Friday 17 August 2007

Ipswich gets Gummer Mark II

I attended the Ipswich Conservative Party's new fangled "select a candidate" Primary in Ipswich last night. Two big adverts in local papers plus they distributed 9,000 flyers in Ipswich advertising the event and the outcome? 55 Ipswich constituents turned up to attend the evening, and as well as myself there were four other non Tories from a Pro Life organisation attending. At least 14 Conservative councilors attended and the remainder were made up of their partners and other Tory party members. So it had not got the people of Ipswich that interested though the local Tories are hailing the Primary as a publicity success.

The Four candidates were, Chloe Smith, James Tumbridge, Samantha George and Benedict Gummer.

The evening consisted of each candidate being interviewed for 10 minutes by a moderator then facing 20 minutes of questions. The second candidate, Chloe Smith was asked two questions by the Pro Life supporters- on abortion and embryo research, when she gave her answer it led to a shout of "shame" from the back of the hall. Now the first candidate had not been asked that question, so a quick pause and the Tories decided to make sure that the remaining two candidates received the same questions that Chloe had received.

Gummer replied that he would like to see a restriction on 'abortion on demand', this answer was welcomed by the Pro Life activists.

All four candidates were asked for their Three Tory heroes- all named thatcher and Churchill, Gummer's third choice was Lord Shaftsbury.

I thought that Samantha George, the most experienced candidate but the only one without an East Anglian connection was the best candidate, but after the vote it was announced that Benedict Gummer was the winner with over 50% of the vote.

So now we may see a father and son double act as John Gummer MP's seat borders the Ipswich constituency- maybe the local burger vans will do a roaring trade when the Gummer family are posing for local media pictures!

On the Radio

A couple of short slots on BBC Radio Suffolk- I thought that would be the pinnacle of my radio broadcasting career, but no- my talent has been spotted. On Wednesday evening I was a guest on the new football chat show on the new radio station in Ipswich - ICR, Ipswich Community Radio.

The show, the idea and presented by Town fan Graham Blackburn ,air's on Wednesday night between 1800 and 1830hrs. The other regular panel guest is Phil Ham, editor of the Ipswich town fanzine- 'Those Were The Days'.
The show has no name yet but we hope the listeners will come up with one soon- three grumpy blokes down the pub- one of the first suggestions sent in.

The show went well and I have been asked back next week, we may even soon be extending to a whole one hour!

You can pick ICR up on the Internet( and also on 105.7 FM.

Our first show was on ICR launch day and the place was buzzing with local bands playing in the adjoining car park, ICR is also running shows for a whole range of music styles- from R 'n' B to Psychedelia and also has a number of foreign language programmes for the many varied communities in Ipswich, Polish, Cantonese and Farsi- just a small selection.
Maybe a local politics programme may be heard on the airwaves soon.

Monday 13 August 2007

Not John Gummer but his son!!

The Ipswich Conservative Party have followed a number of other Tory constituency Party's by deciding to choose their parliamentary candidate for Ipswich in "American" style "Primary"
Large full page adverts in the two local papers tells us that anyone can register to attend and vote- you don't even need to be a member of the Conservative Party.
Sounds very democratic, though the adverts were only in the papers on Saturday and the Primary is this Thursday.
You have to apply to attend- and I have put my name down- I will not vote.
There are four candidates- two women and two men, the most experienced candidate (a woman) has no local connection, two of the other candidates come from Norfolk and then we have the local boy.
Ben Gummer- son of John (MP for neighbouring Suffolk Coastal) I think it was Ben's sister who was fed the burger by her father to prove there was no such thing as 'Mad Cow's Disease',but from Ben's website we can see he likes to have his picture taken and looks like he will be popular with the media. we will see on Thursday if we like Felixstowe, will be stuck with a Gummer!

Ipswich- Unitary status

"Ipswich can shape its own future" says Chris Mole MP, as he welcomed the news that Ipswich is to become a unitary authority.

Just back from holiday but just before I went we got the news that we hoped for- Ipswich was to become a Unitary Authority.

All Party support from the Ipswich Borough Council helped, and the Tory County Council are left to lick their wounds.

I for one wished for a more radical change- making Ipswich responsible for all within the A12- Copdock to Martlesham. also would have liked to have seen a reduction from 3 councilors a ward to one, but with smaller wards. That was never likely to happen with a Tory led council.

What now?

All out elections next May- 48 seats- so the next few months should see all the party's busy looking for and selecting candidates and at least in the case of the Labour Party- campaigning- not something the Tories seem to do in many parts of the town!