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Posts Tagged ‘2010 election’

Weeks ago, when the 2010 campaign kicked off, the outcome looked like a dead cert. After Labour missed the opportunity to go to the country when they were riding high in the polls, the Conservative party were enjoying a place at the giddy heights of public popularity.

For a few days, that was it. 2010, the first national vote in half a decade and the election campaign that wasn’t.

But then came the televised debates, the rise of Nick Clegg and the shaky performance by David Cameron. Then came a gaffe in Rochdale, beheaded chickens, ‘revelations’ about the Lib Dem past. Then came the realisation that we live in a democracy, that our vote counts and that we have a say in Britain’s future.

This election, in Harrow at council and constituency level, is about choice. For some that choice emerges as between cuts and investment, for others between big state and big society, certainty versus unpredictability.

Stanmore Politics isn’t going to tell you how to vote. All I can do is offer the information, fairly and faithfully presented, about the scope of candidates appealing for your cross next to their name. Who gets that is for you to decide.

No, I won’t tell you who to vote for. But I will say this; use your vote.

Man or woman, old or young – at some time in history you may not have been able to. You can now, and tomorrow the result rests on you taking up that responsibility.

Neither of Harrow’s two constituencies are guarantees for any party, and your choice matters. Already, our electoral system enables power without equivalent mandate. The more people who turnout tomorrow, the more legitimate our next representation in council and parliament will be.

Whatever happens, Stanmore Politics will be on hand with the results as soon as they arrive. I wish good luck to all the candidates – regardless of personal views, serving the public is something few of us ever seek to do.

And remember, those results are not yet decided. Have your say, because you can make a difference. If you don’t speak up, you certainly won’t.

Confused about the vote tomorrow? Click here for the Stanmore Politics election guide.

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Having a strict immigration policy is not a sign of intolerance, according to the UKIP candidate for Harrow East.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Stanmore Politics before the general and local elections this Thursday, Abhijit Pandya emphasised that critics have no basis for calling UKIP intolerant.

“A strict immigration policy in fact can ensure social cohesion and preserve toleration,” he said.

Pandya, a tutor of international law at LSE who grew up in the Harrow area, added he supported a strict cap on immigration.

“People must have secured employment to come into the UK, or they will be a burden on social security.”

However, as the son of immigrants, he agreed there have been ‘huge benefits’ to immigration in Britain, mentioning ‘hard-working decent people seeking to assimilate and participate in Britain.”

“Immigrants contribute to all areas of national life, have contributed to the armed services and the post second world war economic recovery.”

Following on from the furore of a hustings event last week, he said there were huge differences between UKIP and the BNP.

“The fundamentals of our understanding of Britishness is not based on ethnicity but on common shared values of liberalism, toleration and democracy,” he said.

The former Conservative campaigner said UKIP could offer a  clear position on Europe which was not anti-European ‘in a derogatory or prejudiced way’.

He said he wanted to make people aware ‘that we are not a one issue party’ and called for more vocational training for children and an economic revival for small and large businesses.

“I also want a Harrow that is free of property related crime, like burglary and thefts,” he said. “This is by ensuring that police are not burdened with administrative difficulties.

Pandya went on to describe a 50 per cent tax as ‘simply nationalised theft’ and called for a Royal Commission on climate change ‘to ensure Government spending in that area is used honestly’.

“We should not have the inordinate overseas aid budget that the Conservatives and Labour have signed up to in a time of economic crisis,” he said.

He said that politicians put too much emphasis on soundbites trying to please the public, rather than facing difficult arguments.

“Politics has become far too simplistic in its image, whereas the process of Government is ever more complex,” he said. “This leads to a misleading of the public’s expectations.”

Acknowledging UKIP face an uphill challenge, having polled just 757 votes in Harrow East in 2005, he said if he did lose he wanted the party to grow in Harrow ‘by listening to the real concerns of people from all areas of society.’

Still not decided who you’re going to vote for? Read the Stanmore Politics interview with incumbent Labour MP, Tony McNulty, here.

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As regular Stanmore Politics readers may have noticed, there has been some controversy in the aftermath of last week’s Harrow East hustings.

