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The Tories deserve to lose Tiverton Their candidate is the worst I have ever seen

Helen Hurford, a former teacher who now owns a beauty salon, with Boris. Andrew Parsons CCHQ / Parsons Media

Helen Hurford, a former teacher who now owns a beauty salon, with Boris. Andrew Parsons CCHQ / Parsons Media


June 21, 2022   8 mins

“We love tractors,” says an old man by Tiverton market, sunning himself on a bench. He gives a filthy laugh and I hear pride in it: he sounds like Sid James. Tractors are why I am here, at least tangentially. In April, the Tory MP Neil Parish Googled a Dominator Tractor in the House of Commons and found himself watching BDSM porn in view of colleagues. He resigned to become a crucible for a by-election and a metaphor for decline. Ennui is the presiding atmosphere in Tiverton and Honiton: boredom. It’s another referendum on the Prime Minister’s leadership. They are getting repetitive.

“There’s nothing happening here,” the man says, when he stops laughing. “They’re just letting this town run down to the ground. They aren’t doing anything. You walk down through there” — and he points at a road — “they were going to take a building down, make more room for the market. They’ve scrapped that now. Why? Nobody knows.”

This is dairy country with undulating, sun-wilted hills from Exmoor to Lyme Bay. The towns are golden and ancient: less sleepy than necrotic. Londoners buy second homes and treat the landscape, which looks like an advert for butter, as a garden while common issues — low pay, lack of housing, infrastructure, local services — have been ignored. Still, it was safe for Tories: farmers are conservative. Parish’s majority in 2019 was 24,239 votes: 60.2% of the vote. Labour came second in 2019 and 2017 but the Liberal Democrats, the professional opposition, hope to repeat their successes in Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire with their candidate Richard Foord, a former major in the army.

Three hundred activists a day come from out of the constituency to help: angry Tories don’t vote Labour. If it goes Liberal Democrat, it means Johnson is still in danger. If it doesn’t — and even Liberal Democrats are unsure — it means Partygate is forgotten, and he has hope: to continue his personal redemption through destruction.

“I would like,” the man continues, “to think the Liberal Democrats will get it. Make a completely new start. Because the Conservatives — what have they done?” But this is a by-election: just one less brick in the wall. It will change nothing. Does he know that? He answers his own question, enunciating carefully: “Very, very little. Did he [Neil Parish] make a mistake? Would you walk into the Houses of Parliament and produce a phone and start looking at porn?”

“Is he the only one who’s doing it?” asks his friend, and they guffaw for a while. In east Devon you must be patient. They think in decades. To them, Parish is a fool, not a fiend. There is not the same anger towards him as there was towards Owen Paterson in North Shropshire. Those who liked him still like him. (One man says he loves him.) Those who hate him hated him anyway.

At the edge of Tiverton, where it segues from golden town to sprawl, I find the Community Arts Theatre. Public hustings are almost unknown nowadays because they are unpredictable but, since it is organised by the Fund Our Tivvy High campaign — the school needs to be rebuilt — the main candidates agreed to it.

I arrive early and watch the For Britain candidate, a ruddy, pinched boy called Frankie Rufolo, who carries aggrievement like a cartoon cloud over his head, attempt to infiltrate the hustings. He was not invited. “You’re a racist,” a youngish man tells him. “I’m an anti-racist,” Rufolo pleads back. (For Britain is endorsed by Tommy Robinson.) A security guard approaches to remove Rufolo. I ask Rufolo if he is local. “I have relatives in Devon,” he says sulkily. “No, you don’t,” says the security guard (though, in fact, he does), and leads him away, head hanging like a daffodil.

I listen to the Labour candidate Liz Pole, a genial woman essentially trying to climb a mountain in slippers, giving a TV interview: “The Conservative vote has collapsed, even people who are voting Conservative are doing so through gritted teeth, a lot of people are staying home or are switching
” Her press officer, who is presumably decorative, won’t brief me on or off the record but I think it is less tactics — an informal non-aggression pact with the Liberal Democrats is a persistent rumour — than laziness. Later, when I call out to her, she places a finger in the air and walks to the carpark with it.

