Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Local election! Bonus & Banana Skins. This post is updated regularly so watch for the change in political fortunes

Post last updated on 24/01/2008
scroll down to 24/01/2008 for latest news and awards.

The new blog based game to brighten up local elections.
Candidates will be marked on the content and presentation of their leaflets. I should add that these views are entirely mine and not aligned to any political party although I will be supporting Dave Hosell, for the purpose of this bit of fun I will try to be completely neutral. “Oh yes I will” It is the panto season! I propose to give a bonus point for the first leaflet published after the starting gun which is today. Bonus point for the first phone call but a banana skin if it’s some idiot who knows nothing about Newton. The game will move on with commentary by me as the points are awarded or deducted. The party with the most points on the day before the election wins. In the event of a tie the one with the least banana skins wins. Is that all clear? So lets play Bonus and Banana Skins.

PM 2/01/2008
And they’re off, and it’s the conservatives who go into a surprise lead with the first leaflet of the campaign followed up by a sixty second survey addressed personally to my wife and me with a freepost address and envelope for the reply. A couple of good bonus points here but hold on there's also some banana skins. I like the new layout Conservatives in touch and listening to you and the piece about law and order good for another point. Emphasis on local woman definitely worth another point. I make that 5 bonus points. The quality of front page printing is cheap leaving the picture of the candidate looking like something from Dr. Who and the orientation of front to back page is wrong. I’ll only award one banana skin for this. The predictable attacks on labour and the lib dems is yet another skin and the poor attempt at humour concerning the piece on THE pUBLIC is a major banana skin. With THE pUBLIC and the Tories the needle has stuck and it’s now very boring. In the Local Problems piece they refer to welfare of the elderly I would like to know more on what they are actually doing with this so until then it’s another skin I’m afraid. I make that 3 skins so the Tories start off with a 2 point lead.


Stewards enquiry, a retake on these results. Later in the afternoon I did the Tory survey and no it was not sixty seconds and the small print was so small I could not read it and there was plenty of it, so another banana skin I'm afraid the Tories are still in the lead by one point because they were first out of the staring blocks.

Tories win a bonus point.

This is awarded for sheer cheek because on the front page of last night’s local newspaper they had a piece quoting their leader and criticising our local PCT. Although the article was not really accurate and the scheme mentioned had helped a lot of older people to take more safe exercise it is expensive for what it is achieving. Our local council and PCT do seem to waste money and that is what an opposition should be doing, challenging, so well done to them.
The rest of the field are still at the starting gate and in danger of getting a default skin for ignoring the electorate.
Its Tories 2 Rest of the field 0
Development of the Estimometer is going well but I need a bit more data to be able to test it.
Who writes this rubbish? oh its me, I must get a propa job.

4/01/2008 7pm
And it’s another bonus point for the Tories. In another surprise move three musketeers of the Tories were pictured in colour in tonights evening newspaper. It would have been more points but their candidate was not included in the picture and again the story was stretching the facts a little which leaves me wondering if they understand how local authorities are funded. But it is an election and they did get a picky in the local paper on local issues. Its good tactics from the Tories they are not big enough locally to leaflet and campaign themselves so they are getting the press to do it for them. I like it
Still no response from the other parties.
Tories 3 rest of the field 0

The Lib Dems are up and running!

And what a start. A substantial piece in our other local newspaper last night although it was not to my taste dwelling too much on the past. Which is perhaps good strategy for them. Some of the other parties might shout “fowl” for this so I’m not awarding any points.
First new look Focus was delivered this morning but what a disappointment. More substance than the Tory effort so a bonus point there. Quality of photo copy is very poor and only black & white. We expect at least a two page colour election special from them at this stage of the campaign so the first banana skin. Good intro for Kay making the most of what they claim she has done but I never heard of her. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and award a bonus point. She does not live in our ward so that’s a major banana skin for me. I said I would award skins for stretching the facts and her reference to Ferndale and Hamstead Schools being surrounded by busy main roads is just that. Hamstead yes, but Ferndale? Quiet cul-de-sac at one entrance and the others in side roads so sorry, a skin here to.
But the best bit for me is this scanned item from the leaflet

I want to come back has a male model! Who is proof reading this stuff?
I make that two bonus points and three banana skins so the Lib Dems start off with minus 1
Tories 3 Lib Dems -1 rest of field 0. As Labour’s engine stalled will they ever get the show on the road or have they finally given up on Newton? and where are the Greens? All this and more in the next exciting instalment of Bonus and Banana Skins.

