Are the Conservative party really trying? That’s what I have to ask myself at times. And today was one of those times. I know that Tameside is a Labour area. It’s not really high on the priorities of Team Cameron. I understand that. They’ve other fish to fry where a smaller swing in the vote is needed. That’s fair enough. Party’s have to be a bit pragmatic about where they focus their resources. Though, with Ashcroft money, the Tories can be less pragmatic than some. But surely they could at least find candidates who are reasonably local, and if not originally local, then taking an interest in the area and making it a very significant part of their lives. That’s not too much for potential constituents to ask is it?
Apparently for the constituents of Denton and Reddish it is. Julie Searle, the Conservative candidate there is currently a councillor on Adur District Council. “Ah, that’ll be Adur, Greater Manchester, yes?” Well you might think that. You may think Adur is one of the great councils of Tameside. They do silly names quite well in that part of the world after all. But no, Adur District Council is in West Sussex. So not the Northwest, the Southeast then. And not only is Mrs Searle a councillor there, she’s deputy leader of the council. And not only is she deputy leader of the council, she’s seeking re-election. On May 6th.
It’s no sin to be from outside the area, but the Tameside Tories compound this by allowing the implication that she’s local. Using leaflets to suggest she’s “actively involved in Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce” when “actively involved” probably means attended an open meeting, or had lunch with the Secretary. The fact that candidates’ home addresses don’t have to be made public any more makes it very easy for this to go on. Julia Searle probably isn’t the only example of this deceptive practise. It’s as if the Conservative party just don’t care. (h/t @gwynne4mp)