Another piece on Keighley n Ilkley by the Blair-apologist David Aaronovitch in T'Grauniad. USual stuff, though note the last paragraph--where are all the canvassers? What is going on?
Well, if Tory Boy's desperate, goodness knows what's going on with Cryer's team. Look at this farrago of an election leaflet. Something from central office (which she claimed she wasn't going to do), some dubious statistics and then an attack on the Tories for allowing the rise of the BNP--which is very rich. And the claim that the Tories favour Bradford over the outlying villages. I suppose it was a bit tough to say 'sorry Keighley, you don't get any money cos of Ilkley, oops, sorry Ilkley, didn't mean to offend you...'. Perfect example of why she's as bad as the rest of them.
And look at the sort of people willing to be photographed in a Labour leaflet. What is that woman wearing? And why's she elbowing her 'daughter' in the head? A secret BNP supporter perhaps?
Well, I promised at the beginning of the campaign that there would be questions and answers from the candidates (well, questions from me, but you know what I mean). Don't think I forgot. I was chasing much of last week, and I can let you know that for e-mails bouncing, phone messages not being passed on and messages going astray three of the candidates do very well.
AT this point, the only candidate that's actualy agreed is Nader Fekri. I don't think there's much point going ahead with only one, however, so thanks Mr Fekri (and agent), at least you're interested in a little local website which only gets, oooh, 1,000 visits a day at the moment. The other three of you obvisouly cound't organise the proverbial in a brewery (or, indeed, are so arrogant you think you shouldn't be questioned).
Unless it was seomthing I said that offended them?
It feels like the Tories have completely given up. From the people I've been talking to, they can't get their groundwar (luuurvve that phrase) together, so getting the vote out is a real problem. Driving round Ilkley yesterday, we spotted three Tory posters. This is in one of the most true blue areas of the country under the least popular Labour PM since MacDonald (and he wasn't unpopular with the Tories). Three posters. I wouldn't even bother going for the count Mr Poulsen.
Meanwhile, his latest leaflets smack of desperation (or at least late night work with the scalpel and glue). Thanks again to Elvis for scanning. Warning: don't click on the one on the top. His face, large, is not a pretty sight.
Apologies for the absence of the usual fevered opinionating, but I've been suffering with a heavy cold, sinusitis, oh, and some essays to finish as well. Service is being resumed.
Bugger all's changed in the meantime though, eh?
It isn't just our candidates who seem bored with the whole process. Trying to follow what's happening through the T&A is pointless. Their coverage amounts to a page a day, and the versions that appear on the web site are a) late and b) eviscerated.
Have a look at their news page. That's one election story (on the 21st--I expect you'll check it and see thousands). Notice the link on the sidebar to the 2004 council elections, but nothing to the current General Election. Then compare to another newspaper from the same stable, the South Wales Argus. A massive section on the election.
Why are we being so badly served? Why is the T&A so crap? WHy are its sister papers (the Gusset and Craven Herald) even worse? Answers on a postcard please...
SO, finding that their concentration on immigration is heading them straight for their worst election result in, oooh, four years, the Tories are desperate to move on. Well, when I say 'the Tories', I mean the Tories except for Howard and Lynton Crosby/-ie. So they throw in a new policy on stopping council tax revaluations.
Presumably intended to put out any challenge from the LibDems, this policy might play well in Ilkley, given the impact revaluation's going to have on what we pay. However, that assumes that no-one asks the simple question, 'how the hell are you going to fund local government then?'. Not to mention asking that nice (but soon to be without a job) Mr Letwin why he'd included polans for revaluation when he drew up the original proposals.
Tory strategy is following that of Oz and of the US. Appealing to core voters and core values, making sure they get out their core so they can handle anything Labour might get. This is, however, a strategy doomed to failure in the UK. Unlike the US there simply aren't enough core Tory voters to go around. And every reminder of core Tory values will mean thousands more wavering Labour voters holding their noses and endorsing Blair.
Which is not to say it might not work in an area like Ilkley, were there is a solid Tory core. If only the Tories got out and told anyone about it.
Michael Howard's apparently in Yorkshire tomorrow. Will we see him in Ilkley? If not, what does that say about Tory ambitions?
Lord save me from professional Yorkshiremen. Harry Gration is bad enough on the local news, but when local coverage extends to that feckwit Ian McMillan doing a regular 'peom' about the election, I despair.
Listen, Ian, just because something rhymes, that don't make it poetry. Just because it rhymes, that don't make it funny. Just becaue you gurn when speaking, that don't make you funny either. It's like Pam Ayres without the social realism.
I'm proud of my county, but I don't see why so many of us want to take pride in being crap. See also 'Marching on Together', the worst ever footie song.
The local battles seem to be being fought in the same ways as the national ones. The candidates are barely to be seen, any visits by Ministers and other great and the good are not only not advertised, they're held in secret (and this is not only the BNP I'm talking about). There's a fear of the people, a fear, above all, that they might not give a toss what any of these putative representatives might have to say.
I mean, where is Ann Cryer? Has anyone seen her? Out on the stump perhaps? I've seen (and talked to) her teams, but of the lady herself there's been not a sign. She surfaced on the local news yesterday to hold Charles Clarke's hand, but that must have taken all of ten minutes.
And what of these flying visits? There's a stop to look at a poster, a brief saunter down a main street for the benefit of whatever cameras are around, a pep talk to the local team and then, if we're very lucky, a prepared 'meet' with a carefully selected group that reflects that day's campaign priorities.
It's so terribly patronising. I appreciate that ministers and puffed-up panjandrums have a limited attention span when it comes to ordinary punters, but we are their fucking employers, for Kali's sake.
It's not only Labour, of course. No-one's seen Griffin either. He also surfaced on the local news to blame the government for spending more on 'asian' council estates than on 'white' ones (one would have thought the responsibility lay with our Tory council, who would hardly follow such a policy, preferring to spend the money on Ilkley in Bloom instead), but out on the stump---not a sign. Perhaps he's staying in his 'own' areas, but it's hardly likely to force a breakthrough as a tactic, is it?
Perhaps they're all following the same tactic, talking to their own people. Cryer's team are too wrapped up in saving votes in Keighley to notice that there might be some up for grabs in Worth Valley and even in Ilkley. Griffin won't venture out of his estates (when he deigns to visit this constituency at all---he hasn't said whether he'd move here if he wins).
Poulsen won't go into Keighley at all, and his office doesn't take messages and bounces e-mails from gmail ("hi, we're the tories and we understand techn8crageee.....damn thing's turned off again Tim--shall we send it back and get another?").
There's not even that many posters about. How do any of them hope to win?
There's a feeling that Cryer's already given this one up. Given the amount of work she's put in over the last eight years, particularly her presence at every local event going, one can hardly blame her. Time to put her feet up perhaps. If you do know where she is, let me know. I've got some questions to ask her.