The temperatures rising.

Labour enters the race and their candidate is reading my blog.
Dave Hosell called on me today and left his “Sorry you were out” card stayed for a cuppa and outlined what he stands for.
Four main points on the card which are all good local issues. Investment in local schools, decent affordable homes, tougher on crime and cracking down on rat-running cars. Little swipe at the Lib Dems but not Tories so not worth a skin.
Has Dave solved the worlds energy crisis by getting our cars to run on rats? But to be just a little serious Dave is the chair of our local neighbourhood watch association so I know he is dedicated to the tougher on crime bit and I know the amount of effort he put into getting the Police presence at Tanhouse. Major bonus point verging on two. Dave is also the chair of DART which is a local tenants and residents association which have campaigned for years and successfully had knocked down blocks of maisonettes which needed replacing. So another bonus point here. His slogan at the bottom – He’s local works hard and gets things done is accurate and to the point so another bonus point.
Dave is decorating local lamp posts with his posters but I wonder if they are appropriate these days especially when they are not removed after the election. I was going to award a skin for this but they will all do it. I’m also seeing some familiar councillor faces campaigning in my neighbourhood so I guess the Labour Tory and Lib Dem party machines are in action door knocking and on the phone. The new secret chalk markings outside my house are probably there to warn them off. I’m sitting here just waiting for the phone to ring. When though are we going to see the first Labour leaflet?
I make that 3 bonus points I ought to give him one for personal call but that might be construed as favouritism. The other candidates are also welcome. I might make this an extra point later. Are the Greens lost in the long grass?
The two main parties are neck and neck. Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode. I might have enough info to run the estimometer…. Except I can’t yet judge the "we always vote for them" effect.

Tories 3 Lib Dems -1 Labour 3 Greens 0

It’s a quiet day on the election trail.

Some of the labour banners seem a little battered and worn. So far none of the other parties are putting them up. Labour have been very cheeky on the lamp post outside our main polling station with large banners leaving no room for the other candidates. The naughtiest though is placed outside the home of two of our local Lib Dem Councillors. Seems little point in doing this.
I know that this is a local election but what happens nationally can affect the result. So far no members of the government have been caught with their pants down and Labour seem to be using the “don’t mention the war” strategy. Gordon was on the radio this morning and just listening to him makes me feel depressed. But he was crowing about how well he had managed the crises we have faced since his anointment 6 months ago. Is it only 6 months it seems like years. Anyway I want a leader who avoids crises. Didn’t I do well getting the passengers to safety after the ship sank does not work for me. How did it get on the rocks in the first place?
Anyway on the day I’m sorry Dave but it’s a skin.
Tories 3 Lib Dems -1 Labour 2 Greens 0
Logon tomorrow for the next big yawn. I’m giving the Greens until the weekend if no show then I’ll get out my mower or send a search party and start awarding banana skins against them.
Estimometer gives a Conservative lead of 50 votes.

“Am I bovvered?”

I was talking with some locals today trying to judge the local mood and get a wider opinion on how the candidates were doing. “What election” came back, so it seems our candidates are not getting the message across. What did come across though was that in some areas Sandwell’s re-cycling service is failing badly. I suggested that they make this an issue with their councillors but the reply was not enthusiastic. So if you want to look into green box collections it might be worth a vote or two. Contact me and I’ll give you the roads.
Nationally our government seems to be keeping its head down although “Donation Gate” seems to be about to re emerge with a minister this morning appearing edgy over donations to his deputy leadership fund. So no advantage to any party here at the moment.
Tonight sees the publication of our local Neighbourhood Watch Association Newsletter with a forward from the Labour candidate who is the Chair person. This goes out to about 1000 homes so well done Dave, although I know this is lucky on timing and not deliberate he has worked hard on setting up the association and getting funding for the newsletter. So a definite bonus point there.
Tories 3 Lib Dems -1 Labour 3 Greens 0

A note from Kay.

