Notes on Selly Oak

I lived in Edgbaston during the last general election. I was politically angry in those days, rather than just despairing. My aim was simple: one less Labour seat. So I looked up the 2001 results online and found the second-placed party. It was Conservative, so I voted Conservative and that was that.

This year, I’m thinking more carefully. The constituency boundaries have moved, making tactical voting a bit harder, although this website tries to help. Selly Oak, the constituency I live in, has become an interesting beast, losing Kings Norton and taking on two wards from Hall Green. For that matter, we’re losing our Labour back-bench rebel MP, Lynne Jones, in favour of a Labour candidate who’s a whip. And he’s already upset me directly.

Stephen McCabe began campaigning early with a letter asking for views on immigration – not one of my highest priorities. We didn’t hear from him for a while, then we got an A2 spread with an alleged “no holds barred” interview by some journalist that bordered on sycophancy. The other odd thing was, McCabe’s name was emblazoned across the top of the thing in yellow, and even the Labour logo was in a shade I can best describe as “grape”. No red anywhere. How odd. Finally, there have been pieces of targeted mail through our door trying to scare us with the current economic situation. 3 million unemployed in the 80s recession under Thatcher, 3 million unemployed during the 90s recession under Major, 1.6 million unemployed under Labour. Oh? Wasn’t there a news report yesterday telling us unemployment had just crept up to 2.5 million? Not that Mr McCabe’s campaign office is trying to mislead us at all…

I only found out who the Liberal Democrat candidate was by looking for him – not a shred of literature through the door. He’s local councillor David Radcliffe. And he’s being an idiot. If there’s been no leaflets, I bet most of Bournville doesn’t know who he is. And I bet he hasn’t put much of an appearance in in Brandwood or Billesley either. Is he focussing on the Selly Oak ward, perhaps?

Finally (yes, I know, I’m ignoring the UKIP and Green candidates), there’s Nigel Dawkins, also a local councillor. Despite the amount of literature we’ve had from him, he’s not upset me yet. I regard this as a good sign. He’s a local man campaigning on local issues and he’s always stood up for his ward as a councillor. In fact, the only criticism I’ve found of him online so far is that he’s too left wing. That suits me fine. Even though the choice seems clear, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for one of the Tory party’s homophobic bigot contingent.


~ by Scary Rob on 26 April, 2010.

3 Responses to “Notes on Selly Oak”

  1. I started getting Lib Dem leaflets promoting Dave Radcliffe the day after I registered to vote, but then again I live in Selly Oak. It would seem likely his efforts are focused there.

  2. The Lib Dems in Birmingham are focusing pretty much solely on getting Hall Green as they’re working on the idea ‘ 1 seat gain we get from pooling resources is better than no seat gains at all if we dont’. Dave Radcliffe is campaigning in Selly Oak Proper as hes a councillor there, not sure if he’s actually up for re-election this time round as a councillor though, but either way there’s a pretty damn strong Lib Dem presence in Selly Oak proper as he’s got the Lib Dems from the uni helping him out ( They actually have members now!). Trying to focus on the areas where the students are seems to be his tactic as 1) They’re more natural Lib Dem Voters, and 2) With the closeness of the polls its been stated that Young adults are going to be one of the groups which apparently are going to swing the election 1 way or the other.

    By focusing on them he’s potentially helping the Tories win the area, which means there’s more likely to be a hung parliament which is better for the lib dems. Hes not being an idiot he’s putting his resources where they’re most likely to be effective.

    Radcliffe is a decent bloke, Ive met him, nothing that special about him,

  3. I got several leaflets from Radcliffe at the old place. All on yellow paper. In fact I think I saw him out canvassing once for a previous election.
    Dawkins wandered into my husband’s workplace once and suggested they could run the place with one less person. This made no one happy. I think his boss replied with a list of all the stuff they’d have to stop doing with one less staff member.

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