Steve Barclay MP on the NHS
Ten Pieces Of Advice For Candidates
In my usual helpful way I thought I’d run through some tips I’ve picked up over many years of volunteering in and running election campaigns. These are just my anecdotes and are targeted at nobody and nothing specific.
(1) It’s a good idea if you live in the area you are standing for
You can stand somewhere you don’t live, for sure, but you will have to do extra work to cover the natural disadvantage this brings. If you are well-known, popular, or live very close by, you may be okay. If you have very strong ties to the area, you may be okay. But if you are an unpopular character with an uncertain history – you are going to find it an uphill struggle.
(2) Stop whining
People hate whiny candidates. It makes for a terrible campaign. If all you do is whine and whine some more, your campaign will never gain steam.
(3) Don’t get stuck in your bubble
If you have a small group of friends who all keeping telling you that you are definitely going to win, its easy to believe them. If they tell you they are going to vote for you, this is only of use if they do actually live in the area you want to be elected in. Otherwise, their promises of support will simply end in an embarrassing trip to a polling station they can’t vote at. in politics, we call this a “bubble.” It is a self-sustaining miniature community of the like-minded. It may feel comforting, but it’s false comfort. If you just keep losing and losing, over and over again, it may be because you think your bubble is representative of the real world, when it really isn’t.
(4) Stop attacking your opponents
You may think that spending most of your time running down your opponents is a powerful tactic because you heard once that “negative campaign works.” But the people giving you that advice were only telling you half the story. First of all, for negative campaigning to work, it helps if it is actually true. You also need to be very clean yourself to pull it off or you’ll just look like a hypocrite or worse. Just making up some negative attack lines will play well to the audience in your bubble (see (3) above) but will fall flat outside that. You are much better to talk about the positive things you would like to achieve – be somebody with ideas and energy, not just a skinful of bile and regret.
(5) Saying “I wont attack my opponents” and then going on to attack your opponents is a disastrous strategy.
People aren’t stupid. If you treat them like they are stupid, they will not thank you for it.
(6) Beware the Guru
Running an election campaign is like managing a football team – everybody has an opinion on it, and everybody thinks they can do it. There are no prizes for second place (usually) and listening to bad advice is often worse than not taking any advice at all.
(7) Stop blaming everybody else
When you lose, you lose. It’s not the fault of the other candidates. They ran their campaigns, you ran yours, you lost. It’s certainly not the fault of the electorate – and moaning endlessly about them is a sure way to make sure you lose next time too. Voters get irritated by you telling them how they “should have” voted.
(8) Beware your endorsements
If you are going to be endorsed by somebody, make it somebody with some standing in the community. Not somebody who has failed the community.
(9) Don’t underestimate your opponents
You may think you are the big fish in the pond but election night is a harsh reality check and you may find yourself gaping in surprise and horror as the votes stack up against you.
(10) Have fun!
If your team are a miserable, moody, sullen, resentful bunch that will rub off on your campaign. And you’ll probably lose.
I hope this is helpful. But remember, it’s just one opinion. There are almost certainly others.
So today’s news is that my colleague, Cllr Sarah Bligh, has crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats. To be honest, I think Sarah probably is more of a Liberal Democrat than a Conservative so I cannot say I am surprised.
Obviously, its disappointing, as I’ve known Sarah since she first became interested in local politics. But people have to do what they think is best and I have no doubt Sarah will continue to be a strong Councillor on the opposition benches.
She joins Gavin Booth and Stephen Court, both of whom are very nice fellows, even if I don’t always agree with them politically. I’d like to wish her all the best.
Wisbech Castle Project – 9th June
Another full day of volunteering at the Castle as a bunch of fine folks worked hard on various different jobs.
Starting at 7.45AM the work continued until 6PM and included painting lots of the white woodwork inside, jet-washing the basement courtard and steps, cleaning and jetwashing the wooden shed, moving lots of accumulated rubbish to the skip, general cleaning and maintenance.
Out in the gardens the lawn was fed, bushes and branches trimmed, paths cleared.
A dozen people beavered away at different times as the project continues to move on.
We had a visit from a team of archaeologists from Peterborough who were keen to look at the vault. They stayed for a tour of the house and expressed admiration for the place and the work being done.
Throughout the day tourists came to the gate and peered in (and we showed them around). It was great to see that all the tourists were gushing about how nice Wisbech is to visit and how excited they were to be able to have a peek at the Castle Project.
