Why I won’t vote Conservative in Norwich North


11:06 am - July 12th 2009

by Cath Elliott    


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….not that I’d ever contemplate voting Tory anyway.

The lead up to election day
As most people are probably aware by now, I live and work in Norwich. More specifically, I live and work in the constituency of Norwich North, which, thanks to the disgraceful and hypocritical behaviour of Gordon Brown’s so-called Star Chamber, is about to have a by-election following the resignation of one of the best constituency MPs in the country, Dr Ian Gibson.

The election is due to take place in a couple of weeks time, on July 23rd, and naturally, as a local resident and a political activist, I’ve been taking a very keen interest in things.

I haven’t got involved in or lent my support to any particular campaign, because to be honest I’m still unsure as to which way I’m actually going to vote come the big day. Instead, as a bit of an experiment, I’ve been sitting back and trying to approach the whole thing from the position of a “typical,” politically inactive, undecided voter, ready to be persuaded by the force of the candidates’ arguments and policies.

And I have to say I’m totally unimpressed with nearly all of them.

So far I’ve had election leaflets through my door from the Conservative candidate Chloe Smith, from the independent candidate Craig Murray, from Labour’s Chris Ostrowski, and from UKIP candidate Glenn Tingle. From the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and the other 8 candidates I’ve heard nothing. Nada. Rien.

I’ve used Twitter to try and engage with them all, posing the question “Why should I vote for you? Answer in 140 characters”, and as of this morning, only Craig Murray and the Green Party’s Rupert Read have bothered to respond.

Today in desperation I sent a message to the Liberal Democrats on Twitter, asking “Why have I had no election leaflets from the LDs, and no one knocking on my door? Don’t you want people’s votes?” They haven’t replied.

And yesterday was the first day that anyone from any of the different campaigns involved actually made the effort to come down my road and speak to the local residents personally. It’s not even as if I live out in the unreachable woolly wilds of Norfolk down a dirt track somewhere, in which case I could understand why no-one’s come-a-calling: I live in the burbs.

So, with two weeks to go in this hugely important by-election, if I really was a totally undecided floating voter, my conclusion is I’d be voting Tory by now.

But I’m not, and aside from my political differences with the Conservative Party nationally, aside from the fact that I’m old enough to remember life under a Conservative government, and even forgetting the naff and sexist letter my 17 year old daughter (who’s too young to vote in this election) received from David Cameron in which he referred to his fully grown adult female candidate as a “girl,” there’s a reason for that.

I’ve had swathes of literature from the Conservative candidate’s campaign, some of it in the form of general election leaflets just posted through my door, and some of it in letter form addressed to me personally. Yesterday evening I stood at my front door and chatted to Chloe Smith herself, and a really nice and personable young woman she is too.

But, and there has to be a but, no matter how pleasant the candidate is, and no matter how good on paper her policies for local improvements appear to be, I have some bitter past experience with how Norfolk Tories really operate: I know exactly how flimsy their claims to care about preserving and supporting local communities truly are, and it’s because of this experience that I would never ever vote for Chloe Smith or her party.

And now for some local history

scan0005In December 2002 I was working as a library manager at Lazar House Library, a small branch library in the Mousehold area of Norwich.

Now despite it’s close proximity to stunning heathland and outstanding countryside, Mousehold was at the time among the 10% of the most deprived wards in the East of England, and among the 20% most deprived nationally. In other words it was the kind of area that desperately needed investment in community services, not cuts.

I’d been managing the library for just over a year, having started in the role in September 2001. It was my first (and last!) management job, and with only 4 staff to line-manage, and working in the oldest library building in the country (built sometime between 1101 and 1119, Lazar House originally began life as a leper hospital. After several centuries during which it served as a dovecote, a barn and a dwelling, it was finally gifted in 1921 to the City of Norwich by Sir Eustace Gurney for use as a public library), I was loving every minute of it.

I was also a trade union steward, but as library managers are way down the local government management scales, there was no conflict between doing that and doing my job (plus, if there had been any issues between the staff and myself, there were other library stewards available to represent them).

