For my sins, I currently live in Newark. There appears to be some excitement going on at the moment with a by-election where the sitting Conservative MP fell on his own sword after being shown to be an absolute bounder.
And then the UKIP can smell blood in the River Trent. English blood. Conservative English blood.
The story so far.
UKIP very visible. Lots of volunteers. Seen lots of people with badges. Average age of volunteers appears to be near 90. Roger Helmer (for all his faults) is affable and approachable. I asked him about immigration and race and he gave straight answers without repetition, hesitation, deviation or repetition. He's clearly experienced at this electioneering lark and very relaxed. Mind you, he's just been re-elected as an MEP in the East Midlands, so its not exactly life-or-death for the bank balance. Most fun today was Dennis Skinner turning up and having a shouting match with a UKIP volunteer about the NHS. An aspirant satirist asked the volunteer where she came from, she replied "Grantham" (about 20 miles away), and the satirist said "And when will you be returning?". Satirist considers starting "The Ultimate Little Englander Party" but then sobers up.
Conservative party. Not very visible. Conservative candidate, Robert Jenrick seen inside Conservative office typing. Doesn't appear to relish meeting people on the streets. Lots of balloons given out. Children like balloons. Volunteers slightly younger at around 68 3/4. Apparently David Cameron and Boris Johnson came to Newark a few days ago but I missed the chance to meet and greet. And cat-call and boo. Conservatives appear to be campaigning by bombarding letterboxes with stuff about how well Newark is doing and rising employment. How these leaflets are all paid for while remaining within election spending law is a mathematical conundrum.
Labour Party. Slightly visible but clearly don't think they have a snowball's chance in hell so not trying terribly hard. Apparently Ed Milliband has visited the constituency but no-one cared. The candidate, Michael Payne, is not making headway. Volunteers appear to be in their 40s and 50s. They mainly cat-call at UKIP, but I think they're petrified of splitting the vote and letting UKIP in. Or making an difference to the result whatsoever.
Liberal Democrats. Completely invisible. Not seen them. Not heard from them other than one envelope that came in today. Volunteers could be ghosts. You'd think that a party in the Coalition Government would try to show up. So far, nothing.
Dick Rodgers - Common Good Party - railing about banks creating money. I've no idea what he's on about but he's like the UKIP candidate, charming and affable. Got no chance but he knows it. Having a meeting in the Town Hall tonight but not expecting many to turn up.
Haven't seen the "Bus Pass Elvis" candidate or the Monster Raving Looney candidate.
More hustings tonight where I shall take photographs and take more impressions. I'll also post some photos as well, if people are interested.