Beestonia, once the home for the glib wittering of a baffled resident trying to make sense of the weirdness of his hometown, now seems to have metamorphosed into a platform for the election battle. This is akin to staging the World Cup Final on my back lawn. Still, people are reading, commenting, sparring, so democracy is alive and well. My ex-landlord, Nigel, recently wrote to me to say ‘It’s a sign of a shift in power from the monied to the articulate. All thanks to the wonder web.’ Cheers, though I think the ‘articulate’ reference is a bit stretched.
So here goes. We left off last time with Watt’s rebuttal of figures, and my keenness to involve Soubry into the campaign. I thus wrote to both Nick and Anna, asking them to contribute further. Soubry hasn’t commented here before, so I was very keen to give her a platform.
First, Nick Palmer replies to David Watts:
Hi Matt,Sorry to hear about your tumble – hope no lasting effects!A response to the response (are you going to keep this up?):
I’m a bit puzzled by David Watts’ response. I’m a mathematician but one doesn’t have to be to see that the 13% swing claim is wrong, and I don’t care if it’s on God’s website. The figures last time:
Let’s assume David somehow gets the 13% swing he mentions. The result is then:
So the Tories would win by a mile. He needs to take more than half my vote in one fell swoop, and a casual glance at the posters around the constituency shows that simply isn’t happening. What he CAN do is build up the LibDem position for the local elections next year, and that’s what their campaign is really about – but the price would be a Tory win.
By contrast, I don’t need a net swing at all to hold off the Tories, who seem to be making no progress. I just have to persuade enough new supporters to balance losses to any voters who fall for David’s spiel.
If people want to support David because they like his campaign, fine. But he’s basing his appeal on the claim that he’s poised to win – even, according to his website, that he’s the only candidate who can beat the Tories – when clearly this isn’t the case.
over to Mr Watts.
Soubry: Not Happy.
Last night, I wrote to Anna. My email is published here verbatim:
My name is Matt, and I run the Beestonia Blog, which I’ve presently turned over towards a dedicated report on the tight Broxtowe campaign.
I am presently experiencing high, cross party readership, and am providing a platform for parties to argue points outside the usual hustings environment. At the moment, an argument is raging between Palmer and Watts over their position on tactical voting, and as the favourite to take the seat, I invite a right of reply.
I admit that my position on your performances of late may be harsh, but this is less partisan (I myself am undecided, as are most my friends) more a constructive critique and observation. I feel therefore that would be a boon to your campaign to engage on this level. I have been cynical of the ‘bloggerati’s’ influence on such things, and have stumbled upon hosting such a discussion via my site almost by accident. Nick Palmer has been aware of the site for some time, less through a political stance, more an appreciation of previous,decidedly apolitical articles.
I will post all responses unedited, with only a level of personal commentary (see the site for more detail).
Its a fascinating battle, and a microcosm for the country as a whole, so I would be delighted for some response along the lines provided by Messrs Watts and Palmer. I understand you must be phenomenally busy at this time, but feel this is an effective way to engage an audience beyond usual campaign techniques.
I can be contacted via reply of email ,or on 07************
Matt Goold, Beestonia.
A reply arrives the following morning. I am not going to comment whatsoever, I think it speaks for itself. As promised, it is published verbatim, unedited. Let me know what you think. I’m off to the pub, things are getting too weird, and I now evidently have an image to uphold.
Dear Mr Goold,
Thank you for your email. I am sorry but having read the Beestonia
Blog I would rather not contribute. I have no difficulty with attacks
on my political beliefs, though prefer them to be based on accuracy
rather than prejudice, but I believe some of your comments are
personally offensive and do nothing to engage people in politics.
If you had introduced yourself I might have been happier to have my
photograph taken on your mobile phone; I’m not sure why you didn’t say
hello and ask if you could post it on your blog. I certainly did not
run away as you reported, though it would have been reasonable in the
I have read a number of your comments about other women; I wouldn’t go
as far as to agree with one of your friends that there is a hint of
misogyny but you do display a considerable amount of sexism.
No doubt you will post this on your blog and if you do I very much
hope you do not edit it in anyway.
Thank you again for your email.
I don’t think disagreeing with a woman necesserily makes you a misoganist Matt.
Perhaps Ms Soubery can explain how it does ?
(PS My old man would be interested in her response !)
I’m slightly baffled at the grounds of the accusation (to be fair, she said I wasn’t a misogynist, merely display signs of sexism). For a Tory to accuse me of an -ism is quite some thing.
I worryingly think her rationale runs along the lines of ‘not liking the only woman in the campaign= sexism’ , rather than the more accurate ‘think she is running an awful campaign/never been too partial to the Conservatives=natural therefore to express my opinion’
Mind you,she is a woman, so I shouldn’t expect much deep thought.
Wouldn’t it be great if the candidates used this forum as a place for “positive politics”, instead of keeping this bickering about meaningless swing numbers going? I think everything that needs to be said about it has already been said (by Andrew Turvey, in the “Round Two” comments, rather than by the candidates) – maybe they could drop the “it’s a two-horse race” whining and tell us a good reason to vote for them?
Is there anything more deflating for feminism than a woman floundering under pressure accusing those who point it out as attacking her just because of her gender? For the record I, as a woman (and with a PhD in feminist history) can see that Soubry’s poor performance has all to do with her inability to relate to the lives of the people whose votes she is courting. Her refusal to engage with criticism is a worrying precedent to set, and one of the reasons I am more interested in this election than I have been in any since 1997. Soubry would be a disaster for Broxtowe and the Tories would be a disaster for the country and people.
A shame she’s decided not to join in, as obviously she really needs to win the seat, and by ignoring you/us, she’s alienating herself from our possible vote in two weeks. You ought to ask Dave Mitchell for his thoughts on the voting, as he could be a dark horse.
I sent Anna Soubry an email the other day asking her to reply to the “Democracy Club” survey they are doing on all the election candidates in the country. I was rather astonished by the reply I got – although quite consistent with her email to you above:
“Thank you for your email. I am not in the office but out campaigning
in Broxtowe. I am receiving about a hundred emails a day and am
therefore struggling to answer them all individually. I should add
that the vast majority of emails are from lobby groups, charities and
similar organisations looking for support. With a few notable
exceptions I am not signing up support nor answering any surveys. I
can assure you that if I am elected as the MP for Broxtowe
constituents emails will be answered quickly and efficently. No MP has
any excuse for not answering emails given it’s their job and they
receive a handsome allowance to employ staff. I will not employ party
activists and councillors with tax payers money.
Thank you again for your email – if it is urgent you will shortly
receive an individual reply.
I heard about a similar response from the Labour office to someone with a problem which needed sorting this week – everyone was too busy campaigning to help. I expect that MP’s only really care when they are paid to.
Alice, I’m sure you are aware that Nick isnt technically an MP during the campaign, therefore the level of help he can give is severly restricted, unless it is a chronic emergency.
As for Anna Soubry, what more was expected. Arrogance is not the word, I think most people would disagree with her politics (her usual line being ‘uh dunno….what does Ken Clarke say) while personal attacks might be a bit far, politicians know what they’re getting into, and Anna works with criminals (not just in the Tory party) so should have a thick skin.
And that out office reply, what an absolute belter!
Great blog by the way
That was kinda the point I was making Alison, Not an MP, not any paid staff, therefore not my problem from both Nick and Anna. Shame really.
I think Anna Soubry’s replies quoted here may give some indication about why there’s so little evidence of support for her. While I assume that some of David Watts’ comments are standard Lib Dem election campaigning (the “two-horse race” slogan is a very old one), I’ve been puzzled by how little evidence there is of support for the Conservative campaign. I’ve seen many more Conservative posters in Beeston at this stage of previous elections, even though the candidate didn’t win. My impression – and that’s all it is – is that a lot of voters are unsure but I’ve heard some who have opposed New Labour in the past say that they will vote for Nick Palmer specifically to keep Anna Soubry out. Women (even feminists) as well as men are saying that.
