Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Election Blog: Could Bromsgrove be Cameron’s Waterloo?

I’ve been puzzled by my own constituency in recent weeks. Bromsgrove is Julie Kirkbride’s seat and has been a Conservative stronghold since the seat split with Redditch due to boundary changes in 1983. Kirkbride has been returned with a circa 8,000-10,000 majority in the last two elections, but I had assumed that things might get a little more exciting this time for two reasons.

Firstly, the Conservatives will have inevitably taken something of a hit for the Julie debacle, not least because Bromsgrove was furious, which manifested itself in the windows of the local constituency office being broken this time last year.

Secondly, and most importantly, Bromsgrove Conservatives have had a Central Office appointment foisted upon them, namely Sajid Javid, and they don’t like it. Javid who, if he holds the seat, will become the Tories’ first Muslim MP also has a less than PR-friendly past.

Why? Well it's simple really, because before becoming a Conservative candidate, Sajid was Managing Director and Head of Global Credit Trading at Deutsche Bank in London, responsible for cash and derivative credit trading, CDOs, securitisation, structured finance, convertibles etc. In short, most of the stuff which created the credit crunch in the first place. (Funnily enough, he doesn’t mention this much in his campaign literature).

One Bromsgrove Conservative, namely Adrian Kriss, decided enough was enough and decided to run as an independent candidate.

Despite all this, all has been quiet up until now, with exception of a couple of small posters for Sajid in fields adjacent to the A38, with no visible advertising for Labour or the LibDems. However, in recent days, Kriss has upped the ante, rebranding himself as an Independent Conservative. What's more, I noticed this morning that Mr Kriss has purchased an enormous 48 sheet poster site in the centre of Bromsgrove which must have cost circa £2k at least with printing and media costs.

Two questions. Can Kriss win? You have to say ‘no’ but these are not ordinary times and just being able to purchase this poster will be a shock to the Tories.

Secondly, what does this mean for Cameron? Well, the electoral arithmetic goes like this. In order to get a majority he has to hold onto all his current seats, take a huge number of Labour seats and take approximately 23 LibDem seats. After last Thursday the latter was looking like a big ask but I am beginning to wonder if he is not getting into a fight for one of his own here.

The Tory nightmare, even if Kriss can’t win is that he splits the Conservative vote and lets in Labour or the LibDems.

Interesting times.


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  2. As a Bromsgrove resident I'm fascinated to see what's going to happen. And in light of the recent setback for Mr Kriss as reported in the Birmingham Post I'm even more curious to see how the parties up the ante in our constituency.

  3. Paul

    Absolutely agree. I've been disappointed with Labour and the LibDems so far in terms of their lack of visibility, but I do wonder whether they will begin to take a closer look at Bromsgrove now.

    A visit from Vince could swing this!