One quick point to kick off with has to be about Bigotgate. Ok, so it's not Norwich South but it is politics, or maybe it's just personality. Is there a difference nowadays? In the good old days of proper journalism there was a rule - if it's off camera it's off mic. Yes, Flash Gordon was an idiot for having one of those *did I really say that out loud* moments but seriously, if the world is going to lose it's head over this can we play the game properly and mic up all candidates 24 hours a day to see what they REALLY think? Come on. That's fair, surely?
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that... Nah, let's just have a virtual feeding frenzy instead. It's more fun!
One more thing before I get properly started is a massive, huge well done to Paul Lambert, the squad and all the team at Carrow Road for getting the best team in the universe* promoted as Champions from League One at the first time of asking xxx
Right then, to local politicking...
Last week a leaflet came through my door from the LibDem candidate, Simon Wright. It would be really, all the leaflets are from the LibDems or the Greens. It's like they've discovered some magical way in which they can make and print leaflets at zero cost to pockets or the environment.
Anyway, this leaflet said "after being sacked from the Cabinet, Labour's Charles Clarke collected numerous well-paid jobs outside politics while still drawing an MPs salary". I wanted to know what jobs these were and how they affected Mr Clarke's time and ability as a constituency MP. So I asked him.
Amazingly I didn't need to prompt for an answer - it was forthcoming in one working day which made a nice change. He sent me a link to his details in the Register of Members Interests and poignantly indicated that "I am very much a full-time MP and try to serve my constituent as best I can. In fact during the time I was a Government Minister, the work involved (for which I was paid by the Government) took vastly more of my time than the other activities to which Mr Wright refers".
Funnily enough I took a bit of time over the Register details and it seems that the chap on the top of Charles Clarke's page, one Vincent Cable, actually spends an inordinate amount of time on 'other things' and gets nicely paid for it too. But, never mind facts when there's an election to be spun! Own goal LibDems? Or just hoping no-one looks too closely?
Charles Clarke also said that he would continue to look at provision and costings of local bus services (I'm not too chuffed about the fares my 16 year old daughter has to pay) if he's re-elected and attached a copy of his local manifesto - a nice touch. One might almost say 'professional'. No-one else has gone to that trouble!
Obviously one email wasn't enough last week and my second was to the BNP (yes, they are about). Unfortunately I haven't received an answer to my question about their candidate Len Heather. It was "I understand from the BBC website that your candidate for my constituency is Len Heather. Can you tell me if he lives in this constituency or has spent any time here? I'd like to know how in touch he is with local feelings". It's ok though. I suspected that Mr Heather wasn't a resident of this parish as he seems far more interested in Essex (google him if you like) and thanks to The Straight Choice on Twitter I got the answer.
I have a real issue with politicians who don't live in the constituency they represent. It's just wrong. Preferably I'd have a rule that says you can only stand if you've lived within the boundaries since the last election so you have some real local experience and can empathise with those you fight for. Len Heather doesn't live here. He lives in the Basildon and Billericay Constituency. So, not Norwich then. And definitely not Norwich South. How much time has he ever spent here? Does he even know how to get here?
Those are all questions I have no answer to because erm... they won't answer me - not even something so mundane. Ho hum...
Funny thing though, a BNP leaflet touched my doormat today. You've probably seen it - it's the one where Griffin is cut&pasted in front of Churchill. One fought the Nazis and the other... (you can finish that yourselves). Anyway, in this leaflet they say they intend to raise the weekly pension (lucky for Len Heather, 71) by giving pensioners the £18billion that "Lab-Lib-Con give China and India to 'adapt' to non-existent Climate Change". On the other side they ask you to recycle this leaflet. Is that irony or just ignorance?
EDIT: Since writing this installment it seems the BNP have been misleading (again) with their election leaflets: click for article regarding candidate pictures
So: BNP no answers; Labour straight answer and a copy of the local manifesto. Fair to say that my pencil is hovering over Charles Clarke in an X marks the vote kinda way as it all stands.
Meanwhile this made me laugh quite a bit. Fair game etc.
*other teams may seem better but they're actually not. It's quantum - don't even try to question it.