As the audience muster, a group called LIFT (Local Independents for Tiverton) unfurl a banner that says: The Party’s Over, Prime Minister. Post confidence vote, it is an ancient slogan. It could be by Cicero. “The Conservatives have taken us for granted,” says a LIFT supporter. “The only time we were on the news is when our MP was caught looking at pornography in the House of Commons.” He talks about local food poverty, which is “remarkable” (donations have flat-lined and the church that stores them is empty), the dangerous condition of the school and lack of representation, homes for locals and well-paid jobs. There used to be a clutch of thriving factories around Tiverton, he says. Now they are shuttered or small.

He is by far the angriest man I meet in Devon. This is not raging North Shropshire, where former Conservatives would denounce Johnson on street-corners, or Chesham and Amersham, where the atmosphere was a kind of gleeful transgression in sunlight. It feels sadder than that: splintered, tetchy, defeated, as if Johnson’s corruption is settling over everything like dust, leaving people bewildered and exhausted. Many people tell me they won’t vote, and never have: “I’d rather sit in my garden and have a cold beer.” “They’re all the same”. One Labour woman voted Liberal Democrat tactically in 2010, and never will again; an old betrayal haunts her and so she will help Johnson by voting Labour. A youngish man is one of the few Tory splitters I find: “I was a paid-up member of the Conservative Party and there’s no way I can vote for the Tories in the state they are in. They’ve lurched to the Right.”

Some people are gently awed that politics has fallen on them. A man in a checked blue shirt with exquisite RP accent, who is here to find out if the Conservative candidate is pro field sports, says: “I’m not going to tell you who I normally vote for, but I am much to my own surprise” — and he does look very surprised — “a floating voter.” If he is anything other than a Conservative now leaning Liberal Democrat, he needs a better disguise.

Inside, it is packed with political obsessives who know how they will vote: anti-Tory. The Tory candidate Helen Hurford, a former teacher who now owns a beauty salon — Corbynistas smirk at this because they are snobs — sits with Gill Westcott, the Green Party candidate, who is the sort of woman who sags under her obvious intellect. Liz Pole sits with Richard Foord. He looks open-faced but exhausted, as if a burden is upon him. That’s the disease of by-elections: the idea that they matter for anyone beyond the lobby’s Kremlinologists. They are only runes.

I have covered many by-elections and Hurford is the worst candidate I have found. Initially she says she wants to share “all my ideas and my aspirations for the Tiverton and Honiton”. The definite article is singular to her; she considers everything from her own perspective; her speech is filled with exclamation marks; its content is banality meets rage. “I know what it’s like to raise a family and be brought up in this area,” she says. “It’s beautiful! I’ve had lots of ministers coming down to support me and they’re saying, ‘isn’t it gorgeous?’ and I say, ‘Yeah it is, why would you want to live anywhere else?’”

A woman in a straw hat rises to ask: “In light of the resignation of two ethics advisers in less than two years, what is your personal view on the moral character of Boris Johnson?” “It’s hard to know where to start, just the lies, the repeated lies,” says Liz Pole, looking phlegmatic because the alternative is screaming: “The brass neck of the man.”

“The first part of that question, I believe, was about the resignation of the ethics advisers,” says Hurford. “It’s very Westmistery. That’s the expression I use. I’m not in Westminster but my understanding is that it was a commercially sensitive issue.” There are heckles at this, but she moves through them like a tank: “That’s what I’ve been told, thank you very much!” The chair presses her: do you have any concerns about his character? “I have no concerns that his pledges are honest”. Foord says: “To lose one ethics advisor could be regarded as misfortune, but to lose two ethics advisers can only be carelessness.”

Hurford is pressed on the cost of living (“I’m feeling it too!”) the environment (“I don’t have the answer!”) and the policy of sending refugees to Rwanda: when the refugees get there — “and it will happen” — they should “be treated kindly and fairly!” She summons Zelenskyy in her support and, at the end, when she is asked who her favourite thinker is, she names her grandfather. (Westcott names Gandhi, Pole Dickens and Foord W. B. Yeats and Paddy Ashdown). “You know, I hated school,” Hurford says conversationally, and it sounds like the truest thing she has said. “Slightly ironic that I became a head teacher.”