Pat & I had a note from the Lib Dems this morning addressed personally to us on the envelope but then it said Dear Resident. I’m giving Kay a bonus point for this because it shows they are targeting voters and I think she is reading the blog. The substance of her letter though was disappointing. She’s only going to campaign for better leisure and community facilities and she refers to Great Barr and Hamstead no reference to Newton. She lives outside of our ward in her husbands ward so some negatives there but I’m not going to award any skins.
I was at the neighbourhood watch meeting last night along with the Labour and Conservative candidates. This was at times a particularly lively meeting. The Tory candidate raised an issue about a serious crime which I thought the Police tried to sweep under the table, The Labour candidate chaired the meeting and I am going to award him a point for his patience and skill in chairing our association.

I’ve been thinking about the issues and some of the things our candidates have been campaigning on so I’m going to offer some advice on what I think the issues are.
David has some more mileage in playing on the introduction of police presence at our community centre. Even another picture in a leaflet would not be outrageous. He could also mention the work NHW association has done in successfully lobbying for police on pedal cycles and their regular newsletters. The Tories have also supported this.
Some issues though that are not being addressed, Local health care, we do not have enough Doctors and the recent closure of a surgery is causing a lot of problems particularly for older people. Our long promised Health Centre and satellite, when are we going to get a start date and a site. Wednesbury are getting theirs will there be any money left when it comes around to us. We need answers on this and now. Why are our candidates not supporting the work being done to replace this doctor?
Council tax, how’s that for a challenge. I should like to hear that they are doing everything in their power to keep it down and coming up with schemes to help pensioners meet this unfair tax.
Recycling of rubbish not residents. Pushing to get plastic bottles, cardboard and general plastic waste recycled. Neighbouring local authorities are doing it why are you not campaigning for this.
The condition of our roads and pavements after the gas main work are a disgrace.
Hamstead Road traffic calming what a mess and the condition of the road islands is dangerous again.
20MPH speed limits on all estate roads. When do we want it? NOW
And the biggy "The Red House" Why have none of the candidates mentioned this so far. I challenge them to promise to get a firm decision within twelve months of taking office.
That’s enough for now. There’s a lot more and I’ll even offer to write up your leaflets for you on any of the above issues. A bonus point for each one mentioned in a leaflet and two if the Red House promise is made.

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens 0

It's votes that count! I ran the estimometer again and I have a Labour majority of 10 if things stay the same. It's going to be a cliff hanger. Any chance of an invite to the count?

Will crime become the big issue?

Via Neighbourhood watch network systems we had notification of a nasty distraction burglary today. The victim was an elderly person. Add to this the report I mentioned earlier of a vicious violent crime and knowing how quickly bad news spreads on the grapevine on our patch we are likely to have a crime way. The distraction burglar pretended to be from the water board. NHW newsletters have advised members that the water boards no longer exist and also given advice on what to look out for and prevent these incidents. Either this person is not a NHW member or forgot the advice. I suppose on balance if the crime rumours do take hold its to Labours advantage particularly if they include Police presence at Tanhouse in their next leaflet. There’s bound to be a next leaflet.

Its votes that count. Will the electorate recognise who is the best person for the job or will they vote on the “we always vote for them” ticket? Tune in next time for the latest on our crime wave rumour machine. And where are the Greens, they seem to be saving the planet everywhere but Newton.

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens 0

All surveyed out?

