Monday, September 04, 2006

Digging the dirt

It seems that the East Boldon and Cleadon by-election is reaching fever pitch with the local Labour candidate desperate to rubbish political opponents. Lewis Atkinson, the new Labour 'strong local voice' candidate, has done little more than use his voice to criticise Conservative councillor David Potts (who isn't actually standing) and Lib Dem / Independent (dependent on which day of the week it seems) Alan Mordain.

Mr Atkinson is busy collecting a petition which demands an apology from the Conservatives over the recent expenses shenanigans. He says on his blog that "This is not a party-political issue." Who is he kidding? He's already trying to score political points with it, and all the signatories would make useful canvassing targets. The giveaway phrase on his petition is, "It may be used by me or the Labour Party to contact you."

Apart from the negative electioneering, I wondered, where have I heard the 'strong local voice' line before? Then it came to me, the last local election. Chris Haine of South Tyneside Green Party used it in a piece back in April when he commended Bryan Atkinson's fight to stop the second Tyne road tunnel. Although the 'strong local voice' concept is not a new one in politics, it has long formed one of the core values of the Green Party and had a place in the Party's national local election strategy in May.

So who is really going to be a strong local voice?

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