This hasn’t been helped recently with the knowledge that the next decade is going to be completely screwed up, post- banking crisis.
So it’s easy to say “don’t vote – it only encourages them” and in fact I probably won’t. I am certainly not going to “vote x to keep y out” because that just perpetuates the whole charade.
Mind you, I live in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, which has been a safe Labour seat since it became an electoral entity in 1950 anyway.
“But John!”, I hear my loyal (yet also imaginary) readership cry, “What options could I expect to see on the polling card if I lived in your constituency? And what do you think of them?” And I have to reply: Well I dunno, politics with a big “P” isn’t really my style. Sites like Blood and Property and Hackney Citizen do a much better job than I could…
“No shit!” comes the response from my persistent (yet still fictional) readership “Can’t you just be snide about everyone as usual?”
Hmmm…well… OK then, since you asked so nicely.
Diane Abbott (Labour)
Has been in post since 1987, sits on a sofa with Michael Portillo on that godawful TV programme. The first black female MP.
Diane sent her son to a private school and then had the gall to say something like “The black parents of Hackney will understand why I have sent my son to a private school”. Not being black I can only guess that the answer to this is “because (a) you’re very rich and (b) that the secondary schools in your own Borough where you have been MP for over 20 years still aren’t good enough?”
Policies: Hackney Council is great and so is Gordon Brown, except the bits you don’t like – I’m opposed to them as well!
Visibility: Always on the telly. Labour have actually been round our flat in person and delivered a suffocating torrent of leaflets, but this is blatantly more to do with trying to oust the Lib Dem councillors in my ward.
Prediction: Still a shoe-in with 13,000 votes
Keith Angus (Liberal Democrats)
Probably in with something resembling a chance marginally better than that of a snowball in hell after the Clegg love-in. On the one hand he works “in financial services” (boo!) but on the other seems like a keen supporter of the British Humanist Association (yay!). Typical Lib Dem.
Policies: Helping Vince Cable with his DIY (see pic above). Fairness, transparency, all those things which are almost impossible to argue against unless you are a Stalinist or something, right? As usual the Lib Dems are all things to all people – if you live on an estate they’ll talk to you about deprivation, if you don’t it’s the environment.
Visibility: Here he is pulling his best “concerned” face in front of the Banksy which was painted over by the Council. The Lib Dems gave my 8 year old daughter a little flyer with a smiley face on it one Saturday on Church Street. Sinister, no? Given my ward is governed by three Lib Dem councillors I am disappointed that they haven’t been round yet. Or ever, in fact.
Prediction: 8,006 votes
Darren Caplan (Conservatives)
Being a Tory in Hackney must be a bit of a thankless task, so this guy must have really pissed off central office somehow.
Policies: Lower taxes, more prisons, more money for the police and army. Thanks, Darren.
Visibility: Not so great, but David and Samantha Cameron made him wear a Guantanamo Bay outfit when they dropped by the other week. Those crazy Etonians and their japes!
Prediction: The usual 4,00o votes. Who are these people?
Matt Sellwood (Green Party)
Recent blow-in from Oxford. Dismissed by a close acquaintance of mine as “looking like Penfold off Dangermouse” in his photo.
Policies: The Greens have made a massive effort to shed their “beards and vegan sandals” image and are now big on reducing inequality. Which actually means their manifesto is the most credible and left wing on offer. Matt is a parliamentary candidate who is pro-squatting. We live in strange times.
Visibility: You can’t really escape from the Greens in Stoke Newington. They also managed to get some leaflets through our letterbox. Matt seems nice enough on Twitter, even responding good naturedly to my jibes about his photo. He has also taken the correct line on the critical “N16 Bagels” issue. Fair play.
Also, as far as I’m aware he is the only candidate who is the subject of a slightly mental reggae youtube mashup. (If any of the other candidates are also the subjects of slightly mental reggae youtube mash ups then they should of course get in touch with me and I will post them in the interest of fairness).
Prediction: A credible 7,846 votes.
Suzanne Moore (Ind)
Columnist and alleged wearer of “fuck me shoes”. Announced her candidacy on Twitter seemingly having not really given the matter much thought until the election was nearly upon us. Was still asking people on Twitter what should be in her manifesto as of 24th April. So full marks for a “listening” approach but c’mon, maybe a bit more groundwork and planning would be good?
