Thursday, 14 May 2009

Campaigning in Illogan

After David left, I headed back down to Illogan to lend a hand to our candidate there, Terry Wilkins.

Illogan is the type of place where we could do better than in the past and Terry is the right candidate for the job. Paul Holmes, the Liberal candidate, is not rated very highly by local people. There were lots of comments on the doorstep about how he has been there too long and become complacent and doesn't bother to help anyone locally.

I always remember Kevin Keen who lived at Illogan Churchtown. I used to work with him on the family farm and we spent many days working together weathering hail storms out in the cabbage fields during the winter or the dust in the summer on the cauliflower planter machine. I remember that he was a big Jaguar car enthusiast. When I was old enough to drive, I would sometimes drop him home but he would never let anyone near his Jaguar.

I was wondering whether he was still there when, as I came back down to a garden gate I caught him walking along the pavement. We had a good chat about the old times and I was able to update him on the whereabouts of Alan Cook and John Eddy - both also formerly part of the team at Trevaskis Farm and who I bumped into recently.

Terry Wilkins, our candidate, used to be a policeman and has a no nonsense approach. I first came across him as the row over centralised housing targets started to gather pace. Although retired, he decided to take a stand personally and mobilise oppostition to the crackpot targets that were being imposed by the Labour Government on Illogan. He is the sort of person who takes his responsibilities seriously and would be a real trooper for Illogan, but we have a lot of work to do.

UPDATE

I stand corrected.

A leading Labour Party activist in Camborne has been in touch to point out a mistake in my original post which might offend both the Liberal Party and the Lib Dem Party. To his credit it doesn't bother the Labour Party either way but in the interests of fairness he is right to raise it and so I have corrected it.

Paul Holmes is, of course, a Liberal Party candidate, not a Lib Dem. I should have remembered this because I once shared a platform with him in the late 90's during a euro debate.

For those who don't know the history, during the 80's there was the "SDP Liberal Alliance" which was a joint ticket of the Liberal Party under David Steel and the SDP under David Owen. After the 1987 General Election when the Alliance performed badly, they fractured into three separate pieces. Some merged under the cumbersome "Liberal Democrat" banner, some went off with David Owen and continued as the SDP for a few years - and in some cases went back to support New Labour after that. And the third faction kept the original Liberal Party going and decided against a merger with some of the old SDP people.

So while Paul Holmes might not have made much impression on the people of Illogan as a councillor, it does show some tenacity that the original Liberal Party is still going after all these years and they are fielding quite a few candidates in these elections against the other surviving faction of the old SDP Liberal Alliance, the "Lib Dems".