Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Life in a Mayoral: change of focus

With barely more than a week to go before election day the mayoral race has reached fever pitch, with upwards of one leaflet delivered already this week. And it's the Lib Dems again:


South Manchester's Focus is clearly turning towards the general election, alongside John Leech's online announcement that he will run again in Withington. But there's still space to mention Jane Brophy at the bottom of the page, complete with Leech's endorsement.

Focus makes a big claim that it's the Lib Dems or Labour to win on May 4th, and I have to admit I don't actually have any instinct about who will end up in the top two alongside Burnham. As far as I'm aware there have been no polls to help out on this point.

The most straightforward estimate I can think of is a simple sum of all the votes in the 2015 general election across the 27 GM constituencies, which gives you the following totals:

Labour: 551,119
Conservative: 315,537
UKIP: 192,470
Lib Dem: 85,189
Green: 42,392

This might explain why there's no traditional Lib Dem bar chart to accompany the claim.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Life in a Mayoral: video killed the leafletting star

Mrs Tomsk directs me to this slick ad from the pride of Trafford:



Is he insinuating that Big Andy's not a Manc? Even after the exclusive interview with the Burnham for Mayor gazette put the record straight?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Life in a Mayoral: The Runners

So it seems we can't even have a nice relaxed provincial vote without Westminster demanding to be the centre of attention. Poor show! Still, this blog will stay within its remit right up until the 4th May, if only because an election which the Tories surely can't win is so much more pleasant than the feeling of impending doom coming from the other one.

The official candidate information arrived through our letterbox today (it's also available online, in case you're wondering why my scanning skills have suddenly improved). Eight people are standing as follows:


The first thing that jumps out of this list is that Withington's own Mysterious Independent is standing again! And not only that, he's opted to remain Mysterious by not submitting an official Election Address. Fair play to him.

He's joined by a second Mysterious Independent, Mohammed Aslam, because of course Salford has to have its own Mysterious Independent.

UKIP's Shneur Odze is the third making a bid for Mystery by not submitting an Address. I cannot begin to describe the joy of not having to read UKIP's manifesto for Greater Manchester.

That leaves us with five candidates competent enough to submit an Election Address. First up, it's Andy:


For fans of Burnham literature there's not a lot new here, being a distillation of his previous leaflet.

Next is Jane Brophy for the Lib Dems:


This one feels like it wastes far too much space on logos and photos. I can't say I'm overwhelmed by the priorities listed here but points awarded for mentioning Brexit on both pages. It seems my instinct was right that the Lib Dems would position themselves as the party of Remain right across Greater Manchester.

Third we have the "English Democrats":


Now technically speaking I'm in favour of an English Parliament, but I think I'll give English Nationalism a miss if it's all the same with you, Stephen.

Next is those lovable Tories and the pride of Trafford, Sean Anstee:


With all due respect to Mr Anstee I guess it's a sign of how seriously the Conservatives are taking this election that they haven't found anyone with a higher profile to put up. Nevertheless it's a well designed Address and my curiosity is certainly piqued about his battles with Westminster politicians over the last four years, given that the Tories have been power all that time. It goes without saying that I wouldn't vote for him in a month of Sundays.

Finally there's the Green candidate:


Full marks for graphic design which is way ahead of the rest, though on the other hand it's far too wordy. I must admit I like the cheesy #YESIWILL business and will follow it assiduously. I can't argue with any of the priorities either, as far as they go, but interestingly no mention of how Brexit will affect GM. Perhaps the Greens are as split in Manchester as they are in Parliament.

So, all in all three candidates I'd be prepared to vote for: Burnham, Brophy, and Patterson. And two choices on the ballot paper. *thinking face emoji*

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Life in a Mayoral: Feel the Burn

It's certainly been a slow start to the election spamming this time round, almost as if the result is a foregone conclusion. But never fear: Big Andy has ridden into town.


Points are immediately deducted for posting a leaflet that is much too large to be easily scanned. On the other hand, an equal number of points are awarded for sneaking Tony Wilson quotes into the text.



Inside, there are detailed assurances that Burnham is not a Scouser (read and learn, national political correspondents), a soupรงon of appealing policies and a healthy amount of London-bashing. If there's one skill the mayor of GM must have, it's whining about Westminster until they cough up more cash. And of course it all helps dissociate him from his long time spent in the dreaded South.

Overall the focus could hardly be more different to Jane Brophy: only a single passing mention of the referendum with the emphasis very much on local issues and Burnham's own high level of political experience. Fair enough I guess, although I would like to know more about how he would help Manchester weather the Brexit storm. There's still time for follow-ups...

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Life in a Mayoral

OK, so a while back I might have said that I would definitely absolutely not post any more political literature on to this site, but we all know pledges are made to be broken. How could I resist the lure of the first ever Greater Manchester Mayoral Election? Combined Authorities! Supplementary Vote! Brexit Culture Wars! It's got it all.

Welcome back first of all to the fiercely independent South Manchester News, which chooses to splash on Corbyn's inept opposition to the Brexit process:



Sadly the News was unable to find sufficient space to mention that our local Labour MP voted against triggering Article 50, but to be fair if I was the editor I'd play up the Corbyn angle for all it was worth as well.

Along with the SMN came the first piece of mayoral campaign literature we've received, for the Lib Dem candidate Jane Brophy. She is a Trafford councillor whose name is already familiar to me as the runner up in the safe Tory seat of Altrincham & Sale West in 2010 back when I lived there (a seat so safe there was virtually no indication that a general election was even happening).


Again there's a strong emphasis on the Lib Dems' pro-EU stance, and good luck to them. I must admit it's very tempting to vote on that issue alone.

Inside there's a whole lot more on Brexit, all music to my liberal-metropolitan-elite ears:


I wonder whether different literature is being sent to the Leave-leaning areas of GM? Perhaps not too different, as the obvious strategy for the Lib Dems is to go all out for the Remain vote no matter where that may be living.

I'm intrigued also by the mention of supposedly divisive immigration comments made by Andy Burnham, but as there was again sadly no space to quote the actual comments, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they're not quite as "disgraceful" as they're made out to be.

Finally I'm pleased to see half a page devoted to the thoroughly nerdy topic of the voting system:


If you're not familiar with the Supplementary Vote, it's essentially AV for people who can't count to three. No surprise that the Lib Dems are highlighting the process, as SV allows you to throw away cast your vote for your genuine first preference safe in the knowledge that Burnham will get in anyway you have a backup to give to a frontrunner.