Politicians seek seats in two places

SO eight days down, 22 to go before we finally cast our votes in the general and county council elections of 2005.It's been a peculiar start to the campaign, punctuated by the Pope's funeral on Friday and the delayed royal wedding on Saturday.

SO eight days down, 22 to go before we finally cast our votes in the general and county council elections of 2005.

It's been a peculiar start to the campaign, punctuated by the Pope's funeral on Friday and the delayed royal wedding on Saturday.

But we've already had press releases from Paul West and Chris Mole in Ipswich.

Mr Mole has taken a potshot at Mr West over . . . rubbish bins! Hardly the subject to inspire voters in their thousands.

While Mr West turned jumped on fellow Tory Tim Yeo's coattails to attack 'one' railway.

The problem was his attack on the company's reliability fell rather flat because it wasn't backed up by any statistics!

Most Read

One of the most interesting things to emerge during the campaign so far is the number of parliamentary candidates who are also trying to hold - or gain - seats on the county council.

Labour's David Rowe wants to replace John Gummer as MP for Suffolk Coastal - but also wants to be elected as county councillor for Felixstowe North and Trimley.

Liberal Democrat Kathy Pollard wants to unseat Tim Yeo, and remain as county councillor for the Belstead Brook division.

And two other Liberal Democrats - Andrew Houseley in Central Suffolk and Framlingham division and David Chappell in Bury St Edmunds and Tower division - are also on both ballots.

The big question is, of course: Are these four superpeople who have so much to offer that they can work as a county councillor in the morning and MP every afternoon and evening?

Or are they realists who know that they don't have a cat in hell's chance in the parliamentary election and want a fall-back position so they don't fade completely from the public gaze after the election.

I leave it up to you to decide!

CONSERVATIVES in Ipswich keep telling me that it's a “target seat” for the party and that it's the kind of constituency they are aiming at to send Michael Howard to Downing Street.

I don't doubt for a minute that Conservative activists in the town believe that it's winnable and vital for the party's efforts nationally.

And it was visited by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday as part of the national launch of his party's manifesto.

But from the perspective of the view from Conservative Central Office in London, I wonder just how vital Ipswich is?

According to the list of marginal seats I've seen in two or three places, Ipswich doesn't make it into the top 160 of target seats for the Tories.

These lists tend to be crude, only referring to the last general election. And of course Ipswich has an interesting, some might even say eccentric, political history.

There are often seats which change hands for local reasons at general elections, even if they don't go with the national flow.

But as they plan a strategy, political generals at headquarters do pay a lot of attention to where seats sit on their list.

And I suspect that the Tory high command has decided that Ipswich is the sort of seat it would like to win - but isn't vital to its efforts.

But that's not going to stop Tories on the ground from going hell for leather over the next three weeks.

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