I went to Bristol yesterday with Mrs. L. We drove, from Hampshire. On the drive through Hampshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire, the road & motorway edges were decorated by political posters, all Tory of course, most memorably those of Damien Hinds, Maria Miller and Kit Malthouse.
In East Hampshire, the Tories (Hinds) have got their farmer support back and all the roadside posters are Tory (and not UKIP as they have been in previous elections), although one of the very largest has been decorated by an opponent. (Not me!) UKIP are reduced to flyposting. The Tories seem to be working quite hard, they have canvassed our street twice, once with Hinds (PPC) and once with Carew (County). The latter has a problem, he crossed the floor in the County Council and is an ex-LibDem, Bordon/Whitehill has historically returned LibDems to the County and District and the Tories lost the Hampshire PCC elections to an ‘independent’. Carew has an uphill struggle! (We should have run a candidate, we did in 1997.)
A bit further north, we should all remember Maria Miller for her resignation from government and her ‘apology’, although electoral calculus has this as a safe Tory seat, but the county council seats for the Basingstoke wards are split, two Labour, two Tory and one LibDem. I wonder if this has been overlooked. Travelling west, we see posters for Kit Malthouse, well known in London for his time on the GLA. Less well known is his part in Westminster Council’s Shirley Porter affair; he was Deputy Leader of Westminster Council (and Head of Finance) when it agreed to the full and final payments for the surcharge recovery, which according to wikipedia and the FT, was £12m less the courts seem to have deemed appropriate. Interesting that there’s no discussion about how corruption impacts all parties when talking about Tower Hamlets and the Tory promise on Right to Buy and the Government’s squeeze on Local Government housing have brought the Porter issues back into political currency. (Her council was trying to export Labour voters that they had a duty to house up north.)
Then we reached Bristol, our host is living in Bristol West, one of the Green’s target seats and one which the main polling organisations (well, You Gov) have been forecasting as too close to call between Labour & the Lib Dems, a dialectic that has dominated Bristol’s politics for the last five years, maybe longer. However, the day we arrived, Ashcroft has published his poll, which says the LibDem vote has collapsed and that it is as the Green’s hoped Red/Green competition. I was disappointed to see that Labour lost my local poster count, but there were quite a few for both sides; my host advised me that he lives in a pro-Green ward and that if I travel east within the constituency its a better result for Thangam Debbonaire, the Labour Candidate.
This is a republication of an ello post.