Heading For The Polls 27

Almost there now. The Labour candidate has reportedly gone down with swine flu, and I do hope he gets better soon. I feel ten years younger than I did at the start of the campaign and have enjoyed it enormously.

Two nights ago the BBC Look East programme broadcast a live “Candidates debate” from which I was excluded, and which may have a major effect on the result. The four “Main parties” were included – NuLab, Con, LibDem and Green. The BBC is desperate to shoehorn an outraged public opinion back into support for political parties. They are certainly making it as difficult as possible for independents to campaign.

The BBC also lied to me in that they said that the debate would be between the “main four” parties, but there would be a short “package” on me and on the UKIP candidate, as the other two candidates the BBC was “taking seriously”. That turned out to be a straight lie – they ran a “Package” on the UKIP candidate but not on me. You will recall that Michael Crick from Newsnight said that I had to queue “behind UKIP and the BNP” to be interviewed. Well, I am still waiting.

We had the fun of invading the BBC’s offices and posing with a real dalek, which seemed a fit representative of the BBC’s attitude to democracy. The BBC got very cross.

I have a nasty feeling the turnout could be very low. To say that people are unenthused with politics would be an understatement. With the Conservatives alone having delivered over 20 different leaflets to each house, the public are starting to react against leafletters from any party. As this is our only way to reach people, that is difficult.

But the public meetings we have held have been lively debates with really nice and interesting people. The difficulty is in persuading people that it is worth trying to effect change. To turn electoral despair and disillusion into hope and action is the challenge. I don’t think we have cracked it this time. But it has been an uplifting experience to try.

The other real postive is the change in public mood on the Afghan War. The public on the doorstep appears to be resisting the politicians’ spin that we need to fight it better, and to understand it is a spiral of disaster.

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27 thoughts on “Heading For The Polls

  • Jon

    I agree about the public apathy – it feels to me like NN voters are fed up of being a national barometer of public opinion (which would in any case vary wildly by region anyway).

    The sheer number of leaflets from the big parties prompted householders to reject anything last weekend, and suddenly even the most unlikely environmentalists claimed to have a deep concern for paper wastage!

    You are entirely right on the mood change on Afghanistan. As a long term supporter of the anti-war movement in the last number of years, it is tempting to pronounce ‘changes in public opinion’ to suit ones own set of beliefs. But, in underscoring the pointless deaths of our young chaps, and recognising the drug and oil interests served by their staying there, it really does feel like the tide of opinion is turning.

    Let’s all work to keep that up.

  • anticant

    I think you are right about profound disillusionment with Westminster resulting in a low turn-out. But you still have a few more hours to speak to as many people as you can and tell them that they have a responsibility to vote – even if they don’t vote for you.

    Whatever the result, I am sure you will have made your mark in the constituency and gained a lot of respect from discerning local people.

    Keep right on to the end of the road. Courage, mon brave!

  • George Dutton

    “I don’t think we have cracked it this time”


    After the next general election a LOT of people may well NOT be allowed to vote?.

    The tories have plans on that front…Time will tell.

  • mary

    George – could you enlarge on what the Cameroons have planned.

    PS On the putanhonestmanintoparliament website Craig misses out the fact that the Conservative party treasurer is an ex partner of Deloittes, accountants to RBS! and employer of Chloe Smith and lender of her services to the Conservative Party.

  • George Dutton

    “George – could you enlarge on what the Cameroons have planned”


    Back in the late 1990s while watching the Conservative party conference at Blackpool on television…I can only tell it as it happened…

    Outside the conference hall two members of the Conservative party stood waiting to be interviewed (they were not MP’s but were high up’s in the party) they were asked… “What is the big talking point on the floor of this years conference”… the reply floored me this is what they said…

    “It is clear that people don’t know how to use there vote.We left this country in the best economical state it has ever been in and now Labour will ruin it all.The big talking point on the floor is who should be allowed to vote should it be done on academic achievement or given to those who create the wealth or a combination of the two.”…The other one concurred.

    Please note it seems the decision to take the vote away from us had already been decided.

    Given that nothing happens on the floor of Conservative party conference without being instgated from above should frighten anyone that cares about democracy.The video of this must still be available in the archives of the BBC/Sky. Why I wonder are the Conservative party getting there members ready for a fascist state. After watching the documentary of what nearly happened to Harold Wilson’s government it becomes even more frightening…


    I wrote the above on another blog sometime ago….

    As this Accelerating World Financial Crisis/Collapse happens and will be VERY,VERY bad…I now think that when the Tories do get back into power we will NEVER have another free election here in the UK. The excuse the Tories will give is in the above…they will say it’s for the best as they are the only ones that can run the economy and point to and blame Labour for the mess and say it must never happen again. It looks to me now that it was all planned out sometime ago and that those who now run/hijacked Labour (New Labour) are hand in hand with the Tories to bring this about. After all remember …”What is the big talking point on the floor off this years conference”… strange that that was the reply they gave above…not what you would have thought they would say… Time will tell but I have a terrible feeling about all this.

