Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Slate Is Complete: Labour Select In Norwich North

Norwich North Labour have tonight selected Chris Ostrowski, a former UEA student and contemporary of mine, as their lamb for the Norwich North by-election. Chris is a nice guy but has some choice views; however I have no doubt he will make a real fight of this election. Last I heard he was living in Ipswich so an interesting decision made by Norwich Labour there!

Along with Tory Chloe Smith, LibDem April Pond, Green Rupert Read, a couple of Independents and the chaps from UKIP and the BNP I thinkthe slate is complete. Let battle commence!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Order, Order!

So John Bercow is the new Speaker of the House of Commons - good luck to him. It is a big job for anyone to do and I wish him well.

One thing does spring to mind though; with the secreat ballot we shall never really know what the party splits were for Bercow and for Sir George Young.

Personally I had supported Hampshire MP Young since the beginning and was very pleased at his strong showing; but now the Commons must unite behind Bercow and make the change which is needed happen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Clegg humiliated in Norwich?

Following in David Cameron's footsteps by visiting Norwich this week, LibDem chief Nick Clegg did a webchat with EDP readers before his public meeting in Hellesdon.

Bearing in mind that the Evening News said that Cameron left "Norwich wanting more" and was "warmly welcomed", it must be an IT glitch that meant Nick Clegg only got 2 members of the public to submit questions on his Webchat.

Click here to see what you think, but it is sad that the EDP newsdesk had to make up the numbers asking questions. It must either be an error on the website, or Clegg may as well do door knocking himself - he'll speak to more people that way!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Norwich North: And so it begins ...

People have said, of late, this it is now the Conservatives who have the best by-election team and how impressive the efforts were; notably in Crewe and Henley. Today I spent the afternoon leafleting for Chloe Smith in the City as part of the pre-campaign work. And boy was I amazed.

Now I have known our HQ in the Christ Church Centre for a lot of years; through the good years and the bad ones, but I have never known it like this. There was a great buzz; a feeling that we are doing to do very well, obviously, but it was well organised with good literature and a great sense of unity amongst party workers. Loads of people were in and out through the day - a quick turnaround, but we still felt very suppprted as activists. We've certainly stolen the march on the opposition because as they are squabbling and picking candidates we are busy addressing the key issues.

Well done to the CCHQ staff who have pulled together an amazing job very quickly and also to the hundreds of activists who are there this weekend, including my own team from Norwich South. Anyone who wonders what happens to our subs when it goes into CCHQ just needs to look at the quality of our by-election work.

I intend to blog as much of the campaign as I can, but from this start I don't think anyone or anything can catch Chloe Smith - she's round the first bend before the others are out of the blocks!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The BBC don't know their AV from their SV; and therein lies the problem...

One of the biggest arguements against any form of PR - aside from it being used as a fig leaf from a decaying government of course - is that it is complicated for the public to understand and PR system lead to higher numbers of accidently spoilt ballot papers.

So the BBC goes to prove the point when today it said on its website:

Voters choose their first and second preference and a candidate can only be elected in the first round if they get 50% of the vote
If no-one achieves this in the first round, all but the top two candidates are eliminated and their second preferences redistributed
The candidate with the most votes is then elected

As any AS Politics student can tell you, that isn't true. AV involves the elimination of the bottom place candidate and the votes get redistributed in rounds. The system being described by the BBC is SV, that which is used for the election of the Mayor of London.

Why does this matter? Because LibDems hate SV because it usually traps them out of contention. Let's say the result was:
Con 36, Lab 30, LibDem 28, Green 6
Under SV both the LibDem and the Green would be eliminated and the Labour candidate would probably win.
Under AV, the Green is eliminated which may put the LibDem above Labour; Labour is then eliminated and the LibDem might just win.

But if the BBC cannot get this right, what chance the political class or the public?

This proves the point perfectly.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Eastern Region: As You Were

Con 3, UKIP 2, LibDem 1, Labour 1

No change for the Tory, UKIP or LibDem vote; Labour decline by 6%, Green rise by 3% - but no seat for Norwich Cllr Rupert Read. I'd be interested in the figures to see how close he was.

Conservatives beat Labour AND LibDems in Norwich Euro Election!

I have just got back from the most amazing count.

The results of the European Election in Norwich have been declared, with the senational news that the Conservatives have defeated both the Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The top line results were:
Conservative 6329
Labour 6045
LibDem 5409
UKIP 4449
Greens 9039

This is a fantastic result and shows that our hard work and campaigning locally, and the work of David Cameron and the European Conservative candidates, has really paid off. The Conservatives have beaten both Labour and the LibDems and puts us in a really good position to challenge Charles Clarke at the next general election. This is real votes being cast locally and it puts the Conservatives as real challengers. Obviously the Greens topped the poll - again - but I believe that will be different come a General Election. This news should worry Charles Clarke, but it should worry the 4th place LibDems a lot more!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Results!

It was a strange feeling not having the count straight after polling day; you might have thought that we'd get some rest ready for the next day. But no; it was a party straight after and with the Euro verification dragging on we felt just as tired by the end of Friday than we would have just counting into the night!

The results for the Conservatives were oustanding; 60 seats out of 84, with some movement forward for the Greens (though in Norwich only), the LibDems slipped back again and Labour were virtually wiped out. Labour won just 3 seats across the whole of Norfolk - two in Norwich (University and Crome) and one in Yarmouth. UKIP picked up a seat in Yarmouth - but the real story was the Tory wave that knocked Labour out of their urban heartlands; Thetford, Dereham, Yarmouth, Kings Lynn, Bowthorpe, Catton ... they kept falling.

Here in the City, the Greens did pull off the big shocks. Paul Wells and Charlotte Casimir won our target seats of Bowthorpe and Catton Grove respectively; with the Tories coming agonisingly close in Crome and Eaton too. The LibDems picked up Lakenham but lost Thorpe Hamlet. The Greens, as expeced, won in Wensum, Mancroft, Nelson & Town Close. But when they also won Sewell and Mile Cross you knew something big had happened. Norwich Labour seem like they are living on borrowed time. These were even stranger because they were outside the Green "Norwich South" comfort zone.

In the end the vastly expensive LibDem campaign - including some very negative tactics which may yet re-bound on them - got them nowhere. Brian Watkins, a thoroughly decent man, shouldn't let the rogue elements of his party drag down his name like this. Labour looked exhausted by the end and the Greens jubilant.

But, of course, the Tories emerged victorious both on total Norfolk terms and with our new City-division Councillors. A good result all round!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Vote Today ... Vote Conservative

It's about half way through polling day and turnout looks like it is up here in Bowthorpe ... I am hearing similar things from friends in different polling districts. Will it fall off tonight or are we in for a turnout boost?

Interesting times - but remember to mek your vote county today ... send Gordon a message he can't ignore.

Vote Conservative!

Monday, June 01, 2009

"Compass" calls Norfolk for the Conservatives - with an increased majority - and a near wipeout for Labour

An old colleague of mine - who has decided to call themself "Compass" - has been writing election predictions for my blog for the last 3 years with unnvering accuracy. Despite moving out of the City, to native South Norfolk, "Compass" has penned some predictions for the Norfolk county results. To be honest, there are some I don't agree with and how "Compass" knows about the politics of some of these areas is beyond me, but the form suggests we ought to listen up.

So, "Compass" says ...

... Conservatives to hold Norfolk with an overall majority of 20 ...

... Labour facing near wipeout, fighting it out with the Greens for third place ...

... LibDems a clear second including some impressive gains in North Norfolk & Broadland ...

... Greens to do well in the City ...

Compass says 52 seats for the Tories, 18 for the LibDems, 8 for Labour and 6 for the Greens.

I may have time to publish some of the juicy descriptions later, but some of the seats changing hands are surprising and we aren't talking about simply applying a uniform swing here.