A personal post from Graham Ellis
Lisa and Graham live in Melksham, Wiltshire, England

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Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared

We have five candidates for MP in the Chippenham / Melksham / Bradford-on-Avon / Corsham constituency.

Standing for re-election is Duncan Hames, who has been our MP for the past five years and was very well known to us as a local councillor, as a member of the South West Regional Development Agency, and from having stood for parliament even before that election for Westbury - a seat from which elements were included into this new Chippenham constituency. Duncan was always very active locally prior to his election; I said to him "I expect to see LESS of you when elected" since he was going to be away so much of the time in Westminster, doing (I hoped) exactly what we had elected him to do. In practise, it didn't work out like that - we saw him a great deal on TV, asking many wideranging parliamentary questions, and at events locally too. We were able to approach him - and get his full and proper help too rather than just "lip service" as our previous MP was inclined towards. And - behind the scenes - he was exploring avenues and working for his electorate with a dedication and effect which has been beyond our expectations. Others aren't priveliged to the full extent of this, as much of it is highly technical, and has been done without the fanfare of publicity along the way; Duncan hasn't been one to pump up his chest and shout these things.

Quoting the main example that I have personally been involved with, Duncan Hames has at key points stepped in to ensure that the TransWilts train service from Swindon via Chippenham and Melksham to Trowbridge an beyond has been improved. Firstly, in helping us find the way through and make the case for the service and for funding via LSTF. And secondly when, having all our ducks in a line, the West Coat franchise fell apart and it was a case at the Department of Transport of "Continue unchanged all Great Western Services", which would have pushed back services beyond the funding window. I remember a pivotal visit to one of Duncan's surgeries where - in a brief session - tactics were worked out, and (critically) promises made were followed through. I also remember meeting another constituent in that waiting room, chatting with that man and learning of the huge frustrations his family were having ... I know Duncan has been very much available, I hope he was able to find a positive way forward for the chap, and I thank goodness we've had an MP who has been available for the individuals.

The Chippenham seat is a Liberal Democrat / Conservative marginal, and standing for the Conservatives is Michelle Donelan, who replaced Wilfred Emmanual-Jones as the Conservative candidate for the seat in the period after the previous election; at one point, it was anticipated that the seat would no longer exist this time around, so the hiatus / change is understandable, but never the less I would have far preferred to be re-considering Wilfred with the experience of a general election in Chippenham behind him than a candidate from "up north" who moved here upon selection. Nothing wrong with northerners (I'm one), nor with Scots - but in my view living in an area for a number of years, and/or being active in that community well prior to selection as a prospective MP - is very important indeed. Candidates may be very good indeed on the generality of things, but until they have lived and breathed towns, people and issues it's conceited of them to suggest they're properly qualified to answer such issues.

Michelle Donelan comes from a marketing background. And she has a very effective team backing her up. After a shakey start upon selection (at which time she was commuting to London for a full time job she held), Michelle has to be given huge credit for the number of visits she has made, and the number and quality of ministers and VIPs whe has brought to the area to support her. I remain somewhat concerned that it's Michelle's team who are forming and assisting with a lot of the campaign - somewhat uncharitably, I describe one of them as her "minder" and noted him in the background at a hustings where it seemed that her inexperience showed - with a well rehearsed party line trotted out where perhaps she wasn't sure of the local answer, and a couple of shocked (or mock-shock?) challenges to her opponents which I'm pretty sure were preplanned.

I've discussed with Michelle her support for the TransWilts, which I believe now to be solid although she had to learn early on (good on her for listening), and much else - I had the opportunity to spend an hour with her on the Melksham local radio show, so I got to know her rather well. I suspect that she would make an MP we could work with for the area if elected this time - and could be a good to excellent MP for us in 5 years time / after the 2020 election. But it's my view that it's likely that for the next five years if elected this time, she would be more "lobby fodder" than effective for the area. I see a party machine doing excellent marketing (and indeed overstepping the mark yesterday) in putting out a leaflet that appears to falsely claim my support for her as MP. Whether that's a mistake, or a deliberate stretching of the truth into a lie, I have no way of knowing - but in either case it's a serious worry if that's the way of the upcoming years. Tragedy is - her team's damned good at marketing. But we need a do-er and understander of complex issues, and at present that's not quite so clear to me.

You'll note nothing above on party policy. I would probably agree with the Conservative approach more than the Liberal Democrat one, but in practise I've been very happy to have a Coalition that's rounded the sharpest / most extreme edges off both parties. I congratulate them on working together for the whole parliament, and would like to see a similar scenario for the next parliament. It strikes me that achieving 20% of your target policies if you're 20% of government, and 80% if you're the 80% is good going. And for this balance to work for us again, we should elect Duncan Hames as our next MP this tie around. Seeing how it goes, it may be different next time.

