I can't be everywhere, unfortunately. I tried omnipotence, but it wasn't really for me. You should see the travel bills. That, allied with a nasty flu bug have left me blogging a bit less than I would like, but still more than many of you want.
So, the news of Lynne Jones' decision to stand down as a Labour MP only reached my ears on Friday afternoon and now is the first chance I've had to write about it. Ah well, good to let the mainstream media break a story for once.
This does simplify selections for Birmingham a lot. Roger Godsiff will now walk easily into Hall Green (frankly it was never a serious competition between him and Lynne, anyway). Steve McCabe gets the new Selly Oak and the remainder - Gisela Stuart in Edgbaston, Richard Burden in Northfield, Khalid Mahmood in Perry Barr and Sion Simon keeps hold of Erdington - are set, barring any other shock decisions. There are three other seats still to choose candidates - Sutton Coldfield will probably stick by the redoubtable Rob Pocock, who loves to niggle away at the Tories. John Hemming awaits his fate at the hands of a yet-to-be selected Labour candidate - the selection process hasn't even started in Yardley. The only other outstanding business is in Ladywood, which can be expected to attract a lot of interest as a safe Labour seat and restricted to an all-woman shortlist.
Lynne's departure will be a loss - she's renowned for her independence of mind and for driving Labour's hierarchy to distraction. A bit of that is always helpful to keep perspective on things.