Apologies for the lack of blogging lately. This is due to a number of factors. I have been very busy in the local election campaign, work has been very busy because we have implemented a new database, on which I have taken a lead role in its development and training. Worse of all, I then get ill – of all the times to get unwell, mid-April is the most inconvenient. Having said that, I was once ill during Christmas and that wasn’t much fun.
Having now recovered I have resumed my election campaign in my efforts to be elected to represent the good people of Murston in Swale Borough Council. This ward has attracted much attention from the local parties – not because it will decide the election (the Conservatives will remain in firm control) but because it is Swale’s only three-way marginal, will be a good test of how the three parties face up to each other, and forms part of Labour’s strategy to wipe us out.
Indeed Labour had an ‘action day’ last Saturday and I met two groups of Labour people as we were wandering about. They seemed to recognise me and we exchanged cheery hellos.
Murston is situated towards the east of Sittingbourne – in fact, true Murstonians consider themselves a separate town. The main issues we have worked on include the problems of incorrect road signs, small roads and insufficient parking, a new estate nearby, relief roads, and crime and anti-social behaviour. I have enjoyed meeting many people over there in the last two years and hope I can work for them in the council chamber.
There are five candidates on the ballot paper for this double-seater ward. We have a good team of an experienced local councillor, with a good personal vote, and our parliamentary candidate (me). Labour are putting up an ex-Lib Dem (who went over to the dark side in 2009) along with his son. The main surprise is that the Conservatives are only putting up one candidate – the other defending councillor. Maybe there was a mix-up in their nomination papers rather than some subtle strategy.
Overall, in Swale, in two of our three seats, Labour are the main challengers, while in the third, Labour are aiming to pick up enough Lib Dem votes to allow the Tories to win. Can’t blame them for targeting us, of course – if the tables were turned we would do the same – and as their resources are enormous compared to ours, then they probably have good chances of closing us down. It is up to us to continue to work hard so that whatever happens we can say at least we did our best.
Meanwhile the AV campaign continues. Sadly I think we are going lose this as the combined power of the establishment, the mass media and the Conservative party looks like it will be too strong. The argument about every MP getting over 50% of the votes has been lost amidst a fog of bulletproof vests, the BNP and coalitions.
The No groups’ tactics, not to defend FPTP but to make the issue confusing, seem to be working. After all, what Murdoch wants, Murdoch gets – including every PM for the last 25 years. But the battle must go on. Maybe there will be some surprises to come.