Monday, 29 October 2007

Sutton-in-Ashfield, Cameron's card & the system

Micheal Clarke campaigning in Sutton-in-Ashfield earlier this month.

There's just the one local council by-election involving us this week as far as I can see and that is for Sutton-in-Ashfield West Ward for Ashfield District Council. Representing the British National Party is Michael Clarke.

The full details are:
Ashfield District Council
Sutton-in-Ashfield West Ward
Thursday 1st November 2007
Fiona Asbury (Lib-Dems)
Kier Barsby (Lab)
Michael Clarke (BNP)
Michael Halls (Con)
Mark Harrison (Green)
John Ross (Ind)

There was originally, and could well still be on the ballot paper, another Independent candidate, David Shooter who polled 845 votes in May but he has now withdrawn. This confuses further an already confusing ward because Independent candidates won all three seats up for grabs in May. The average votes last time were: Ind 1161, Lab 713, Con 619.

The vacancy has occurred because one of the Independent councillors was forced to resign after "shouting aggressively" and accusing a police chief of lying at a public meeting. Roy Adkins was suspended for three months after accusing Chief Superintendent Nick Holmes of lying at a debate on the 'State of Ashfield' last year. An adjudication panel found Coun Adkins treated Chief Supt Holmes disrespectfully and this was in breach of a councillors' code of conduct. It was the second time Adkins had been before the Standards Board for being abusive, In 2005 he upset council officers at a meeting of the Licence Committee and was reprimanded.

How all this will play with voters remains to be seen. Our candidate Michael Clarke, stood in the neighbouring ward of Kirkby-in-Ashfield West in May and polled a respectable 14.9% of the vote. The votes in the two seat ward were Ind 861, Lab 472, BNP 372, Ind 348, Ind 232, Lib-Dems 213. I have no up-to-date news on the election but did report that the campaign was under way in the latest issue of Freedom.

Feedback from our election guru Eddy Butler on last week's Waltham Abbey confirmed what was said on this blog on Friday, that with a full campaign the BNP would have "won the seat comfortably". Now thoughts on the result can be two-fold. Bitter disappointment that a full campaign wasn't mounted and that we don't have another councillor, or encouragement that without fighting a full campaign we can still come within 18 votes of taking a rock solid Tory seat. It was good to see a Conservative election analyst commenting on our election vote on the Political Betting website.

David Cameron will play the immigration card in a speech today in an effort to try to bring an increasing number of disillusioned traditional Tories back into the fold. In the past, this would have worried the BNP, but not any more. Looking at the text of Cameron's speech it is so full of waffle that its meaning will be lost on most voters. As I said in a posting last week, let them tinker with their terminology on tackling immigration. We want them to raise the issue up the agenda so that voters will come to expect some action on it. It is then that the BNP's "Not one more - Britain is full" stance will win the day.

I have had a few messages regarding my day on Betfair on Friday and can confirm that it was highly successful. In fact, I am delighted to say that I have recouped in full my stake from the ill-fated wager on a November 2007 General Election. As I indicated, in the main I like to lay horses rather than back them which means I select a horse, from the first four in the betting, that I expect to lose. On Friday I had an interest in 13 races on At The Races and laid 11 losers and just two winners. My strategy is to look for a weakness in my selected statistics for those four horses which are:

Trainer's strike rate with runners of age and distance
Sire's strike rate with runners of age and distance
Official rating over distance
Dam's progeny rating (for 2/3 year-olds on the flat. Novice hurdlers and novice chasers).

I am looking for a weak performance in one of these. As I indicated in my blog on Friday I was going to lay the first two favourites at Doncaster. This was because trainer Barry Hills had a weak strike rate for two year-olds over 7-8 furlongs compared to the other trainers. With regard to Slam, the Dam's progeny rating was very low compared to the other three market leaders.

Well I find it interesting, if nobody else does. For the record I get my stats from the Racing Post's excellent website.

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