The Northwest Norfolk Hustings

An account of last night’s Northwest Norfolk hustings meeting which I was bale to follow courtesy of the Lynn News live blog (to which I have linked in this piece), and my usual sign off.

INTRODUCTION

This event took place last night at the Methodist Chapel on London Road, King’s Lynn. I found out about it too late to attend the venue in person, but through the good offices of The Lynn News, who organized the event, I was able to follow it via a live blog, with extra detail from the twitter feed of Northwest Norfolk Labour’s Jordan Stokes. This post looks back at the event before and at what it means for this seat.

THE DRAMATIS PERSONAE

There were five people on the platform: Rob Colwell (Liberal Democrat), Michael De Whalley (Green), Jo Rust (Labour), James Wild (Conservative) and Allister Webb (The Lynn News, moderator but not contributor – BBC panel shows/ interviews please take note of the but in bold).

INTRODUCTIONS

Each candidate had two minutes to introduce themselves, and three of the four managed this feat without any missteps. The exception was James ‘parachute candidate’ Wild whose hamfisted effort suggested that he had learned all the wrong things in his time as advisor to Mr Johnson.

THE REST OF THE EVENING

The main event was divided into sections in which various issues were raised, with questions coming from members of the audience. Rob Colwell and Michael De Whalley both gave good honest answers throughout, with Michael demonstrating why he is a well respected local Councillor. However, at every point they were equalled or bettered by Jo Rust, who made some outstanding contributions. James Wild did little to help himself during the course of the evening. Near the end he was asked if he planned to move to the area, and at least managed to get that one right, when he said “yes, if I am elected”. Any other answer would have increased the damage he had sustained on the evening – a straight yes without amplification would have sounded arrogant, as though he believed that it was already in the bag, while a a ‘no’, no matter what it was accompanied by, would have holed his campaign below the waterline.

LOOKING AHEAD TO DEC 12TH

The only chance of getting a non-Tory MP in this constituency is to vote for Jo Rust, and my reckoning is that she gave her chances a big boost last night. Mr Wild had a poor time, and that should also work in Jo’s favour. I respect Michael De Whalley, and but for the continuing use of the outmoded FPTP system I would be voting for his party, and he was undoubtedly impressive last night. Rob Colwell said a lot of the right things last night but his party stand no chance in this constituency and have not been distinguishing themselves of late. Had Sir Henry been standing for re-election it would have been a seismic shock for this seat to go to Jo Rust, but, especially after last night, I reckon she has a genuine chance of beating James Wild. An account of last night can be seen here, and you can relive (to an extent) the live blog experience here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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More Election Thoughts and England in NZ

A look at developments in GE2019, England’s warm=up for the test series in New Zealand and plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features GE2019 once again, with thoughts on both the local and national picture. I also mention England’s preparation for the test match series in New Zealand, and of course I have plenty of photographs.

GE2019: THE PICTURE LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY

Nationally the importance of getting the Tories out has been further emphasized by a number of developments, including another major fire caused by the use of flammable cladding (that the cladding used on the student hall in Bolton is not the same as that used on Grenfell is a pathetic red herring). The Liberal Democrats are doing shockingly, with Swinson’s delusions, Ed Davey’s plan to keep government spending in surplus (for an explanation of exactly what this policy means and why it is so despicable check out this post from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK) and Sam Gyimah’s vile campaign in Kensington & Chelsea (which has placed Emma Dent Coad in personal danger) all working against them.

Locally the picture looks brighter for Jo Rust than it did when this election was called. In place of Sir Henry Bellingham who declined to stand for re-election the Tory candidate is someone who a) was parachuted in and b)has no recommendation for the post beyond having been an advisor to Mr Johnson (i.e no recommendation for the post). Parachute candidates do not have a good history in this constituency – Manish Sood for Labour garnered only just over 6,000 votes in 2010 (as compared to 15,000 for Jo in 2017). Henry Bellingham standing down reduced the climb for Jo from Himalayan to Alpine proportions, and the selection of this candidate has further reduced it from Alpine to Scottish Munro. Just to the south Liz Truss is being challenged by another excellent local candidate, radio presenter Emily Blake. .

A few related links….

First, courtesy of The Skwawbox who presented it in this post, a video that will be the best 108 seconds of viewing you get today:

Next, a video from Northwest Norfolk Labour candidate Jo Rust:

Finally, a video from Michaela about voting (courtesy of Hope not Hate):

Remember, use your right to vote, and please vote against Tories (if you are unfortunate enough to be in one of the handful of seats that is genuinely a Tory/ Lib Dem marginal, then in that circumstance a vote for the Lib Dems is probably the least of evils) wherever you are.