  • Carolyne

    “the public meetings we have held have been lively debates with really nice and interesting people”

    The public meeting I attended could not possibly be considered a “lively deabte”, quite the opposite in fact. Members of the voting public, were outnumbered four to one, by Craig’s own people. No debate took place, and virtually all of the questions posed by the ‘audience’ came from Craig’s people, and yet his responses to these questions were appalling, and this was made worse by the fact that he was obviously expecting the questions and yet had not bothered to prepare considered answers!

    Additionally, I noticed that Craig has not real policies, nor made any pledges to the electorate as to what he intends to do for Norwich North should he be elected. Craig seems to be fighting this election based purely upon his own personal feelings towards the war on Afghanistan. He may claim to be an ‘honest man’ but is he a man that we can trust to represent our views at Westminster, and that we can trust to work hard for Norwich North. I appreciate that we need to elect an honest MP, especially given the recent expenses scandal, but we also need to elect an MP that will serve the people of Norwich North, and not insist on representing only his own views. Can we really elect an MP who is standing for one issue only, and not for the people of Norwich North, for a man who has not expressed any real desire to represent the people? Craig appears to be standing for an issue that, whilst I will not deny its importance, directly affects only a small number of Norwich North constituents. Personally, I would like to vote for an independent mindedcandidate, but cannot vote for somebody that is not standing for local issues.

    I noticed, at the public meeting I attended, that Craig was offering to give away free signed copies of his book to people who would sign up to help his campaign. I do not believe that this type of action complies with election law, nor does the illegal fly-posting of his capaign posters. It is illegal to fly-post on public funded street furniture, and Craig’s argument in other postings on his blog is incorrect. Had the posters been secured to the street furniture with string, they would be legal only until the election is over, however as they are secured with plastic ties they are considered to be illegal. The law is quite specific on this point strangely enough!

    Also, Craig seems to be a little quick off the mark to throw stones – the Conservative Candidate, Chloe Smith, may have applied for the Ipswich seat beofre applying for the Norwich North one, but then again, this isn’t the first time Craig has attempted to stand for parliament, is it? The words pot, kettle and black spring to mind. Likewise, Chloe may have been born elsewhere in the country, but should that really exclude her from wanting to work for and represent the people of Norwich if she grew up locally and has made Norwich her home? Additionally, I can see no problem with her working in London and living in Norwich. The commute is less than two hours by train, and you would be surprised at how many local people do make this commute every day, myself included. Craig may have been born in North Norfolk (not Norwich!) and he may have familly here, but what real connections does he have with Norwich? If he was so attached to Norwich, why would he have chosen to spend so many years working aborad, for goodness sake?! Craig may have worked previously as an ambassador, but does this really qualify him to represent the people of Norwich North at Westminster? He seems to be more concerned about the people of Afghanistan than he does us!

    All things considered, I think I would rather vote for Bill Holden as an independent MP than for Craig. Craig doesn’t really seem all that honest to me – he is too quick to criticise others, and seems to forget that he is contracdicting himself in the process. I really don’t feel that the dirty tactics he is resorting to can be considered ‘honest’. If he wants to fight this campaign as an “honest man” I would have far more resepct for him, and be much more inclined to vote for him, if he fought a clean campaign. After all, isn’t this one of the things we all hate about politics at the moment?

  • mary

    Do you work for Deloittes too like Chloe or perhaps you go to work at Millbank Tower Con. party’s HQ?

  • MJ

    George: we may not need to wait for Cameron to get in. Keep a close eye on what happens with swine flu.

    “Under special pandemic plans enacted around the world including the USA, in 2005, national governments are to be dissolved in the event of a pandemic emergency and replaced by special crisis committees, which take charge of the health and security infrastructure of a country, and which are answerable to the WHO and EU in Europe and to the WHO and UN in North America”.


    The scariest thing I’ve read for ages.

  • Jon

    Full disclosure: I have helped Craig’s campaign as a volunteer, but I am not from within the constituency. I am not a member of a political party. I don’t agree with CM on everything, but nevertheless I think he is an excellent candidate, and I would vote for him if I could.

    If I may say Carolyne, I think you misrepresent Craig’s campaign wilfully because you support another candidate. It is fine for you to support whoever you wish, but perhaps you might be up front about who you prefer! Supporters, detractors and ambivalents here will then be able to analyse your piece with your politics and preferences in mind.

