Thursday, October 6, 2022
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General Election 2015: Who will win in South Basildon and East Thurrock

LAST summer, we met the Conservative candidate, Stephen Metcalfe in Thurrock.

When we asked him about how he felt about his prospects in the May 7th election of 2015, the amiable Mr Metcalfe seemed somewhat down in the dumps. The answer was in the spirit of "We will see." Hardly a Churchillian, we will fight them on the beaches…

But at that time, you had the feeling that Stephen Metcalfe was worried about the UKIP Kerry Smith factor. UKIP had been successful with in the Essex County Council elections in Basildon in 2013 and then the european and district in 2014.

But then Kerry was deselected with a story that went national and Ian Luder became the replacement.

As haphazard as he seems, there was a cut and a thrust to any campaign involving Kerry Smith. Mr Luder’s campaign has hardly blazed a trail over the last six weeks or so.

And so, the Stephen Metcalfe bandwagon has had a jaunty skip in its stride. Stephen has stood on his record and it is a very solid one at that.

Over the past five years, Stephen may not have been a Robert Halfon or Jacob Rees-Mogg nor been as combative as Jackie Doyle-Price but it is a sound record of achievement (see our interview with him for details).

His critics may say that he seemed a bit behind the game on Petroplus but others will point to the Visteon campaign as well as delicate stance on the new Dartford Crossing.

And anyone who follows his House of Commons speeches will bear testimony to an MP who has backed a great number of businesses in the constituency.

If the voters are minded, then Stephen Metcalfe would be the safe bet?

What of his opponents?

Mike Le Surf came out fighting when he was selected in 2013. He looks like he should be a fire brand Labour candidate where as in fact he is a good old fashioned compassionate Labour candidate who cares about the issues of social justice and equality.

He has ran a fantastic campaign full of energy and dynamism. He has covered every issue and has run a very good PR campaign.

Our only question and we asked this of the Labour candidate covered by our sister paper in Harlow was whether, he had engaged the business community enough or touched the heart and thus the voting intentions of the aspirational voters. You could ask that of a lot of Labour candidates since the Blair era.

We just wonder if a lot of the "We’ve been attacked by fascists" stuff has also done him any favours.

As for the rest: There is no doubt that Ian Luder will take votes but he may not have the impact that Kerry Smith would have had. In a nutshell, Kerry Smith could have won. We doubt Ian Luder can but again, he will get a lot more than 2,639.

He may not have done himself any favours with his stance on hospital car parking charges. The rest of his campaign is a bit UKIP by numbers. Not saying anything wrong with that but not sure if it will attract further votes.

Once again, Lib Dem stalwart, Geoff Williams is standing and that has to be good for democracy. A loyal servant to the Lib Dem cause, he again has been a refreshing presence of the election scene. He may not get close to 6,000 votes as he did in 2010, infact he may not get close to 1,000.

Kerry Smith has still put a lot of hard work in the constituency and may be a bit of a spoiler. A spoiler for whom is a good question but he does have his finger on the pulse of a lot of local issues.

We were delighted to interview Ind candidate Stuart Hooper and wished more people would be as brave as him.

We have never mentioned X None of the Above. There, we have now.

Prediction.

Some say it is pretty close between Mike Le Surf and Stephen Metcalfe. There has been huge amount of energy from Team Le Surf and so you never know.

There is a temptation to question whether Stephen Metcalfe has put an equal amount of effort in.

Neverthless, we think that it is a Conservative hold but a reduced majorty to 1500.

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