Sunday, November 29, 2009

Labour's Ipswich Choice for Norwich Seat

If Labour shot themselves in the foot by ousting Ian Gibson, then smacked themselves over the head with a mallet with their amateruish by-election campaign, they have done some almost medically impossible with the choice of John Cook (click here for more) as their General Election candidate.

Proving that all parties have issues with selections, Cllr Cook is an Ipswich Borough Councillor who lives and works miles away and whose association with Norwich is a decade old. Now rather than being able to take the fight to MP Chloe Smith, I understand Cllr Cook has already run his campaign into a brick wall as questions about his living and political arrangements surface.

Does Cllr Cook plan to move to Norwich, in his own property, and if so ... when?

If he doesn't, this must surely show that he doesn't believe he can win and won't commit to the City.

Does Cllr Cook plan to move his family with him when he does this to make Norwich his full time home?

Again if he doesn't and simple lodges or stays with somebody then how can he really claims to stand up for local people without understanding our City or its services?

Does Cllr Cook intend to stand down from his Ipswich seat now so he can focus on the campaign ahead in Norwich?

If he doesn't then questions may be asked about how he can represent one area miles away from campaigning in another. Will Cllr Cook continue to claim allowances in Ipswich whilst seeking to be elected in Norwich?

I am not saying Cllr Cook is a bad candidate but he certainly isn't a clear clean choice. Labour will have to spend the first few weeks of this campaign sorting out those issue during which time Miss Smith (not only to let the moss grow) will be consolidating her by-election lead.


Comrade said...

I have known John Cook for many years & I think I first tipped him to be an MP in the early 1990's. Back then he had recently won Thorpe St Andrew for Labour. A huge achievement.He is Norwich thru & thru and very importantly he knows the Norwich suburbs well. Labour's decline in Norwich started properly in 2000 - after John had moved on as agent. If he had remained the political history of the city might have been a bit different.

In my view John Cook will be an excellent candidate and his selection does show that genuine & nice people can win in politics (even in the Labour Party. He will give 100% because he always does.

Now there is no love lost between myself and Labour but in this case they have been absolutely spot on.

(of course I will be hoping that John only comes second and the Lib Dem beats him.....sorry John)

Joe said...

Please correct this inaccurate posting - John Cook was born in Norwich, went to Thorpe St Andrew High School and lived here for the first 36 years of his life. His association with Norwich is at least 3 times longer than your own.........

Anonymous said...

Antony - usually we agree on things like this even though I am Labour (just).

However Cook is an excellent choice and will be a unifying figure - the EEN headline about being Gibson's friend has it spot on.

I will deliver for Cook, had it been anyone else I would not have. Simple as.

Anonymous said...

Anthony, got it wrong again! John Cook may have moved from Norwich to go for a job, but with parents in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich City season ticket holder, great organiser, always in Norwich, etc, etc.
You are not Norwich are you? Where and when did you come here!!

Antony said...

What Anon (Comment 4) have I got wrong?

Does he live in Ipswich? Yes
Is is an Ipswich Cllr? Yes

Therefore I have it right ... again.

I didn't say he doesn't have connections or that he isn't a bad candidate but the Ipswich stuff won't go away - trust me!

As for me, I didn't move to Norwich to seek election to parliament. Unlike certain other candidate and, indeed, sitting MPs!!

Comrade said...

If I know anything about John Cook - all the issues/problems you raise will already be well on their way to being sorted. In fact he has probably sorted them and is out campaigning in the rain as I type this.

Antony - I have got quite a lot of time for you but you need to admit you have made the wrong call with this entry

Antony said...

The call I have made here Comrade is that Cllr Cook will have issues over his candidacy before he gets going. Judging from my discussions with labour member that is true.

He may be God's gift to campaigning but I say now, voters will want to get his locality sorted and saying he'll camp with his parents for a bit won't cut it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Antony. Poor choice of a candidate. So what if he lived here once - point is, he doesn't now. 9 years ago he left and he still lives in Ipswich. Although there was an alternate, excellent local candidate who was ready to take on the job, the Norwich North Labour members have once again got it horribly wrong and chose Cook instead. Good luck Chloe - though you won't need it.

Sewell Voter said...

I couldn't disagree more, and I speak as somebody who voted for Chloe Smith. I know John of old and he's perfect for the job.

It is tough for me to decide if I can vote for John without feeling I had in some way endorsed Gordon Brown!

Anonymous said...

Captain Canary says -

Walking down to Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon with John is a ‘mare! We’re discussing the merits of the diamond formation or Paul Lambert’s selections and whoosh - suddenly he’s not there. He’s found another old friend/contact/campaigner/activist/sympathiser that wants to say hello to him, discuss politics or have a chat to an old pal about how he is and what’s going on. He might have gone south for a while, but as an old Norwich bor he’s never really left.

There’s no substitute for hard work, networking, and being an all around good guy, and that’s John.

Having read the comments from both the pro and anti brigade this evening, it looks like John Cook is the last person the North Norfolk Tories wanted to be campaigning against.

Antony said...

Thanks for that Captain, but luckily the North Norfolk Tories won't have to capmpaign against Cllr Cook - the Norwich North ones will!!!

Anonymous said...

Oops - late night word blindness! But you got what I meant.

Captain Canary

Comrade said...

The main issue Antony raises is whether in a worst case scenario (and I say worst case) John Cook might have a one hour drive or a short train journey to get to Norwich North. Now this might seem insurmountable to some Tories but other candidates are made of sterner stuff.

Re the posting on the failure to select the "local candidate" - at least local candidates made the final shortlist.....

Maurice L said...

What a shocker - a Conservative candidate in the other Norwich constituency thinks Labour have made a mistake. Presumably that's to be expected - if Antony thought they did everything right then he wouldn't be a candidate for another party?
Anyway, I'm fascinated by Antony's comments on 'local candidates'. I think you'll find that for many of the people of Norwich North the term 'local candidate' is not defined by the fact that one has lived in the constituency for a few years. There's a bit more to it than that.
John was born in the constituency, schooled in the constituency and worked in/for the people of the constituency for many years.
So he's been living an hour down the road for a few years - I don't really see that makes a difference.
In fact, if you cut him in half (just like one of those sticks of rock they make half an hour to the east of the constituency) I really wouldn't be surprised to see the words 'Norwich North' appear!
On a positive note, I'm sure that John would be pleased to know that you consider him "God's gift to campaigning" - praise indeed!

Anonymous said...

Labour has picked the wrong candidate.

Miss Smith is an excellent MP and I think the people of NN will re elect her.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone reading this ever heard John Cook speak? He's hopeless! Mumbling through your beard while reading out a question (or answer) does not a politician make. Considering he's already a cllr, one assumes that he has spoken at full council, so why is he still so terrible? And local knowledge - well NN Labour had better hope that he's asked lots of questions about Ipswich then! They don't need a 'Good old boy' they need someone who has the ability to challenge Chloe Smith and he ain't it.

Anonymous said...

John Cook has already said he will remain an ipswich councillor until his terms ends in may and will move back to norwich if he wins the election. whilst he was born in norwich and lived here for some time he appears to be naive if he thinks the fact he is not going to stand down as an ipswich councillor is not going to cause problems.
if he was a serious as he says he is he would move back here now and stand down in ipswich

Anonymous said...

Chloe Smith is losing votes fast in Norwich North where her continued support for the NDR is not representative of her constituent’s views.
All John Cook has to do is object to the building of the NDR and he will be on a winner.