Monday, 20 April 2015

Meet Paul Richardson, My Conservative Candidate for St Helens North

Busy writing a podcast so I wasn't intending on posting to the blog today. Also, I fell asleep drawing last night's cartoon. Must try harder...

The good news is that my voting slip just arrived and I was surprised to see that our Conservative candidate is local.

I know! I'm really lost for words. I was ready to be so cynical about the whole operation...

Of course, when I say local, I mean a 142 mile hop, skip and one ruddy big jump 'local'. I live in the St Helens North constituency and the poor bastard the Tories have put up for election lives in Tring in Hertfordshire. Not a person I've told today hasn't curled over in laughter at the news. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Here's a picture of Paul Richardson standing outside our Town Hall in St Helens. I haven't visited St Helens in a couple of years, which says much about the town and the geography of our constituency. Posing beside one of their flower beds was never going to win me over...

The first thing to say note about the picture is that nobody in these parts wears a jacket like that. It's a beginner's mistake, of course. People need to tell Paul to do more research. Go with something neutral which doesn't reek of privilege and class. When locals see that kind of jacket, what we really see is this:

The second thing to note is the way he stands. If I'm not mistaken, that's the pose of a man about to heel it back to his Audi so he can get back home.

Perhaps I'm being too cynical. I genuinely have no gripe with Paul Richardson. He's probably a good man doing an honorable thing. He's trying to make a difference. Perhaps Paul Richardson actually lives or works inside the constituency. He claims to have 'spent so much of my life here'. Maybe he was born here but lives in Hertfordshire. Perhaps he'd be a fantastic MP who would work hard to improve our region.

Or maybe he's just in it for the experience because the Tories know that hell will go polar before anybody other than Labour (or, maybe in years past, the Lib Dems) could win in these parts.

Yet none of that matters to me. I'm pretty centrist in my political views. Over the course of my life, I've voted a whole variety of ways. My vote is always winnable. All that I ask is that a political party doesn't treat me with utter disdain by dropping some aspiring MP into the region just so he can get a sniff of a real voter. Are there really no Tory candidates who might be more suitable? Maybe one who was... I don't know... Perhaps born in the North? I'm not even asking for a candidate from a local town. Perhaps just one of the surrounding counties? Maybe even Liverpool or Manchester? Seriously, there's no county more certain to raise the local ire than sodding Hertfordshire...

And while I'm mocking the Tories, I should note that Labour aren't above this kind of shameful game. The MP for St Helens South has, until recently, been Shaun Woodward, who I doubt spent a single night under the small terraced house he bought in the town.

All of it shames the system and shows that my election is really over before it began. The parties don't take this constituency seriously. I might as well tear up my ballot form. I'm going back to writing my podcast. Even in a small insignificant way, it's the only way my voice will be heard at this election.

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