Saturday, 24 April 2010

Some surprises on a glorious Saturday in Ely

The Geoffrey Woollard campaign was in Ely again for a good part of today (Saturday) and the City was as busy as ever and being enjoyed as always by both local people and those from much farther afield. My opening question to people whom I met was, 'Hello, do you live in Ely?' The answers were about half in the affirmative, though they were all friendly. To the non-residents, I said, 'Welcome to Ely: have a great day!' To residents, I gave the full spiel, i.e. why I am standing as an independent, how I am free from narrow party politics, that I have no party political bosses to tell me what to think and do, etc. The latter invariably finds favour.

One non-resident who surprised me was the Liberal Democrat candidate, who is nice and pleasant but a little lacking in the personality department. He said that he had to rush as he was in Ely only from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. Now, I know that General Election schedules are always tight and that candidates have to pretend to be in several places on the same day and even at the same times on the same day, but ONE HOUR for Ely: the man must be joking. He is certainly in danger of insulting our City and its voters. I repeat, ONE HOUR for a City. Unbelievable, but that's exactly what he said. Surprise number 1.

Surprise number 2 was the sight - yet again - of the property in Market Street that is surrounded by steel barriers/hoardings that are, presumably, intended to keep the common people safe and secure and off the property. I understand that the property - formerly a fruit and vegetable shop - belongs to a Mr Borland. I also understand that the common people are fed up with Mr Borland, his property and the steel barriers/hoardings that have been surrounding the property for some time, so much so that they - the common people - have resorted to head-butting or kicking or otherwise bashing the said steel barriers/hoardings. I have seen the evidence of what people have done and I will show you in a minute (see my picture below).

Now I have to point out that this Mr Borland has rights. He can, presumably, afford to take his time with the former fruit and vegetable shop's redevelopment. He can, within reason, keep his steel barriers/hoardings for as long as the redevelopment works take. However, I am given to understand - from several informants - that Mr Borland, his redevelopment works and the steel barriers/hoardings are getting on the nerves of many people in Ely, especially those who have business or businesses in Market Street.

In short, friend Borland and his works are controversial, to say the least.

My picture (below) shows not only Mr Borland's property but also the dented steel barriers/hoardings and, surprise, surprise, some large political posters stuck up on the property that belongs to the controversial Mr Borland.

What are these people thinking about?

Is it any wonder that the Tories are still called 'The Stupid Party'?

The third surprise was meeting up with a Lib Dem party worker handing out stuff in the Market Square and behaving as if the candidate were still there. It's the oldest trick in the book: have someone standing around and giving the impression that a whole campaign, complete with candidate, is just round the corner.

As it happens, I get on well with this particular Lib Dem party worker. He and I swapped leaflets and then talked a member of the public - a normal person passing by - to take our picture for this blog. It's not a bad picture, either. Thank you, Mr Normal Member of the Public!

My third surprise was seeing - again - a lady who claims to be of South African birth. When I met her for the first time a week or so back, despite her protestations of support for me, I came to the regrettable conclusion that she was under the influence of something, possibly alcohol. Today, whilst I was talking to another lady, the supposedly South African-born lady butted in and loudly and with slurred speech declared her intention to vote for Nick Clegg because who was/is 'good and respectable.' A third - and elderly - lady then intervened and said, 'Rubbish!' I am more than capable of keeping my end up and remarked to the supposedly South African-born lady under the influence that (1), Mr Clegg is not a candidate in Ely and that she could not vote for him and (2), that, if the latest press reports are to be believed, Mr Nick Clegg is as up to his ears in sleaze and dodgy payments as any of the worst of the Tory and Labour MPs. She retorted with some silly comment that I cannot now recall. I was actually concerned for the elderly lady, so I suggested to her that she, the elderly lady, should come along the street with me, which she had the wit to do. We proceeded a few yards and I explained that I thought that the supposedly South African-born lady was under the influence of something and that we ought to ignore her. My new elderly friend agreed and we all went on our way again.

I got home for a very late lunch/dinner, which was a superb stew made by my superb wife. I was famished and the stew went down a treat. It was followed by a whole tin of peaches. No sooner had Sue and I turned our backs than Milly, our so-called Jack Russell terrier, had clambered up the cupboards below the sink and was helping herself to the remains of the stew. Just look at this, the final surprise for now. That dog is awful, but we love her dearly.

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