I think of May Welland from The Age of Innocence: Hurford has that hard, unyielding brightness. It shines. It lets nothing in. She is a typically Johnsonian Tory; evasive, anti-intellectual and self-obsessed; quick to anger when threatened, slow to change her mind, if she ever does. Every time she speaks, I feel materially closer to autocracy. At the end she says: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a girl that was born and raised and absolutely adores this constituency Tiverton and Honiton”. I wonder if she will burst into song. “Everything that I do will be for the benefit of Tiverton and Honiton because I am Tiverton and Honiton.”

Later I meet Richard Foord. He is not as interesting as Hurford, not being a mad kind of nadir, but he has spoken to hundreds of former Conservatives and, like Pole, he believes the Conservative vote is ebbing. “There are a lot of long-term traditional Conservatives who don’t regard Boris Johnson as a Conservative,” he says. “The most cited reason is that they regard him as lacking in integrity and honesty and for some people these traits are part of their own identity as Conservatives. Some Conservatives do put that above everything else.” There are Johnson loyalists, he adds, “who will stick with him, but I think they are outnumbered by the number of Conservatives who feel they should be better led.”

The next day I find the Liberal Democrat office on Honiton High Street. It is swagged with Union Flags. There are no chairs inside to discourage sitting down, which is not a sign of confidence. An elderly man returns from canvassing in Axminister. He moans that people aren’t budging from the Conservatives — “We are Conservatives,” he reports them saying to him — takes another bundle of leaflets, and leaves disconsolate.

The Honiton Conservative Association, a few doors down, is shuttered. There is a rumour, which I cannot confirm because it is shuttered, that the officers of the Honiton Conservative Association are voting Liberal Democrat. There is a Liberal Democrat sign on the Honiton Conservative Association, but I cannot say who put it there. I think it is a joke.

This by-election is the most depressing I have covered. It feels sunken and shameful, which is not surprising when you consider its origins: a by-election not for constituents, who feel ignored no matter their stripe, but for other people. The media is here, mugging locals and holding up queues in the butchers. They gawp at the nerve of it: as if we are more interested in a prime minister’s fate than a constituency’s. They wonder why they were not always so interesting to us; why we never came here before; if we are irreparably trivial.

I meet aghast and defensive Tories, thwarted Leftists, the undecideds who will choose whether Hurford gets to parliament or not and the eternal, maddening non-voters. But I can’t find the purity of the anger I heard in North Shropshire like a bell. “It’s quite amazing,” a Left-leaning bookseller tells me, his fingers stroking their spines, “how much people will tolerate before they rouse themselves.” I can’t escape the sense that the Tiverton and Honiton is just another distraction: another tiny chapter in the incremental narrative of Boris Johnson’s will to power. I wonder if he is more afraid of boredom or hatred. And we are back to him, again.


Tanya Gold is a freelance journalist.

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Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 year ago

Tanya Gold has written in Unherd that she is a member of the Labour Party, rejoining the day Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the party. She clearly despises Boris Johnson, but has no problem with Keir Starmer, who campaigned in two general elections to make Corbyn Prime Minister, and who stood idly by while better colleagues challenged Corbyn, and paid for it with their political careers. That is Ms Gold’s prerogative. But she seems a rather partisan selection to cover this by-election. What did Unherd except her to say? The attack on Helen Hurford seems extraordinarily personalised and dehumanising for a woman she can hardly know – “
a typically Johnsonian Tory; evasive, anti-intellectual and self-obsessed; quick to anger when threatened, slow to change her mind, if she ever does.” Frankly I don’t think Tanya Gold needed to go to Tiverton to meet somebody who fitted much of that description.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Walsh
Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

UnHerd loathes Boris Johnson, hardly surprising as I imagine the editorial tone was set by its founder Tim Montgomerie.