So anyway, it was the evening of December 16th 2002, and I was just about to leave the house to do some Xmas food shopping, when the phone rang. It was my area manager. Phoning to warn me that the local press were going to be reporting the next day on the county council’s decision to investigate what savings could be made from closing 5 branch libraries and 3 museums: “I’m afraid Lazar House is going to be named as one of the libraries under review,” she said, “You need to let the rest of your staff know before they read about it in tomorrow’s papers.”

Just as she’d warned, the next day there it was: a report in the local press announcing a council review of the potential savings that could be made from closing “a few” local museums and libraries. And my library was named as one of those under review.

Over the next few days as all this started to sink in both the council and libraries management started to vacillate. At first they told us that the naming of specific libraries had been a mistake, and that those particular ones had only been used in the initial report as examples. They’d needed to do costings to illustrate the case for library closures, they said, and the 5 libraries involved had simply been picked at random, they weren’t necessarily the ones they were going to be looking at.

This proved to be a lie, as the names of the 5 libraries under threat, Plumstead Road, Lazar House, Bradwell, Brundall and Hingham, never changed.

Over the next few weeks a campaign to save both libraries and museums swung into action, and naturally I was one of those involved. We stood for hours in Norwich city centre collecting thousands of signatures for a petition; we wrote letters to the local press, did media interviews, demonstrated both outside of the libraries themselves and on the steps of County Hall. And we joined forces with the local Evening News newspaper, who launched their own high-profile “Hands off our libraries” campaign.

scan0006

And yes, that’s Ian Gibson in the left of the picture. A constituency MP doing exactly what he should be doing and fighting against cuts to local services.

And here’s me, the one and only time I’ve ever been splashed across the front page of any newspaper.

evening news

The then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion was one of hundreds who wrote to both the council and the local press calling on councillors to save the city’s cultural services, and for a while we genuinely thought the council was going to back down.

But then, in early February 2003, during a packed county council meeting, at the start of which we presented a 21,000 name petition against closures to the Conservative leader Alison King, the Tory administration announced that it had reviewed it’s original proposals, and was now proposing to close just 2 of the original 5 libraries: all 3 museums were to be spared the axe.

Lazar House was one of the two.

Unsurprisingly we didn’t give up. More letters to the press followed, this time with me sticking my neck well above the parapet and challenging claims made by my council employers:

scan0001

I did more interviews:

scan0003

Local schoolchildren made posters:

poster

Norwich City Council, who actually own the Lazar House building, offered to waive all rent on the place for a year, to help keep County Council costs down and the library open.

And my UNISON branch, in conjunction with local Labour councillors, organised a public meeting at a local high school, which was attended by over 200 local residents, as well as teachers, county councillors, senior members of the libraries management team, and the Council Cabinet Member for Libraries, Heather Bolt.

Word has it that after that meeting, where locals explained both passionately and movingly why the small branch library meant so much to them, Heather Bolt changed her mind. Apparently the next day she went to Alison King and expressed her view that Lazar House should remain open: a few days later there was a cabinet reshuffle, and Heather Bolt was replaced.

Finally, on February 24th 2003, at another packed council meeting, the vote was due to be taken on whether or not to close both Lazar House and Bradwell libraries. But before that, in a last-ditch bid to save the libraries, Labour councillors submitted an amendment that called for a proposed increase of some £60,000 in the Council Chair’s hospitality budget to be slashed down to £8,000, and the £52,000 thus saved to be used to keep the libraries open.

The amendment was lost by one vote.

The following day the local headlines said it all: “Booze over Books” “Entertainment cash closes two libraries” “Contempt for the People” and so on.

And I received a letter, which I’ve always treasured, from a local family who used the library and who had been stalwarts during the campaign:

“No words of comfort – but I’ll try anyway

Dear Cath

I know we are gutted, and you must be absolutely shattered. We won all the arguments, but they did not want to be seen to have climbed down totally from their original position. It is now on record that this administration values its buffets and booze more than our books and libraries. I hope they choke on their corporate entertainment!!

