News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Bristol North West: Electioneering Begins

Was relieved, interested and amused all at once by the arrival of Paul Harrod's non-election magazine through my door this afternoon.

It's interesting to see how the Lib Dems aim to win Bristol North West at next year's general election. Judging by the design of Bristol Voice! (which bears more than a passing resemblance to the edition of Hello! magazine which featured Prince William on the front cover) the orangey-yellow party aims to focus its efforts on tabloid readers and draw them away from the other two parties. Bristol Voice! carries a story about equipment shortages for troops in Afghanistan, a quote from Prince Charles and a photo of Joanna Lumley on the front cover. All themes, presumably, designed to resonate with a particular strata of the electorate.

The ubiquitous Charlotte Leslie, meanwhile, has been smiling up at me for some time from the latest edition of Bristol Living - more Tattler than Hello! as far as design is concerned. Ms Leslie's campaign to have yet another secondary school built in north Bristol (not a chance) leads the magazine. The cover (in front of a straw roof) creates the impression that the former Badminton School girl has been spreading charitable largesse in Malawi or Bukina Faso in between attending fun days in Henbury and Shirehampton. On closer examination, however, the aforementioned straw appears to be located closer to home. Unless I am mistaken, the Conservative Party candidate is standing in front of one of the thatched cottages in Blasie Hamlet.

In summary, the Lib Dem subtext seems to be "We are the voice of patriotic working people" and that of the local Conservatives is "We are the voice of educated suburban parents." Actually, Leslie's tendency to lean to her left in all her official photos, may reveal an even more subtle message on the part of a political party whose last stint in office featured the decimation of the trades union movement, the de-regulation of the financial sector and the creation of the Poll Tax.

The sub text of the Labour Party is harder to discern as I do not recall yet receiving a mailshot from candidate Sam Townend. Which is surprising and may also carry its own subtle meaning. Like Vigo County in the United States, which has elected the winning Presidential candidate every time since 1956, Bristol North West has a reputation for reflecting the national mood at election time. Since 1974, the constituency has elected the candidate from the winning party at every general election.

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