Mark Kerridge
Mark Kerridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Lots of us loath Boris Johnson. The man is a walking embarrassment.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Kerridge

that is far too kind

Sarah B
Sarah B
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I agree with most of Tanya’s article. I was fortunate to have been at the hustings last week & after 1.5 hours of listening to the candidates, Helen Hurford came across as the most inept, inexperienced, embarrassing candidate I have ever seen (who is supposed to be taken seriously). She was patronising, passive aggressive & spoke to the audience like one of those primary school teachers who make your skin crawl…she even (whilst holding her ear with her finger & thumb) said “I listen, I listen, I listen”, so bad, just so bad. The Green candidate had to educate her on a farming issue she was saying incorrectly. In fact, the inews journalist who was there said that the day before she was reading a script at the NUF closed hustings. If HH gets voted in, we will have one of the scariest MP’s in the country…all smiles but with a very dark far right hidden side.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah B

I am surprised that CCO would permit the adoption of a far-right candidate. They usually pick Islington liberals. Perhaps your idea of far-right is not the same as mine, Sarah.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah B

Oh yeah , tell us about this far right hidden side , that only you can descry . Been going through her dustbins ?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

She FEELS she knows her , just as I feel I know Tanya Gold .

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

It says at the top that this was written by a freelance journalist.

It isn’t journalism if you’re as highly partisan as Tanya. As an active member of the Labour Party contesting this seat, how does Tanya think she meets the NUJ Code of Conduct when she fails to declare her partisanship in an article that is an ad hominem attack on her Party’s opposition?

That NUJ Code requires real journalists “Strive[] to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair… Differentiate[] between fact and opinion”.

unHerd is becoming like the rest of the herd. What is value from subscribing to read what the Labour Party publishes for free?

Georgina Porter
Georgina Porter
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

It’s unfortunate that Ms Gold’s political leanings might lead anyone to doubt the veracity of her scathing assessment of Ms Hurford, because any objective viewer, of any political persuasion can see that Hurford is vacuous, toxic and thick as mince.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

That NUJ code describes BJ to a tee doesn’t it! After all, he used to be a jounalist didn’t he? The truth is BJ was the antithesis of that code just as he’s the antithesis of a proper PM.
I thought the piece was highly entertaining and so hit the mark. Surely you cannot still be taking English politics seriously?

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Was this article really written by Tanya Gold, of whom I know nothing , or is it a personal party political statement on behalf of the labour party?

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

aah. I looked her up in wikipedia. only lists her achievements such as they are and there is a headline caveat from Wiki, I quote, “may not meet Wikipedia’s notability guideline for biographies“. Its becoming clearer

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

Based on Wiki’s ‘fact checking’ skills I think this is a positive for TG.

Ray Thomson
Ray Thomson
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

No fan of Corbyn myself, but whatever anyone says about him, unlike the Tory Party, or his ‘make Brexit work,’ successor at Labour leader, at least he had a ‘levelling up’ agenda that had a remote a chance of working for workers.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

And why the absurd use of ‘necrotic’ in her description of the locality ? Silly and vaguely disgusting , just showing off like Will Self on a bad day .
Also she bangs on about Londoners with second homes just as she does regarding the part of Cornwall where she has a house in a fishing village . I have no idea how many properties Tanya owns but considering the number of non -Cornish restaurants she reviews I’d guess she doesn’t live there all the year round .All standard metropolitan lefty hypocrisy .

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Osband
Georgina Porter
Georgina Porter
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

It must be assumed you saw nothing of Hurford’s performance at the hustings. She is transparently stupid, astonishingly so. Fielding a candidate of this calibre – by any political party, in any constituency – is an insult to voters.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

But surely that makes her the perfect local representative for BJ? It sounds like she is the perfect candidate for the current Tory party? She has all the important attributes (which you list) and none of those unwanted traits like intelligence, integrity, ability etc.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago

Ha have you checked out the labour benches recently . They may be ethnically diverse , there may be women , but that seems to be incompatible with intelligence for some reason.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Nice try, Tanya, but for myself, I will stick with the lizard I know. Because otherwise, the wrong lizard might get in.

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
“What?”

Phil K
Phil K
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Nice Hitch Hikers Guide passage 😉
And as true now as was then

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Most illuminating. Now I know where David Icke got his idea from.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Abbot

Huh? You listen to David Icke?