All the Lazar House staff have been fantastic to our family over the years and I can’t thank you enough for being excellent. There are no magic wands, but I do think that we fought a good fight and I don’t know that we could have done much more.

Look after yourself Cath

Love…”

Local residents kept up their campaign, even staging a sit-in at Lazar House during its final week of business, and refusing to leave until the camera crews arrived. But eventually, just four months after the original announcement of a review of library services, on Saturday 3rd May 2003, Lazar House Library closed its doors for the last time.

And the Conservative run County Council from then on became known as the council that valued corporate entertainment more highly than it valued local services for local people.

Now

So, when I read Chloe Smith’s election literature telling me how the Conservatives don’t believe in cuts to local services, and telling me how they intend to clean up parliament, I can’t help but be reminded of what happened here just a few years ago: I can’t help but remember just how importantly local Conservatives then viewed local services, so much so that they prioritised their corporate entertainment budget over vital public services.

And I think no. You won’t be getting my vote. Not now, and not ever.

scan0004

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About the author
Cath Elliott is a regular contributor. She is a feminist, a trade union activist, and a freelance writer and blogger. Also at: Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Local Government ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Cath, Craig Murray’s campaign is operating off a shoestring with volunteers only, not the 120 full-time paid MPs’ research assistant and Central Office staff that is getting those Tory leaflets to your door. Yet they managed to get a leaflet to your door and respond to your enquiries.

Meanwhile Craig Murray is operating under a reporting blackout from national media because of his record as a whistleblower on British Government complicity in torture and from the the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, for their own political reasons. He has also had to fight to get access to public meeting hall facilities and to get Royal Mail to deliver his election address, both of which are his legal right.

Have you considered that it might be time to come off the fence and help support his campaign?

http://www.putanhonestman.org http://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Cath

the naff and sexist letter my 17 year old daughter (who’s too young to vote in this election) received from David Cameron in which he referred to his fully grown adult female candidate as a “girl,” there’s a reason for that.

Oh, for crying out loud, it’s just an expression. He might have just as easily written “he’s a Norfolk lad through and through”. Would that have been sexist too?

3. Bernard From Horsham

Am I missing something???, You are a dyed in the wool Liberal Democrat, and you say you wont be voting Conservative. Boy, I am surprised. Its the revelation on the century.

Cath, I note you did a sterling job in Guardian of defending the indefensible over Ian Gibson. Would it be churlish to suggest that the real reason you’re not keen on any of the candidates is because your man got kicked out?

I don’t care how good a job he did over your local library. Corruption is corruption.

Liberal Democrat? Me? Wtf?

I’ve never voted Lib Dem in my life!

Strategist I am actually quite tempted, especially as it now appears that the LibDems and the Greens seem to think that slagging each other off is more important than promoting their policies. And I agree that Craig Murray’s been treated disgracefully by both the press and some local jobsworths. I might be in touch….

Zarathustra It would have been patronising and inappropriate yes.

Zarathustra Did you see the Guardian editorial about Gibson the other day?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/09/editorial-ian-gibson

Even the Conservative candidate here acknowledges he’s been treated shabbily by his own party.

Cath, that’s very encouraging.
I would strongly encourage you to have a chat with Craig, his pitch is an interesting one, and you may end up a supporter of the cause.

Just as a matter of interest, my understanding is that Craig would have stood down as the Independent candidate had Ian Gibson chosen to run as an independent.

Yes, Cath, I did see that editorial. I laughed heartily at their attempt to explain that it wasn’t corruption because he rigged it to benefit his family rather than himself.

Sorry Cath, but that’s the price you pay for being in public service. What do you think would happen to any minor civil servant who was caught doing the same thing? They’d be sacked on the spot for gross misconduct, and it wouldn’t matter how good a job they’d been doing up until the point they were caught dipping their fingers in the till.

That’s Tories in a nutshell. Too many of the electorate behave like beaten women who go back to their abusive boyfriends ‘because he loves me really”.

Just to correct something in the original piece. When I asked the candidates on Twitter to explain why I should vote for them, I didn’t include the Lib Dem candidate. That wasn’t a deliberate omission, simply an oversight on my part.

