The invisible challengers

I APPRECIATE that rural Suffolk and north Essex are prime Tory territories, but I can't help but despair at some of the candidates chosen by Labour and Liberal Democrats who have emerged without any publicity and whom their local parties are seemingly trying to keep as secret as possible and well away from the media spotlight.

Graham Dines

I APPRECIATE that rural Suffolk and north Essex are prime Tory territories, but I can't help but despair at some of the candidates chosen by Labour and Liberal Democrats who have emerged without any publicity and whom their local parties are seemingly trying to keep as secret as possible and well away from the media spotlight.

Let's look at six Labour candidates in the area. Party activists have selected Swatantra Nandanwar in Maldon, John Spademan in Witham, Ohid Ahmed in Suffolk West, William Edwards in Braintree, Kevin Hind in Bury St Edmunds and Bhavni Joshi in Suffolk Central & Ipswich North - they could be Trappist monks for all the publicity they have sought for themselves.

If the Liberal Democrats in Saffron Walden, Maldon, Clacton, Harwich & Essex North, Braintree, Witham and Suffolk West have chosen candidates, they are remarkably shy people because neither they nor their party organisation has contacted me. As for Ipswich, with around three months left until polling day, there is no sign of a Liberal Democrat candidate.


You may also want to watch:


In the run-up to the 2001 general election, I helped the East of England Labour Party with some of its media training for candidates. I remember telling the assembled men and women at Belstead House in Ipswich that while they shouldn't bombard the media with breathless announcements about their support for and pride in the Government, they should at least show some signs that they are alive and that they should provide journalists working on the election campaign with mobile numbers and email addresses.

Woe betide any candidate who complains that I am biased and they don't get their messages across in print. The adage goes: You can't help those who won't help themselves.

Most Read

I do not have the time to start chasing reclusive candidates. By their inactivity, they are admitting what I already know - they don't have a chance on polling day.

CLEGG PLAYING HARD TO GET

NICK Clegg seems determined to make Gordon Brown and David Cameron sweat it out as he plays the reluctant bride in the run-up to the general election. He says in the event of a hung parliament, he will not enter a formal coalition, mainly, I suspect, because he opposed the retention of an independent nuclear deterrent which the other parties support.

He is to set out a raft of policies which he will trade in return for the votes of Lib Dem MPs in the next parliament. These are a demand for a pupil premium to direct extra investment to disadvantaged children, tax reform to take four million out of tax and raise taxes on the rich, rebalancing of the economy away from centralised banking with a new emphasis on a greener economy, reform of the voting system, and a democratically-elected House of Lords.

This is a shopping list which Brown could buy but which Cameron would not touch at any price. No wonder Dave is getting tetchy!

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus