On your marks for the election of 2009

EASTER is traditionally the time of the year when the election campaigns start up - and this year will be no different even though we don't actually go to the polls until June.

EASTER is traditionally the time of the year when the election campaigns start up - and this year will be no different even though we don't actually go to the polls until June.

And in 2009 the county council elections will be something of a strange affair - it will be the first time in 16 years that the county elections have not coincided with a general election.

They will be at the same time as the Euro-elections - which is why they are being held in June rather than May - but I don't really see that as a great magnet to pull out voters to the polling stations.

So the shape of the county council may look very different once the votes are counted . . . or not as the case may be!


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I really can't see the general complexion of the county change. This is not going to be a year when the good Tory voters of Orford, Aldeburgh, and Eye suddenly turn out to vote Labour or Liberal Democrat!

The interest will be what happens in Ipswich.

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In 2005 only one of the Ipswich's 13 seats was won by the Tories, giving the new administration at Endeavour House the perfect opportunity to ignore the county town - or at least pay not a blind bit of notice to what it thought!

If there are more urban Tories elected this time - and it would be a shocking performance by the party if there are not - then the county administration will no longer be able to treat Ipswich as an unfortunate carbuncle in the glorious rural idyll that is the rest of Suffolk!

The Tories must have realistic hopes of capturing the Whitton/Whitehouse two-member seat - made up of one Labour ward and one and a half Tory wards - as well as one or both of the north eastern divisions of St Johns and Rushmere.

They might also manage to capture one of the seats in the St Margaret's/Westgate joint division - but I wouldn't bet against Inga Lockington hanging on for another four years.

If the Tories end up with three county councillors in Ipswich then one has to go on to the cabinet - frankly anything less than that would be a clear sign to the world that the powers that be at Endeavour House don't care about the economic powerhouse of the county.

And I can't believe that even the thickest-skinned countryman could think like that!

I SEE my views on wind turbines jarred with some readers who don't seem to share my view that these turbines are objects of beauty and interest in the countryside.

Now I accept that beauty is a subjective matter - but I can't help wondering if many of the objections come from people who subscribe to Prince Charles's view that any modern architecture is rubbish unless it is a pastiche of something built hundreds of years ago!

What would the whingers like us to do instead of building turbines? Build dozens of new nuclear stations? Build more gas or coal stations to pollute the atmosphere? Of course all of those buildings would be graceful additions to the landscape.

Or is it just that they would like new power stations to be built hundreds of miles away where they can pollute the people who have the “misfortune” to live in the north of England?

No one, least of all me, thinks that wind turbines are the whole answer to the nation's energy needs - but alongside other technology like tidal power, some solar power, and a new generation of nuclear plants they could go a long way towards easing our dependence on fossil fuels.

WAS the “Brown Bounce” after the G20 summit a five-minute wonder - or a sign that Labour still has something to fight for?

That still remains to be seen - but what it does show is that David Cameron needs to persuade his team that they can't assume they are going to walk the next general election.

That is still a year away and while the Tories are rightly the hot favourites to win right now it is impossible to say they have it in the bag like Labour did in 1996 or even in the year 2000.

The fact is that at this stage in 1991 Neil Kinnock's Labour Party seemed to have the next election in the bag . . . and we all know what happened the following year!

I'VE joined the Twitter revolution - the first time I've really adopted one of these social networking sites.

It's rather fun although you do have to be rather wary about giving out too much personal information about yourself!

As I've been looking for other members, something that has struck me is how different groups treat this rather differently to each other.

I've already found half the Labour group on the borough council is following me - but it was much harder to find any Tweeting Tories.

Eventually I tracked down Gavin Maclure and Tory agent Richard Rout.

The LibDems seem to be a totally Twitter-free zone - apparently they're not interested in the latest way of keeping in touch!

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