Ann commented on my post “Value for money” on the poor quality of the recent Tory survey and their apparent indifference to health provision in our area. You will not be surprised that I agree with her. We have had surveys from all the main parties over the last 6 months Labour and Tory had a freepost service for replies, the Lib Dems if you wanted to reply post and pay. On the design of all of them they were poor and health was not a big issue. Labour's was probably marginally the best. The worst survey and gold award goes to our PCT after the closure of a doctor’s surgery in our area. The survey was extremely poorly designed and so heavily biased towards what they wanted to hear it was useless and in fact I never replied. Only 2% of homes responded. Perhaps surveys are going to be the big issue. Labour were the first to carry out a survey although over the years Lib Dems have had “a what do you think” section in their Focus. I think in the case of the Tories they only put out a survey because the other parties had. So another challenge to all the parties “lets see the results of the surveys and what are you going to do about them? I’ll give a bonus point to the first to mention local health care in a leaflet and I’ll campaign for the first party to guarantee when our clinic will be started.

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens 0

11/01/2008 continued
First Government dropped banana skin for Dave.

Donation gate rolls on. Yes folks it’s true, pompous Peter the minister for work and pensions is headline news after failing to reveal £103K from his deputy leadership campaign donations fund. He has in such a short time in office managed to alienate pensioners particularly those affected by the FAS with his value for money remarks. So its definitely a skin. There also appear to be other nasties in the pipe line for, Labour, economy down the tubes, rising energy prices, petrol at £1.06 a litre in some parts of Sandwell, bird flue about to become an epidemic and an announcement due any day on council tax. Its starting to look a bit sick for the Labour candidate but will the other parties take advantage of this? They seem to be doing a good job in keeping the PM out of the headlines so perhaps they can hide the rest of the bad news until after 24th. And in Panto terms Dave “he’s behind you” For more banana skin info logon tomorrow

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 3 Greens 0

11/01/2008 a bit more
Its another banana skin!
Oh yes it is.

I went along for a swim this morning. You cannot say local and swimming pool in one sentence around here because that seriously upsets the locals. Sandwell Council in their wisdom closed our pools in West Brom with no provision yet to replace them. Anyway, I digress. Two Black Country pensioners were in the changing room getting dressed as I was getting undressed. They were discussing (that’s the polite way of saying it) our governments policies towards pensioners. I eavesdropped a little and having lived in the Black Country for 45yrs I can understand the lingo. After awhile listening to their dissatisfaction I asked who is your MP? He was from a neighbouring constituency. I suggested that they might like to lobby him on the issues they had been complaining about. There was no coaching from me! Honest! I now have to remove the four letter expletives and do a translation to make this publishable. But it translates something like: - he’s a bloody werst o time, he ses he’s lisnin but ah mus be bloody deaf.
I suggest that pensioners in Newton will feel much the same, so another Banana skin for Labour. With the minister for work and pensions in the headlines “Oh yes it is!”
The estimometer is giving the Lib Dems a 35 vote lead and its votes that count.
It’s going to be close, any offers yet on an invite to the count? I’ll wear my crash helmet.
I've been asked to clarify the results tables. What I am doing for simplicity is removing bonus points when skins are awarded because they are of equal value.

So results so far are Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 2 Greens 0

