Lynne enters Ipswich lists

IT would stretch my credibility for impartiality too far if I wished good luck to my colleague Lynne Mortimer, who has declared she will stand as an independent candidate at the general election.

Graham Dines

IT would stretch my credibility for impartiality too far if I wished good luck to my colleague Lynne Mortimer, who has declared she will stand as an independent candidate at the general election. I can reveal, however, that the constituency she will fight is Ipswich.

Lynne nearly stood in 2005, but when she inquired of the Electoral Commission about forming a legal political party, the paperwork it sent her and the need to show proof that she had the support of thousands of voters, was so daunting that she decided against.

But within reason, Lynne can describe herself as anything she likes on the ballot paper, as long as it is neither seditious nor libellous and does not confuse the voters. A candidate in the recent Norwich North parliamentary by-election stood under the description Put an Honest Man into Parliament while another described herself as NOTA - none of the above


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A combination of Gordon Brown's Thatcherite “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” abolition of the 10p income tax rate - which everyone but Brown knew would hit the less well-off disproportionately hard while city dealers raked in millions in bonuses - and Esther Rantzen's candidacy in Luton North has inspired her to stand against sitting Labour MP Chris Mole.

It will be a crowded field in Ipswich, with Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and UK Independence Party all entering the lists. It could well be that the British National Party (BNP), English Democrats, and Arthur Scargill's Socialists may also be handing in their �500 deposits to the acting returning officer at the borough's Grafton House headquarters.

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In a first-past-the-post election, the more candidates who stand, the better it is for the defending party because opposition is split too many ways.

So while she won't be giving Chris Mole many sleepless nights, she could cause Tory challenger Ben Gummer a few problems and has ensured that the battle for the minor places will be an intense affair.

NEW defence secretary Bob Ainsworth is struggling to overcome the combined muscle of the chiefs of staff, a litigious civil service mentality in the MoD, an underfunded campaign in Afghanistan, and the UK's crippling debt mountain. He looks completely out of his depth.

His plight isn't helped by snobbish media commentators and opposition politicians looking down on him as if he's something picked up on the bottom of a shoe simply because he did not go to university, instead becoming a sheet metal worker for Jaguar Cars in his home city of Coventry.

Propelled into the Cabinet two months ago in Gordon Brown's post-European elections reshuffle, when a number of leading Labour politicians walked out on the Prime Minister, Ainsworth is suffering the same fate as former Speaker Michael Martin, whose lowly Glaswegian upbringing led to him being dubbed Gorbals Mick.

I'm all for the so-called working class rising to the top of the political tress. After all, Sir John Major didn't go to university and ended up as Prime Minister.

On second thoughts . . .

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