Saturday, 16 April 2011


Just a few snippets from the weeks campaigning:


News reaches me of another fine piece of electoral brilliance from East Midlands Labour Party who it seems are running the Northampton Campaign from their office somewhere up north.

This week they spent a lot of members hard raised cash by sending out glossy leaflets to target voter telling them all the reasons why they should vote Labour in the Local Government Elections on Thursday May 5th 2011.

And where did they send them?

Phippsville of course, one of the several seats where they have failed to stand a candidate.

What was it about fools and their money? And which of the named candidates elsewhere will this election expense be placed against?


Thursday's online Chron debate on Sixfields had me chuckling as the big three out bid themselves as to how quickly they would meet the Cobblers and the Saints after they took power after the election
"Within 50 days of taking office" said Labour Leader Lee Mason totally forgetting that she had told the Chron that the party were aiming for 15 seats of the 31 contested by the Party out of 45 vacancies. Hmmm problem there Lee, If your aiming for 15 and you need at least 23 for a majority (almost impossible out of 31 candidates) then your not going to take office are you?

"The week after the Vote" said David Palethorpe trumping Labour

"We have already met them lots of times" Said Brian Hoare on behalf of the Lib Dem's (well a lot of good that did)

I met with someone from the Saints last weekend he added getting ahead of himself

"Monday 9th of May said David Palethorpe", the first working day after the vote

"The day after the election we will be on the phone to organise a meeting with the Saints and the Cobblers" said Lee Mason for Labour still forgetting that difficulty of forming an administration on the 15 seats she hopes to win.

The oneupmanship on who could meet who first was only marginally beaten in the humour stakes though by the often off topic and nauseating one sentence platitudes posted by all three leaders. My favourites in order were:

1) Lee Mason (Lab): "Northampton Labour supports bigger sports stadiums."

2) Brian Hoare (Lib Dem)"Don't take any notice of the vote on the screen it is easily manipulated."
after his party was reduced to 8% in voting intention

3) Lee Mason (Lab) "Good luck to the Saints / Cobblers in their next match"

4) David Palethorpe (Con) "Pete - you mention parking in the town centre, that's why Conservatives would introduce the first hour of free parking in Borough Council car parks" er.... slightly off topic David

5) Lee Mason (Lab) "Sue, My view is the same as yours in that we should have had IKEA here in Northampton"securing the shopping vote

As to what each of the Parties would actually do rather than meet and hold more talks? Well that bit was as expected missing, and despite a couple of questions to them offering cross party support and a few solutions they as usual stayed silent and pretended the Independents who posted on the site were not really there!

It was like being back in the Council chamber!


Whilst out campaigning in Scholars Court, myself and Malcolm couldn't resist knocking the door of one local resident called "Eric Pickles"

Was it the man himself? Eric got himself in hot water once before with a live Question Time audience over the need for his "second home " to be paid for from his parliamentary allowances.

We wondered if we had found a third?

Unfortunately for all. the big man, if it was indeed him, was not at home.
But we may call back.


As the risograph printer in my back room goes into hyperdrive with Independent candidates all printing off their own leaflets to save cash and the environment (it uses vegetable soya ink) News reaches me of an upset in the Castle Ward Labour camp about how useless the material is being sent down to them from the Nottingham Office!

They are very poor, in fact pretty pointless, but then what should they expect from someone sitting behind a computer 60 miles away who has probably never been to the ward? 

The imprint is also interesting:
Printed by Grafton, 23 Upper Prior Street Northampton NN1 2PT, Published and Promoted by George Carr - Williamson on behalf of Mohammed Aziz; Danielle Stone and Winston Strachan, all of 23 Barrett Lane, Attenborough, Nottingham, NG9 6AD.

So apart from us not knowing who Grafton is? and there being no such place as Upper Prior Street, it also seems as if the three candidates rather than being c/o the regional office all seemed to have moved there!

In despair I now understand that my old mate Winston Strachan has decided enough is enough and he has produced his own leaflet, to counter the East Midlands Offices punt attempts?

I haven't seen one yet, but I will keep my eyes peeled.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Do you remember a year ago this week when the Lib Dem's topped the pre election national opinion polls after strong showings by their leader Nick Clegg in the live TV debates?

"Just think how many times you've been given promises from these old parties. and when they get back into government, you find that nothing really changes at all, we can do so much better than that this time"
Said Nick

Well having signed a pre election pledge to scrap tuition fees and warning all that would listen about the Tory's VAT bombshell, he then of course went on to support the rise in tuition fees to £9000 and back the increase in VAT to 20%. It seems he was right in his pre election warning to us all apart from of course telling us that his was one of the same old parties who would do anything and say anything to get into power..

The following big dip in national support for the Lib Dem's since is therefore understandable but what effect will it have locally in the forthcoming Borough Council Elections?

Well it will have some effect of course, no local party can ride out the unpopularity of their Westminster Leaders, but some local voters may look to more local issues, but there also it seems that the picture is not too rosy for the Local Lib Dem's.

Despite there brave attempts to rewrite the local press headlines people I speak to rate their four year term in office a lot lower than they themselves do. The Focus leaflets may tell us that they saved the market and managed the books efficiently, but on the doorstep voters say they have wrecked the market and cut services to the core. The fountain is either "a wonderful new addition to the street scene" if promoted by the local Lib Dem team or "Another waste of bloody money on something which never works" if you ask the public.

Shortlisted for "Most Improved Council" they tell us and show us their certificate withe competition was only open only to Lib Dem Councils who form part of the Liberal Democrat Group at the Local Government Association.

The problem the local Lib Dems have though is that on May the 5th it will be the public at large who will be casting the votes and expressing an opinion, not just their own membership.

But local Lib Dem campaigners are if nothing else an optimistic bunch, despite all signs pointing understandably to a melt down in Lib Dem support, Two sitting Northampton Borough Councillors I spoke to were adamant that the party will hang on to power at the Guildhall on May 5th.

Others are less bombastic and point to a reduction in their overall number but "not in my seat"

The truth of course is that none of us really know how the elections will turn out, everyone expects a rise in Labour's vote given their new role in opposition to the Tory dominated coalition with the Lib Dem's. The obvious victim of any Labour rise will be those who beat them into second place 4 years ago and that leaves a lot of Tory seats as well as Lib Dem seats in the balance.

As the only Independent elected I too must see off a rise in any Labour vote if myself and Malcolm are to take 2 seats in Castle Ward, but don't write off the Independents and non aligned candidates as many did at the General Election.

Then because of those awful TV debates anyone standing as a non Tory, Lab or Lib Dem candidate were sidelined and ignored and as I have said elsewhere, many voters went to the polling station to vote Brown, Cameron or Clegg without a thought as to who their local candidateswere . How else can anyone explain the ridiculously good result for Labour's Clyde Loakes polling nearly 10,000 votes and securing second place as an absent and non interested candidate?

The County Elections of 2009 are therefore probably a better measure of the support out there for the candidates and it will be interesting to see what effect the cooperation of non aligned candidates who are not standing in the same seats against each other or supporting each other in seats, has this time has on the result.

In Castle Ward in 2009 I topped the poll with 38.9 of the vote and the Green Party polled over 10.4% given that we are supporting each other this time and have 3 three candidates between us for three vacancy's then a collective vote from our supporters on the doorstep could secure over 50 % of the vote! But of course the new wards and changes to boundaries throw another unknown factor into the complex mix.

The picture I paint above is in pointing out the differences between voting habits and results at national and local levels, the 35-40% who vote in Local Government elections it would seem are less likely to be swayed by national events or trends and more likely to be strong supporters of their party's or local Cllrs.

But the Lib Dem "swingers" (no there is another blog posting, altogether) could make the real difference, will they go red? or blue? or look to the Independents and others to find a new home for their vote?

If you are an ex Lib Dem supporter I would welcome your views on where your vote may be cast this time, as always, all comments are very welcome.



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