Positive Politics! Not in this campaign

I’ve been away for a few days but it’s all been happening in my absence. Tories festooning our lampposts with nice new pictures of their candidate making the labour posters look tired and worn. No posters from Lib Dems and Greens though. The best leaflet in years from the Tories and the second of the campaign. To many pictures of the tory candidate I suspect that is because they feel she is not well known. No bonus point here though because some of the articles are stretching the truth and unfairly knocking Labour particularly over planning issues. A really nice letter from the Tory candidate addressed to me personally, recognising I am a postal voter and asking for my vote in a very positive way. Well done and a bonus point. Clearly we are a target for the Tories and Lib Dems but not Labour (don’t mention the P word).
Labour have not been idle a targeted card to young families which is excellent, very positive and well worth a bonus point. Their first leaflet came at last and is very disappointing. The headline “Liberal Democrats threat to Sandwell Schools” and the paragraph after are misleading. This is an above average electorate and no one is going to believe that a policy change from a minority opposition party is going to affect our kids. They would have to become the next government and that is not going to happen. The first heading on the leaflet Sandwell Kids Deserve the Best would have made a better headline and dropping the attacks on Lib Dems which are unnessesary. On the back page Dave’s worklist refers to: Scott Arms road works and implies that by some miracle he managed to speed up the work by complaining. Almost everybody in the ward complained. This only leads me to think is he stretching the truth on the other issues. So a Banana skin here. I know David well and I think he should get away from this dodgy Dave image to the honest reliable and hard working bloke he is. David does more in our community than the other three candidates put together so I am going to offer some advice which I hope he will take in the positive way it is given. Following are some of the achievements I know he has been a major player.
* Bringing police on bikes to Newton
* Free firework display at Tanhouse
* Fun day at Tanhouse
* New security fence at community centre.
* Regular social events at community centre
* Work with governors at Ferndale school.
* Working to get funding for youth club and other young peoples activities
* Lobbying to revitalise the Durham estate which will eventually be an asset to our area.
* Massive investment in our Primary schools and plans to rebuild all Sandwell schools.
* Advocating on behalf of local residents with planning application complaints and yes fighting his own party when he felt they were getting it wrong.
* Supporting the groups who are fighting to replace a family Doctor
* Helping groups to get funds for vital community projects
* 20MPH speed limit introduced in Ennerdale
* Working with residents on Spouthouse to get improvements.


Tories 4 Lib Dems 0 Labour 2 Greens 0

8 days to go and I got my ballot paper today.

Labour contacted me by phone asking would I support their candidate. I might I said. It’s a question of to vote or not to vote and what a choice.
This is a local election and two of the candidates live outside of our ward so for me that eliminates them. One is the Green party who have put up a candidate and not attempted to campaign which to me is cynical politics because their votes may indeed affect the result. So shame on you Greens you’re not going to save the planet this way. This leaves the Tories and Labour left in the race. Labour have in my opinion lost the campaign up to postal vote stage and with Donation Gate still in the news, the Rock crisis still simmering, petrol at £4.65 a gallon, food inflation running at its highest level ever, energy prices rising faster than boiling custard why should anyone trust Labour?
This is a local election and I know the best person for the job in these parts is Dave Hosell but if I vote for him Gordon and his buddies will claim it’s a Labour vote and carry on treating the electorate with the same old contempt. So it looks like the Tories. I think I need to lie down, have a rest I’ve gone weak in the head, Dave’s my mate.
I’ve just realised I’ve become a don’t know, I better leave it a couple of days. “Oh yes I will” I did a copy of the ballot paper just to explain the predicament. Maybe by the week end we might have a bit more to go on Gordon may have announced big pension increases or cuts in council tax for pensioners. Now I really am in the realms of fantasy land. They’ll be coming to take me away.
I ran the estimometer again and it is still giving me a Tory victory.

Its a bit like who wants to be a millionaire. The computer took away two of the wrong answers now can I ask the audience?

oops I forgot Labours bonus point for the phone call.

Tories 4 Lib Dems 0 Labour 3 Greens 0 and a yellow card for contempt.

17/1/2008 7days to go.

Very quiet on the campaign trail, is it exhaustion or have they quit? No Lib Dem posters on lamp posts. Almost worth a bonus point. Mind you they would have a job to find room with the Labour and Tory soggy and forlorn posters hogging the prime sights.
The candidates are reading the blog, I know this because the Tory candidate thanked me for comparing her with Billy Piper when I mentioned the poor quality photograph of her in her leaflet reminded me of something from Dr. Who. Sorry Val, I meant a Darlek. She’s got a great sense of humour. And now the Labour candidate has asked me to list the other candidates’ achievements in the ward over the last few years. Ummmmmmmmm I’m thinking hard, this is a bit cheeky David but a good question and I ask the other candidates to list them because I’m struggling here. The Tory attends Neighbourhood Watch meetings and makes a good contribution. She also attends community forum meetings sometimes but beyond that I don’t really know and I want to be scrupulously fair. Her husband is high profile in the area being the leader of the local Tories so now is your chance. The other two I can’t in all honesty comment because as I mentioned earlier until this election I had never heard of them and I’m pretty active in this community. So let’s hear from you. What have you done? I suppose another approach might be to ask the question what can you bring to the ward that the other candidates can’t? This is worth a cheeky bonus point I think but why David did you not include your achievements in your leaflet?
My vote is still up for grabs.

