Saturday, May 02, 2009

The European Factor

The one thing which is very difficult to determine is how far the European elections are going to impact on the political scene, and the local political scene, after 4th June. Yesterday (Friday) we welcomed two of the people at the heart of the European election to Norwich - Vicky Ford and John Flack, who are third and fourth on the Tory list. If the Conservatives do as well on 4th June as they did in 2004 then Vicky will be elected (a good thing in itself) and if they do better then John will also take a seat - most likely one of those held by UKIP.

First thing we did a walk-a-bout in the City Centre and Market to talk to people and try to raise awareness of the election. It was amazingly successful; I am a veteran of 12 years of these sorts of things and the reception from shoppers and stallholders alike was extremely positive. Many more than I expected were aware of the poll and a great number expected to vote. The distrust of the government was palpable and there is a clear sense that only the Conservatives can sort if out. Certainly no support, that spoke to us anyway, for the weak LibDems or even the Greens. Interestingly the European issue seemed to only be secondary; with most people determined to use this a referendum on Gordon Brown and the government.

After seeing the Hay Hill Art Project (utter waste of cash) and the terrible state of the war memorial (cash starved - QED) we went onto a coffee morning in Thorpe Hamlet to meet around 50 local residents; the questions ranged from MPs expenses to crime and drugs, so a very interesting morning indeed.

So onto today ... and I did campaigning sessions in 4 different areas. The reception around Bowthorpe this morning was outstanding. Lots of people in and very keen to talk with a great focus on local issues. In Eaton, however, the European election did spark some debate on the doorsteps. Finally this evening, in Town Close, people were very forthright on the EU side of the debate, esepcially the referendum-that-wasn't on the Lisbon Treaty. I think, overall, the European elections in bouying support for the Conservatives overall. All of the candidates and campaigners in those areas did very well today and we contacted literally hundreds upon hundreds of people; thank you everyone.

I will leave this thread with one thought; a couple of people said to me that they plan to vote Conservative in the local elections but may use Europe as a chance to back another party (before anyone gets huffy, this includes a lady who admitted to voting LibDem last year). I would urge people to vote Conservative twice as the only way to send a coherent message to Gordon Brown about the way he is running (or ruining) our country.


Vicky Ford said...

Thank you for a very warm welcome to Norwich last Friday. I was most moved by going from the desperately sad memorial "gardens" to then meet a Norwich veteran of both Dunkirk and Burma. This is no way to respect our older heroes.

Loved meeting people in the market too - times are tough but they are a vocal force.

Sue Sands said...

I would say this to you Ms Ford: Don’t you dare spend 5 minutes in our beautiful city and presume to understand the intricacies about the War Memorial. The City Council is working on ways to find funding to repair the War Memorial and in these tough economic times that is no easy task. The council took on a huge debt 3 years ago, but in spite of this, the War Memorial still remains number one in our priorities. Go and insult another city in your MEP ‘waltz around’ and don’t tell us we don’t care about our veterans – because we do!

Anonymous said...

Sue, seeing how your Labour Council, is one of the most disgraceful things ever to inflict itself on Norwich, you should stay silent.

You have betrayed the Veterans because you were responsible for the council before the lib dems, and had already run it into the ground. You are spending nearly ONE MILLION POUNDS on Unitary and have done so for several years, you have the money.

Your fake rage fills me with disgust. Why don't you go away and think what you could do if you actually used all that money on the city rather than your fool's errand.

Anonymous said...

Here, Here fellow anonymous.

This Labour Council have money for everything else except our veterans. Especially unitary - what a disgrace.

I hope Labour get all they deserve on 4th June.

Sue Sands said...

How perfectly delightful to have comments from 2 people so weak in their convictions as to have to hide behind the labels of Anon. I do know that the War Memorial is our top priority; I do know that we as a council care very much about ensuring our veterans have a fitting memorial and I’m not ashamed to put my name to my views – so go on live dangerously and let us all know who you are! And as for the extremely condescending views of you Anon1 implying that I should stay silent , how very arrogant of you.

Anonymous said...


Have to agree with previous annons.

Here in Bowthorpe where Labour got kicked out for not listening, bruskness and being generally complacent with the ward vote; on the voting paper folks will place in the ballot box and our opinion will be marked X and annon. A right as such local politians like yourself will have to respect. It will be interesting how Labour fair on the 4th June or whether Labour vote disintergrates as predicted.

Fake rage is one response to defend the indefensible. Don't think it goes down that well though, or calling folk arrogant. Similarly the lack of politeness of some Labour doorstep canvassers in the earier Bowthorpe ward election towards residents. Luckily for us Labour didn't bother to knock on our door in Bowthorpe to receive our names or listen to our opinions. So we might as well continue commenting as annon.

Saying that Labour hadn't bothers to knock on our door for the previous 3 years, so same neglect/ disconnect as previous years under Ferris and co. This is probably reflected in the low electoral interest from resident (31% a huge shame)along with the very few Norwich public who attend (a dozen at most)the overformalised and council meetings in drab duck blue chambers.

On the War Memorial, its been at the top of the Councils delayed capital projects for yonks, 2006 from memory. Other than a bit of soil extraction, little has been done on the ground. Its a boarded eyesaw to the visitor to Norwich, and central green space denied to the general public.

Add to this Housing management has been a shambles, finance second rate by national auditors, centralised faceless communications, officers inaccessable or annonymous to resident communication and painful treacle progression of Unitary drift.

Sue Sands said...

Don’t what else I expected really – I doubt very much if any of the people who has responded has any concept of just how difficult the last three years have been; but I’ve been at the meetings; I’ve heard all the difficulties and I was stung by the remarks of someone who doesn’t seem to know. On Saturday I was canvassing with Richard Howitt and other Labour MEP candidates and they certainly understood the difficulties we are facing at City Hall. And for the record, I can’t ever recall calling anyone ‘arrogant’ before but perhaps being told to basically ‘shutup’ may have had something to do with it! And I certainly am considered polite by the residents of my ward. Clearly it’s only pointless party politics after all and a waste of time even trying to give a different viewpoint.

Anonymous said...


"I was canvassing with Richard Howitt and other Labour MEP candidates and they certainly understood the difficulties we are facing at City Hall"

Bet you received the honest red hot truth on the doorstep issues.