I last looked in on the Erith and Thamesmead Conservative Association, metaphorically that is, they were squabbling over who should be their candidate
for the General Election.
The candidates favoured by the Greenwich contingent were being squeezed out by the Bexley crew who think they own the place, and in a sense they do. Bexley councillors and their wives have taken all the top committee jobs.
After failing to decide which of them is least likely to lose in May they resolved to give hostilities a rest until the new year.
Yesterday the waiting was over as it was announced that a councillor from Sevenoaks had drawn the short straw.
A bit of research reveals that Anna Firth is the reject from the Rochester and Strood Primary where she came second to Kelly Tolhurst who went on to be soundly beaten by UKIP’s Mark Reckless in last November’s Parliamentary by-election.
So Erith and Thamesmead is to get Rochester’s cast off. It could be worse, a Bexley councillor could be contesting the seat.
When I went to the UKIP Erith and Thamesmead selection meeting as an observer, they faced a similar dilemma to the E & T Conservatives. viz. a Kent county councillor from Tunbridge Wells and a less experienced local man. UKIP selected Ronie Johnson from Plumstead.
Last month the Tories sidelined Amandeep Bhogal who lives in the constituency which left, as far as I can tell - they don’t talk to me - only one other almost local man; former Greenwich councillor Alex Wilson. Of the two they preferred the barrister from the shires.
Whether the voters from Thamesmead or even the posher areas of Erith will agree with their choice is another matter but obviously Ms. Firth hasn’t a clue about this part of the world. It’s a long time since I was a member of the local Conservative Association but I don’t think that expensive looking front door is in either Thamesmead or Erith. I have a suspicion it’s in Bexleyheath. Maybe the selection committee found an ability to fib at every level an added attraction.
The May election campaign looks set to provide plenty of excitement if you are into that sort of thing but when one remembers that the only two people likely to become Prime Minister are David Cameron and Ed Miliband it is a deeply depressing prospect. One dreadful and the other slightly worse.