Category Archives: Campaigning
Campaign Time 2019
Well it’s that time again.
The time when we all go out and ask people to come vote for us.
The time when the opposition and the Usual Suspects start sneering, lying and slating the Conservatives – while claiming that it is the other way around. :)
The time when the Wisbech Standard begins its weekly campaign to get somebody, anybody, elected who isn’t a Conservative.
The time when people nobody has seen in their ward for the last four years turn up and start pretending that they are a better alternative than the people who work all year around.
The sun is shining. The air is fresh. And the people I am meeting in my ward as I canvass are very pleasant and very positive.
I have every faith that the people in Wisbech broadly know the truth, no matter what smears the collective opposition try to run with.
As ever, it will be what it will be. We shall see.
See you all soon, on the doorstep. Looking forward to it!
So apparently the fairly simply blog post (above) is “ghastly and nasty.” :)
But none of the comments on the various private Facebook groups he frequents are? None of the personal remarks about me, or Sam Hoy? None of the comments by anybody on the Hatefest forum are “ghastly and nasty?” Just my little blog, above.
If ever there was clear-cut evidence of exactly what I said, it’s right there.
People are right to point to the low esteem in which the Old Press is held, nationally and locally. And this is why.
(Almost) Last Post
Well, here we are. On the eve of what is probably the most important election for two decades. I may post on the eve of the election or I may not, so this may be the last post or almost the last post before the election.
Wisbech Conservatives have worked hard for the people of our Town and we have a strong team of experienced and new candidates. I very much hope that we elect a full spread of blue Councillors and, of course, re-elect our Conservative MP.
UKIP are the party of division and fear, Labour are the party of economic incompetence, taxing and spending. “Independents” are a wasted vote. Both locally and nationally the safest bet for a secure future, for you, your family and your friends, is a vote for the Conservatives.
What happens on Thursday will affect every single one of your for many years to come. Make the right choice, for the sake of our town, our district and our country.
Any Questions Wisbech
What an interesting evening the Any Questions live radio recording in Wisbech Grammar School tonight turned out to be. Not particularly for the show – though I did enjoy that. But more for the dynamics and people watching.
There was a good six hundred or so in the audience and they came from a wide range of backgrounds and politics, but amongst them there was a veritable “who’s who” of Wisbech Politics. Having so many councillors and activists in the same place but “off the clock” was worth a look in and of itself, if you are local politics nerd like me. But watching the interactions was absolutely fascinating.
During the course of the event the audience alliegances switched. It was like watching waves washing in from the sea, relentless movement, with a pattern, but individually impossible to predict precisely. At times the focus was on the Conservatives, with UKIP and Labour jeering collectively at our expense. Then suddenly the issue moved onto foreign people and then UKIP were the target of the jeers from everybody else. There were quite a few times when the answers were far to the left and looking around I could see Conservatives and ‘Kippers equally outraged.
But even these switches weren’t easy to predict. Somewhere else they might have been, but in Wisbech the UKIP people are very much what we called “Red Kippers” – the left wing socialist side of UKIP (yes, there very much IS such a thing, though it’s more populist than socialist.)
Local Newspaper Editor John Elworthy, probably a little uptight about the drubbing that UKIP mostly got, popped up on Twitter afterwards declaring that the “audience wasn’t representative.” He may be right, there did seem to be a LOT of Lefties and a relatively small number of ‘Kippers. But I doubt this was deliberate. I guess it was more than your average ‘Kipper isn’t a Radio Four listener or the sort of person who attends political discussion programs. But what do I know?
A colleague of mine pointed out that the LibIndKip Dave Patrick was not sat with the main body of the ‘Kippers and that he appeared to be looking over to them to check if they were clapping before clapping himself. I hadn’t noticed, but once it was pointed out I could see it for myself. My colleague felt that it was because he needed to be led by others. Actually, I don’t think so. I think he is simply still learning how to be a ‘Kipper. :)
I saw the UKIP gentleman who is standing for UKIP against me in Medworth and he seemed to be a nice enough fellow. On several occasions we were both nodding or laughing at the same thing. But as with all ‘Kippers, my shared viewpoints end when we get away from economics and into sociology. I’m just never going to hate people just because they are different.
In regards to the show itself, the UKIP fellow seemed to be a bit surprised that he was getting such a poor reception. I guess he had heard some stuff about Wisbech that turned out not to be true. Many people in Wisbech know a trick when it is being played on them, particularly the sort of people who made up the audience this evening. It wasn’t that they were overly hostile, the audience just treated him like he was an irrelevance. To be honest, he might have been able to get some support if he’d been a bit better, but he simply was not very good.
Honestly though, none of the others were really on form either. Priti Patel has certainly been better – and even though she clearly could not negotiate a post election coalition before the election had been held – her inability to express a straight answer on that one was disappointing. David Cameron has already ruled out a deal with UKIP, so there was no reason I could see why she didn’t just repeat that.