Tories 4 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens 0

18/01/2008 6days to go
UPPs seen in Newton ward

Yes folks Unidentified Political Persons UPPs have been spotted delivering leaflets and knocking on doors so I guess they think the campaign is winnable. You have to give these folks full marks for trying because the weather in these parts as been pretty awful these last few days. If I get a call I think I’ll award a bonus point for persistence. Labour and the Tories must be using the party machine from across Sandwell. Don’t know if the Lib Dems have such an organisation and I am officially now disqualifying the Greens for contempt. It’s very disappointing because in Newton we probably have a lot of sympathetic Green voters but they will have to work the patch.

A banana skin though is awarded to the Tories because their posters are coming away from the boards and will eventually add to our litter problem.

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens D
I have not yet voted so officially I’m still a “don’t know"

19/01/2008 5days to go.
Ok ok so it’s not a Darlek but Billy Piper? No photoshop technology was used on this image its how it came through my door. By way of recompense I’ll give the Tories back their bonus point. It’s good to see some of the candidates have a sense of humour.
I’m really pleased the Tories are taking this election seriously they usually poll around 700 votes and finish in third place but with the work they have put into this campaign my estimometer is showing that it’s a two horse race between them and Labour. My numbers show Labour with a small lead with the Tories second and Lib Dems third.
It was a waste of time me asking the audience because the only replies I got were from David and my wife which were pretty predictable.
The new look Tory leaflet “In touch “is quite appropriate for today’s listening politicians. Whereas the Lib Dem Focus seems to have lost its way. Dave dropped the Labour Rose from his last leaflet but image and presentation was below what we have come to expect. So far on balance I give the Tories a slight lead on the leaflet side of the campaign.
Lib Dems or Tories did not offer anymore items to the “what have they done” debate or how they could contribute over and above the others. So! On a purely local basis I’m thinking I got it right with Labour well ahead.

Tories 4 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens D
I wonder what the latest date to send my postal vote is. I’m still a don’t know.
Its votes that count. Will the electorate recognise all this? Log on next time for more on Bonus and Banana Skins.

20/01/2008 4days to go
Are the Lib Dems re-branding? You saw it on my blog first.