I’m going to pose the question to her now, and see how or if she responds.

11. Shatterface

Appart from the dumb title (if Cath were to list ALL the reasons she wouldn’t be voting Tory at the next election the Internet wouldn’t have room left for porn) this is the usual excellent, well argued and locally informed article we’ve come to expect from Cath.

Cath. Vote Green. That is all I have to say on the matter.

“And the Conservative run County Council from then on became known as the council that valued corporate entertainment more highly than it valued local services for local people.”

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Conservative Party.

It’s disappointing to see the Lib Dems resorting to this kind of campaigning:

http://twitpic.com/a48zs

15. Jack stone

Vote Lib/Dem get Labour. simple as that. Want five more years of labour? Vote Lib/Dem.

#14 I wonder if Rupert will write an article for Liberal Conspiracy complaining about it.

As someone who doesn’t believe we need a library on every square-mile, I find it difficult to hate the Tories for closing one when another was, according to the newspaper, 1.5 miles away. Of course, that doesn’t excuse the reallocation of the money to an entertainment budget, but the main principle of this article seems to be “never close libraries” rather than “spend money more effectively.”

Ian Gibson is very likely fed up of politics after what he’s been through. Either that, or he’s decided not to stand as an independent due to fear of splitting the anti-Tory vote.
Very probably a mixture of both. He’s obviously got ample qualifications to seek alternative employment.

Cath, in response to your response on your own blog site , too late to stand now anyway as the deadline will have gone. Anyway, independents stand sweet FA chance in first past the post outside exceptional circumstances. If Ian Gibson was as good as you suggest, he may have stood a chance.

But most independents, especially at bi-elections, are really just publicity seekers with more money than sense. The only politically realistic motive, perhaps, would be to get your name about if planning to run for a council seat, but it’s a rather expensive way of doing it. They’ll get their names mentioned in 8pt on page something of the Times and Telegraph etc but I’m sure they could do it a lot less expensively in the classifieds.

Of course, you could use the opportunity to raise the profile of an issue. Trouble is, this often backfires when one gets a tiny percentage of the share, with resulting publicity spelling out that people don’t think it’s that important.

I didn’t get to answer on twitter as i have never used it. I do answer your question on my website http://www.ivote4u.co.uk but use more than 140 characters. So here goes “My only policy is get the majority view of the Norwich North constituents and make it my own at all times.” As I say this is on the website and you should get my one and only election leaflet soon.

Of course, you could use the opportunity to raise the profile of an issue. Trouble is, this often backfires when one gets a tiny percentage of the share, with resulting publicity spelling out that people don’t think it’s that important.

Yes Stephen P
The issue being that an MP once elected doesn’t do the democratic thing of following the majorities wishes. I think they should really represent their people all the time, and not being a political animal myself that is what I would do.

Tsk, vote UKIP: you know it makes sense!

“My only policy is get the majority view of the Norwich North constituents and make it my own at all times.”

Oh right, so unless Norwich is very atypical, we’ll be going back to capital punishment, then? I mean, don’t you think that simply voting whichever way the wind’s blowing in your constituency at the time makes politicians rather superflous? Couldn’t we all handle it ourselves by clicking in votes on computers? What then is your policy on the mediating role of politicians, when one lot of constiuents feel strongly one way and another lot the other way? Do you have to hold a referedum on everything and will you foot the bill? And what happens on all the subjects which may be very important but upon which the average shopper in Norwich High Street is unlikely to have much of a clue, such as British policy on Croatia, or whatever? Etc etc etc.

Peter Baggs Wot Stephen P at 22 said.

Kentron I can understand how on paper it seems logical to close a library when there’s another one in such close proximity, but in reality the community that was being served by Lazar House was one that was unlikely to use the big, hi tech, completely impersonal city centre building.