I can’t help feeling that independents who just show up and expect us to elect them MP are glory hunters, like people who never talk about football and then whip out a Brazil shirt as soon as the world cup comes around. Building a base in the community is long hard and often unrewarding. But if getting elected as an MP was easy, then everyone would be doing it. The rates of pay for ward councillors are far less lucrative and the work much less glamorous. But it is, in my view, the best place to start if you are going down the electoral road as an independent – unless there is a huge local issue to fan the flames of (ballot box directed) revolution in our hearts.
Policies: Not being Diane Abbott. Seems to agree with the Greens on most of the other issues?
Visibility: All over twitter, regular stalls on Church Street of a weekend and well known for her Guardian and Mail on Sunday columns.
Prediction: 976 votes. Fair play and all, but must try harder.
Alessandra Williams (Ind)
A lawyer who lives in Reigate in SURREY. Another Twitterer. Did not respond to me taking the piss out of her bigging up estate agents on there.
Policies: Anti-poverty (that controversial “pro-poverty” ticket hasn’t really been explored much by the candidates this time). Beg money of central govt for social housing (because they have piles of dosh just lying about right now). And most bizarrely, an “I’m Hackney and I’m proud” campaign, even though SHE LIVES IN SURREY.
Visibility: I’m sure she’s very visible – IN SURREY.
Prediction: 213 votes.
Man of mystery and intrigue. All I have been able to find out about Paul is:
1) He ran in the North East GLA Elections in 2000 and got 1.5% of the vote.
2) There is a slightly odd reference to him over at Urban Dictionary.
Policies: The absence of any discernable policies may in itself be a withering critique of capitalist parliamentary democracy? Or not.
Visibility: His lack of visibility, in the age of Google-enhanced stalking, is actually pretty impressive.
Prediction: 29 votes. And some of them may simply be mistakes.
Knigel Knapp (Monster Raving Loony Party)
Wacky, yet reassuringly traditional. His lunacy is probably eclipsed by the candidates below.
Knigel’s campaign is sponsored by William Hill, the bookies, who are obviously absolute tossers. But no worse than the people who donate millions of pounds to the Big Three, I guess.
Visibility: On the cover of N16 Magazine (AKA “estate agents quarterly”) and the Hackney Gazette. Other coverage guaranteed by dressing like a twat and those kerazeee policies:
“We will ban the bendy bus. They are still too big and bendy – and they don’t even make accordian noises as they go round the corners.”
“The Tories say vote for change. We say No ! – We will bring in a 99p coin.”
Prediction: 236 votes.
Maxine Hargreaves (The Christian Party)
Rev’d Maxine is married to Rev’d George Hargreaves – who wrote Sinitta’s “So Macho”. Which he may now regret, but no doubt still ploughs the royalties into his ministry-cum-political-party! Theocracy – what could possibly go wrong with that?
They live in Ilford in ESSEX.
Raise the motorway speed limit to 90mph.
Return of corporal punishment in schools.
“Seek sanctions for schools that refused to comply with their obligation to assemble pupils for an act of daily worship. Such acts of worship should be Christian.”
“Ensure that proper balanced teaching and debate occurs in schools around the concepts of ‘Evolution’ and ‘Creation/Design in the universe’.”
“Ensure that schools are not forced to change their values by employing those who disagree with those values.”
“Ensure that chastity before marriage and faithfulness within marriage – as the best and safest sexual practice – will be taught as an integral part of any sex education curriculum.”
“Call for the end of the promotion and teaching in schools of homosexuality as a family relationship.”
“Withdraw government aid from any agency which promotes abortion”
Visibility: No presence whatsoever to heathens like myself. But the lord moves in mysterious ways.
Prediction: 777 votes, drummed up from the Churches.
Dr Jack Pope-De-Locksley (Magna Carta Party)
Seems to be a ripperologist, tour guide and occultist. (EDIT: And neo-nazi?! see comments)
Policies: Getting prostitutes off the street? Haebus Corpus?
Visibility: Hard to see in all that fog and darkness. Shhh! What was that… that noise? Aieeeeeeeeeeee!
Prediction: 66 votes. From goths and history buffs.
(all predictions subject to the continuation of (in)activity as of up to April 28th. Bet on them at your own risk, I’m winging it just like every other fucker).