Monday, May 24, 2010
On the stump in Thirsk and Malton: What are the Tories frightened of?
Electoral hostilities have ceased across the country, but in North Yorkshire, much like those outposts of the Imperial Japanese Army still defending their islands against history, war continues.
Toby Horton the UKIP candidate is fighting an energetic campaign across one of the largest constituencies in England. With a continually rolling team of volunteers from across the country he is out leafleting and pressing the flesh in Thirsk, Pickering, Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Filey.
What is very apparent in this campaign is that the coalition of London has no echo in Yorkshire. At the first couple of hustings the bad blood that exists between the Tories and the Lib Dems overflowed into ill tempered when Anne Mackintosh and Howard Keal exchanged verbal blows over each other’s allowances and expenses.
One net result of this is that Anne Mackintosh is hors combat. On Sunday she preferred to take part in the Look North program through a pre-record, and she has pulled out of the planned Federation of Small Business hustings in Pickering on Tuesday.
Veteran observers believe that the Conservatives are so convinced that she will win, and so concerned about her performance that they have decided to pull her from any event at which she might meet the opposition and thus queer her own pitch.
That the FSB cancelled the hustings rather than leave an empty chair where the Tory should be is however a pity. So what if she refuses to turn up. Surely the other four candidates deserved to be heard without her?