Even though Dave Patrick seemed to sit under his own personal gloomy cloud, most of the audience had fun and the different parties seemed less remote for a short time as they took it in turns to share and then disdain the responses that suited their own political hues. Perhaps it was a better atmosphere because it was solid entertainment and that draws people together. Or perhaps it was the lack of the Dark Queen, parading through the crowd issuing commands to her underlings? Who knows?
The Green Party were there – all one of them. Labour were there in force with what appeared to be a union crowd alongside. Many (though certainly nowhere near all) local Conservatives were there. Gavin Booth was there – the only Lib Dem in the village, but in good humour as always. My friends the Forsters were there, as was Liberal Legend John Smith. Steve Barclay was there with his wife. Wisbech Society had members present, as did most other groups and committees in town. The Gillicks were there, I guess the Town was not quite frightening enough to stop them coming out tonight, which is good to know. Representatives from each Wisbech Conservative Campaign Team were there, with almost the full Waterlees Team contingent present. Like I said it was busy.
But nothing very significant happened really. It was an entertaining event and a useful one, but ultimately nothing very noteworthy emerged. No game changers, no news explosions as far as I can see. At the beginning they asked how many people had watched the Leader’s Debates, to which many said they had. Then they asked if anybody has changed their minds. They hadn’t. And there you have it, Ladies & Gentlemen. Barring some massive surprise event, most people really do know exactly how they are going to vote. It’s all over, pretty much, bar the actual voting and counting. We just don’t know which “over” is it.
In the past, when I have been involved in a local campaign, I have noted that the opposition do not appear to be doing very much. But they were at least doing something. Sometimes. This year’s big campaign is quite different and positively eery.
I have been out canvassing almost every day for the last few weeks both on my own area and in many of my colleagues’ areas on team action days. I have not personally encountered even a single member of the opposition at any time, not from any of the parties. I have not had a resident tell me they have been visited by a single member of the opposition either. It’s kind of surreal. What is arguably the most important election period in a decade and there’s nobody around!
In part it’s because – at least here in Fenland – the Liberal Democrats are extinct. You can usually count on Liberal Democrats to run a reasonable campaign if they are around, but they just are not around. The Green’s have a candidate here or there but their local base appears to be about three people and I’ve seen none of them doing anything.
The two main opposition parties these days in Wisbech and the surrounding area are Labour and of course UKIP. Dean Reeves has covered his house in posters, and the Parliamentary Candidate Ken Rustidge has been seen once or twice by other people – but given that they may be in Government next Friday it’s a pretty big vacuum where local Labour would normally be seen. Despite a certain Independent candidate claiming that Labour stepped aside for her, our information from them was that they don’t endorse her in any way and simply couldn’t find enough candidates. Which is weird, isn’t it? I mean – this is Waterlees we are talking about. Once a Labour bastion. And they couldn’t find any candidates? It doesn’t sound healthy.
Now UKIP are probably the main local opposition, at least based on the previous County Council elections. UKIP have had years to prepare for this election and to build on their wins last time – but still couldn’t even field a full slate of District candidates? Nor a full slate of Town Council candidates without getting their Parliamentary Candidate to stand for Town Council! (Against me, as it happens.) Though I doubt the people of Medworth will choose him, I do wonder what he would do if he were elected for Town but not anything else. Travel up from his multi-million pound London property empire to sit on the Wisbech Allotments Committee?
The thing is, I’d be much happier if UKIP were doing some canvassing. In my experience, when people actually meet them their support shrinks. I met a man the other day who had met with Peter Lagoda (while he was still with UKIP, before the benefits fraud thingy, and the racist language and the £7000 resignation) and following that meeting was quite clear he would never vote UKIP again. I’ve heard similar stories a few times.
Word is that there is one place where UKIP are out and about. Roman Bank. Sam Clark gave them a good hiding in last year’s by election, so it seems an odd place for them to choose to put their energy. Mind you, it’s a different campaign there this time so anything could happen. I very much hope their hiding is repeated by the sensible folks from the villages.
When you go out and talk to people they will often quote echoes of what they have heard in the newspapers, or on the TV, or through word of mouth. But we are hearing nothing that has been heard from any of the candidates. Most people are saying: “You are the only ones who have called.” We were fully expecting an almighty campaign with the area flooded by activists of all kinds. But other than the usual faces and voices doing their usual thing on social media, it’s very quiet out there. It’s like chasing phantoms.
Of course that doesn’t mean the phantoms won’t win in some places. Perhaps they will. In which case, I am led to wonder if they will also be phantoms when it comes to doing the work they are elected to do? I don’t think it takes an enormous stretch of the imagination to believe that is so.
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