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Day: May 26, 2011

Winning elections on a local level – what the Lib Dems need to do

I was at a meeting of the local Lib Dems on Monday night and someone brought up an excellent point. In the ward he was campaigning in, an independent ran on a single-issue based specially for that ward. It was is an area with many bedsits and she wanted to implement a Landlord safety scheme to ensure that all Landlord’s are registered and if they didn’t act correctly then they would be struck off. Now her idea wasn’t really implementable but that didn’t matter – it attracted votes. Whilst she didn’t win, she got significant support and got more than double the votes of the Lib Dem candidate for a 22% share of the vote. This resonated with me that local elections in a normal situation can be influenced by very specific local issues.

This is something that the Lib Dems have been extremely successful with in the past. Listening to what people want on the ground and working for them. This election was slightly different because of the backlash due to national concerns but that will pass and the next local elections in 2012 should be played on a more even keel without Lib Dem hate.

So what to do? Well first of all the Lib Dems need to be pounding the streets at all times of year and not just for the month before an election. Speak to people. Find out exactly what is important to them on a local level. Where I live independents have swung on to the council as part of a local housing association who opposed a big housing development. Again a single-issue party in the main but it has struck home across the eastern wards of Southend East. They are basically opposing any development that would change the status quo and that is going down well with the majority of the people here.

Now I’m not saying that is what the Lib Dems have to do at a local level but the better we know people’s concerns then the better we can formulate a plan to win seats on councils. If the biggest concern on a local level was how much people hate the foreigners then we aren’t going to make inroads as that is polar-opposite to where we stand. However if we find out that in a specific ward that the biggest concern is something that we can back then it should be front and centre of that campaign on a local level.

It isn’t rocket science and that is the way the party has run for eons but the feeling from people I speak with is that in the past year people within the party have listened to advisers more than people on the doorstep. I firmly believe that 2011 will the low point of the party result wise for the foreseeable future and that our (belated) stance against the NHS Bill will play out well in the court of public opinion. The wider-public do not care at the moment about fairer votes and green issues – they care about jobs and foreigners – and whilst one is fair the other is depressing. However that will change and as the economy recovers people’s ideals and bones of contention will change.

Most people will not have a scooby doo who their local councillor is. They only hear from them three or four times a year and many of them whilst toddling off to the polling booth to mark their polling card will not bother to find out who won. So they do care that much but if they hear from an activist or candidate say four to six times throughout the year and build up a rapport then they will remember that and will lean that way unless they are entrenched in a political camp. So the way to win is work hard, pound the pavements and listen to people. If the party does that then the doom and gloom of 2011 will be consigned to the rear-view mirror.

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Cheryl Cole axed by Simon Cowell on US X Factor – what next?

In a way I hate myself that I am writing a full-on blog on the subject. In another way…no wait I still hate myself. So Cheryl Cole is out after the first round of auditions in Los Angeles because of concerns over her accent and her lack of chemistry with Paula Abdul. Hands up who didn’t foresee these problems? I notice no hands in the air.

One person who did foresee this issue was Simon Cowell clearly. He wanted to give Cheryl her shot as he thought she deserved it but isn’t it lucky that Nicole Scherzinger was already employed by the show to be a co-host with Simon Jones? Everyone and their mother knew that the show didn’t need co-hosts so it was clear from the off that she was there in case Cheryl didn’t work out and if there is one thing we know about Simon Cowell is that he is ruthless and will put the show before individuals.

The story – first reported by TMZ is only a surprise in that after taking so long to get Cheryl in, it only took one round of auditions to get her out. She was a star on the UK version of the show but her departure means that only Simon Cowell has migrated to the US version of the show full-time after a decision was made not to hire Dermot O’Leary for the presenters job. I don’t think Louis Walsh or Dannii Minogue were ever serious candidates. Can you imagine Louis Walsh on US prime-time? That would have been mildly amusing. He and Paula could have shared the limelight for most insane judge.

So now the question is out there as to whether or not Cheryl rejoins the UK show. There is no doubt that if she wants a seat on the UK version that she’ll be offered it but she will no doubt feel scorned big time by Cowell and the show itself. The UK version just seems to be collapsing in gravitas and I suspect ITV are more than a little bit scared by it all. Louis Walsh will return and be joined by Gary Barlow. Kelly Rowland and Tulisa from N-Dubz had been lined up to round out the panel but should Cheryl want one of those two seats then she would have it and a decision would need to be made.

