There is no such thing as a safe seat in this election

There can't be. Not after watching Channel 4 News go to Morley last night. It looks like there's a genuine chance Ed Balls could lose the seat to the Tories, showing just how much I know.

My world is seriously rocked. You know how little regard I have for my childhood home, but I'd always assumed that at least the majority of the population had a modicum of common sense. But watch the part of the hustings where Balls is being booed for speaking out against racism. You might think the BNP have stuffed the crowd (note please, where Cathy Newman says there are more BNP members in Morley than anywhere else in the country, and watch as I glow with pride. Oh wait, that's not pride) but it's taking place in Windsor Court. What do you mean, you have no idea why that's significant? *sigh* Alright then. Windsor Court is on the main shopping street, next to the Town Hall and Morrisons, it's where all the buses stop. If you hold a hustings in Windsor Court, it's to ensure it's seen by the most people possible. That crowd will have contained an awful lot of passers-by. An awful lot of passers-by who don't like these immigrants (what immigrants? You live next to Bradford, there's been immigrants on your doorstep for fucking decades. Ah, that's it) and don't like being called bigots even though Gordon would have been spot on if he'd mumbled the word round there.

Of course, it's more complicated than my former neighbours and schoolmates being a bunch of right-wing fuckheads. They won't like being lectured by some government ponce. (I just took a look at why the hell Balls is standing in Morley and Outwood anyway. It looks like boundary changes have shifted his old constituency, Normanton and Ossett, half into Morley and half into Yvette Cooper's constituency; it seems what's happened is she's kept Normanton and now Pontefract and Castleford, and Balls has had to shuffle along and pick up Morley.) Outwood – I have no idea where Outwood is, by the way. It clearly must join onto Morley somewhere, and from reading Wikipedia I think it joins at the Wakefield side, but I don't believe I've ever set foot there – is apparently quite affluent and four out of six councillors are Tories. But this still doesn't explain what the buggery is happening in Morley. I can't believe it's all about immigration and latent BNP sympathy. Or maybe it is, and they really are that stupid. Maybe they really have forgotten what Morley was like in the 80s, how Conservatives will never give a tiny rat's ass about some former mill town in West Yorkshire. If they are that stupid maybe they deserve what's coming to them.

Frankly, I have no idea what's going on. But I stand by my assertion that if Morley can go Tory, anything can happen.

(On an unrelated and rather snobbish note, did you watch the voxpops? If you've ever had the misfortune to meet me in real life, that accent's what I started with. So you must forgive me the odd flat vowel – the accent's come a long way in 14 years. Oh, and the Tory candidate is totally putting on his posh voice for the telly. There's no way he sounds like that normally.)

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6 responses to “There is no such thing as a safe seat in this election

  1. Gregsmyth May 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I’m no fan of either the Tories or the smug Ed Balls but there are rays of sunshine from two places:
    1. PoliticsHome’s most recent (April 29) seat-by-seat breakdown gives Morley as ‘likely Labour’.
    2. Political Smarkets gives Balls just tipping it with a 52% chance of holding the seat.

  2. Kate May 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Guido’s been running fundraising plugs for the anti-Balls campaign for weeks. The Tory candidate has become something of a folk hero among right-wing internet armchair warriors – he’s raised a lot of funding from small online donations.
    (This may all be covered in the clip, by the way, I haven’t watched it, so excuse any repetition!)

  3. Rachel May 1, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Greg: this is a relief. I’m also caught in that rock / hard place situation with the Tories and Ed Balls, but am mainly just freaking out about the prospect of where I grew up turning Tory. I’m sure a few sessions of psychoanalysis will sort that out.
    Kate: ah, he’s buddying up with Guido is he? His internet campaign was mentioned, but not his association with the unadmirable Fawkes. One of his ads was featured, containing the line “if you want to castrate Labour, help me get rid of Balls”. This is the kind of thing that goes down well in Morley. And people ask why I left…

  4. Kate May 2, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Guido’s just reflecting a Tory Central Office initiative dubbed the ‘decapitation’ strategy – targetting a handful of Labour’s leading lights, like Balls, who are in line for the leadership if/when Gordon is evicted from 10 Downing Street (probably very shortly).
    The idea is to target Labour types who are absolutely hated and vilified by rightwing armchair warriors, and use that to raise money off those people to fund the campaigns in those handful of constituencies.
    Guido and other rightwing blogs have been running ads for these fundraising efforts for several weeks now.
    If you Google ‘tories decapitation strategy’ it comes up with loads of stories. Here’s just one:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2009/aug/19/tories-decapitation-plan

  5. Liz May 2, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    So. Very. Depressing. At least your parents live in Spain now. My mother’s Christmas turkey comes from the shop featured selling the sausage rolls.
    Actually, if it goes Tory I’m pretty sure my mother will be moving out of the constituency. I was practically raised in Morley’s Labour office and spent many a happy hour underlining copies of the electoral register in red and blue pen.

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