Election Diary: Day 2

TORIES ON THE STARTING GRID

WE haven’t heard much from the Tories over the last month. We asked Angela Smith about this on saturday and she felt they were being complacent. I guess it is all a matter of timing. Yes, we have seen a plethora of Labour heavyweights but for all the visits it could still be seen as just the mazy warm up lap at the Grand Prix.

All the cars are now on the starting grid and the green lights go on tuesday.

It is difficult to describe the Tory campaign at the moment. They have had a quiet confidence for quite a while. Jackie Doyle-Price’s campaign has been described as “Under the Radar” Sure enough, they have been spotted out and about in the wards but then again, so have green parrots in North Stifford!

Having said that, there are plenty of people in Thurrock who have received phone calls from the Tories, looking for the pledge.

Stephen Metcalfe has kept up a steady diet of appearances, press releases and community involvement that have many convinced he has done enough.

You just want to date stamp the assertion now that if Jackie wins then it will be heralded as one of the great “stealth and subtlety” campaigns. If she loses, then there will be a major inquiry as to what went wrong and the perceived lack of profile.

Labour don’t deny that on the doorstep, people are saying that they cannot abide the Labour government but don’t blame the local councillors. So what the councillors gain with one hand, Carl Morris may suffer at the other.

The local/national aspect will be vital. Of course with the Tory campaign, there is the shadow of the dysfunctional council. It was David Cameron who said:

“If you want to see how a Tory government would operate then just look at any Tory-run council”

The question is: Did he mean to add: “Apart from Thurrock!”  It is a fair question and when David Cameron slipped into the Port of Tilbury unannounced and certainly sans Jackie Doyle-Price and Garry Hague the impression could be that he wanted to be distanced from the Tory black sheep.

We will wait and see.

Will the South Basildon and East Thurrock young turks be out and about every night bringing home the victory that Stephen Metcalfe has been working for, for so many years?

Will Jackie have enough troops on the ground and will her brand of softly spoken and intelligent conservatism be enough to convince the locals to put their faith in the Conservative Party?

Both Jackie and Stephen want to be judged and questioned on national issues and quite rightly. It is important not to confuse the local with the national and international.

Let us hope the big guns come in and let us hope the petty prejudices of local tories don’t get in the way.

Still……. £20 is on offer to anyone who send us a photo of Cllr Stuart St-Clair Haslam with a blue rosette and accompanying a Tory colleague out and about campaigning!

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