Footnote ... I'm conscious that there are five candidates in our constituency. For UKIP, I spend quite some time with Julia Reid some 8 to 10 years ago; she's lived in Calne - very nearby - for many years, and was fairly well informed and surprisingly impressive at the time. But I think her party politics have gotten in the way, and I was very disappointed in her poor showing at the hustings. Both the Labour and (especially) the Green candidate really were impressive at the hustings though I have severe issues with some of the Labour policies, and indeed with Green transport policies which locally would be in danger of breaking what we've worked so hard for to reform it into a different system. On that latter, I think we have now reached the point where a break wouldn't leave the TransWilts train-les again.

Only the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats realistically have a chance in Chippenham as I write (but a week is a long time in politics). And the majority that one gets over the other is likely to be thin - very much thinner than the number of votes cast for the other parties. So I'm suggesting that any undecided readers who happen to read this should consider tactical voting. There's a lot of rubbish spoken about our constituency letting in Labour if it goes one way - but whichever of the frontrunners wins, we won't be Labour represented; that rubbish is designed to frighten you into voting for Michelle. Please take a look at policies, take a look at the people, take a look at their local and national experience, and make a wise decision accordingly.

Views expressed here are personal ones and don't necessarily represent any organisation with which I have a role. Hustings referred to are Melksham Town Hall ones.
(written 2015-04-29)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [4737] Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central - (2017-05-01)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3592] Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2870] Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)

Z950 - Purely Personal
  [4767] Some thoughts on 2017, and looking forward to 2018 - (2017-12-31)
  [4761] Looking forward to the autumn. - (2017-08-19)
  [4759] Sale of effects and furniture - 12th and 13th August 2017 - (2017-07-25)
  [4756] Learning how to be a more effective community partner - (2017-07-15)
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)
  [4728] Visiting Los Alamitos Bay Yacht Club - (2016-11-23)
  [4714] The technical article feed continues - personal updates more proactive on Facebook now! - (2016-10-30)
  [4698] Lisa writes - on the referendum vote today - (2016-06-23)
  [4669] Buses - how did we get into the situation we are in? - (2016-04-02)
  [4658] The end of competition on a bus route - the effects from then end of the 234 - (2016-03-02)
  [4657] Rumours of bus changes by First in Wiltshire - what we know and suspect - (2016-03-01)
  [4600] A big change in August - (2015-12-25)
  [4308] What can you and I learn from online quizzes? - (2014-09-27)
  [4281] A different vision for the future - (2014-07-09)
  [4235] Sharing my personal best of 2013 - (2013-12-31)
  [4221] Celebration of the fruits of LSTF, and of the people who have helped and are helping - (2013-12-15)
  [4201] Looking to the future at Melksham Station - (2013-10-26)
  [4187] Not treading water, but not risking the ship for a 0.5th of tar either - (2013-10-06)
  [4165] Improving travel advise information in Wiltshire - (2013-09-06)
  [4157] Wedding Photos - Kim Ellis to Kyle Londors, 22nd August 2013 - (2013-08-23)
  [4111] Zigzag bus - forward for the future, or decaying service? - (2013-06-09)
  [3711] Kiss - (2012-04-28)
  [3602] Emerging proposals for land to the east of Spa Road, Melksham - (2012-02-03)
  [3566] Initial thoughts - response to GW Rail Franchise Consultation for Wiltshire - (2011-12-31)
  [3556] Aeryn at 1 - (2011-12-19)
  [3511] Melksham has a heart - have your picture taken and support the defibrillator appeal - (2011-11-06)
  [3450] A threat in the post? Poor marketing practise from Smiletrain? - (2011-09-19)
  [3413] If its Sunday, must it be Weymouth? - (2011-08-30)
  [3298] Quiet Monday in - (2011-05-23)
  [3283] The juggler - (2011-05-08)
  [3240] Melksham Town Council - vacancy in the Spa Ward - (2011-04-10)
  [3224] Melksham Campus - a win / win opportunity, but a severely lacking decision process - (2011-03-31)
  [3108] My First Christmas - (2010-12-26)
  [3055] Zyliana Kyrei Cox - (2010-11-16)
  [3037] Looking back and forward personally - 6 years each way - (2010-11-08)
  [3034] Birth Notice - Aeryn Cassandra Ellis - (2010-11-07)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2886] Congratulations, Kimberly - (2010-07-25)
  [2698] Ruth Davis, 1916 - 2010 - (2010-03-28)
  [2547] The great thing about snow .... - (2009-12-23)
  [2195] A two day gap - first time in five years? - (2009-05-24)
  [1051] Too busy to blog it - but it's great (mostly) - (2007-01-24)
  [1014] Christmas Season Piccies - (2006-12-30)

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New car park at Melksham Station - ideal for commuters from Seend, Hilperton, Yarnbrook and Holt
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Yesterday - off on leg one of our holiday
Some other Articles
Crossing between continents
Pictures from around Rekjavik
Home in Melksham to Gatwick Airport - easy by public transport
Yesterday - off on leg one of our holiday
Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared
New car park at Melksham Station - ideal for commuters from Seend, Hilperton, Yarnbrook and Holt
Effect on external factors on traffic to our web sites - an update
Fishguard to Melksham - third part of Dublin journey
Rosslare to Fishguard - foot passenger on the ferry
Leopardstown to Rosslare by train
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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