With less than a week to go before the election, you have to ponder who to vote for.
First let’s look at the candidates. BBC News tells me that in the Mitcham and Morden constituency, I have the choice of six candidates.
Those candidates are (in alphabetical order):
- Rathy Alagaratnam (Independent)
- Jo Christie-Smith (Liberal Democrat)
- Siobhain McDonagh (Labour)
- Adrian Roberts (Veritas)
- Andrew Shellhorn (Conservative)
- Tom Walsh (Green)
Siobhain McDonagh was the previous MP, and as I have mentioned before, spent the more on postage than any other MP in the last parliament. Indeed it showed – we’ve had quite a few letters from her, from newsletters to inviting us to meet Charles Clarke to talk about ID cards. Siobhain had a majority of 13,785 at the last election, meaning she’s got a pretty good chance of getting in next time.
Anyway, back to who to vote for. Well I haven’t met any of the candidates and I haven’t even seen them anywhere, although Apparently the Greens did a hustings session last week. So what about literature – the stuff shoved through the door.
Well Siobhain might be stationaried out as we haven’t received any leaflets about her – although we of course know what she’s about from her last session. Similarly there’s been nothing from the Tories and Veritas – the Tories just seem to be bombarding the area with posters about how it’s not racist to impose limits on immigration – a highly appropriate poster choice given the large non-white population in the area.
Leaflets have come through from the Lib Dems, Greens and the Independent.
The Lib Dems
So let’s take a look at Jo Christie-Smith. Nice yellow, black and white leaflet, one side of which features five quite frankly cheesy pictures of Charles Kennedy listening and talking in various situations – a hospital bed, an old man in a home, some school children and a police man. Nothing about Jo though.
Flip to the other side. Two more pictures of Charles in action, one of Tony Blair looking at George W. Bush plus a third picture of Charlie, standing next to Jo. Or at least I think it’s Charles Kennedy – it doesn’t look that much like him so I suppose it could be a wax work.
Then there’s a little message from Charles telling us some stuff. But what about Jo? Who is she? What does she stand for? Well actually we know very little about her bar that she’ll work hard, will fight to improve schools and the NHS and will campaign to get a better deal for pensioners – all of which are
"The Jo-Christie Smith Guarantee" Apparently.
So that’s the Lib Dems, now the Greens. Smaller leaflet (uses less paper!) but in full colour. There’s even a picture of Tom. And just in case you don’t know the message, there’s a picture of a tram, and a wind turbine.
On one side, the Green party blurb about how the Greens have been elected in places and are making a difference, and of course what they’d do if elected. On the other a bio of Tom.
Tom is Apparently 49 and has lived here for 22 years. Plus he’s got two grown up kids. Ah, a family man. And he believes in a fair and caring society. Good for him.
With no party guff to get in the way, Rathy has a whole two sides of A4 to herself. Apparently she left the Labour Party and stood as an independent in recent council and London Assembly elections. Oh and she cares for her elderly mother, and has had petrol bombs hurled at her front door.
And she certainly is busy, being a School Governor, Oxfam campaigner and chair of the Merton Domestic Violence Forum.
But most importantly of all, she’s a user of the 152 bus.
If there is anything that’s likely to connect with people in this area, it’s saying to people that you have to use the bus services of Centra London – although to be fair, they’re slightly better since Centra took over Mitcham Belle last year. Slightly. Even Siobhan didn’t like Mitcham Belle – openly celebrating when they went bust.
Rathy tells us that she wants to hold Centra to account and will contact Ken Livingstone for his support as well.
But perhaps Rathy’s real stand out comments is that you get Buy One Get One Free offers in Sainsburys – it seems to her that the same applies with good old Labour:
Vote for Blairite Policies and get a FREE George Bush!
So who to vote for?
Well that’s for me to know and you to… well not know.