ENGLAND IN NEW ZEALAND

England’s final warm-up match before the test series in New Zealand finished in a draw, but with several pluses for England: runs for the restored Pope, tidy bowling from Jack Leach, wickets in both innings for Jofra Archer and in the second for Sam Curran, and an overall very dominant performance – New Zealand were 66 ahead with two second innings wickets standing when time ran out. It actually looks like England have a sensible red ball combo.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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Election News

Thoughts on two important election developments and England’s T20 series victory. Also plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The main body of this post is inspired by two developments that have occurred today. There is also some other stuff later.

TWO MAJOR ELECTION DEVELOPMENTS

It has been announced today that the Brexit Party will not be standing in any Tory held seats, a development that leads to me to suspect that if the election goes as planned for Johnson and cronies there will soon be a Lord Farage of Dot-on-the-Map (he does not plan to stand as a candidate for his party, being 0 for 7 in that area, and he does nothing without having his price).

The other big development is that The Greens have stood aside in Chingford & Wood Green to give Faiza Shaheen a clear run at Iain Duncan Smith. I am firmly of the opinion that a degree of reciprocation is called for. My immediate suggestions in that regard are:

1)Stand aside in Brighton Pavilion so that Caroline Lucas has a clearer run at retaining her seat.

2)Stand aside on the Isle of Wight, so that Vix Lowthion is in a straight fight with the Tories there.

Also, the grubby Farage/ Johnson stitch up really does make this The Rest vs The Hard Right, so everyone who does not want Johnson running riot in the commons backed by Farage in the Lords must be prepared to vote for whoever can give them a non-Tory. In my own constituency I have a very obvious and appealing choice – Jo Rust and Labour. Elsewhere in the mainland I would vote Labour, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru or Liberal Democrat according who could defeat the Tories in that area. In NI things are different, but there is even one seat there where my vote might be dictated by necessity – unappealing as voting for Unionist of any stamp would be to me I would were I in her constituency vote for Lady Hermon to reduce the chances of those Tory stooges the DUP taking it.

Following on from that last paragraph, this necessity of tailoring one’s vote to fit the circumstances in one’s area is why I devoutly hope that GE2019 will be the last to be held using the outmoded FPTP method. Proponents of this thoroughly discredited method for running elections say that it delivers stable majority governments. Well, in appropriate language for the season: Oh No It Doesn’t – since Labour’s last majority in 2005 only Cameron in 2015 has had an outright majority, and that was very slender – and if GE2019 produces an outright majority for anyone I will be very surprised. Also, after the five years of the coalition we are now looking at a third GE in less than five years – some stability! For another interesting take on this election visit Miles King’s latest post on A New Nature Blog by clicking here.

Finally, before moving on to other matters, it will surprise no one to read that I consider a head to head debate between Johnson and Corbyn unrepresentative of the current state of British politics – I would also include the Lib Dems (presumably Swinson), Plaid, SNP (Sturgeon or if it must a Westminster figure either Joanna Cherry or Mhairi Black), The Greens (I would reckon that Sian Berry would be their best spokesperson) and possibly even representatives from Northern Ireland.

ENGLAND WIN T20 LEG OF NZ TOUR

For the second time this year England and New Zealand could only be split by a Super Over, and for the second time this year England emerged with the spoils, although this time they won the Super Over outright, rather than further tie-splitting being needed. Rain delayed the start of the fifth and final match of the T20 series, and reduced to an 11 overs per side contest. With three balls left England needing 147 to win had 134 and it looked like New Zealand were snatching it at the death, but Chris Jordan, who has had a fine series, hit those last three balls for 12 to level the match and bring about the Super Over. England batted first in the Super Over and Bairstow and Morgan combined to rack up 17 of Trent Boult’s over. Jordan, who would have been England’s third batter had they lost a wicket (one is allowed to lose one wicket, but two ends one’s batting effort) then prepared to bowl the deciding over, while New Zealand sent Guptill and Seifert in to bat (De Grandhomme waiting in the wings). Jordan’s second delivery was called wide, somewhat harshly, but thereafter a combination of good bowling from him and a little too much cleverness on the part of Seifert worked in England’s favour. Seifert’s dismissal left 10 needed off two balls, with Guptill on strike (the batters having crossed before the catch to dismiss Seifert was taken). Guptill was held to a single, and Jordan just had to bowl a legal delivery to win it for England. He did so, and De Grandhomme was unable to score off it, meaning that England had won the Super Over by a comparatively enormous margin of nine runs. The red ball stuff starts tonight GB time with day 1 of a two day practice match, and then there is one proper first class match before the two test matches end the tour.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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A large gathering of….
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…lapwings

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Two flying cormorants
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And completing the set of cormorant pics this one is swimming.

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