Lazar House was bang next door to a disabled housing project, the vast majority of whose residents found it easy to access us but virtually impossible to make their way into the city. We also had local schoolchildren coming in after school, unescorted by parents, who wouldn’t have been allowed into the city on their own, and for whom we were regarded as a safe space. We also served a lot of elderly residents, who again wouldn’t have found access to the city centre library easy, and who wanted/needed the more personal service we could provide.

One of the people who took part in the sit-in was 85. The library service told her and other elderly folk that if they couldn’t get in to the city centre library then they would provide a housebound service to them. But for someone who had always been completely independent, and who was used to walking to the library twice a week, that kind of proposal was just devastating. People who are otherwise independent shouldn’t suddenly be made housebound by the withdrawal of services, it’s inhuman imho.

I think what people don’t understand is that essentially branch libraries and city centre libraries serve entirely different functions. Branch libraries are to some extent more like community centres, and sometimes when you take them out of a community it can have a big impact.

Would such people not be served as well, and far more efficiently, by a mobile library? I live in a country area with lots of small villages around a city. Each village has an above-average elderly population, but putting a library in each small village would be insane. The current system, of a large library in the city and mobile libraries going to each of the villages, seems entirely sensible.

“So far I’ve had election leaflets through my door from the Conservative candidate Chloe Smith, from the independent candidate Craig Murray, from Labour’s Chris Ostrowski, and from UKIP candidate Glenn Tingle. From the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and the other 8 candidates I’ve heard nothing. Nada. Rien.”

– You mean you’ve heard nothing from the All New Libertarian and Fluffy Puppy Party of the United Kingdom? Shame …

Stephen P
Oh right, so unless Norwich is very atypical, we’ll be going back to capital punishment, then?

Your choice! or don’t you like democracy.

don’t you think that simply voting whichever way the wind’s blowing in your constituency at the time makes politicians rather superflous?Couldn’t we all handle it ourselves by clicking in votes on computers?

Asked and answered!

What then is your policy on the mediating role of politicians

Thats what they should do, put the pro’s and con’s to their constituents and let them decide.

And what happens on all the subjects which may be very important but upon which the average shopper in Norwich High Street is unlikely to have much of a clue

Polititians don’t seem to have much of a clue themselves or haven’t you noticed the mess we are in.

@26 – Peter Braggs:

“Your choice! or don’t you like democracy.”

Err, no. I won’t bother going into how that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the democratic system, but simply ask this. Do you believe in no moral, political or other wrongs? For someone so interested in being representative, that’s a particular utilitarianism rare among the populace. The vast majority of voters follow deontology to some degree, believing that some acts are simply wrong, regardless of their consequences. Your “I am the puppet to be controlled” stance allows no space for this, and therefore your responses here seem contradictory.

Peter

You mean you’ve heard nothing from the All New Libertarian and Fluffy Puppy Party of the United Kingdom? Shame …

I know, and nothing from the BNP, which as I’ve got the booby traps all set at my front door I’m actually really disappointed about 🙂

Kentron As Norfolk is a big rural county we’ve probably got one of the biggest mobile library services going. But they’re used as you’ve said for villages and such, not in the city. We used to have what they called Special Services mobiles, that delivered to old folks’ homes in the city, but my understanding is even these are now being replaced by the housebound service, and again, that’s about bringing books to people rather than encouraging/helping people to get out and about themselves.

Peter Baggs: Nine out of ten for sincerity, Peter (as far as I can tell), but a whopping 273 out of ten for niavety, I’m afraid. Politicians have to make decisions, it’s what they’re for. Even if it were practical, passing the buck to the electorate would solve nothing, merely abrogate responsibility.

For a start, there are very few issues that the electorate as a whole is remotely interested in. They would far rather get on with their work or businesses or raising their families or watching football or cricket or fishing or whatever. They expect their politicians to take decisions for them. Very many of them can’t be raised from their slumber even once in four or five years to get to a polling booth.

That they can’t could, in one sense, be due to the stultifying nature of two party politics. In another sense, it could be viewed as testement to the fact that, by and large, those involved in politics do a pretty good job, good enough at least to dissuade the population from preventing them from doing it when given the chance.

And apart from all that, it’s clear from a moment’s glance at your website that you’re far too big to be a puppet.

Stephen P: Thanks for the sincerity vote, but I’m just a bit fed up with our politicians ignoring their people in those things that we are all interested in. People would take a more lively view in politics if it wasn’t so difficult to get through to them. I mean all the Labour party vote one way and all the Conservatives the other. That doesn’t even give your average MP a say. So, yes I agree, that the two party system is bad for the country, but a few MPs following their constituents would help a lot. Now send me a picture of you so I can be sarcastic back please.

Peter B: “Now send me a picture of you so I can be sarcastic back please.”

Sorry Peter, you’re the candidate, not moi. You get to put up your pix, address etc, not moi. You get to take all the decisions…oh, sorry, of course, in your case you don’t, do you? VOTE BAGGS AND DON’T WORRY, I DON’T STAND FOR ANYTHING!

Hmmm. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue does it? Will have to work on it….

“I think what people don’t understand is that essentially branch libraries and city centre libraries serve entirely different functions. Branch libraries are to some extent more like community centres, and sometimes when you take them out of a community it can have a big impact.”

This. Yes.

When I was growing up I had a library on my walk home from primary school and visited it two or three times a week. When I went to secondary school I outgrew the local library (I had read most things in it, anyway) and used the central library in town, but I still popped in from time to time, took my younger brother there, etc. You can’t measure the value of these kinds of institutions by footfall alone.

Looking forward to see how much support LURPAK get. We’ll soon see how many bloggertarians there are in the real world.

The thing that angers me about the closure of libraries and similar local services is that is decided by how many people use that service and not who uses that service. That slash and burn approach of political priorities, without a single care of the impact such desecration will have. Local libraries are used by people who are socially isolated (not just in the geographical sense). Vulnerable people who perhaps don’t have access to books at home for example. Young people without a single book in the house or perhaps old people for whom books are their only outlet to any kind of pleasure. Our communities are slowly dying and removing the infrastructure from those communities are hastening the day it all comes to an end.

Here is my small confession, I never use the library, I buy books (supporting my favourite, independent bookstore in the process), but the death of the library makes me shudder.

What kind of society closes libraries? A pretty short sighted one in my view. Instead of sending copies of ‘Nineteen Eighty four’ to MPs, perhaps we should be handing out copies of ‘Fahrenheit 451’

35. Alisdair Cameron

Vote Murray, Cath. End of story. He’s polling higher than the Greens, so stands a better chance despite being impeded (dodgily), you’ve shown why it won’t be the Tories plus in the comments followed up why it ain’t likely to be the libDems, Gibson isn’t standing so can’t get your personal vote, while a vote for Labour would be taken as support by both brown and his vile apparatchiks, who need to be binned for having buggered up the economy, civil rights and the cause of the centre/centre-left (plus his words today for staying on in Afghanistan were noxious, alarmist and playing the illiberal catch-all domestic terror card)

Yes. Well, of course, this bi-election is quite properly the business of the good people of Norfolk North.

Neverthless, I would like to ask, on behalf of the rest of us who live on this ‘ere sceptered shpping hazard off the north-west coast of the Atlantic, whether, having determined who it is you wish to leave your local community most during the next 12 months from those on offer, what other benefits your country might provide you with?.

Suitable matters for consideration may include, for example, whether it would be necessary for the people to elect an MP at all, if sufficient space was available in prisons or psychiatric institutions?

Do you think a country whose intellectuals take a huge pride in the fact that they came from two universities whose main claim to fame is that they’ve managed to produce a couple of dozen students who don’t actually sink often when trying to paddle a few yards down a river, to the intense relief of the rest of the planet, would have cut it with your mums and dads, grandmas, grandads? Or do you think they were more interested in defeating Hitler and things?

Does there seem to be a lack of thrust, of idealism here?

