John Brigden selected for Dover

Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat Association have selected John Brigden to be their PPC for the next election. John has been a Sevenoaks District councillor for some years, is an experienced campaigner, and has family connections with Deal. He is the Chief Executive of Bluesky Public Relations, and also organiser of classic-car events.

While there is evidence that rather suggests this constituency is on the receiving end of Ashcroft money, the local Tories have not been polling anywhere near well enough in local by-elections to suggest that could take this seat off Labour. The local Conservatives have been pushing for the building of 10,000 new houses on green field sites, and the Port of Dover is rumoured to be earmarked for privatisation in a Government sale of assets, one of several key local issues that could make this seat even less predictable.

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  • It would be a brave Dover Lib Dem who would vote for this (admittedly seemingly impressive) candidate in a seat where he starts nearly 30 points behind and which is No. 90 on the Tory target list, which would bring the Tories up to more than 310 seats. At the very least I hope John Bridgen sets his sights on getting his votes from the Tory wards rather than focusing on the Labour areas and thus ensuring that Cameron and Osborne are ushered into Downing St. with an overall majority on less than half the popular vote.

  • You assume we have a preference for a disastrous Labour government over an equally disastrous Conservative government?

  • The June by-election you mention was a fantastic result. The Mill Hill ward is, as you say, an ex-miners area and Labour held continuously since before the war… until 2009.

  • The old parties have a brass neck to ask people in Dover to vote for them, given their record of neglect and failure to deliver.

    People assume that because Kent is in the South-East it is prosperous, but that is far from the case. During August I perchanced to visit Margate, which proclaims itself as Britain’s first seaside resort. The seafront was almost empty (yes, it was the middle of the holiday season), there was hardly a hotel in site, a third of the shops were boarded up and buildings were literally falling down because no-one would rent or buy them. The place is a ghost town. Dover and Deal are nowhere near as bad, but they can hardly be described as “vibrant”.

    Kent was told that the Channel Tunnel would bring regeneration. It has certainly done something for Ashford, but the east and north of the county have been left untouched. Why so, Mr Brown?

    I am wondering where the demand is for these 10,000 houses someone wants to build in the fields around Dover. The area has above average unemployment and those jobs that do get advertised tend to be for the kind of money that won’t get you a mortgage, even from a sub-prime lender.

    Neither Brown nor Cameron has much to say on the matter, and no wonder. It is their parties that allowed this state of affairs to arise in the frist place.

    Whatever happens to the Port of Dover, can someone please switch that tannoy off?

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