Some in the audience felt Labour candidate Tony McNulty had slammed his UKIP opponent, Abhijit Pandya, as being ‘a BNP man in a suit’.

However McNulty has since asked to clarify his comments. He told Stanmore Politics:

“I said that given his comments, it was no wonder that people called the UKIP the BNP in a suit.

The incumbent MP also said he did not remark on Pandya’s roots, but wanted to make clear that ‘multiculturalism is about everyone celebrating their roots within a British context – not separatism’.

In 2005 UKIP won just 757 votes in Harrow East, a 1.8 per cent share.

Read the complete guide to Thursday’s elections here.

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Could Harrow East veer even more to the right than we might expect next Thursday?

Douglas Murray has blogged on the Telegraph about what he calls the ‘scandalous insult’ made by Tony McNulty to fellow Harrow East candidate Abhijit Pandya.

Following on from Bigotgate yesterday, right wing rabble-rouser Murray argues that McNulty was just as contemptuous of the UKIP candidate when he said at a hustings event last week: “You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about. You are a BNP man in a suit.”

The Labour MP also accused Pandya, who was born in Harrow and grew up in London, of having forgotten his roots.

Murray went on to sing the praises of Pandya:

“He is a fellow in law at the LSE. As well as being academically distinguished, he is hugely intelligent and likeable. He is also admirably unafraid of tackling difficult issues.

“He is exactly the sort of person who would make the House of Commons a better place.”

Murray ended his post by remarking that putting ‘Brown and McNulty’s recent performances together and you can see why’ voters are moving to fringe parties like UKIP.

Last week, the McNulty comment prompted a flurry of reader reaction on Stanmore Politics.

Bluesharrow wrote that it: “was childish and typical of this politically correct world we live in.”

Virender added: “Those of us who were born here are British, and to claim that you have to be BNP in a suit to promote British culture beggars belief.”

Saurav Nangalia: said the remark was offensive and made ‘the very point that Pandya was trying to get across’. “Abhijit is the only candidate who was born and bred in the constituency so who the hell is McNulty to tell him what his roots are?

“The other parties as usual try to pigeonhole him off based on the colour of the skin – this is the same kind of racial division that the BNP promote.”

Based on this, will UKIP enjoy increased success next week at the polls?

In 2005 the party won 1.8 per cent of the vote, or 757 votes.

Read my top ten political gaffes on Times Online here.

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We’ve been talking about it for ages. In every newspaper, on every radio or TV programme, on Facebook and Twitter, the hot topic is the race to run the country.   

But away from deficits, bigots and Nick Clegg, Stanmore Politics is on hand with what Harrow needs to know for the 2010 election.  

When is the election?  

Next Thursday, May 6th. You will be voting in the general election for an MP for either Harrow East or West, as well as in the local election.  

Unless you have voted by post, you will need to cast your vote at a polling station between 7am and 10pm.  

Who can I vote for in the general election?  

In Harrow East:  

Madeleine Atkins – Green  

Bob Blackman –  Conservative  

Nahid Boethe – Liberal Democrat  

Tony McNulty – Labour (read an exclusive interview with the incumbent MP here)  

Abhijit Pandya – UK Independence Party  

In Harrow West:  

Herbert Crossman – Uk Independence Party  

Rachel Joyce – Conservative  

Rowan Langley – Green  

Chris Noyce – Liberal Democrat  

Gareth Thomas – Labour  

Who can I vote for in the council election?  

Stanmore Park. For other Harrow wards click here  

Conservative  

 Camilla Bath  

Christine Bednell  

Mark Versallion  

 Labour  

Ann Groves  

Trevor James  

Eileen McNulty  

Liberal Democrats  

Cliff Thomas  

Sylvia Warshaw  

 Green  

Linda Robinson  

Find out who the current Stanmore Park councillors are here.  

Will I be voting in the same place as last time?  

Not necessarily.  Boundary changes mean the Greenhill and Marlborough wards and one part of Harrow-on-the-Hill are now in Harrow West. Meanwhile former Harrow West wards of Hatch End, Pinner, and Pinner South are now under the new constituency of Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. Check with Harrow Council to be sure.  

