I was able to have a look at the leaflet (Mark is after all based at the next desk to mine). It led me to think I should write a post along similar lines. And then last night, in a meeting with fellow councillors from Whickham, Chris Ord gave me a copy of a Labour leaflet he had managed to recover from North Tyneside. And in it was a photo of Gordon Brown and a letter from him. Perhaps Labour in North Tyneside are not so ashamed of their Leader as the rest of their party seems to be. Or possibly, Labour in North Tyneside are on a suicide mission and know it!
North Tyneside has an elected mayor. The borough first elected a Tory mayor (and subsequently stayed Tory in a byelection). But the last mayoral election was held on the day of the 2005 general election. This was almost certainly the cause of Labour's gain of the mayoralty - all those extra Labour voters coming out to vote who would otherwise not have voted in a simple local election gave Labour enough of an advantage to seize the first prize.
Now Labour are staring into the abyss in North Tyneside. With no general election expected, the extra turnout they need to hold on is going to be difficult to motivate to get out. Nevertheless, Labour are putting in the resources. The leaflet I was given was a personally addressed survey card which was mailed out. Not cheap! With Labour close to bankruptcy (both financially and politically) they have clearly made a decision to put what few resources they have into the battle for North Tyneside.
For the Tories however this is quite a prize. North Tyneside is the only place in the whole of Tyneside where they are strong. Tynemouth constituency is one of their top targets (it was formerly a long term Tory seat until it went Labour in 1997). The Tories will trumpet a gain in North Tyneside as evidence of a recovery in the North - though the reality is that it is simply a recovery in North Tyneside, not the North East generally.
So, North Tyneside mayoral race is an interesting one to watch.
Meanwhile, I am on the shockingly early 7.20am train from Newcastle heading to London. That meant getting up at 6.20am. And even then the sun was up. We have of course passed the spring equinox this weekend. But that didn't make getting up so early any more enjoyable!
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