S

23.Cath Elliot . Libraries are vital to encourage children to read. We have massive problem with low levels of literacy amongst many parts of the population, especially the poor. When a child becomes an enthusiastic reader , it is too expensive for parents to buy books. Also it is too expensive for elderly people to buy books. An elderly person walking to the library encourages physical and mental activity and will help to stave off the decline in their faculties. Libraries can also provide computer facilities for the elderly. Libraries act as a community centre. The elderly, infirm and the young often meet at libraries which acts as a focus and point of dissemination of local information.

Libraries are a mark of civilisation, their destruction is the mark of the barbarian.

38. Mark Senior

Cath , I find it very strange that you have received no literatire at all from the LibDems . Nich Starling on his Norfolkblogger blog is monitoring the leaflets put out and as at Saturday , the figures were Con and LibDem 8 each ( 1 of each not a constituency wide leaflet ) Labour and UKIP 3 each Nurray Holden and Greens 1 each . If you have received nothing at all from the LibDems there is clearly something going wrong .

Rupert Read may have a bit of a persecution complex, and if I were running the Green campaign in Norwich North I’d do things differently, but he’s a hardworking guy with good policies, and I don’t see anybody on that list better suited for high office.

40. Denim Justice

@35 Where is Murray polling higher than the Greens?

If you are referring to the bookmakers, which isn’t the same thing as an opinion poll, the Greens are doing better than the Lib Dems and Murray.

Cath, look at the policies of each of the candidates. Decide which is closest to your own political beliefs. Then choose. Voila!

I think the Tories will get it. I can see their vote staying solid, Labour’s poll rating nationally is up the swanny and there are bound to be pro-Ian Gibson voters who either stay at home or defect to protest at Labour HQ over how he’s been dealt with.

Protest votes are what bielections are about, anyway.

So what, if any party doesn’t have the resources to come and knock on your door personally, you automatically hate them? Whatever happened to taking matters into your own hands and finding out about their policies yourself? It is not a PPC’s responsibility to be at your constant beck and call. I really hate this “a certain PCC didn’t knock on my door therefore they must DIE” attitude. It’s just not possible to speak personally to 80,000 voters.

#42

I think it does say something if a candidate knocks on your door in a normal election, or if someone knocks on your door inbetween election periods. Definitely some candidates do it more than others (and some parties more than others), and in my experience the candidates who canvass the most tend to be the better-quality ones (regardless of left-right politics, although that distinction here is within the Labour Party rather than across parties, as I can only speak to what I know).

However, during a parliamentary by-election if all candidates from the major parties at least aren’t full-time on the stump then they’re not running a serious campaign. Whether you see someone or not is just dumb luck; whether you happen to be in when they knock your street. Certainly you can’t go by anecdotal evidence on blogs.

The negative campaigning here seems to be done by the Lib Dems. The BBC has picked up on how negative they have been about the Greens.

“Libraries are a mark of civilisation, their destruction is the mark of the barbarian.”

Seconded, and I’ll add that closing libraries is just one well-heeled step awat from book-burning.

Where were the other candidates during the libraries campaign? What do they have to say about it now?

@46: “Seconded, and I’ll add that closing libraries is just one well-heeled step awat from book-burning.”

Err, what?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Article: Why I won’t vote Conservative in Norwich North http://bit.ly/gXA0a

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  4. Adam Bienkov

    Excellent piece by @CathElliott on the Norwich North by-election http://bit.ly/3jEZwW

  5. Leon Green

    Excellent piece by @CathElliott on the Norwich North by-election http://bit.ly/3jEZwW (via @AdamBienkov)

  6. Tim Phillips-White

    RT @MarkReckons: Liberal Conspiracy » Why I won’t vote Conservative in Norwich North – Cath Elliott http://bit.ly/4vFDzf

  7. HouseofTwitsLib

    RT @MarkReckons Liberal Conspiracy » Why I won’t vote Conservative in Norwich North – Cath Elliott http://bit.ly/4vFDzf
    [del.icio.us]

  8. Britblog Roundup 229: The Bumper Office Moving Edition | The Wardman Wire

    […] Cath Elliott is trying being an ordinary voter in Norwich North. […]

  9. Twitted by HouseOfTwitsLib

    […] This post was Twitted by HouseOfTwitsLib […]





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