Tag Archives: Election 2010

Police called to Sheffield Hallam polling station

St John's Church, Ranmoor

St John's Church, Ranmoor

Riot police have been been called to a polling station in Nick Clegg’s constituency of Sheffield Hallam tonight, after angry students refused to let ballot boxes out of the building.

Hundreds of students were turned away as polls closed at 10pm, because the station, at St John’s Church, Ranmoor was unable to cope with demand.

According to the University of Sheffield’s outgoing finance officer, Martin Bailey, police “forcibly removed the ballot boxes” shortly before 11pm.

Voters queuing outside St John's Ranmoor

Voters queuing outside St John's Ranmoor

John Mothersole, returning officer for the Sheffield Hallam constituency, said: “We got this wrong and I would like to apologise.
 
“We were faced with a difficult situation with the numbers of people, and a large amount of students turning up to vote without polling cards. This made the administration process of ensuring the correct person was given a ballot paper much longer.
 
“The only remedy, which we could not take, was to extend the voting times.”

VIDEO: Eddie Izzard talks about Labour, politics and his plans to run for office

Eddie Izzard visited the University of Sheffield today, to offer his support for Paul Blomfield. Some colleagues and I caught up with him backstage to talk about the election, his plans for the future and the Party Election Broadcast he made for the Labour Party.

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s Eddie’s PEB.

I’ll be putting together the footage I have of the Q&A session with Eddie, Paul and NUS president Wes Streeting tomorrow.

Thanks to Paul Garbett, Ben Rossi, Ben Wood and Chris Anstey for asking some good questions, and to Tom Hunt from the Labour Party.

The Analogue Election – Doorstepping with Ed Miliband and Paul Blomfield

Paul and Ed

Paul and Ed chat to a green leaning floating voter

We’re told that this year will see the first “digital election”, an election decided by who has the smartest twitterers and the biggest facebook groups. Either Sheffield didn’t get the memo, or the Labour party are leaving nothing to chance in this constituency, because we’re on our way for an evening of old school campaigning. We’re off to knock on doors.

As we step from Labour’s offices in Sheffield’s Trades and Labour club to the car park outside, I feel certain Paul Blomfield is leading me towards the silver Jaguar parked in the corner. A politician’s car if ever I saw one. I’m slightly blindsided when Sheffield’s newest Labour candidate flips the central locking on the much less ostentatious maroon Clio parked behind it. We’re making a short journey to Sharrow to meet environment secretary Ed Miliband, author of Labour’s recently launched manifesto.

As we park up, we’re joined by a small army of volunteers sporting red rosettes. There’s an air of giddiness about the younger members of the group. Part pure enthusiasm, part excitement at the imminent arrival of such a rock-star of politics. The team disperse through the nearby streets, knocking on doors to ask people’s allegiances, and seeing if anyone fancies a chat with a cabinet minister.

Paul's team prepare to get sore knuckles.


Ed’s running a little late, he’s been visiting a recycling centre near Scunthorpe and the traffic’s a nightmare. One of the younger campaigners jokes that an approaching, slightly tired looking Jag could belong to the minister, to which Paul quips, “No, I’m pretty sure he’s driving a Prius.”

Ed soon arrives, wearing a slightly weary smile and a suit that surely cost more than my education, and heads off with Paul in a door-knocking tag team. The army’s tactics are starting to become clear. They’re looking for wavering Labour voters whose fears they can calm, and Green supporters who Ed can convince to vote tactically. He offers his eco-credentials as assurance that they can vote for a winner without betraying their values, along with promises of electoral reform, to make conscience voting easier next time round.

Does he not find it odd asking people to vote for them, so they can more easily vote for someone else next time? “Obviously I want people to vote Labour, but the truth is if you want accountability of MPs it’s good to have a system where you have to get more than 50% of the vote.” Ed tells me, “We want people to be able to express their opinions, but then vote second or third for someone else, and frankly we’ve got to take this opportunity to reform our politics.”

Today’s other big message is that the Liberal Democrats, Labour’s only serious competition in Sheffield Central, “can’t win nationally.” Nick Clegg gave a crowd pleasing performance at the first round of leaders debates last night, surely cause for concern in such a hotly contested seat?

“The reason I’m here to support Paul is that this is one of the key seats where a vote for the Liberal Democrats could let in a Tory government.” Ed says, deftly dismissing the idea of a hung parliament, let alone an outright Lib Dem win. “I think Nick Clegg clearly had a good outing in the debate, but he didn’t come under much scrutiny because the Liberals tend not to. I think he’ll face more scrutiny in future debates, but on that key Labour-Tory choice, Gordon Brown won the debate.”

One thing Ed and Paul clearly have in common is an enthusiasm for the old fashioned pressing of flesh. While enthusiastic pledges of Labour votes have been a little thin on the ground, people are genuinely impressed that the pair have bothered to turn up in person to ask for them. It may be quicker and easier to reach a lot of people with a tweet, but it’ll never have the same impact. As Ed says before he heads off to his next meeting, “Getting out and meeting people, there’s no substitute for it.”

Originally from this week’s Forge Press. Well worth picking up a copy if you can, the election section’s really good, and you’ll find my guide to the Digital Economy Act in the Fuse pull out.

Chasing the NME vote? Reverend singer McClure backs LibDems.

Not satisfied with courting the “anti-politics” vote, liberal intellectuals, frustrated left and nervous greens, it seems the LibDems are after the indie vote too.

As evidenced by this lovely photo op. Local celebrity, indie darling and Arctic Monkeys’ bezzie mate, Jon McClure, looking a bit like Lib Dem PPC Paul Scriven has got him out of bed.

McClure For LibDems
22nd April 2010
revsmall.jpg
Reverend and the Makers frontman John McClure this week pledged his support for the Liberal Democrats election campaign.

The Sheffield born singer publicly endorsed Paul Scriven, Lib Dem candidate for Sheffield Central, and is displaying a giant banner outside his home.

He said, “The Lib Dems have shown on such issues on the War in Iraq, no to Trident and the abolition of Student Tuition Fees that they have got it spot on. I like the fresh and new style of politics Paul Scriven would bring to Sheffield.”

Paul Scriven said, “It is great to get the Rev’s backing he knows we want real change in British politics and are a progressive force that can bring about long lasting results here in Sheffield and the UK based on fairness and a new way of doing things”

In 2008, John teamed up with The Libertines’ Carl Barat to launch Instigate Debate, a project which encouraged young people to engage in politics. The collective organised public debates at the Reading and V festivals, which brought together politicians, activists and musicians to discuss topical issues.

From Forge Press, 22/04/10