Following last year's report, which caused some ripples in political circles, I have asked a friend to pen a few thoughts on the candidates standing this year. This is not my work, not my views and not written by a Conservative supporter. If you are easily offended, turn away now - and I promise this is totally unedited (apart from spelling, tut tut)! All comments welcome.
Blair Campbell (Green) is the surprise nomination this year, hailing from the trendy new part of Three Score. His nomination is likely to annoy the Tories who are now treating Three Score like some kind of heartland. The Greens are likely to move well in front of the LibDems this year. Backbench Labour Councillor Chrissie Rumsby is seeking re-election but is a fairly mute and useless political operator. Not particularly well liked in the area and not very active either - she'll be relying on votes in Earlham and not standing against Antony Little. Tory candidate John Wyatt is Little's right-hand man and has certainly earnt his spurs in the ward but lacks his colleagues popular appeal. However the Tory "Leader" has been active enough locally to pass his support on. LibDem Francis McIvor won't make much of an impact. I predict a Conservative Gain, but with a smaller majority than last year.
An interesting fight this year with the 4 main parties and UKIP standing for election. Popular Labour Councillor Keith Driver is standing for re-election, but with the Labour majority cut to 15 votes last year this is a seat on a knife-edge. Will Driver's work be enough to balance out his party's disasterous standing in the opinion polls. The reason to be worried is that last year's LibDem candidate has been re-deployed elsewhere and now Gordon Dean is the man on the frontline - Dean was a City Councillor for many years and a frontbench Transport spokesman. He is considered to be one of the LibDems best campaigners and shows they are serious about winning the seat. There are new candidates for the Greens, Jacqui McCarney, and for the Tories, Carrie Chandler. But they will be as out of the race as UKIP man Steve Emmins. This is a LibDem-Labour blood fight to the finish. Prediction: Too close to call, but if forced to say I'd go for a narrow Labour hold.
This ward is becoming predictably boring at the moment with the Green majority stretching further out at each new poll. The only change here - LibDem Fairbairn, Labour Bartram and Green Ramsay are standing again - is with the Tory candidate Malcolm Chamberlin, who claims that have coined the phrase "golden triangle" whilst working as an archant media man. All three opposition parties here are putting in the footwork but you would be insane to bet against Ramsay getting a four figure majority. LibDems to hold onto second place - just - but all three loser parties getting bunched up this time.
I had to comment on this is the first round of reviews because of the lack of a Norwich-over-the-Water candidate. What does this mean for the big vote they got in 2006? If the Greens had done more work here earlier they could have benefited from the voter fall-out, but I fear Penny Killingbeck may have to settle for second. The LibDems are standing former University councillor and media hate figure Ian Williams. Mr Williams is used to having dust-ups with other parties in the letters page of the Evening News but that combative spirit often makes him a good candidate. The Tories are standing Tony Landamore and it is surprising they don't do better here. Prediction: Labour hold, increased majority due to no NOTWP candidate.