Ever keen to promote democracy, Eye Spy feels it is his duty to bring residents’ attention to the candidates for the upcoming Springfields and Trent Vale byelection, seeing as the Council PR Department haven’t.
Anyone searching for the Statement of Persons Nominated at the end of last week could be forgiven for not finding it, tucked well away from the homepage (alongside the Masterplan for Stoke town centre no doubt…).
Eye Spy predicted a large field and this byelection does not disappoint with no less than 9 candidates. As intimated last time, Labour have selected Mubsira Aumir, wife of Meir Hay councillor Mohammad Aumir. Her local credentials are a bit ropey, what with her living in Bucknall, however in true Labour fashion, that doesn’t matter as she fitted the Guess Who-style person specification of being a woman.
Meanwhile, the Labour vote which was not strong to begin with, will be picked apart by the other candidates, headed by Dave Conway’s choice of Jackie Barnes, who stood here for Community Voice in 2011. Let’s hope Conway didn’t take a job lot from CV…
Michael Benarski is back also for a second go after polling quite strongly here for UKIP in 2011. Another familiar name for locals is the Conservative candidate, Harold Gregory, who didn’t stand in 2011 but has stood in this area several times before and who historically also polls a respectable number of votes.
One name missing from the ballot paper is Paul Billington, who had been widely tipped to stand here for the Lib Dems – however he appears to stepped aside for aptly-named Hanley postman, Les Porch. Les is apparently the editor of a local freesheet that only appears at election time.
Other runners and riders include Trade Unionist Matt Wright, Michael Coleman from the BNP (who EyeSpy thought might have had better things to spend his time on than standing again for election…) and Mark Leat who is this year standing for the Democratic Unionists. He gets around, doesn’t he?
Finally, it wouldn’t be an election without Gary Elsby, who is quickly turning into the Gazza of Stoke-on-Trent politics, appearing with a flask of lobby, oatcakes and a fishing rod wherever there is trouble with some words of wisdom for the rest of us.
With just over 3 weeks ’til polling day, Eye Spy is looking forward to seeing the dirt starting flying in downtown Springfields and Trent Vale as the battle lines are drawn.