I’d like to express my thanks to the amazing volunteers who continue to work so hard so often. I would, however, like Dave Topgood to stop painting everything I am about to touch.
Introducing Councillor Ben Prest
After a month or more of hard campaigning, the Conservative candidate Ben Prest was elected tonight to represent the Kirkgate Ward on Wisbech Town Council. At Nineteen years of age, I believe that makes him quite possibly the youngest Town Councillor ever elected in Wisbech?
Ben is a bright, eloquent and charming young man and I think he will be a fantastic Councillor.
The victory belongs to Ben, but he was helped by the local Conservative team who worked hard to make sure this young man had every chance.
Ben won with enough votes to beat both the other candidates put together, which, for a young man in his first ever election, is quite a feat. Somebody said it was “youth versus experience”, which I don’t think was quite right (some sorts of experience are not particularly welcome). I think that being a fresh face, an earnest and genuine young man, and being a true local candidate were probably the deciding factors. People seem to prefer candidates who live where they live, or at least very close. But whatever it was, Ben won very clearly. Congratulations to him.
Wisbech Castle Working Party 6th June
Changes and improvements are coming thick and fast now.
The contractors upstairs have all but finished. All that remains is to get some new carpet in and do a little work on the kitchen and the top floor is all ready.
Volunteers have been hard at work elsewhere. The wooden floors in several areas have been cleaned and waxed and look amazing. The Fendick Room has been cleaned, organised and looks brilliant.
A lucky find in the Ground Floor bathroom has meant that we should be able to get that ready at much lower cost than we ever thought. The area has been cleaned and prepared.
In the Basement floor, a volunteer has repaired and painted the walls in the storage room and is well on the way to completing the boiler room / kitchen as well.
We now have our new external tap fitted for the garden, and have been donated a work sink which will be installed shortly.
In the gardens a huge amount of work continues to be done. Volunteers have been pressure washing the old benches ready for rubbing down and varnishing. They look so much better already!
The contractor in the Pump House has completed the work required. It has all been repainted inside and out, the rotten wood replaced and the structure brought back to a point where it looks great inside and is usable for at least a few seasons.
The Castle has also announced its first open-to-the-public event, which will be during Rose Fair on the Saturday – a Victorian Tea Party in the gardens.
WisBEACH Day 2018
Incredible day. Incredible weather. Huge crowds. Awesome atmosphere.
Couldn’t have asked for more, really.
Well done all my colleagues at Wisbech Town Council and all the brilliant volunteers. Another one knocked out of the park!
I enjoyed spending Tuesday night with the local PHAB club, where I was providing the disco that found the centre of the festivities.
It was a lovely evening and it was great fun to see everybody enjoying themselves to much.
A particular shout out to Tammy – in all my years of charity DJing I have never had somebody hand me a letter during the disco detailing not only their song requests, but solid reasons why those are their song requests! I was charmed and, as you might imagine, the requests were certainly played!
Work Continues At The Castle
Work continues apace yesterday and today.
The Gardening team have planted all sorts and the gardens are now generally looking lovely.
Some volunteers have been working on getting the fountain back in order. Looks like it will need a new pump installed, but otherwise still seems to function well.
The Pump House is being painted and repaired. This is broadly just a job to make it functional again, as it will need a larger and more extensive refurb in two or three seasons time, but It’s coming on great and looking much better. The crumbling rotten wood panels are being replaced and made safe.
In the house the tradesmen working on the top floor are close to finishing the refurb. All it should then need is some new carpet and it will be ready to use.
Other volunteers have been beginning to catalogue and sort the many things in the Medworth Room.
On the Ground Floor, a brilliant volunteer has been hard at work painting one of the small rooms which is destined to become the freezer room for wedding catering.
A volunteer who is a professional plumber is securing and installing a new industrial sink for our workshop area and an external tap for help the gardening team connect their houses. A volunteer who is a professional electrician has already installed external electric points for attaching tools and is working on emergency lighting in key areas and lighting for the front of the house.
We expect to have some portions of Wisbech Castle open for Rose Fair. There’s still a long way to go, but we should be proud of the fantastic amount of work our many volunteers have already achieved.
(The reason I don’t name any volunteers is because so many people are now helping and I don’t want to accidentally forget anybody. We will, however, be cheering and thanking our volunteers in an official way later in the year – more news on that later.)
– Steve Tierney