Cheryl has every right to be furious but this is a huge moment in her career. If she leaves The X Factor family then her profile will collapse and she’ll disappear into the background. She owes an immense amount to Cowell and The X Factor as without it her career would never have blossomed to the level that she finds it at today. So it is time to lick her wounds and swiftly return to the UK version of the show. I know that is easy to say from outside as if I were in her shoes I’d chuck it all in but being outside gives perspective and hopefully her advisers are doing that right now.

Makes a change from writing about Ken Clarke…

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Things I think I think – IV

Carrying on with my occasional/more than occasional column for all those little tidbits that do not warrant their own blog post. I have called it ‘Things I think I think’. Today we have a bit of everything.

*The international cricketing summer has started today and it is raining in Cardiff. No huge surprise but there but I thing I think I think is that Sky’s cricket coverage might be the best coverage of any sport I watch. The pundits are allowed to have an opinion and genuinely discuss them. It isn’t forced and they all work terrifically well with one another. Just now Athers was saying how he thought having different captain’s in all forms of the game with Nasser and Lord Gower disagreeing. Worth watching and listening to unlike many pundits who all agree and don’t want to say anything controversial.

*The Apprentice last night. Not a great episode and I had no feeling for anyone who saw the boardroom but I do think that Leon is a tit. The show was about beauty therapies and he seemed to think that by being involve he was losing his masculinity, ‘what if my girlfriend saw me wearing make-up?’ he whaled. You are on a TV show where you’ll be filmed doing embarrassing things and looking like an idiot. Wearing make-up (which everyone in TV does) is not something to get your back up over.

*Last night on the radio we played some excellent tunes. When you can get Beats International Dub Be Good To Me and Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene IV in the same show then you know you are on to a good thing. The show certainly misses Will though. He is always so upbeat. He’ll be back next week.

*I resisted for so many years getting a posh phone but I love having the interweb at my fingertips even in bed. I asked my mum why I resisted for so long and she responded that it is because I am tight. Can’t really argue with that. However I am now fully a convert. Being addicted to the interweb like I am being online even when not sitting in front of my PC or laptop certainly gets a thumbs up from me.

*There are some reports out there linking Larry Brown with the Penn State Men’s Basketball job. Now that would be quite something. Imagine JoePa and Larry Brown on the same campus? I find it extremely unlikely that it’ll happen considering that Tim Curley seems to care little about Basketball but it is fun to dream.

*I saw this video on YouTube yesterday which confirms that Joel will be the driver of Dominator 2 this year. I know a lot of people aren’t a big fan of Joel’s but I think it showed in the 2009 season that when he wasn’t the driver the team did not do nearly as well. He is a fine driver and storm chaser in his own right so to carry on working with Reed and Chris is how it should be. The new series of StormChasers is set for UK TV in October on Discovery.

*The news that QPR are putting up Season Tickets by average of 40% says everything about the Premier League. I enjoyed it when we first got up there as it was fun to be in the big league but the novelty soon wears off. This season has been the one where I’ve had the least interest in football since I got into the sport what 20 odd years ago. The fact Pompey’s owners are not exactly seen in the best lights by certain people – i.e. me and the fact I’m not a fan of the manager either harms my love of both my club and the sport in general. The Ashes winter was without a doubt the highlight of my sporting year with football not really faring too well.

*Looking forward to Sunday. The Monaco GP is one of my favourites on the F1 calendar (with Canada and Brazil) so I’ll thoroughly enjoy that. Be interesting to see how the new rules help that race. The Indy 500 is also on the same day so I may well watch that as well.

*For those congratulating Jonathan Legard on winning a BAFTA and then using it against Martin Brundle need to grow up and that includes Charles Sale in the Daily Mail. BBC won the sport BAFTA at the National Television Awards for their coverage of last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix including race commentary from Jonathan Legard. Since them Legard has been scandalously removed from the commentary box. His replacements, Martin Brundle and David Coulthard, now do a rambling co-commentary with no feel for a crafted race narrative. said the columnist. Clearly he must be a friend of Legard’s as nearly every single person I speak to/read online says they prefer the Brundle/Coulthard partnership. I know I do as it is not faked and they don’t dumb anything down. The more they do the better they’ll get but without a doubt the best F1 commentary pair since Brundle joined Murray Walker in the box in 1997.

*Oh and a three-day weekend. I keep forgetting. Hopefully I won’t forget on Monday!

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