17:13 Monday 5th January 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
CHRIS MANN: So in case you hadn’t noticed, there is a General Election coming up this year. The campaign, well it’s been a slow-burner until now, but it’s beginning to produce more than a few sparks. Let’s find out what we think is going to be in prospect locally from two leading Cambridgeshire bloggers on politics, Richard Taylor .. hello Richard.
RICHARD TAYLOR: Good afternoon Chris.
CHRIS MANN: .. and Antony Carpen, known to many as Puffles. Hello Antony.
ANTONY CARPEN: Good afternoon Chris.
CHRIS MANN: So gentlemen, how much do you think there will be Cambridgeshire issues in this election campaign? Richard first.
RICHARD TAYLOR: I think Cambridge is a very interesting place to live for a General Election. It could go any way. Any election can go any way, but particularly in Cambridge. We’ve got a four or five way marginal, and that’s just with the candidates who’ve emerged already. And we still could have more candidates come, so it’s a very interesting place to be to take part in a General Election campaign.
CHRIS MANN: That’s the city of Cambridge of course Richard. Antony, the county itself has got some different issues from the rest of the country perhaps?
ANTONY CARPEN: It does. I think one of the interesting seats to look at is South Cambridgeshire, where we’ve got Heidi Allen and Seb Kindersley. Heidi will replace Andrew Lansley for the Conservatives, and Seb for the LibDems, having scored 20,000 votes at the 2010 election. One of the big unknowns for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire is what is the impact of both UKIP and the Greens going to be on the three main parties, because remember not just for Cambridge itself but also for the other areas in Cambridge, 12,000 votes in the European elections went to UKIP and the Greens.
CHRIS MANN: And we also have Lucy Frazer replacing Sir Jim Paice for the Conservatives in South East Cambridgeshire, so two new women entering the political arena there Richard. And another one of course Chamali Fernando in Cambridge. Might we see a whole new raft of women winning this election in Cambridgeshire? What do you think?
RICHARD TAYLOR: Well we might do. And with these Conservative candidates, particularly in South Cambridge and South East Cambridgeshire where there are large amounts of Tory voters, we’re giving an awful lot of power there to the relatively small number of people who are in the Conservative Party who get to select their candidate and get to have a huge influence on who might be the next MP.
CHRIS MANN: When they get the vote right of course, when they get the count right. How do we think that Cambridge is going to go? Because we have a man who as we all know has won awards for being a local MP, but equally a strong challenge from several fronts.
ANTONY CARPEN: I still think that Cambridge is too close to call, as I said on a number of occasions. But what’s going to be interesting in Cambridge between Daniel Zeichner for Labour and Julian Huppert for the Liberal Democrats is we’re going to see two very different campaigning styles. With Julian he spent the past five years working very closely with a number of community groups across the city, building very strong personal relationships. With Labour I think we’re going to see much more Brand Labour, with Daniel, with his connections in the Labour Party, being able to bring in some very big names.
CHRIS MANN: And then in Peterborough and North East Cambridgeshire we’ve got the challenge from UKIP there in particular.
RICHARD TAYLOR: I think we’ve got that in the rest of the county, and certainly we could see some UKIP MPs in Cambridgeshire. I don’t think that’s going to affect us too much in Cambridge. We’ve seen in the local elections in Cambridge, we haven’t had UKIP even putting up candidates. So I think that’s going to be something we’re going to be seeing in places to the north of the county, in Wisbech and Fenland.
CHRIS MANN: Will there be a shock in this county do you think?
RICHARD TAYLOR: A UKIP MP, or two or three? Quite possibly.
ANTONY CARPEN: Unlikely.
CHRIS MANN: Gentlemen, thank you. A long way to go, but an interesting start. Richard Taylor, Antony Carpen, thank you very much indeed.