Saturday, April 22, 2017

Where are my opponents?

The Liberal Democrats have been ready for a snap general election since summer last year. There was an interesting degree of brutal efficiency in the appointment of candidates, ensuring we had candidates in place in the overwhelming majority of seats. In terms of candidates, I'm rather surprised however that the other parties did little to prepare for a snap general election, especially the Conservatives who have inflicted it on the nation.

While there are extenuating circumstances for Labour here in Blaydon constituency being without a candidate (the sitting MP has announced his retirement), the vacancy does leave Labour weakened. They can't unite and campaign around an individual. There is no smoke coming out of the Labour NEC papal chimney yet and quite when they will have a candidate in place is a big unknown. I suspect a few individuals who have to have Blaydon pointed out to them on a map will be hoping the gods of the NEC will look favourably on them. I suspect however that a certain local front runner will get it.

At the election in 2015 in Blaydon, there were 5 candidates. UKIP came second but their organisation in the constituency barely exists. It would not surprise me if no UKIP candidate stood here this time. There are a handful of Green Party members but no activity. I suspect they will have a candidate but no campaign.

Finally, the Conservatives. Typically, Blaydon is among the last constituencies to have a Conservative candidate named, normally someone with few, if any, links to the area. They are here to earn their spurs before moving on to a plum seat that could send them to Westminster with the letters MP after their name. I can find no evidence of a Conservative candidate being appointed at this moment. They have no local organisation to speak of and I guess that the usual pattern of a last minute announcement will be followed this time.

So, at the moment in Blaydon constituency, I am the only candidate in place.

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