Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Simon Wright : Not A Single Voter Switched Over Unitary Decision

I am having some time to catch up with the Local Government Bill going through the House of Commons which ends the defunct Norwich City Unitary plans. Indeed the ending of those plans gave me the time to watch it ... but never mind ... moving on!

During the debate, Norwich MP Simon Wright (whom to his credit along with Great Yarmouth's Brandon Lewis and Broadland's Keith Simpson turned up to the debate) was asked by Labour MP Ben Bradshaw if he thinks he would have won his seat had he admitted to being anti-Unitary before the election.

Simon Wright's great weakness if the widespread perception that he flip-flops. For something before the election (e.g. Unitary) and against afterwards. Or against something before the elections (increased fees, VAT rises, old folks facilities) and for them afterwards. So this was quite a tricky question when you are dealing with a 310 vote wafer thin majority.

No, he said, not a single vote switched as a result of unitary.

Rubbish, I say.

I met plenty of voters who moved to my campaign on the basis I was the only anti-Unitary candidate (including 2 of Mr Wright's near-neighbours who work for Norfolk County Council and had voted LibDem in the past). I didn't keep a count but the issue was raised time and again and I was always honest about where I stood (no point in doing otherwise - my views are easily googleable).

I don't know if 310 people or more switched to the LibDems on the basis of his then-held-views but I can say it was a campaign issue and it did cause people to alter their voting habits.


Norwich citizen said...

Do you believe you lost any votes because of your anti unitary stance?

Antony said...

Yes I think I did; but I also gained votes too. I wouldn't like to guess what the net outcome was. However people who feel very very strongly about this issue really let it rule their vote IMHO; my 2 voters in Eaton are rock-solid LibDems but say they voted for me because of unitary.

Anonymous said...

To be honest I think Simon Wright owes his victory to the influence of 'Cleggmania' on postal voting after the TV debates. Issues obviously played a large part in voting decisions but IMHO the election was the most personality driven we've seen in Britain so far.

Anonymous said...

and simon wright will lose next time given his inability to follow through the pledge on tuition fees.

Anarchist socialist said...

Do you believe a single unitary for Norfolk would have been better in the long run?