Spot The Difference



westboroughGreenI am standing in because <XXXX INSERT WARD NAME HERE> because <XXXX INSERT GREEN PARTY WAFFLE HERE>

Are the Green Party cloning their candidates nowadays?

Identikit personal statements – as much nonsense as the rest of their leaflets.

Chalkwell Tories ignore council election rules

Chalkwell inTouchI have lived in Chalkwell ward on two separate occasion, and was residing there when I first joined the Labour Party. I know the ward well.

I was in Chalkwell when the Liberal Democrats, in the guise of Bron Lister-Smith won in 1996 by 28 votes. She had to resign shortly afterwards, but she at least showed the ward could be snatched from the Tories. Interestingly, there was a dead-heat in Belfairs ward that year too, and Conservatives gained the ward on a coin toss from the Liberal Democrats.

My work in the ward shows that is a ward of contrasts; it has some magnificent properties, but also areas that look quite run-down. It also appears to be Tory-free in parts, and not just in party allegiance but also in respect of appearances by its councillors.

This leaflet includes an article from the Southend West Conservative MP. Sir David Amess MP says: The United Kingdom economy was literally on its knees in 2010.

Aside from the obvious observation that the economy is not actually an animal with legs and so cannot ‘literally’ be on its knees, Sir David is wrong. Whatever he thinks of the last Labour Government, when the we left office the economy was back in growth.

He also refers to his coalition buddies as the ‘Liberals’ (repeatedly). Did their name change pass him by.

Whilst on the subject of typos (OK, we weren’t, but I feel like pointing one out) – unless they have renamed a street in Thorpe Bay the author of this leaflet has misspelt Cllr Ian Robertson’s address.

Finally, despite being instructed not to use councillor email addresses on their election literature, the Conservatives have yet again gone ahead and done it anyway. They were repeat offenders last year too. Still, with their sense of entitlement they obviously believe rules are for other people.
Chalkwell inTouch pages 2 and 3

Oooh, lukewarm but found at last

There we have it. It has only taken five hours, but I have found my first Tory.

I became cast-free a week ago, and since then I have managed just over five hours on the doorstep. Towards the end of today’s session I met my first Tory since returning to campaigning after injuring my foot. To be honest, though it was not a ringing endorsement.

I inquired how the resident was going to vote in next year’s General Election. “Probably Conservative” came the reply. Probably!

I inquired what he thought of the Cameron premiership. He thought he was “about 50%, no make that 60% good, 40% bad.”

So far, mostly Labour, a smattering of UKIP, and nothing else declared (sole Tory aside). Quite a few undecided though, which must include wavering Tories (and some unconvinced Labour supporters too). This is across three wards, and whilst I may have just stumbled on areas where the Conservatives (and Liberal Democrats) are weak, two of those wards have both Tory and Lib Dem councillors.

Doorstepping apres interruptus

The first door I knock on after returning from an injury-enforced lay-off from canvassing was not an auspicious start, for no sooner than I had announced myself as someone from the Labour Party when the resident said “I’m not interested” and shut the door firmly in my face. Welcome back!

Fortunately it got better.

I did stints in Kursaal and Chalkwell wards today. Not especially long stints, for not only was the weather indifferent but I am still limping. However, it was good to be out again.

Unusually I did not have a single conversation about dog poo, parking, or fly-tipping. Instead it seemed to me that minds were definitely tuned to the coming General Election as national topics were discussed. The top three items today were the cost of living, the National Health Service, and the European Union.

I found one Tory, or perhaps more accurately one former Tory as this resident was definitely undecided who to plump for nowadays. Now, not finding a Tory in Kursaal is not especially unusual, but I expected to find some in a ward that is represented by three of the species.

I spied no Liberal Democrat or Green supporters either; it was all UKIP or Labour, with Labour winning by a ratio of three to one. I know that some when confronted by a Labour activist will either say what they think the activist wants to here or keep their allegiances secret – some. Finding no-one prepared to express a preference for either of the governing parties was quite a revelation. Green support is quite weak in my home borough, and they barely register at the best of times; so no surprises that I came across no-one declaring for them.

UKIP are gaining some traction, but I did find that those opting for them would at least chat, and some said they would look into the Labour offer for Southend-on-Sea.

Does this mean very much at all? Not really, because in truth despite my best endeavours it was still a fairly small sample. Nonetheless, I really sense a Conservative Party in trouble, at least in parts of the town. It also suggests that what we saw in the local elections six months could easily be repeated next May, that is even more Conservative losses in the council chamber.