Last week’s Elections

Outside the polling sation at Lakenheath Village Hall

Outside the polling station at Lakenheath Village Hall

Early last Thursday morning I was out delivering election material to encourage residents to go and vote in the European elections. Then I had family duties taking my mum to Addenbrookes. After that it was back to Lakenheath and a quick stop to pick up a colleague who would join me for the rest of the day and then looking in on the village polling stations to thank the staff for their efforts. Before heading off to Great Yarmouth to help with the Get out the Vote (GOTV) in the Euro and ‘by thirds’ Borough elections taking place.

On the way there I took the smallest of detours (a mile off the A11) to see if the rumours of the what must be the best polling station in the country at East Harling were true, the best because it was situated in the English Whiskey Distillery Company’s shop and café, something about being able to vote and have a whiskey tasting struck me as very civilised.22.05.2014 - outside East Harling Polling Station

I did not partake but did have a quick look around the wonderful Malt Whiskey shop before back on the road to Great Yarmouth and a chance to meet up with Brandon Lewis MP and Richard Bacon MP for South Norfolk as they did the final part of the days campaigning and as we did the ‘knock up’ I got their reflections on how the campaign had gone.

Once it got dark we stopped knocking on doors and after a quick bite to eat, not a ‘bit to eat’ as I miss-spelt in my final tweet of poll day, it was home to watch the results trickle in from the District and Borough elections taking place. It is of course not the same as it used to be when counts were always immediately after the polls have closed, with the majority now being counted on the Friday morning, but you still got a sense of the voting patterns.

Sunday evening was spent at Newmarket Leisure Centre as the votes for European elections in the St. Edmundsbury and Forest Heath Council areas were counted and it was clear from the numbers that UKIP were having a very good set of elections but we Conservatives still polled large numbers of votes. Just before Midnight as I sat at home watching yet another election analysis show, it was declared that we had three seats, UKIP have three and Labour scrapped in with one. Essentially for the Conservatives it mean no change as that was the number at the last election, and I was really pleased to see Vicky Ford, Geoffrey Van Orden and David Campbell-Bannerman on the platform as the Eastern Region vote was declared. It was of course as shame we did not get more because I know the hard work the four others on our slate put into the campaign.

Over the bank holiday weekend, lots of column inches have been written and hours of TV commentary produced but all in all what emerges is that people are concerned about immigration and migration and that the complex case for European membership on renegotiated terms is clearly a long way from convincing people that we should stay in. Interestingly across Europe and particularly in France there seems to be a push back against the eurocrats vision of a federal Europe.

Of course for there to be that very debate, the Conservatives must win the General Election next year as a vote for UKIP then will simply see Ed Miliband’s in No. 10 Downing Street and the very thing ‘in or out’ people want to vote on in 2017 will not happen. For the Conservatives in the next year beyond convincing voters that in Councils across the country we actually cost residents less than Labour does, at the national level we need to convince them to vote Conservative.

The Cannon and Ball Show

On Monday I took a trip down memory last and drove my father to Great Yarmouth the see Cannon and Ball at the Britannia Pier Theatre. Towards the end of their second half act Booby Cannon talked about their 50 year partnership in showbusiness and my mind drifted back to their heyday and indeed Great Yarmouth’s as a Seaside resort. In the early 80’s Cannon and Ball celebrated 20 years in showbusiness with back to back summer seasons at the North Pier, Blackpool and then the Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth 3 months, six days a week, two shows a night with a matinee on a Wednesday and Saturday, sell out Box office breaking summer seasons records and that visual memory of being a part of  a second house crowd, we always went to the second house, having to be parted to let the first house out.

Gone are the full summer seasons, they are appearing in Great Yarmouth on just two nights during the Summer, gone are the variety acts that used to pack the first half of their shows and gone too are the full houses, just as those week long holidays in slightly ropey boarding houses and hotels to the English seaside. Perhaps today also gone is variety as their practice it, but what is not gone is their sheer brilliance and love of what they do. Their act is bang up to day with what few jokes they do tell, for their act was never build on jokes, being bang up to date, with Google, facebook and my space mentioned with along with Booby Ball knowingly turning to the audience suggesting I’m saying these things but know not of what I speak.

Their act is of course a mixture of the putting down of the little man of Abbott and Costello and the taking down of the sophisticated man of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis but they are perhaps the greatest double act this county has seen in a blood line of great double acts. From Flannigan and Allen, to Jewel and Warriss, Mike and Bernie Winters and Morecombe and Wise, in my youth I had the privilege to see both Mike and Bernie Winters and Morecambe and Wise live on stage but only watched the others on video. Of course Morecombe and Wise conquered television in a way no other variety theatre double act did or has since including Cannon and Ball; but Cannon and Ball command the stage like no act before them, comedy, pathos, audience participation and genuine friendship, today they have distilled 50 years of material into the sort of double act comedic timing only belonging to the greats. There are today great comedians from Jimmy Carr to Peter Kay but perhaps along with Ken Dodd, Cannon and Ball are the end of a Era.

At the end of their 75 minute tour de force on Monday the audience spontaneously rose to its feet in salute to greatness, if you ever get the chance go see true comic genius at work, do go.

A rainy day in Norwich

On Friday evening I got lots of texts and twitter comment’s after my fleeting appearance on the national BBC Six O’clock news saying I looked glum at the results at the Norwich City Count.

The VT was a bit unfair as just out of shot was a one of our candidates who had collapsed as we were leaving in the early hours of Friday morning and was been attended by Emergency Services paramedic we called, I was turning around and not glum but concerned for his health and there was the camera!

The loss of Great Yarmouth was a big disappointment particularly when you see how hard Steve and the Conservative Team have worked to improve the town, we can only hope that the Great Yarmouth Labour party are less useless than the Norwich Labour party who ‘help’ run Norwich City Council so badly.

As we campaigned I was genuinely shocked at the state of Norwich City Council’s housing stock, when I think of the level of investment that Registered Social Housing providers are putting into the standards of their stock for their tenants, the Labour group on Norwich City Council should be hounded from office, not voted for.

In Norwich North I got the real sense that our voters were not minded to come out to vote as a sort of policy of non-co-operation but that the Labour party vote was well motivated, there is nothing new about this phenomenon but I know how frustrating it is for candidates who are determined to try to change the Council, to not be able to get a foothold or in the case of Great Yarmouth continue their excellent work.In Ipswich we won the county seat which was a silver lining on an otherwise cloudy day.

Mervin King said before the last election the party that wins the next election will not win the one after that, given the scale of what they have to do and the economic climate they have to do it in. This weekend we saw France and Greece be wowed by the ‘crisis what crisis’ brigade and it will certainly be interesting to look back at the crash of 2007 and the recession that followed and see who was right.

Who says there is not real differences in the Political parties, on the one hand you have the kitchen table economics of the Conservatives whereby when money is short you must however painful ‘tighten your belt’ and the Labour Party’s spend, spend, spend your way to a better tomorrow! Time will tell, but somehow the first just seems right to me.

I shall continue to campaign to get this important message across, and the important fact that however tight the money I shall continue to demand that the councils I represent my community on delivering good services with less money and keeping the Council tax to a 0% increase, again and again.

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