I know that Beeston’s a marginal but this is in many ways a very strange election. I’m curious about the effects of social networking, blogging and the opportunities for political debate and comment on-line. I wonder how many late voter registrations there have been in Broxtowe. If, as seems probable, there’s a higher student/youth vote than in previous years this could affect the outcome too.
The Lib-Dems don’t issue candidates with any spin book to quote from, unlike at least one of the other parties. The views I expressed are completely my own and honestly held. I do accept that the two horse race analogy is a well used one, not just by us but by others, but it really is how I’ve felt. That said tonight I was canvassing in Stapleford and didn’t find anyone who was voting Labour. Whilst I did find Conservative voters I also found a number of people who were switching from Tory to us.
I remember on election..it was the one postponed for the foot & mouth outbreak. The Liberals had already printed their leaflets months ahead.
They said that Labour was going to remove the winter fuel allowance. At the next budget Brown increased it. When asked about the blatent misrepresentation of the truth Dave Watts & Co went all wibbly wobbly.
Of course this a two horse race but Dave being a good candidiate will not admit it. he would be crazy to, so stop suggesting it isn’t and then people will realise it is.
Libs should really pick some one who at least has a chance…some like the bloke a few streets away from me…….the one and only Ken Rigby, Broxtowe’s real socialist champion.
Socialism – now that’s something that could win Labour a few votes! Pity they seem to have dropped it in recent years. I think Lib Dems are left of Labour on so many issues – perhaps Labour need to get back to basics to coin another political phrase.
I’ve been to God’s website, and he definitely agrees that Nick stands a good chance of being re-elected.
I’ve been struggling to make my mind up whether to vote for David or Nick. I think both would be excellent. I know statistics are all useless because they can be bent whichever way you want. I was thinking its a one horse race personnally. I’ve had a look at the betting odds, which should be more reliable. – http://www.oddschecker.com/specials/politics-and-election/broxtowe/winning-party and it looks like that horse is winning. Though I want to vote Lib Dem, I think the odds are making me want to vote for Nick, unless Gordy has a big bromance with Mr Tony “War Crimes” Blair between now and the election day. I don’t want Anna to get in – if she can’t be bothered to answer emails on an election campaign what’s the odds on her bothering when she has 3 yrs of office? – Ben
I can’t tell you who to vote for; that would make me a campaigner rather than a commentator; but in light of Ed Balls comments today urging traditional Labour voters in Lib Dem/ Conservative marginals to plump for the more progressive option….well, I’ll let you make your own mind up. With a percentage point between Palmer and Soubry, Im sure you can see where a single vote can be most effective.
Vote Lib Dem, fellow Ben. If you want to, that is, I wouldn’t want to tell you how to vote. 🙂 The betting odds have remained roughly unchanged since before the debates, they were based in the first place on the 2005 election results, there’s been a big increase in Lib Dem support since then, there’s a sporting chance of David Watts winning the seat if people don’t listen to Nick Palmer’s extensive campaign of claiming the Lib Dems can’t win.
Vote for Nick or your will wake up in bed with Sourpussy
Rylander, look at the Evening Post tonight. The latest poll of Broxtowe people last weekend says its a dead heat between David and Anna. If you vote for NIck, you are in danger of letting Anna win.
Alice, you are living in Wonderland.
Stop drinking the bottle marked “Make My Brain grow small”
Dave has as much chance of winning as a snow flake in hell.
Alice! who the £**$ is Alice?
LOL. Big hug Terry.
Vote for Labour and you’re on the same side as people like Terry! 😛
You are living on a different planet…. 🙂
Hmm…the betting odds have had a lot of flux today, and the different bookies all seem to be doing their own thing! Looks like I’ll be relying on gut feelings at voting day as to where my pencil marks going. Ben
Broxtowe is still a 2 horse race.
Anything but a vote for Nick Palmer will result in Anna “I am very tole-ranting” Soubry being our next representative in parliament.
The thought is too much to bear.