Over on Bristol 24-7 my friend Tony Dyer speculates about the outcomes of the local elections on May 5th, when 1 in 3 of the city's seventy council seats are up for grabs.
His only firm conclusion is that when it's all over, "most Bristol voters look forward to a year without any elections while south Bristolians look forward to two years without some wanna-be politician knocking on their door telling them how it was all the fault of the others."
Just in the last few days Stockwood has seen circulars from Tories, LibDems, and a newbie Labour candidate. And that's over six weeks before the poll! Labour's offering is a modest 2-colour A4, the Tories went for full colour A3, and now the LibDems have capped that with glossy full colour A3, containing claims even more extravagant than the paper they're printed on. (From me, there'll eventually be an A4 circular, which should tell you what you need to know, with an opportunity to learn more if you want.)
There seems to be a well trodden path to success at the polls, by way of particular ritual activities in the run up to an election. They're an electoral 'must-do' - a bit like supporting the local football club.
Football Diversion 1: Peter Mandelson famously told his local paper that the thing he treasured most was his Hartlepool United football scarf. He also became the club's president. Since ownership of the club can be traced to a Virgin Islands company called Independent Oilfield Rentals, he might actually have felt at home in the role.
Football Diversion 2: Demonstrably, the professional clubs enjoy massive local political influence through exploiting their fans' loyalties, and possibly through councillors being easily influenced by association with wealth. But those clubs no longer have much claim to be local. Perhaps, instead of responding to City fans' pleas for a Sainsburys superstore, a Stockwood councillor should be looking closer to home, so that Stockwood Wanderers need no longer wander quite so far from the pitch the council evicted them from.
Anyway, back to the campaign trail. Here in Stockwood, we candidates have an essential campaigning asset, believed to have the power to capture the hearts and minds of the electorate. It lies tucked away in the car park.
Here's the LibDem candidate (always opportunists, those LibDems) laying first claim to it...
And here are our sitting Tory councillors following suit...
Me, I think I'll risk having my photo taken at one of the potholes the other candidates don't know about, because they drive over them so fast they don't notice. Well, it's a unique green angle.