Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thought's on Norwich North

It's been interesting watching event's unfold over Norwich North from my ringside seat, I thought I'd add a few things to what's been said already:

  • The first thing that I think should be made clear is that much of the supposed dithering occured as a result of unavoidable circumstances. When Ian Gibson was banned from standing again, the chair of the local party stepped down in solidarity with him. This move left the local party in a state of disarray hence the delay in the selection of a candidate.
  • I don't know very much about Chris Ostrowski, the new candidate (I wasn't at the hustings because I live in Norwich South), he was at UEA at around the same time I was, although I wasn't a Labour party member at that time and don't think I met him there. He's not a local party party member, but does have a connection with Norwich.
  • I've been out canvassing in Mile Cross and Heartsease, both are solidly Labour areas, indications seem to be that this is still the case although there is no doubt a fair bit of anger still out there.
  • Expenses does still seem to be a big talking point although very few are specifically angry at Ian Gibson, there were quite a few people angry at how he was treated.
  • The Tories are pouring huge amounts of money into this seat, I've seen a number of Chloe Smith (the Tory candidate) garden boards with her photo, around the place. Seems a little wasteful making a bunch of boards that will only be good for one or two elections. Another point to note is that from the latest poll it is the Greens, not the Tories who are making gains at Labour's expense.
  • And speaking of the Greens, they will also be a threat, they've made most of their gains in areas held by the Lib Dems although they have recently moved into more solidly Labour territory taking the wards of Sewell and Mile Cross in the recent council poll. I'm not sure at this point whether their candidate, Rupert Read will be an asset or a liability.

Of course, the big question is: Can Labour hold on? It's going to be close, but definitely possible. The Labour majority was around 5,500 which gives us a reasonable margin (although obviously this is a byelection), despite lingering anger over expenses there seems to be (fingers crossed) no great issue that would encourage a protest vote. At the end of the day, it really depends on whether we can run a good campaign?


Anonymous said...

Better hope he does not stand as an independent then, if I was him I would...

Andreas Paterson said...

Anon - He's already ruled it out.