This logo was taken from the latest leaflet published by Lib Dems. Is it their new image? the first in a long line of changes being introduced by new leader Nick Clegg? Are they going Green? Or is this the start of a merger with the Tories? Put the Tory tree in the diamond and they’ve capitulated.
Yes folks we had another leaflet and it’s a By-Election Special from the Lib Dems but it’s so disappointing.
The logo was accompanied by a well written scare piece on the future of our Park which I find irritating and it came on the same day a newspaper article was praising the friends of the park and advertising a summer fun day. Although I am suspicious of the council’s motives in respect to the Red House this article was stretching it a bit. They are going to keep us informed on developments on this issue so I feel? well frankly worried.
Their headline it’s a Two Horse Race and sighting the results from last time is very misleading. A lot as changed since last time. Liberals had a well known candidate, Labour was having a bad time nationally and the Tories never tried. I agree with them it is a two horse race but between Labour and the Tories. How their candidate who was unknown until this campaign could suddenly become a Local Champion is well pure electioneering and is not going to fool anyone. Anybody can be pictured with their hand in a bottle bank and claim to be passionate about recycling. I’m passionate about clearing up after the green box collection every week but that doesn’t make me councillor material.
I like the setting up of a web site though although the testimonials on it are fairly weak. I’m going to monitor this site.
The worst bit though and I will give a bonus point to any of the other candidates who complain about it, is “Four Reasons to Vote Liberal democrat” so lets just examine them for a moment!
* A proven track record of 27 years excellent service. This was mostly Martyn Smith and the last six years in my opinion have seen a disappointing performance from our councillors.
* A strong voice in the Council chamber. This is a minority opposition party and from the many meetings I have attended with them except for giving his name I don't think I have heard one of our councillors speak. So sorry I can’t accept that.
* No promises made that can’t be kept. I don’t know that Dave or Val have ever made a promise that they have not kept. So sorry again this does not work for me.
* Focus delivered all year not just at election time. This is reasonably accurate because the Tories usually deliver one per year but Labour have over the last three years matched Lib Dems leaflet for leaflet.
So sorry Kay but it’s going to have to be a banana skin but I love the protecting our environment logo.
We also had a card from Labour, nice and simple stressing three main points that I know to be true and accurate about Dave and not attacking the other parties. So a bonus point here.
None of the parties have tried to engage with older people which I find annoying. The Tories vaguely mentioned care for the elderly but never expanded on it. Labour treats pensioners with contempt but I expected the Lib Dems to be more responsive. We oldies have a better voting record than other demographic sectors.

Tories 4 Lib Dems -1 Labour 5 Greens D

My estimometer is giving Labour a 55 vote lead with the Tories second.
But have I got my sums right? Do I need a lesson in maths?
I’m leaving my vote until Monday evening before posting it. And I’m not telling you lot who I vote for.

3days to go and I’m hearing rumours.

I have been told that no less than three Sandwell MPs and members of Sandwell Council Cabinet have been on the knocker in little ole Newton campaigning for Dave Hosell. This has to be worth a bonus point and that is what I call a strong voice for Newton ward, anybody who can drum up this kind of support must have some credibility with the Labour group. Somebody suggested that if Gordon Brown had been in the country he would have been here supporting Dave. I would have had to have awarded a banana skin for that.
It looks like the Lib Dems are not going to festoon our lamp posts with their posters so a bonus point here. This is old fashioned thinking and not really relevant to modern campaigns. They just look tatty.
We had another By-Election Special leaflet from Lib Dems this time in Lib Dem yellow, but again disappointing. She keeps referring to Great Barr & Hamstead and not Newton which leads me to believe she thinks in those terms and will concentrate on the area in which she lives and not the area she is trying to represent. They used the same picture again of the candidate with her hand in a bottle bank and I think this will be my endearing memory of her.
Looks like the Tories have quit unless they have secretly had David Cameron in the ward today. Can David do anything in secret?
I ran the Estimometer again and Labour are still in the lead by 50 votes but the Lib Dems are now in second place a couple of votes in front of the Tories.
There’s a couple of potential banana skins on the horizon for Labour with the loss of yet more documents and Northern Rock and donation gate rumbling on.
Surely the Tories and Lib Dems can get one big name in front of a camera during what has become such an important local election and for that matter why as our MP not been in the paper or on the tele praising his buddy.
But will the electorate appreciate this?
Tories 4 Lib Dems 0 Labour 6 Greens D
So a challenge to all candidates. Lets have a big finish. Can you get a Parliamentary front bench spokesperson from each party campaigning in the ward? Clegg? Cameron? Anybody but Brown.