    Craig specifically does have several policies, and he is not just exercised about the Afghan War. But the views on the war, on Iraq and generally on the “war on terror” are not just ‘personal views’ – this is a section of public opinion and it is right that candidates with these positions are permitted to stand. If you are for the war, or find yourself supporting war generally, you should know that Bill Holden has a policy against the Iraq war on his website (and quite right too, in my view).

    Craig surely is talking about local issues when he raises the issue of coastal defences. What is your view on that – should sea defences be built for the area, or should coastal erosion just be permitted to happen? What do the other candidates say about it?

    It is peculiar, and perhaps a touch wearisome, that you are keen to point out the legality of plastic ties versus string when this issue is but a drop in the ocean compared to the media bias against independents in this election. The BBC prefers the Conservative party, possibly for future strategic reasons, and the liberal press sometimes fancies the chances of the Green Party. Craig, Bill and the UKIP candidate have been passed over almost entirely, despite Craig’s speaking and debating abilities. But I hear you saying nothing about this substantial electoral disadvantage.

    If you didn’t like Craig’s answers at a hustings, then that’s fine – we live in a democracy. But again, I suspect you had already made your mind up – perhaps even you are a member of a party – and so were not willing to listen to whatever he had to say. If there was “no debate” then perhaps you should have asked a tricky question of Craig; not only would you then have had the debate you claim to want, but I think you might have received some interesting answers.

    I am not in the habit of finding myself in agreement with the Express, but of Craig’s performance at a recent Norwich public meeting, their writer had this to say:

    “The thumbs up went not to Tory Ms Smith, but to Norfolk-born Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is standing as an independent anti-sleaze candidate. To many, he stood head and shoulders above the others, answering questions thoughtfully instead of trotting out party-approved mantras”.

    Your position on the relevance of locality is a touch confused. For Chloe Smith you believe it is irrelevant, but for Craig you believe he has no local connections, and that if he was genuinely attached to the area he would not have taken diplomatic posts abroad. Frankly, this is quite silly, and wrong on both counts, in my view. It sounds like you have gone to great lengths to make some quite petty points. How’s about you start the real debate you are keen on – perhaps on the ‘Five Policies’ on the website – and say what you don’t like. Where do you stand on the environment, for example? Craig is a big supporter of renewable energy. How you would you save govt expenditure at a difficult economic juncture? Are you in favour of ID cards or Trident II? Where do you sit with regards to casino banking and what would you do about it?

  • Parasite

    Never mind Craig, if you lose, remember – it was all a big conspiracy and you woz robbed. You woulda gotten away with it if it wasn’;t for that pesky Establishment.

  • David Allen

    No, Craig may not have cracked it this time. But – Remember that something like 5% of the vote is often enough to swing an election between the big parties. Remember that the big parties will be dead scared of anyone who can take that sort of vote away from them. Remember that it puts pressure on them to do something about their sleazy behaviour. So get out and vote to “Put an honest man into parliament” – Please!

  • Sam Hunt

    Absolutely brilliant comment, Carolyne – Craig is trying to paint himself as whiter than white, but he loves sticking the boot into the other candidates for no good reason, breaking electoral laws, and making excuses for himself. Bill Holden or Peter Baggs would be better choices to vote for.

    No doubt this comment will be used by Craig’s propaganda trolls as evidence that he is “winning” because apparently if everyone is shooting at you, you must be doing something right. I guess that’s what Hitler must have thought as well. Or is it evidence that “the establishment” is worried? Or is this the effort of a paid-up NuLab hack?

    Excuses excuses

    If you are so local, Craig, why did you spend most of your life away from Norfolk? Other candidates are more local than you are, and your election video sells your candidacy on the basis that you are “local” through and through – but to say that your claims to being local make you the best candidate, is surely a lie given that you are not the most local candidate?

    So much for honest politics!

  • Sam Hunt

    George Laird

    George Dutton


    If you think that insinuating Eddie and I are the same poster somehow undermines the arguments we are making, that Craig is a hypocrite, then you are sorely mistaken. Check the IP addresses, loser.

  • George Dutton

    Sam Hunt

    Hitting home there…me thinks.

    “Check the IP addresses”

    Hmmmm,another computer.

    It’s all to do with the style and tenure of the posts,you could say posts have a signature…and yours say’s…eddie.

  • George Dutton

    “George Laird

    George Dutton


    Posted by: Sam Hunt at July 22, 2009 10:37 PM

    You do keep getting us mixed up…

    “George Laird, sorry I confused you with George Dutton”

    Posted by: eddie at July 16, 2009 7:30 AM


    eddie…the poster with a thousand names.

  • Sam Hunt

    George Dutton.. the cheerleader for a candidate with a thousand excuses for losing badly.

    If this is the kind of ragbag wankers Craig has defending him on his website, then it’s no wonder the Beeb didn’t want him anywhere near their studio.

    He smells too much.

    Also, Solidarity in Scotland – weren’t you the guys who stuck with Tommy Sheridan even though it was well known that the man couldn’t keep it in his pants? And you were sacrificing the SSP just for his ego? He has a lot in common with Craig – a penchant for women less than half his age, not being faithful to his wife, being an egotistical wanker.

    No wonder you love Craig!

    Or is this all just a NuLab/Zionist conspiracy? Did Mossad do 9/11 AND plant the sexy belly dancer in that seedy Samarkand night club where Craig met her and left his wife for?

  • MJ

    “weren’t you the guys who stuck with Tommy Sheridan…”

    “Did Mossad do 9/11 AND…”

    It’s uncanny. Eddie trots out these tedious mantras as well! Perhaps they attend line dancing classes together or something.

  • Chris

    Sam Hunt,

    you really are a loathsome and rather pathetic little poster. Please take your tedious nonsense and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. You seem to spend a lot of your time worrying about Craig rather than, perhaps, playing with your fuzzy felt or your alphabet bricks.

    Now, please, run along, like a good boy.

  • Jon

    I was rather hoping for a response from Carolyne, but she may post today…

    … and the silly personal invective and abuse from Sam, Parasite etc is hardly worth responding to. But since Craig and the campaign team have put some very good points to the electorate, surely folks you could engage with those issues? My post at [22, 2009 6:18 PM] will give you plenty of *real* topics to agree/disagree with. Keep it civil if you can, as there are some good interlocutors here 🙂

    I’d point out that Craig’s commitment to freedom of speech extends to abusive commenters on this site, and this policy is better (as far as I know) that any of the other candidates. I am pretty sure that even reasonable disagreement has not been possible on the Conservative blog (no-one is commenting though, so perhaps it is hard to tell!).

  • Jaded.

    Oh well, all done now. I hope you stand again Craig. I will be watching the results with great interest.

    Eddie, just out of curiosity, do you have some sort of twisted, secret fetish for David Shayler? You seem to mention him a lot, and recently mentioned his conversion to transvestitism. I may have to try and get some sort of warning to him through his website. I’m sure he will be horrified…

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Carolyne – I don’t recognise your description of the hustings debates. Certainly some questions were asked by Craig’s supporters. Only the naive would think that the parties’ candidates weren’t doing the same. Many questions were asked by people who were nothing to do with Craig’s campaign and his answers to every question were thoughtful, balanced and showed knowledge of the subject and concern for other people.

    He has policies on every issue, not just Afghanistan – as Jon points out in detail in his reply to you.

    From your post Carolyne it also seems you don’t realise hundreds of British troops have already died in Afghanistan and more die every day.


    Sam Hunt – What age are you? If you’ve left school then you should be capable of a level of political debate higher than calling those you disagree ‘wankers’ or saying they ‘smell too much’. I feel sorry for you if that’s all you’re capable of. You should realise that employing personal abuse and playground insults gives people the strong impression that you don’t have a leg to stand on in terms of policy, arguments or facts to back them up.

    As for your poorly informed attack on Tommy Sheridan you’re taking the word of Rupert Murdoch’s ‘News of the World’ and people paid by it to invent ever changing stories about Sheridan. It went from him having a threesome to a foursome then supposedly a five-some.

    The News of the World is a politically biased comic and the ‘United Left’ faction’s leaders within the SSP wanted rid of Sheridan because they were jealous of him getting more media coverage. They are responsible for destroying the SSP, not Tommy Sheridan.

    It’s possible he did have an affair before he was married, but even if he did i’d support him over politicians who supported the Iraq war and support PFI and public subsidies to privatised rail firms.

  • George Dutton

    “‘United Left’ faction’s leaders within the SSP wanted rid of Sheridan because they were jealous of him getting more media coverage. They are responsible for destroying the SSP, not Tommy Sheridan”

    Duncan McFarlane

    I don’t think that was the reason. It was sadly a power struggle and they wanted Sheridan out of the way, things had been bad for awhile within the SSP. They saw their chance and they went for it. He was just to big a figure for them.

    That meeting should never have been called. Why Sheridan even attended is beyond me. I would have refused and said…you back me or you don’t.

    They as true socialists should have backed Sheridan up 100%. They betrayed…that is the sad fact of it all…and the undeniable truth. I thought a LOT of Colin Fox, just feel really sad about it all.

    I will stick with Tommy till the end,he has NEVER betrayed us and true socialists will NEVER betray him. Stay true, to those who stay true to you, thats my motto.

  • George Dutton

    Duncan McFarlane

    I should also have said…

    I will stick with Rosemary Byrne till the end as well, she has NEVER betrayed us and true socialists will NEVER betray her. Stay true, to those who stay true to you, thats my motto.

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