Sunday, 14 September 2014

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

Today I spent the day in Clacton campaigning for our Labour candidate, Tim Young. For many reasons I was pleased to spend a day by the sea in Essex. First of all I like Tim, made easier because as well as being a sound Labour man he is also an Ipswich Town fans – so what is there not to like?

I also wanted to experience how a campaign is run at a by-election and also to compare the real feelings of residents on the streets of Clacton compared to what was reported in the first few days of media frenzy when Carswell jumped ship. A media frenzy that soon died away when the real story was found to be a few hundred miles north and over the border in Scotland.

What I found was a buzzing campaign centre with many volunteers who were boosted in number today by our large Ipswich contingent. We were also joined by the Suffolk Labour Rural Express – 3 more of our Suffolk PCC’s and other members who had spent the weekend touring Suffolk before arriving in Essex. Of course I expected to find a well organised office and was told that UKIP had a busy centre close by but the Tories were still in a state of shock from the defection of not only their MP but also a number of their members.

What did not expect to find was the reaction we got whilst canvassing on the street in the Rush Green Ward, we found residents that did not even know about the by-election, the lack of posters from any party- 2 Labour and 1 UKIP, and also a feeling of residents not knowing who to vote for. We found Labour and UKIP voters but I only met 2 Tories but the real significant find was the number of ‘don’t knows’ we found, in general many of these were planning to vote UKIP. They told us they had felt let down or ignored by both Labour and the Tories so they felt drawn to UKIP, there was also the issue of immigration, it seems to me that in many coastal towns in the east from Ramsgate to Hull. Immigration is a much bigger issue to them than it is when you move further inland. UKIP would have expected to have taken most of their votes but for these voters they now feel confused, they would never vote Tory and Carswell is still seen as a Tory and not many had a good word to say about him, many agreed with his anti Europe stance but it was obvious from talking to residents that Carswell has never seen as an MP who would spend much time talking to and looking after the interests of residents in Rush Green, Jaywick or some of the older parts of the town.

Not the sort of view you would have had of Carswell if you had watched or read the first media reports from Clacton, from those first reports you would have thought he was ‘Mr Clacton’ but from talking to voters today he is more ‘Mr Frinton’ or Mr Holland on Sea’ than ‘Mr Clacton’.

My guesstimate of the Clacton election result – a win for UKIP but with Labour also increasing their vote even pushing the Tories for second and the Lib Dems? I would expect the Lib Dems to lose their deposit – again.

I hope to get to Clacton again, there are certainly many voters who planned tp vote UKIP that now feel betrayed by having Carswell forced upon them. This gives us in Labour a great opportunity to talk to these voters, to show we have not forgotten them and that we are the best party to fight for them.

Vote Tim Young

No comments: