Rule one of political campaigning, never work with children…

Pretty sure that's not joy and happiness on her face...

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thank you for all your support in 2009.

Phil Ling

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Experience of a rookie election candidate in the Guardian

Article in the Guardian by Susanna Rustin on her experience of running in the Queen’s Park Westminster Council By-election for the Greens (and she beat the Lib Dem candidate to boot…). Gives you an insight of what’s required at a low level, multiply that by 100 times for a General Election as every breathing moment (awake or asleep) is consumed by strategy, what you’re going to say, are you meeting enough of the right people, press releases etc.

Still wouldn’t change anything apart from the first 3 months of 2010 being warmer otherwise canvassing will be a miserable affair (few voters will want to speak on the doorstep and not much fun for my team either).

Julie Kirkbride is definitely stepping down

Julie Kirkbride, the current Bromsgrove MP, confirmed yesterday on her website that she will be standing down at the next General Election. Ms Kirkbride has taken her time, but has ultimately made the right decision for Bromsgrove and it allows the next election to be focused on policies and hopefully positive campaigning. I have never met her but virtually everyone said she was a good local MP, and if I am elected I hope to be able to carry out the role as well as she has done.

BNP to have a parliamentary candidate in Bromsgrove

For the first time ever in Bromsgrove the BNP will have a parliamentary candidate at a General Election, as revealed by the Bromsgrove Advertiser. This doesn’t surprise me as they fielded 9 candidates in the County elections this year, but what surprises me is the support they had, achieving c.10% of the vote in some wards.

The BNP are running on banning any possible mosques being built in Bromsgrove, but there are very few Muslims in Bromsgrove, and in fact ethnic minorities are only c.3% of the population, well below the national average.

So at the top level Bromsgrove does not seem to have the ingredients which could allow parties such as the BNP to pick up support. What it does indicate is that the main parties in the area have not listened, or addressed sufficiently, voter concerns and the BNP are able to pick up those who want to voice their anger. Ignoring the BNP will not make them go away. Only by engaging with the disaffected voters will this be possible, many are not racists, but are looking for someone to blame as they feel neglected by what the mainstream political parties offer.

I am prepared to debate (and listen) wherever and whenever with any political party or any voter. As the BNP’s appearance on Question Time showed, media exposure does not allow a platform to recruit more voters, but exposes the true nature of the party.

When will the General Election be?

Lots of speculation in the press that Labour may call the next General Election for 25th March due to a narrowing of the opinion polls. Personally, although the Pre-Budget Report didn’t say much, I find it hard to believe that Brown would want to miss an opportunity to determine what the economic strategy going forward would be. All parties will need to reveal their strategy in the election anyway.

Also, although the polls are narrowing it still points to a Labour defeat, so seems a strange decision to go for it, when a bit more time could make it a much closer contest. I still think 6 May is the most likely date.

Still awaiting to see who the Conservative candidate for Bromsgrove will be. Will it be Julie Kirkbride?

Update – Daniel Finkelstein, in the Times today, thinks March is just a rumour.

Apologies, my fingers are just too fast

A quick apology for all those who have commented on my typos on the blog (as well as grammar). On the first issue, I find I type too quick so the order of letters is not always in the right place and then I don’t check it before publishing… Something to change quickly. Checking should also improve the grammar!

Thanks to all those who have pointed this out.

Sports Personality of the Year…

…is never about the personality but how performances have resonated with the public, otherwise David Haye would be a shoe in. I used to love the programme but as I’ve got older watched it less and less, I’ll probably only tune into the result at the end to be honest (not because of X Factor either!). In terms of achievement Beth Tweddle probably deserves to win, world champion as well as most successful British gymnast ever, but she won’t get enough recognition so it’ll probably go to one of Jessica Ennis or Jenson Button.

Update – Wow! That surprised me. It was Ryan Giggs, evidently his overall long term performances resonated with the public. Good job I’m not a betting man!