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Bonkers Blog April 2015

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30 April (Part 2) - For Erith & Thamesmead, it may be off…

I’m not sure to what extent the average man in the street has been aware of the party election campaigns across Bexley’s three constituencies. Only two have resulted in a knock on my door. One was by councillor Danny Hackett on behalf of Teresa Pearce and the other was Anna Firth on behalf of herself.

But I am no longer a typical voter because all the main candidates know who I am, where I live and the existence of Bexley is Bonkers. This may result in more than the usual number of visits because they hope to influence me or maybe it works the other way around. They won’t want to waste their time with someone who has been trying to keep a close eye on them and may already know more than they would wish. The end result is that, for the first time ever, I remain a floating voter.

For the benefit of anyone in a similar floating position I have put as many leaflets on line as I have been able to find. Seven more were added to the Leaflet Index today and for the first time the British National Party and the Lib Dems make an appearance.

Not as good as speaking to the candidates face to face of course which is why I was very much in favour of organising a hustings when one was first suggested for my constituency on 21st April. I even offered to pay any expenses involved.

However, at the time, I was feeling more unwell than I ever remember being before and when no one took up the offer I was content to let the matter drop. Someone who I know only through Twitter as @ErithLink took on the job but over the past 24 hours things seem to have become a little difficult. In recent years and in other nearby constituencies, vicars have been appointed chairmen but a Sunday evening date tends to rule that out.

EliotMy guess from reading his Tweets is that @ErithLink is not a huge supporter of anyone but he chose to appoint Eliot Smith as chairman. That’s when things really did take a turn for the worse

Eliot has taken a leading role in Anna Firth’s election campaign, even to the extent of being featured in her leaflets.

Maybe I am naive but I can’t see how a chairman can easily contrive to be biased when all he has to do is randomly pick questioners from the audience and limit each speaker to the same amount of time but I concede that if your next five years may be dependent on a fair debate one might not be so laid back about it. There have been objections to Eliot’s appointment.

Quite where you get a truly independent chairman from I do not know. Surely if someone is interested enough to do the job, and do it well, he or she is bound to have his own political opinions.

So maybe the Erith & Thamesmead hustings are off and maybe they are not. Watch this space.

Where else do you look for election news? The newspapers? The Kentish Times certainly won’t help to make up your mind.
AnnaIn the same article the newspaper said that that Teresa Pearce was not likely to lose and Anna Firth was on course to win.

Is the News Shopper any better?

Their new feature on the E&T election was quite interesting and helped me to firm up my opinions of the two biggest party’s candidates but the Bexleyheath and Crayford equivalent was less comprehensive. It said nothing about the UKIP candidate.

UKIPNot being a political strategist I am unsure of the wisdom of Chris Attard’s response but he certainly does have my sympathy.

Having read everything I can find about the elections locally I have to agree that the News Shopper has been more than a little biased against UKIP. Like the rest of the media they have gone out of their way to uncover trivia and make a mountain from it. Not so much in the paper edition perhaps, but on Twitter and on-line.

I think journalists are incapable of recognising their own bias. I’ve said before that my daughter is a journalist for a very much better known organisation than the News Shopper. I regard her employer’s output as very obviously biased to the left and I see my daughter in the same light - I blame her mother! But what is amazing is that she will occasionally complain that her colleagues are all left leaning, as if she was neutral.

I have come to the conclusion that left leaning journalists have no idea how far left they are and cannot even begin to see the bias which ordinary mortals see. Or maybe I am the same but severely biased in the other direction.

Good! That rules me out of chairing the Erith & Thamesmead hustings. News of the latter will appear here ASAP if there are any developments. Meanwhile it is on but its fate may be hanging by a thread.


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