“So what’s the latest from the Stoke-on-Trent Central campaign trail Wol?” I hear you ask – or maybe not.
Forget Right, Left and Centre – let’s start with the outta this world.
The Monster Raving Loony Party has announced it will be contesting the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.
Their candidate, ‘The Incredible Flying Brick’ wants to introduce piranha to the River Trent in a bid to make fishing a spectator sport. More alarmingly he also wants to make the civic centre into an ‘Intergalactic Space Port’.
In all honesty I don’t think they’ve thought through this policy at all. I mean, just think of the damage the back thrust from the visiting space craft engine’s would cause to that £70 a roll wallpaper Dave Conway and Abi Brown picked from their recent visit to IKEA.
I get where they are going with the moon base alpha theme though. I’ve seen many a Tetley Space Cadet knocking around the White Star and if you time it right, you can catch a certain interstellar councillor going for it in The Glebe – or maybe that should read ‘into Stella?’
The City Independents got very close to fielding a candidate by all accounts. The choice was between Jean Bowers, Rich Broughan and the main man himself Dave Conway.
In the end they decided against it – maybe that was down to the fact that allegedly, Jean is unhappy over being overlooked for a cabinet position so she thinks an MP’s salary is just about in reach. Rich was going to stand but he didn’t want to split Paul Nuttall’s vote and Dave couldn’t get Abi’s permission as they’re both far too busy making cuts to Children’s Centres.
The Green Party is putting a genuine Stokie up as their candidate. Adam Colclough is a former Labour Party activist who is proudly left wing but in a progressive way. When his candidacy was announced there were calls for his party not to field anyone for fear of splitting the left of centre vote. The Green’s polled 1123 votes in 2015 and with such a tight contest being predicted, those votes could be crucial. But why should Adam stand down? He felt particularly let down by the Labour Party and now he wants his platform to call out against austerity and divisive politics.
Stoke-on-Trent Central did make the national press today but I’m not sure the top four candidates covered themselves in much glory. There was this piece on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
It’s a bit worrying that one of the favourites to win can’t name the six towns. What next? Calling an oatcake a pancake, or knocking on the door and asking for a bowl of scouse? I bet he’s never heard of Port Vale either…..
Anyway, this faux pas spurred on the political heavyweights and remaining two Labour MP’s in the city into action – they thought they would visit UKIP HQ up ‘anley duck to give him an A-Z. The Labour Party’s funds must be in decline because Tom Tom’s are really cheap these days!
Have a look at the video here.
Labour’s Gareth Snell seemed reluctant to give Jeremy Corbyn a ringing endorsement to the BBC reporter although he did say he was frustrated with the referendum’s leave vote which led to him penning a rhyme claiming Brexit was shit. He’s entitled to that view of course and he has committed to not frustrating the vote on triggering Article 50.
The social media shit storm over Gareth’s comments about Brexit and Corbyn could have been handled a whole lot better in my opinion. There was no better opportunity of showing unity between Corbyn and Snell than the Leader’s visit to Stoke Central this weekend. Yet there were no joint interviews with the media in fact, from what I’m told by those who were there, there was no interviews at all. Corbyn came, was ushered into a side room, came out – addressed a crowd of the party faithful and went out for a photo opportunity on the campaign trail and left soon after. It was as if Gareth was being deliberately away from the media. The only way of answering his critics was head on. He needed to explain his Twitter comments and their context and to put it to bed once and for all. Instead he’s been battered time and time again on SM without reply.
The Liberal Democrat candidate Dr Zulfiqar Ali is confident of a victory as the only candidate who is advocating not triggering Article 50 and not leaving the EU. “The rest are in a kind of alliance” he says. Not sure how Labour feel about being in an alliance with the Kippers or visa versa for that matter. One thing I am sure about is that the Lib Dems don’t stand a chance. When I was last in school the 70% was always greater than 30% and as it seems Brexit is playing a major part in the by-election, there’s more chance of Nuttall finding that bowl of scouse than there is a victory for Dr Ali.
And so to Jack Brereton, the Conservative Party candidate. Well if he performs on the doorstep the way he performed in that audio interview with the BBC, no one will know what the hell he and his party will do for the people of Stoke Central. He did not give a answer to the question of why he voted to remain in the EU referendum. Jack has previous and angered many people in Stoke Central as the Coalition Cabinet Member who shut the Crown Bank bogs when previously pledging to keep them open at all costs.
Sources close to the Conservatives inform me that there isn’t too much effort and resources being put into this by-election. Far more dosh is finding it’s way up north and being pumped into the Copeland seat. Stoke Conservatives know there best chance of defeating Labour in this contest is to let UKIP throw everything and the kitchen sink into their campaign.
On the doorsteps the reaction is worrying some of my Labour Party mates. UKIP are really very well received and the same can not be said of Labour. Sources are predicting a really close battle, some even going as far as leaning towards a UKIP win.
Claims by some that even if Labour do win, the majority will be smashed to next to nothing.
Finally there is some worrying news. It appears that there have been some unpleasant scenes on the campaign trail. Some folk out leafleting for Hope not Hate encountered some nasty individuals and had leaflets knocked out of their hands. It remains a mystery as to whether these individuals were from UKIP but the understanding is that they were definitely right wing.
It’s worth noting that there is a BNP candidate standing and there are rumours on Twitter that the EDL have lent a helping hand in Stoke-on-Trent Central.
The final full list candidates: