MORE readers’ constituency reports with the election campaign in its last two weeks. See below for how to submit your own report on the choice of candidates you have, which of them you plan to vote for and why, what you think of their chances and your stance on Brexit.
Outgoing MP: Louise Ellman (Labour)
Ken Bishop writes: Since Liverpool Riverside was created in 1983 the Labour/Labour Co-Op vote has never dipped below 50 per cent and has mostly been above 70 per cent. Our approximate predecessor Liverpool Scotland Exchange told the same story. Way back between the Wars our very approximate equivalent, Liverpool Scotland, elected an Irish Nationalist unopposed five times, no other candidate even bothering to stand. The Tories were always in hopeless second place till the 1990s and then the Lib Dems, the Greens in 2015 and then the Tories again in 2017, with less than 10 per cent compared with Labour’s 84 per cent. Turnout fluctuates around 50 per cent.
The constituency makes little sense as a unit. Much of it consists of pretty but run-down Victorian terraces punctuated by social housing estates, including notoriously deprived districts such as Vauxhall and Toxteth (home of Ringo Starr). It also encompasses some of the city’s most solidly prosperous areas (e.g. Mossley Hill, home of John Lennon), lovely parks, the rapidly gentrifying city centre, two state schools that keep topping the league tables, three universities and a lot of students. Gentrification, and the massive redevelopment of our copious brownfield land, didn’t really get going until around twenty years ago and a huge student influx will have helped the Greens, but it seems the prosperous incomers do not vote Tory.
Our outgoing MP Louise Ellman was elected on an all-women shortlist and struck me personally as a waste of space although her vote share suggests most residents disagree. She resigned and left Labour over anti-Semitism recently. The new Labour candidate, Kim Johnson, is a popular local woman with a long history of political work. Our Conservative candidate lives in the next constituency along. Liverpool’s four other Tory candidates live in the Cotswolds, Islington, Shrewsbury and Weybridge.
Voting here is more or less an act of ritual, not of democracy. The best we can hope for is that psephologists might watch where the non-Labour votes go. Mine is going to the Brexit Party, who lives in the constituency and publishes his address.
CHINGFORD & WOODFORD GREEN
Current MP: Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative)
Jim Fleet writes: One of the most keenly watched marginal seats on election night will be Chingford & Woodford Green in north-east London, held for almost 28 years by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith. His majority was slashed to 2,438 in 2017. Before IDS, the seat elected Norman Tebbit, aka the ‘Chingford Skinhead’.
Labour didn’t come close to winning in the Blair years, so why does IDS have such a desperate battle to survive?
Firstly, the great demographic tidal wave that has transformed the capital over the last 20 years has reached the outer suburbs. Chingford is visibly more multicultural than it was just a few years ago.
Secondly, the Lib Dem vote has crumbled since 2015 to Labour’s advantage.
Thirdly, the quality of life is steadily declining. Local shopping hubs are shabby, congestion is bad and housing is unaffordable. The Tories seem to have no answers to any of these problems.
IDS backs the fake Brexit of the Withdrawal Agreement. Labour’s challenger is media Corbynista Faiza Shaheen, who grew up locally and is a Remainer.
It’s difficult to say who will win in 2019, but I have long thought that IDS will be Chingford’s last Tory MP. Demographic change alone will surely hand this seat permanently to Labour one day.
As I do not have a UKIP or BXP candidate, I will not be voting.
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