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Esther Rantzen fails to win seat in Luton South

That’s life (sorry, sorry, terrible joke) -- but what does Rantzen’s loss tell us about the rest of

Oh dear, poor Esther Rantzen.

Suffice it to say, she hasn't won in Luton South on her anti-politics ticket. (Was anyone ever quite sure what that meant? I mean, surely when you're sitting in the House of Commons, you'd have to come round to the whole politics thing a bit?) She polled fourth, behind Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems (which might, to some, look like the people of Luton have opted resoundingly for politics).

Reportedly, some in the Conservative camp believe that Esther's modest 4.4 per cent share of the vote may have eaten into their support (it was a close race, the Tories gaining 29.4 per cent to Labour's 34.9 per cent). This is interesting, as Luton South is a bellwether seat -- in every election since 1951, the MP elected in Luton South has gone on to become part of the government of the UK.

Should the Tories be quaking in their boots at the Labour government this portends? Well . . . probably not, particularly as those close results could have been closer still, or even a Tory win (though there's no solid evidence for it), were it not for that dastardly Rantzen. But wouldn't it have been fun if she'd won and we could have looked forward to the People's Government of Esther!

On a serious note -- Nick Robinson pointed out on the BBC that the televised debates drew attention away from all the other races in the election, focusing everything on the three men at the top. This means that Rantzen didn't get much media attention, unlike other notable independent candidates such as Martin Bell.

It's also a sign that expenses tainted individual MPs rather than parties. Margaret Moran stood down in the constituency and the electorate did not penalise her party.