Does my vote matter in Harrow?  

If you go by the 2005 results, no – both Tony McNulty and Gareth Thomas clinched a third term. Thomas has a nominal majority of  2,028 and McNulty of 4,730.  

But don’t let the numbers fool you. Both were safe Tory seats until 1997, and the last few years have not been easy, especially with the legacy of expenses hanging over Harrow East.  

Thomas faces a particularly powerful challenge from Joyce, a doctor who has been making her mark in the area for some time.

While Blackman is himself a controversial figure, on his fourth attempt to enter parliament, 2005 saw the constituency swing a significant 6.9 per cent towards the Conservatives.  

You can see just how powerful your vote is here, but essentially, the result is difficult to predict. Which means all the more reason to get out and vote on Thursday.  

Where is my nearest polling station?  

To find out, type your postcode into Harrow council’s helpful device or look at the map on the official polling Election Poll Card you should have received in the post.  

What if I haven’t got a polling card?  

It may still be delivered, but don’t panic. As long as you are on the electoral register you can still vote.  

When will the result be announced?  

Both Harrow seats are set to count their votes on the night, but as for the national result, the numbers may not give us much of an outcome. Pollsters are predicting a hung parliament (read a good guide to that here). But as soon as the results are in, Stanmore Politics will be on hand to tell you the score.  

Any other questions?  

Still confused? Don’t know who to vote for? Drop me a line at stanmorepolitics@gmail.com or on Twitter at @stanmorepol

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Is Tony McNulty ‘starting to be reintegrated into polite society?

Ross Lydall, reporting on London’s battleground seats for the Evening Standard, certainly thinks so.

In his report, which you can read in full here, he notes McNulty’s expenses record has not featured heavily on the doorstep (despite nationally voters making it a central campaign issue).

Lydall highlights visits to the constituency from Labour topdogs David Miliband and Alan Johnson and the eleventh hour decision to find the funding for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, which saved McNulty from a potentially life-threatening independent challenge.

Focusing on Bob Blackman, Lydall quotes the Tory candidate as saying: “I have done my apprenticeship” and places him as raring for the contest next week. But Lydall adds that the former Brent councillor and four times parliamentary candidate has many enemies.

For our reading pleasure, Lydall has even added to the online version a link to the comments on his blog by said enemies.

So is McNulty back and will voters focus on his local record rather than the national profile which was so elevated by last year’s expenses scandal? With eight days to go, it’s anyones guess.

One thing that will probably help McNulty pick up some support is his signature on the pledge to oppose a fee rise for students.

The NUS campaign has attracted support from more than 1,000 candidates of all parties, including fellow Labour bigwigs Phil Woolas and Roberta Blackman-woods, an aide to universities minister David Lammy.

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There was a blow for Harrow Labour yesterday when a key player in the Hindu community and longtime Labour supporter defected to the Conservatives – despite nominating Tony McNulty just days ago.

As the Harrow Times reports, so-called community leader Kanti Patel has written a letter claiming to have lost faith in Labour and criticising Tony McNulty for his record on expenses.

Despite signing McNulty’s nomination papers so that he could stand as the Labour party candidate for Harrow East, Patel said he had switched allegiance because the Tory party was more diverse.

He said he will be encouraging Harrow’s Hindu community to vote Tory because  ‘Tony McNulty has lost the trust of the people who elected him’.

Patel, who has been a labour member for more than 40 years, also posed for a photograph with McNulty’s nemesis, London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, said:

“Kanti Patel is not a community leader. He’s just a bitter man who is trying to take revenge.”

And McNulty asked: “Why didn’t he say that to me a week or ten days ago when he signed my nomination papers?”

In other news, McNulty and Johnson carried on trading barbs. Earlier this week the mayor called for ‘a long period of silence’ from McNulty.

Yesterday, the favour was returned as McNulty said Johnson was ‘resorting to personal abuse’ so he could ‘detract from the questions he cannot answer on the police’.

Know who you are voting for on May 6th or haven’t got a clue? Take the Stanmore Politics opinion poll here.

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