The nominations for the local elections were published today. Since there has been no local literature at all in my area from Labour or the Conservatives, today was the day to learn who is standing against us. It was yet another eyebrow raising session.
In Whickham North, Labour's candidate is Paul Tinnion. He used to be one of the leading lights in the Labour group and I have to say I had a great deal of time for him. Though he lives in Whickham, he represented a ward in the east of Gateshead until he left the council in 2004. There had been a disagreement between himself and the Labour party. I said at the time that I thought Paul had been unfairly treated by Labour. Anyway, he is not exactly making a comeback, but does seem to be flying the flag for Labour again. Whickham North was once a safe Labour area but we first won the seat from them in 1992 and it has been strongly Lib Dem ever since.
Paul is also the Labour agent in Newcastle North so I guess his attentions are directed there rather than south of the Tyne in Whickham. Newcastle North is one of the constituencies we could pick up if Labour has a bad night on 6th May.
Two other blasts from the past are in my ward. Readers may recall the interesting saga I explained (in some detail) during the election-that-never-was in 2007 when Labour put out a leaflet in my ward filled with the most ridiculous and incorrect allegations and claims about the Lib Dems. There were screaming headlines alleging that Lib Dem run Newcastle had spent millions on a recycling and waste collection system that had to be abandoned straight away. The whole story had been made up. The name of Peter DeVere, Labour's candidate against me in 2007, was all over this leaflet.
Mr DeVere was contacted by me to be offered space in our Focus so that he could withdraw the incorrect and wildly inaccurate claims. His reply was that the leaflet had nothing whatsoever to do with him and he pointed the finger of blame at another Labour member. Well, it all resulted in a terrible mess for Labour and in the 2008 local elections, Mr DeVere was no longer a candidate. Now he's back....and I may be going through my archives to remind people again of the claims that were made in his name. But there again, I may spare him that. It hardly seems fair to hang around his neck again the daft things someone else hung there nearly three years ago.
The second blast from the past is Edward Parker. He used to stand for the Conservatives 20 or so years ago in our area but I have seen nothing of him for two decades. I recall he retired from the local branch of bank where he worked in the late 80s. He used to serve me when I went in. Pleasant chap. Always got on well with him.
So, good luck to Paul, Edward and Peter. We will of course be doing everything we can to ensure we beat you in the election, but I doubt you would have expected anything else from us!