, wet winter nights to deliver nothing more festive than political literature won’t be expecting much sympathy.

By John McLellan
Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:45 am
John Bercow's time as Speaker is up. Picture: Getty

Setting aside the politics of it all, the practicalities of a winter campaign are such that traditional door-to-door canvassing will be much more difficult than on pleasant May or June evenings where light nights mean plenty of people are happy to spend a minute of two on the doorstep to share opinions or give canvassers a piece of their minds. When it’s below freezing, it’s more likely to be a shorter and more forceful version of the latter. By December 12, it will be dark well before 5pm so the importance of postal votes will never have been greater and the window for helping people to polling stations will be smaller, so earlier exit polling predictions will be possible because the stations are likely to be quieter than usual in the late evening.

Will it deliver the decisive result my party is obviously hoping for? There are so many factors that predicting an outcome with any certainty is impossible, which is why it’s such a gamble for the Prime Minister.

The parliamentary paralysis could not continue and there is at least a chance it could now be broken. There is also a high chance it will not, but thankfully there will be no John Bercow (pictured) or Oliver Letwin.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mating pandas

What connects new city tourism figurehead Donald Emslie with the first general manager of Diageo’s new flagship Johnnie Walker Princes Street “visitor experience”?

Currently chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Barbara Smith will join the drinks giant after Christmas when she will also run its network of Scottish distillery visitor centres.

Former Scottish Media Group chief executive and STV boss Mr Emslie is the influential Edinburgh Tourism Action Group’s new chair, some eight years after standing down as RZSS chair.

They both have experience of managing difficult partnerships, but getting pandas to mate will be the city council’s tourism strategy.

Pricey for film-makers

During the filming of Fast and Furious in Edinburgh last month, production trucks formed a small village in Holyrood car park – the locations were easily spotted by ‘road closed’ signs across streets blocked by the vehicles.

Yet the makers of the Edinburgh-set BBC drama Guilt shot most of it in the West because, location manager Tim Maskell said, “in Edinburgh it’s very rare to get any space to park your big vehicles, and if you find a site, it will probably have been built on six months later”.

Really? It’s taken 15 years for the redevelopment of Fountainbridge since S&N sold up and the site has been an annual Fringe venue. Perhaps estimates that shooting in the Capital is a third dearer than Glasgow is closer to the truth. Something for Film Edinburgh to examine.


Edinburgh’s SNP group is outraged at ex-party councillors Gavin Barrie and Claire Bridgman teaming up with erstwhile colleague Lewis Ritchie to form an independent group and qualify for places on the council’s main committees.

“Gavin and Claire both chose to let down their constituents by leaving the party that they were voted in to represent,” a senior source told the Evening News, a marked contrast with their glee when a Conservative defected last year. No talk of letting down supporters then, funnily enough.