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DAVE GOODERHAM: I expected more from candidates

A personal view
A personal view

Hands up who has heard of Jo Churchill? I would suspect that the majority of Bury Free Press readers now know the identity of Conservative’s parliamentary candidate ahead of us all going to the polls in May.

Now who can tell me who is contesting the Bury St Edmunds seat against Mrs Churchill?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a political quiz nor a party political broadcast.

The answer, at the time of writing, is Helen Geake (Green), William Edwards (Labour), David Chappell (Liberal Democrats) and John Howlett (UKIP).

Next question, what do the four people listed above stand for?

Here lies the problem. I am largely clueless as to what any of the candidates stand for in this area, with the exception of Mrs Churchill.

I should say from the start that I am not suggesting the above quartet are not working hard in trying to make our constituency a better place.

But I only found out their names on Monday. And I only found out by accident after clicking on a link to another story.

Coming into a perceived safe seat for the Conservatives, Mrs Churchill initially – and rightly – had to calm concerns that she was an outsider and would know nothing of the intricacies of life in Bury, Stowmarket, Needham Market and a host of wonderful villages in between.

Put it simply, Mrs Churchill had no choice but to get her face out there, talk to all manner of people from all parts of society and even move into the town.

One glance at her website, and especially her blog, shows she has achieved this and so much more.

What about the others? First and foremost, I think I am a fairly well-read individual and none of the other candidates registered with me before my chance encounter this week.

I was only aware of Helen’s admittedly impressive work in the community through her Twitter.

William Edwards lives out of the area, though only just in Braintree, while on David Chappel’s page on the Liberal Democrat’s website, it states he ‘continued supporting the local (Bury) community when work has permitted’.

Now you don’t necessarily want candidates shouting from the rooftops every time they step foot in the constituency.

But personally, I would have expected more, wanted more, ahead of making my choice. Like most, I don’t like lots of leaflets arriving through the letterbox but I would expect nothing less at this time of year.

It smacks of the other political parties already giving up on the Bury St Edmunds seat. Maybe I am naïve and their energies should be better served focusing on other marginal seats. But it hardly encourages people to get out and vote. I am happy to be proved wrong by all of the above in the coming weeks.