South East Cornwall: Coalition certainty

Everyone backs Sheryll
Everyone backs Sheryll

Sadly these days, South East Cornwall is the least Cornish of all Cornish constituencies. It’s also the most Tory, although the Tory is a swashbuckling Cornish fisherwoman, Sheryll Murray. Sheryll has a professional operation and the Tories have attracted (or paid for) a large number of facebook likes. She’s also frighteningly active on social media, although the same posts are repeated again and again, and then tweeted just to make sure you get the message. If you believe the hype everyone and anyone in south east Cornwall is backing Sheryll, not just fishermen and farmers. They just can’t wait to vote for her, eagerly steering their zimmer frames in the direction of the postbox to return that postal vote.

Lagging far behind is the Lib Dems’ Phil Hutty. Phil is the equivalent of snooker’s Steve Davies, nice but interesting. He says he’s been having ‘interesting conversations with all manner of interesting people’ as he knocks on 15,000 doors. Which was nice. Most people either take pity or have been too polite to say bugger off and this has left Phil with the very mistaken impression that ‘it’s very close’. It isn’t, Phil. You’re languishing behind Sheryll by several thousand mindless votes, as she heads for a comfortable win. Phil’s problem is summed up when he tells us Millbrook surgery is under threat of closure and this shows the ‘weakness of the NHS under the Conservatives’. The only tiny problem with that is that I’m sure the Lib Dems were lurking around in the background somewhere too.

This is the constituency with two candidates who are barely out of short trousers. One of them is very active, the other a little more elusive. Bradley Monk for Ukip has found a ‘worrying amount of non-voters’ in Saltash and Pensilva, which is hardly surprising in Pensilva, which for many years was thought to exist in a time-warp left over from the 1930s. While levels of support in Looe and Polperro were ‘encouraging’. Brad’s task is how to wean these right-thinking anti-European coastal dwellers away from Sheryll, who’s pretty indistinguishable from Ukip on most issues. Inland, surely the disillusioned voters met on the moors should all be clamouring to enrol in Farage’s ‘People’s Army’. That they aren’t shows the limits of this brand of populism.

Labour’s Declan Lloyd was spotted at the last hustings yesterday at Callington, although he skipped an earlier one as he was on holiday with his mum. Declan is apparently surprised that no big names from the coalition parties have bothered to visit the seat. Someone really ought to inform him that it’s hardly a secret; it’s because they all regard the outcome here as completely cut and dried. Somewhat boringly, Declan concentrates on facebook on reposting central office Labour stuff.

As does Martin Corney in respect of the Greens. Like North Cornwall, the Greens may well challenge Labour here for fourth place. Meanwhile, Andrew Long for MK tries to surmount the slight obstacle of being studiously and deliberately ignored by the BBC throughout the campaign. Andrew, along with the MK candidates in St Austell and Camborne, preferred to attend two excruciatingly lengthy Cornwall Council meetings last week rather than campaign. He did this to show his commitment to the local people he represents. Very worthy although, as this wouldn’t be reported, local people will be blissfully unaware and only political anoraks like those who waste their time writing (and reading) this drivel will know anything about it.

Here’s my prediction. Confidently expect Sheryll to be breaking open a bottle (or three) on Friday. Mind you, in 2010 I thought this seat would be very close and even tipped the Lib Dem to sneak it. Which probably proves you shouldn’t really believe a word you read here.

1. Murray (Con) 41%
2. Hutty (LD) 23%
3. Monk (Ukip) 17%
4. Lloyd (Lab) 9%
5. Corney (GP) 7%
6. Long (MK) 2%
7. Trubody (Ind) 1%

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