Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Post: What happened to LibDem localism?

One of the issues which really stood out for me amongst the "Statement of Persons Nominated" in how few of the candidates live in the areas they seek to represent. Back in the days, the LibDem campaigning rule-book clearly stated that you stood a much, much better chance of winning with a local candidate and that you should always select a local above anybody else. In fact, when you have done that and the other parties have not simply hammer them the whole way through the parachuting in an unpopular outsider!!

Antony's note: True, and in the Tories we used to say that you were only as local as your LibDem candidate. If the LibDem didn't live in the ward, it didn't matter - but if the Tory didn't then it was a high crime!

So going down the list it is interesting to see who lives where.

In Catton Grove the LibDem lives in Mile Cross. in Crome they live in Nelson. In Bowthorpe the LibDem is from Eaton, but in Eaton he's from Nelson. The Lakenham LibDem is from Mancroft. The Nelson candidate is from Unviersity whilst the Thorpe Hamlet guy is from Sewell. Town Close LibDems have a candidate from Wensum and in Wensum he's from Mancroft

But Bingo - we have genuine locals in Mile Cross (I rate Carl Mayhew and whilst I don't think he'll win this time, I think it will be a good match for May 2011). Mancroft LibDems also have a local - Simon Nobbs.

University have a local candidate (just - he lives on the borderline with Nelson!) as too do Sewell LibDems.

2 locals out of 13? 4 at a push? Come on, what are the Norwich LibDems playing at? Especially given that their target seats - Eaton, Town Close, Thorpe Hamlet and Lakenham are all missing out on locals. Are the LibDems really stuck for candidates like this?

Is it better to live in a set geographical area or to work hard at campaigning? I wonder if people care where the candidates come from anymore? Have the LibDems missed a trick with this?

Antony's Update: I know this guest post focuses on the LibDems so out of fairness I have evaluated the Tory local candidate count. We have 6 candidates who live in their wards and 2 more with existing elected links.


Peter said...

In some respects I agree with your post here Antony, but in another I think what matters is also how much campaigning they have done in their locality and whether they have a particular affinity to a constituency.

Former Cllr Brenda Ferris had a strong affinity with Bowthorpe (putting party political differences aside) but to my knowledge did not live in their ward. Should this mean that Cllr's should not still run up in their constituency where they have an affinity?

In an ideal world I would like a local candidate to run up in their locality and also display a strong focus and dedication towards their home ward. But with all things considered this is not an ideal world.

"Localism" has to start at the bottom up and at a grassroot level, but it takes time to build up.

The Lib Dems locally (not talking about National swing - i.e. Simon Wright MP) have not done so well in the City Council elections in recent years. Maybe this is more to do with pragmatism than anything else.

ex Councillor said...

Like the Lib Dem candidate, the Conservative candidate for Catton Grove also lives in Mile Cross - or does she ? checking the County Council website ( as she already represents CG at the county level ) confirms this but check out the Broadland DC website and you will see that she also claims to live in Acle ( as she represents Acle as a Bradland Councillor - if successful in her bid to become a CG City Councillor will this produce the County's first triple hatter ? ) so where does she really live - Mile Cross or Acle ? - a check of the Electoral Register should answer this - and it's not Mile Cross ! Does this matter to the electorate ? To the majority of voters probably not, but if you can't be open about where you live what else will be covered up at a later date ?

Antony said...

Thanks Peter - the post isn't mine but from another contributor who is writing various bits and pieces up to the election. Although I do agree with his outcomes!

Peter said...

On a separate note Antony.
Where can I find the Conservative Manifesto for the by elections in Norwich?

I know the Green Party have published their manifesto online.

If not could you please put it up on this blog so we could read it. I would be interested to know what your policies for Norwich City Council would be.

Antony said...

Hi Peter - it hasn't been formally launched yet - I will post it on my blog when it is.

Peter said...

I look forward to it Antony.

At least on the web it is easily accessible for everyone to see who has internet access.