It’s still ominously quiet in the two constituencies of Truro & Falmouth and St Austell & Newquay. In Truro, Sarah Newton curiously thought it was a vote-winner to ask Iain Duncan Smith to visit. This took place in that strange ToryWorld where £12 billion more welfare cuts is an example of ‘improving people’s lives’. As a shiver of fear ran through the disabled and vulnerable across the land, Radio Cornwall interviewed Duncan Smith about ‘welfare support’, which is a bit like asking Vlad the Impaler for his views on blood transfusion.
While Sarah was hosting Vlad, Ukip’s John Hyslop was inviting Paul Holmes, leader of Cornwall’s equally long-dead Liberal Party, to address Ukip’s Truro constituency AGM. The Liberals were formerly supporters of a Cornish Assembly but presumably now feel, like their new chums, that it’s all a European plot. Strange times.
The Green Party’s new candidate Karen Westbrook was down at Falmouth joining a demo by University of Falmouth students against cuts in contemporary arts courses. All the protesting students assured Karen they were going to vote for her. So now all she has to do is persuade them to register and then get up before the polls close.
Meanwhile, what about the others, the (five) dwarves to Sarah Newton’s Snow White? They’ve all been too busy doing other stuff (or perhaps some of them are actually out leafleting and canvassing instead of producing an avalanche of old-style paper-pleading) to dent this media image. Simon Rix for the Lib Dems can’t be bothered with Facebook any more. But he still found time to pop up on Spotlight calling for the abolition of Police Commissioners. This couldn’t possibly be the same Police Commissioners our hapless three Cornish Lib Dem MPs all voted to introduce in 2011 could it?
While Simon was frantically flip-flopping in time-honoured Lib Dem tradition, Labour’s Stuart Roden, wearing his UNISON hat, was ‘pragmatically’ supporting the amalgamation of police services with Dorset while drawing the line at privatisation. As yet it’s unclear whether, wearing his Labour hat, he’ll also draw the line at something his party was quite keen on from 1997 to 2010.
MK’s Stephen Richardson was asking for money. Unlike Labour, MK has no millionaires or East End actors to call on; unlike the Tories it has no shady organisations in the Home Counties funnelling hedge fund money their way; unlike the Lib Dems it has no idiots willing to dig into their pockets for a lost cause. Ex-MK candidate Loic Rich, now Independent via a detour among the Tories, was too busy being mayor of Truro while Rik Evans of the National Health Action Party also has a surprisingly subdued online presence, given the steady drip feed of news about a disintegrating NHS.
Moving east to neighbouring St Austell & Newquay, sitting Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert was enthusiastically re-tweeting a tweet from a new member.
Except that it would have been more convincing evidence for a huge turn to Stephen in order to ditch the dastardly Tories if only Mr Maynard hadn’t been a Lib Dem candidate at the Mevagissey by-election last November. Perhaps he left and then re-joined. Stephen followed this patent act of desperation with a fierce attack on Labour’s record on privatising the NHS.
In case voters in St Austell are forgetful, at this point we have to perform a public service and remind them Stephen Gilbert also voted moderately in favour of the Tories’ ‘reform’ of the NHS. While we’re at it he voted 98.4% of the time with the Tory/Lib Dem governing coalition in the last parliament. (Dan Rogerson in North Cornwall voted with them 97.8% of the time and even Andrew George managed 92.4% support.)
Turning from one government loyalist to another, the Tory Tory Steve Double might be forgiven for getting a little over-confident. Confidence oozing from every pore, he told us he was lying in bed (too much information Steve) contemplating his role in the next coalition government and looking forward to being in the Commons for the next Prime Minister’s Questions circus. Those whom the gods wish to destroy etc …
Labour’s Deborah Hopkins continues to churn out Facebook posts as if they were going out of fashion. She kindly informs us of scores of Labour pledges, including building 200,000 houses a year, ‘focusing on’ (?) social housing. That’s Newquay accounted for then so what about a few more for other places? But where’s Labour’s pledge to reduce the deficit by £30 billion? Or Ed Ball’s pledge not to raise any of those nasty taxes, thus condemning us to even more ‘sensible’ cuts?
If Deborah leaves us a little confused on that issue, that’s nothing compared with the confusion we encounter when consulting the website of Ukip’s David Mathews. This can only charitably be described as a complete mess. A quote from William Wallace (of Braveheart, not Bugle), photo of a quizzical Nigel Farage and other stuff jostle for space with ‘100 reasons to vote Ukip’. Be warned though. Anyone intrigued by how there can be 100 reasons when they’re struggling to come up with one will need the patience of Job. In fact, given the average age of Ukip fanciers, they may well have expired long before the page has uploaded.
The Greens’ Steve Slade is fairly invisible in the media, presumably soliciting votes rather than surfing. Meanwhile Dick Cole of MK was coming over all presidential on the Daily Politics Show, beamed at us from the imperialists’ Sodom and Gomorrah of London. Make the most of it as this is probably the last time we’ll see any MK candidate on the telly this side of May 7th. The BBC will now be putting in place its traditional ban on any mention of the party over the election period. Already BBC SW has excluded MK, along with TUSC and the Communist Party of Britain, from its election Question Time in Plymouth. For some reason MK seems peeved they have to put up just 89 candidates to get a party political broadcast, while the SNP only has to stand ten, Plaid seven and Sinn Fein three for the same privilege. If only there was another party calling for a fair deal for Cornwall.