Who’d vote Tory these days? A recent poll showed that the top 5 words associated by the public with the Conservative Party were ‘‘Useless’, ‘Rubbish’, ‘Liars’, ‘Incompetent’ and ‘Corrupt’. And just to be sure, the next 5 were ‘Greedy’, ‘Out of touch’, ‘Dishonest’, ‘In it for themselves’ and ‘Scandal a minute’. So how’s that playing out in the local 2 By Elections? In Highbridge it’s a 3 way battle between Labour’s Kate Pearce and the Lib Dems and the Tories. The Tory candidate says he doesn’t expect to win. In Bridgwater where Megan Boucher is standing for Labour, there’s a Lib Dem and then there’s a bit of a fight between the other two candidates for the Tory vote….which does seem to be dwindling.
The official Tory candidate is Diogo Rodrigues, originally elected as Labour, went Independent and then joined the Tories after the ‘Get Boris Done’ election of 2019. He’s currently the County councillor for the area so technically in a good position. But then there’s Pele Barnes who WAS a Tory candidate on 4 previous occasions but this time seemingly can’t stomach the label and has formed his own Party to ‘get rid of Party’s’, which makes as much sense as it reads. The ‘Somerset Unionists’. And that won’t be ‘Trades Unionists’.
In fact Pele is on the ballot paper with a blank space next to him. Not even an official independent. So you can fill in the blank. I’d go for ‘Torypendant’. And this week he’s been causing a stir by putting up signs in the shops around and even ‘on’ the Polling Station saying ‘Vote for me’ and of course giving the impression that various shops and community groups do support him. One sign which implied the ‘Pantry’ supported him was met by a swift denial from an embarrassed Pantry manager who said it wasn’t the case. Well, of course it was because the candidate had put the sign there himself without asking. On top of this it would be laughable to imagine any food bank or other community group set up to help people because of the consequences of 13 years of Tory Government would want to be associated with a Tory.
The battle between the current 2 candidates on the right hand side of the ballot paper goes back to 2015 when Diogo (then as Labour) and Pele (a Con) , looking very much like a battle of the footballing giants, both lost when they stood against each other in Dunwear. A Labour and a UKIP candidate won. However, that same year Diogo & Pele also faced each other for a Town Council election in Dunwear North and Diogo (to be reminded, was Labour then) beat Pele by 75 votes, going on to become a Labour town councillor and with the support of his comrades even Mayor.
In 2019 the 2 fought each other again. This time Diogo (as Labour..try not to forget) beat Pele in the Sedgemoor Dunwear election this time by 145 votes. Diogo was on Sedgemoor finally…but after just a month left Labour to become an independent and even set up a campaign to stand as an independent against the Tory MP Ian Lidell Grainger. But then suddenly decided not to, presumably when he realised Independents were massively futile. 6 months later he’d joined the Tory party which looked like it was going places. Maybe he’d even become the replacement candidate to ILG? Fighting them from within? Fat chance.
On Town Council in 2019 Pele gave up taking on Diogo and lost instead to Labour’s Dave Loveridge in Dunwear North whilst Diogo moved to Fairfax East and won the seat there for Labour (then went Independent, then Tory)
In 2022 Diogo, now a Tory, was un-ceremonially booted out by Labour’s ‘slayer of turncoats’ Dave Loveridge as he tried to stand for the Conservatives on town council, while Pele failed again in Fairfax East being beaten by the Labour candidate by 10 votes.
Now once again the 2 golden boys of the Tories are facing each other down. And down, and down and down.
But people aren’t voting Tory these days so let’s just leave them to wallow in that pit of despair and wave ‘bye-bye’.
Vote Megan Boucher-Labour, I’d say.
Read Megan’s latest campaign news here