Somerset Election 24-The Battlelines are Drawn

The drip drip drip of Tory failure..

Rishi Sunak, not usually seen as a Tory wet, has thrown the dice and off we go on a General Election set for July the 4th that looks likely to backfire dramatically on him. So far the hapless Tory leader has announced the election in the pouring rain with no-one even thinking to offer him an umberella (or waiting for the rain to stop), launched the campaign at the Belfast shipyard where the Titanic was launched, allowing journalists to ask if he was captaining a sinking ship, and at his first campaign event asked Welsh voters if they were ‘looking forward to the Euros’. Which their team hadn’t qualified for. To top it off he made the catastrophic decision to leave the D-Day commemorations early and thereby lost the veterans vote too. Around Somerset there are more people and parties than ever in the field. For Labour Bridgwater and Frome are looking the best bets, but with the players in disarray everywhere there could be some surprises and for the Tories, things can only get wetter….

Bridgwater Can go Labour

In Bridgwater Labour is usually the second placed party but with new boundaries losing the Tory west of the old constituency, local boy Leigh Redman is confident he can win. But it will be close and wavering voters are being urged not to be diverted by Lib Dem temptations which could instead help the Tories.  Labour Town Council Leader Brian Smedley comments “The Lib Dems have imported a paper candidate from out of area and any vote for her will instead just help the Tory candidate..who has also, as it happens, been imported from out of area. People like myself who have been looking for years for the Labour breakthrough in Bridgwater now could see that become a reality. People need to vote positively for Labour and tactically against the Tory. In Bridgwater that means Labour. People who might feel that a Green vote is a moral vote at this juncture will know that in reality our voting system makes that a wasted vote. No one however should see the advent of a Workers Party candidate as a moral vote. Some people might well be tempted by the contradictory populist policies of Brexit loving, socially conservative but left talking George Galloway, but again a wasted vote. The danger in Bridgwater for the Tories is the rise of the Reform UK party -well, it’s not a party it’s actually a business owned by Farage. And his argument? The Tories for him are not right wing enough presumably. In Bridgwater vote Labour. And let’s hope they change the voting system in future.”

Red Green Battle in Frome

In Frome and East Somerset  boundary changes also give Labour a chance to win. Candidate is local Labour leader Robin Moss. Even Green Candidate Martin Dimery admits this saying “The new Frome and East Somerset constituency is set up nicely for a head to head between the Green stronghold of Frome and the traditional Labour support in Radstock. The Tories will be lucky to get 20% here, meaning tactical voting for the Lib Dems is unnecessary. They are not offering any other reason to support them.”  Labour candidate Robin Moss agrees “Frome and East Somerset is a new constituency. Pollsters seem to have a range of predictions, but a statistical dead heat is probably about right ! As the Labour candidate I am saying that a voice in government rather than in opposition is very important for our unique constituency.”

ILG sinks or swims in Tiverton-Minehead

Former Bridgwater MP Ian Lidell Grainger who immediately jumped ship when boundary changes came in to what he assumed was a safer seat may also be thinking twice. The new seat of Tiverton and Minehead consists of his old former West Somerset stronghold (where he wasn’t terribly popular anyway following rows with the local party) and the newly added seat of Disgraced Tractor Porn Tory Neil Parish (which went libdem at the sbsequent by election). In some polls Labour’s Jonathan Barter has been projected to win and the safe tory’s seat may not be as safe as ILG thinks.

Farmer Joseph stands in Wells

In Wells and Mendip Hills, Labour are fielding farmer Joe Joseph in this newly shaped ward where the outcome is far from clear. Whilst Lib Dems claim they are ‘winning here’ (‘there’ and ‘everywhere’) they may be in for a shock. Joe, a member of the Co-operative party and also a leading environmental campaigner, is a popular local candidate with strong principles and could cause an upset.

Montacute for Yeovil

In Yeovil Tory Marcus Fysh is facing numerous challenges including local Lib Dem councillor Adam Dance and Labour’s Dr Rebecca Montacute, prominent in the public eye recently for her campaigning on health service and education issues. Rebecca says “I grew up in Somerset with my mum and my brother, and went to local state schools. A Labour government opened up so many opportunities for me, allowing me to be the first person in my family to go to university, before going on to gain a PhD in Neuroscience. I’m now Head of Research and Policy at a major national education charity. Throughout my career, I’ve fought for others to have access to the same opportunities I was so lucky to have.”

Love will Tor us apart in Glastonbury

In Glastonbury and Somerton another newly shaped constituency takes to the field. Lib Dems succesful candidate in last years Frome Somerton by election, Srah Dyke , has been switched to this seat, local Green Mayor Jon Cousins is flying his parties flag and Labour have selected Hal Hooberman to take their cause forward. Former Labour candidate Sean Dromgoole, who built up a strong personal vote in that area , but was not selected by the party for the by election, warns “Hal Hooberman worked very hard on the 2017 and 2019 campaigns in the then constituency of Somerton and Frome however, the strong Labour support in the constituency that he helped to build, has imploded since the botched selection for the by election a year ago. This deposit losing error has left the new seat of Frome and East Somerset wide open for the Greens and a Lib Dem incumbent in Glastonbury and Somerton who is likely to prove hard to shift. Labour hopes in Somerset must lie with Leigh Redman in Bridgwater and it can only be hoped that forces can be concentrated in his support. “

Getting the measure of Taunton

In the county town of Taunton the lib dems recently took 19 out of 20 seats on the town council and no one can doubt they’re in a strong position to eject the sitting Tory Rebecca Pow from the new Taunton & Wellington Constituency. Labour are fielding experienced former councillor Brenda Weston but there are also Greens to the left of her and Refuks to the right. And even a Communist thrown in for good measure. The measure in Taunton would of course be getting the Tory out.

Across Somerset the battlelines are clearly drawn. The Tory vote will collapse, ReformUK will help see to that, the Lib Dems will claim they can win everything, and probably Ed Davey will turn up with some comedy stunt to help them, like rolling down Glastonbury Tor dressed as a lump of Lymeswold, the Greens will prove moral but moribund and the big hope for Labour will be Bridgwater.

Get voting Somerset.

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15 days ago

Good Luck to Labour in Bridgwater.

Here in Wellington & Taunton the party could not campaign its way out of a soggy paper bag so the best we can do is vote LD and build from there!

If Sir K. Starmer gets the vote of the country I hope that he takes courage. This includes revamping the means of raising revenue to reflect – properly – the ability to bear those taxes that are necessary. Council Tax values must be re-assessed and making polluters pay – even at the individual and domestic level – is a basic requirement as is removing the astonishing disadvantage to those of us using electricity to heat our homes. We need to bin road tax in favour of tax on fuel-used and make third-party car insurance reasonable priced instead of it subsidising ‘fully-comp’.
The NHS needs to properly integrate into it both dental and social care and the recruitment agencies it uses brought fully in-house. Councils should incentivise roof-holders to install solar PV systems to boost our ability to make electricity – there will never be enough and the infrastructure (house-to-house) is already there.
Schools are being privatised by multi-academy stealth and teachers are being worked to death and are virtually parenting children and sometimes their parents too. Schools should be smaller and associated for less-busy subjects and teachers need full recognition as developers of the next generation and as the professionals that they are.

We can’t go on the way we are, pretending there is only one way to do things and changing things one sticking plaster after another on the same wound always leaves a sticky mess.

We need to wake up!

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