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago

The worst candidate? Worse than known sex pests such as Imran Ahmad Khan convicted child molester, or the frauds Christopher Davies and Fiona Olusunya or any of the myriad central office clones from both major parties parachuted into constituencies they had never heard of until a week before the selection committee meeting? And all because (holds nose in snooty metropolitan fashion) she runs a nail bar and could not come up with a convincing response to impossible loaded questions about Boris?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  David Shipley

The LibDem candidate’s selected great thinker is Paddy Ashdown!? Any relationship to Paddy Pantsdown? Any decent, half decent, journalist would have worked a good laugh out of that if she were were not so viciously obsessed with mulching the Conservatives

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Isn’t Paddy Ashdown the one who said he would standby whatever the outcome of the referendum was even if it was only by one vote and then rapidly went into reverse after the referendum?

Warren Richards
Warren Richards
1 year ago
Reply to  David Shipley

Ms Gold was talking from her own experience. “I have covered many by-elections and Hurford is the worst candidate I have found.”

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago

Subheading said “I have seen”; I still don’t believe her for a moment.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  David Shipley

“impossibly loaded” questions? Mmm

Dylan Regan
Dylan Regan
1 year ago

The Britain First candidate being treated disgracefully is disapointing and undemocratic but I guess at this point I shouldn’t be surprised, if you aren’t part of the establishment you are treated as a pariah

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
1 year ago
Reply to  Dylan Regan

I agree, not because I support BF, but he was cancelled. Aren’t we all saying such practice is totally wrong – even the government is getting involved in the issue. Yet, a recognised British political party is cancelled from a hustings because they are “racist”. It is shocking how easily we will turn a blind eye when it suits; as I recall it is known as hypocrisy, yet we moan about Johnson



Trevor Powell
Trevor Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Dylan Regan

There wasn’t a Britain First candidate. Frankie Rufolo stood for the For Britain Movement.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

Isn’t this and North Shropshire rather like the inverse of the red wall constituencies? Constituencies which have voted one way for a long time and then suddenly realise that they are taken for granted and have received no benefit from it. They decide a change is needed.

Patrick Heren
Patrick Heren
1 year ago

Tanya Gold’s suggestion that the Tories have lurched to the right under Johnson is laughable. They stole Labour’s clothes to get elected in 2019 and since then have raised public spending and taxes. The legitimate criticism of Johnson is that he has no policy and couldn’t run a whelk stall. The rest of her analysis is typical shallow metropolitan liberal journalism.
I lived in Tiverton 50 years ago. It is another world from London, indeed it’s pretty remote from Exeter, less than 15 miles downriver. The last time I was there I was pleased to see it looking cleaner and more prosperous than it was in the early 70’s, but I am sure it is suffering now. It could do with a decent MP, and by and large it would be better for the area’s prospects if that was a decent Tory MP: the Conservatives might be able to do something for a rural constituency.

Sarah B
Sarah B
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick Heren

We’ve had a Tory MP for last 200 years in Honiton, I think its closer to 100 years for Tiverton (they changed the boundaries of the constituency)…..you’re right, we could do with a decent MP….somewhat impossible with a Tory.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah B

Isn’t there a good swimming spot in the river with a rope dangling into the water around there.

Patrick Martin
Patrick Martin
1 year ago

Trouble is, what have the other two parties to offer, other than piling more and more debt on an already bankrupt country to spend on unreformed public services.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

I read about half of this – out of boredom more than anything else. I appreciate that Unherd is a broad church but should that really be stretched to embrace metropolitan liberals plugging the party line? Tiverton is a long way from Islington and I am surprised that Ms Gold understood what the local people were saying – Perhaps she didn’t speak to any.

Brian Delamere
Brian Delamere
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I don’t think many people read an Unherd article right through to the end, I certainly seldom manage it

William Perry
William Perry
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Delamere

Well, each to his own. I prefer the long form. It provides scope for the proper development of an argument, rather than just relying on prejudices which the writer hopes or expects to share with the readers (Twitter is the ne plus ultra of that approach.) I’m far from saying that every Unherd article – or indeed this particular one – achieves that; merely that the long form makes it possible.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  William Perry

Didn’t work here though, did it?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  William Perry

I’m surprised you didn’t use the French for both of your sean fhocail (Irish for old saying – literally ‘old words’: pronounced ‘shan uckle’ btw).. I digress:
I refer of course to the wonderful French version: Chaque on a son goût for your opening? Do you still open the English Parliament using French or did that go when Brexit came?

