Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Willis Gagged? Lib Dems Should Target Peppard

Willis: No News
I'm sure others will have noticed that Richard Willis's blog hasn't been up-dated since 27 October, and in fact the last local item on the self-styled "first for local news and first for comment" was published more than a month ago on 11 October (announcing the new school for 14-19 years in east Reading - which I have launched a petition against).

I know that in the past Richard has taken a holiday around this time of the year, but even then he has posted about his travels. However I was most surprised that this radio silence was maintained through-out the Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday period. Richard is to be respected for his commitment to the armed services, so I did find this a bit strange. He must have had a reason.

Given Richard's absence at the Council meeting where Andrew Cumpsty announced his resignation as Tory leader, I am beginning to wonder if he has been gagged by the Conservative Association high command outside the council in Reading. Remember when Warren Swaine was investigated by the Lib Dems, he was effectively told to "shut up" - has the same thing happened to Richard?

Voters don't like divided parties, but Reading Tories seem hell bent on mirroring their national party, with a new You Gov report (11 Nov) showing 64% of people now see the Conservative party as divided, compared to just 18% who see them as united. This is the most divided the Conservative party has been seen since YouGov started asking the question, down from a peak in 2008 when 56% saw the party as united.

If the Lib Dems have any political sense (and, of course, that's a BIG "if") they must realise that they could win back Peppard - a relatively safe seat for them in the recent past.

The council elections next May could be quite turblent, with a lot of swopping of seats, so here's part of a betting accumulator I'm going down to Ladbrokes with:
  • Labour gain Redlands from Lib Dems (Goodall to stand down), Caversham (Luckett to stand down) and Church from the Tories;
  • Tories gain Tilehurst from Lib Dems (Beard to stand down);
  • Lib Dems gain Peppard from Tories.
It's already getting mean out there - and will only get tougher!

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