I've always been of the opinion that defections are a rather tawdry affair, more to do with personal gain than any principled stance.
Examples abound, councillors and MPs up and down the land who have had a higher chance of winning their seats with the new party than they did with the old. A bit like Italy in World War 2, it's more about picking the winner than assessing one's true beliefs about who are the good guys.
And so to Eastleigh where the Labour PPC, Daniel Clarke, has defected to the Liberal Democrats.
I knew before I even looked into the constituency that Daniel had no chance of winning the seat in 2010 and so it proved. Chris Huhne is the current MP for the area, probably well placed to reward Daniel for his glowing resignation letter:
I have found myself thinking that Chris Huhne is right on issues as varied as Trident, Climate Change, the economy and civil liberties whilst the government is wrong on them.
Rather than standing against him, I will be voting for Chris at the next General Election.
It was strange to see on Daniel's blog from October 2008 that Huhne is a man that he "doesn't often agree with". Turned full circle in a fairy remarkable timeframe, no?
And how about this quote from Daniel Clarke, also from October 2008:
"The fact that so many PPCs have resigned just a short time before a likely election also suggests that the Tories are not vetting their candidates very effectively, maybe they are just desperate for anyone they can get."
Mind you, given that Chris Huhne has a mere 568 majority over the resurgent Tories, I can't help but wonder if Daniel was even the architect of his own defection?
After all, Daniel could have quietly slipped away from the nomination but instead he chose to sing Huhne's name from the rooftops, a platform that Eastleigh Labour party members awarded him in good faith. What must they make of Daniel now I wonder?
Tawdry I tell you, never trust a defector.