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Chaque un – each one. Your’e welcome.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Delamere

I’m surprised you admit to that?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Tanya is very West Country ; she bought herself a holiday home in a Cornish fishing village , before lockdown . Great foresight !

Phil K
Phil K
1 year ago

Tories getting the Labour disease are they ? Worse and worse candidates, some candidates being openly aggressive and insulting to most locals ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Phil K
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

so… democratic process?… Unless you are the “For Britain” candidate…… We need to hear more about this and the somewhat sinister sedition that this government is guilty of when certain minorities do not fit the LGBT/ eco/racism narrative…

Mark Chadwick
Mark Chadwick
1 year ago

Labour and Conservative are two cheeks of same arse now. If Patriotic Alternative had a candidate…..

Frederick Dixon
Frederick Dixon
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

”They” won’t even let Patriotic Alternative have a bank account, let alone register as a political party. Democracy- isn’t it wonderful?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

..ha ha: love that phrase: hadn’t heard it before!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

touche!! brilliant!

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
1 year ago

..”the Green Party candidate, who is the sort of woman who sags under her obvious intellect.”
A brilliant line.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

This is not journalism, this is just nasty ranting.
The obvious interesting question is why in such a safe seat the Tories chose such a weak candidate. They were the ones moving the writ for the election so had time to choose somebody reasonable. They even had time to run a proper primary which would have enabled them to say “locally chosen” rather than parachuted in. And there are plenty of local Tories could do the job.
I don’t get it. (The obvious conspiracy theory is that the local association want Boris out, but that seems a bit far fetched.)

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

You describe non-voters as maddening. I understand, but I think you have this wrong now.

My (first ever) non-vote next time will be a mark of respect to those who died in two world wars (including relatives of mine) for our right to vote.

I think they must now be spinning in their graves at the idea of voting for any of the corrupt, sleazy, second-raters who are now available to choose from.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
1 year ago

I think the Tory candidate in Tiverton will do her best, although it will not be good enough. The one imposed on Wakefield may be the worst ever.

Sarah B
Sarah B
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

I agree with most of Tanya’s article. I was fortunate to have been at the hustings last week & after 1.5 hours of listening to the candidates, Helen Hurford came across as the most inept, inexperienced, embarrassing candidate I have ever seen (who is supposed to be taken seriously). She was patronising, passive aggressive & spoke to the audience like one of those primary school teachers who make your skin crawl…she even (whilst holding her ear with her finger & thumb) said “I listen, I listen, I listen”, so bad, just so bad. The Green candidate had to educate her on a farming issue she was saying incorrectly. In fact, the inews journalist who was there said that the day before she was reading a script at the NUF closed hustings. If HH gets voted in, we will have one of the scariest MP’s in the country…all smiles but with a very dark far right hidden side.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah B

Yes, you’ve said.

Liam F
Liam F
1 year ago

Despite all the ad hominum comments you got , I quite liked this article. And I’m a typical Tory voter. It painted the quiet desperation in well written prose and it had a certain ring of truth for me. I only saw the conservative candidate briefly on TV so difficult to gauge her much – not impressive, strong on emoting less so on facts. But that seems to be the way these days. Not enough people care so we get the govt we deserve.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam F
Harry Child
Harry Child
1 year ago

I despair of journalists or as the Guardian stated churnalists
Don’t they know or do any research into political history. They need to remember the Orpington by election 1962 which then had journalists screaming it was the start of the Liberal revival but did that happen?
Any mid term Govt with a large majority will lose MP’s because it doesn’t matter and electors are not faced with the harsh reality of what political policies are on offer by the Libs or Labour or the Greens at a General election.
Apologies to all but to take another quote from the Guardian “Our media have become mass producers of distortion”,

Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
1 year ago

The electorate of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets are a shining example of forgiveness for the rest of the country to follow.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

My response was removed.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Have you offended Tanya?

Pat Humphreys
Pat Humphreys
1 year ago

Beautiful writing. Illuminating too. Thank you