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News article created on 22 October 2015

The campaign begins

A few days after my last election trail blog, a press cutting arrived on my lap. It turns out that Jeremy Corbyn had not only gone and got himself elected but of far greater significance than that; he’s an enthusiastic grower of marrows.

John Ellis with his marrow John Ellis with his marrow

Who knows? Maybe we will end up competing against each other in the giant marrow class at Shrewsbury, Harrogate or Westminster shows sometime soon. And Jeremy, if you need horticultural tips or any other advice come to that, please don’t be shy to ask.

Safely on the ballot paper

Apparently it took Jeremy until the final seconds before the closing deadline to secure his 35 nominations for the Labour leadership contest. Fortunately for me, there has been no such last minute panic, (apart from my usual challenges with technology), so I am safely on the ballot paper which is not a bad start. There are rumours, if the press are to be believed, that one or two of Jeremy's sponsors perhaps slightly regret their initial enthusiastic support. I hope that not too many of my loyal band of supporters are feeling like that just yet.

On a serious note

With the election now closed for further nominations, I can now reveal that there are three other candidates in the staff section of the election. These are Tracey Jackson, Craig O’Brien and Sarina Young. I am in little doubt that all four of us have what it takes to do a great job. In my view, people are simply the most important asset that any business or charity has and so staff representation on Council really matters. Should colleagues choose to put their faith in me, then I promise to do the best I can for us all.

Tactics dear boy, tactics

As Sun Tzu would probably have said, if democracy had been around in China in around 700 BC, election victories are won by a combination of the right strategy and good execution of tactics on the battlefield. So I thought I would take a light-hearted look at the tactics politicians have used in previous general elections to clinch a few more votes - and perhaps see if I could apply them to my own unique situation.

  • Appearing to give something away, or creating the illusion that the electorate will be better off in some way, is a vote winner that all parties rely on. Very rarely does a politician admit that you will be worse off by voting for them. So I will definitely consider proposing free fishing on Trust waters for all Trust employees. You simply can’t beat a free of charge electoral give away that all the constituents are already entitled to.
  • Hit the headlines. On the campaign trail in Rhyl, John Prescott delivered a tremendous left hook which floored the unfortunate recipient. But for me, this tactic has ‘too risky’ written all over it.
  • Sympathy. Never an election goes by without some undeserving politician getting pelted with eggs or rotten tomatoes. I certainly have a ready supply of late ripening tomatoes in my own greenhouse - so that will cut down the cost of the stunt, always important when running a campaign on a tight budget. Finding willing, indeed enthusiastic volunteers within the Trust to do the throwing should not be too difficult either. This idea makes the list for further exploration.
  • Be seen publicly kissing babies. Note to self, I'd better keep an eye out for recent births in the next issues of The Source. Note to expectant mothers, to avoid undue distress to your new-borns, please ensure you use up your maternity leave in full or at very least check my calendar to avoid any chance of bumping into me.
  • A romantic scandal. It is said that President Mitterrand’s ratings advanced when news of a secret affair and love child emerged. At the time of the 1992 election, Paddy Ashdown’s personal rating also rose when it was alleged in a tabloid newspaper that his underpants had been influenced by gravity. Perhaps a good tactic would be to deny having had a romantic encounter with some famous celebrity or other (e.g. Aliona Vilani would suit me just fine) on the basis that as a politician no one would ever believe the denial.
  • Piggy backing on sporting success. Harold Wilson used the feel good factor of England’s 1966 football world cup victory to increase his majority in the house. Recent rugby results seem to have eliminated any remotely tenuous link I could have used for being somehow responsible for the winning teams success i.e. exploiting the fact my cousin is on the coaching staff at Northampton Saints.
  • Grow some hair or at least grow it longer. It is said that a bald man (or woman come to that) cannot win a general election, as William Hague found out in 2001. Ian Duncan Smith didn’t last long as a party leader either. Down in London, the blond bombshell Boris uses his unruly hair to great political effect, so something to ponder here.
  • Invade a country or oppose an aggressor. Mrs Thatcher’s 1983 election victory came not long after a successful Falklands campaign. Best I can manage here is that Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire will all be hosting heats of the Canal & River Trust/AT Canal Championships in 2016, thus enhancing the Trusts’ brand reputation. It’s an invasion of sorts I suppose.
  • Avoid a slip up on camera. Gordon Brown’s hopes in the 2010 election undoubtedly suffered when he referred to a potential voter in a marginal seat as a bigoted lady. So a campaign of few words might be an option for me.
  • Avoid upsetting Ann Widdecombe. It’s just possible that Michael Howard could have been Prime Minister after the 2005 general election, if Strictly heroine Anne had not stated that there was something of the night about him.
  • Have an association with fish. The two politicians who have arguably made the greatest political advances in recent times are Mr Salmon and Ms Sturgeon. And the Labour Party has just lost one of their all-time greats, Dennis Eeley. So without doubt, I most definitely should exploit my association with all things fish to increase my electoral hopes.

About this blog

The fisheries & angling team

The team undertake a diverse range of work including looking after the Trust's £40 million worth of fish stocks, managing agreements with over 250 different angling clubs and helping more people, especially youngsters, take up angling on the canal. Follow this blog to keep updated with the thoughts and work of the team.

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