2 Days to go.
Is there a knocker that’s not been knocked? Is there a phone that’s not been rung? I think Labour have been more systematic by using their resources to target specific demographic groups whereas the Libs & Tories seem to have used the blanket leaflet em all approach. I have to award a banana skin to the Tories because some of their posters are now advertising someone called Fitzpatrick and they are adding to the litter problem. So Val can you get the offending posters removed please. A banana skin also goes to Labour because of the news concerning the amount of public money being given to bail out Northern Rock. If they can do it for a bank they should also do it for pension funds. Another skin to Labour for the news of the biggest fall on the stock market since 9/11 and the midlands about to become a lake again. I couldn’t help but compare the Prime Minister being out of the country at a time of crisis with Jim Callahan’s famous “crisis what crisis” statement. His government fell shortly afterwards.
It’s yet another leaflet from the Tories and its whopper. A3 and the best quality printing yet the Tories have definitely won the leaflet race. A bonus point for the quality. How much is this campaign costing them? I’m not going to comment on it’s contents because it’s the predicable knock at THE pUBLIC and then each article is knocking Labour in the usual negative way so a banana skin here.
Any news on the big finish? Will it be Clegg? Cameron? Or Straw, Hewitt, Haine?
I’ve cast my vote its in the post.
My Estimometer went into a loop because the result is so close I have the Tories nudging into the lead followed by Lib Dems and Labour third. Bad news can seriously affect the result when the government are seen to be to blame.
Doesn’t look like I’m going to get an invite to the count but perhaps that’s just as well because I won’t need the body guard.

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens D

1 day to go and what a mess.
It’s difficult to judge what affect the stock market crash will have on a ward such as ours so I am going to have to adjust the numbers and do a bit of guessing. Perhaps now I should be calling it the Guesstimometer. On its own stock values probably not significant but coupled with other bad news it can only harm Labours campaign. I know this is a local election and I have cast my vote for who I believe is the best person to represent our ward but will the electorate do that on Thursday. Large proportion of owner occupiers in Newton who are older and hurting by increases in energy costs and petrol and with a large council tax rise about to be announced are pretty fed up with how Sandwell Council are running things. So I think they will in turn hurt the Labour candidate. Lack lustre campaign by Lib Dems and Tories have failed to capitalise on bad news.
I was privileged to be asked today to spend a couple of hours as an observer with the Labour candidate door knocking. David feels that my analysis of the campaign is flawed. You cannot help but admire David’s enthusiasm and commitment to our ward. He doggedly stuck to local issues and the things he had achieved. I was delighted with the warm and friendly responses he got. The area was what I would call traditional Labour territory and he did very well. His estimate of positives puts him in front. He may well be proved right. We have a lot of problems in our ward and some of these were brought to our attention today. If David does win it will be his presence and not Labour who have gained this seat.
On Thursday I plan to give some awards for such things has the biggest fib told on a leaflet most boring piece, best and poorest quality leaflet etc. If the candidates would like to submit nominations they will all be considered.

Guesstimometer gives Tories a tiny lead Libs are back in 3rd place. Its going to be a close finish.

Tories 3 Lib Dems 0 Labour 4 Greens D

And we have lift off.
Its all over bar the voting.
I ran the Guesstimometer again and I’m getting a Labour win by 50 votes with Lib Dems second. What a difference a day makes.
As promised the following are my awards for this campaign.

Biggest fib award goes to Lib Dems for making an unknown a local champion.
Biggest bore award goes to Tories for carping on and on and on and on about THE pUBLICzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Poshest leaflet award goes to Tories for A3 effort.
Worst leaflet award also goes to Tories for their first effort with Billy Piper.
Best through the letter box award goes to Labour for their card on education and David’s I called but you were out cards.
Biggest turn off award goes to Tories for their A3 leaflet slagging off Labour and ignoring the other parties.
Most positive award goes to Labour for their final targeted letter which is very constructive and does not criticise any of the other parties.

So I have great pleasure in announcing the winner of the first Bonus and Banana Skins game is David Hosell. Well done David and the Labour team and good luck to all the candidates today.
But just remember we get to do all this again in May. Won’t that be fun?

This post might also qualify for the longest blog post ever award.


dave hosell said...

Hi bob could you please give the libs cons and greens equal column space by listing there achievments in newton ward over the last few years?

Anonymous said...

bob i think you will be surpised when the local elections come round i have done a survey and the local councilars for labour are well down in the ratings local folk have been lied to or let down and the folk of sandwell have had enough it looks like tories are going to do it all the best to you real sandwell resident doug