For anyone outside the 20 mile orbit of Ashton-Under-Lyne they will probably never have heard of the borough of Tameside. It`s a collection of settlements both depressing and deprived with some leafier bits thrown in.
As I went there on the bus I thought `would anyone vote Liberal Democrat here at all?` Surely this will be Labour/BNP/UKIP territory. Due to particular local difficulties the Lib Dems have no councillors nor had there been any literature for yonks and only one general freepost in this election.
Acting as the Lib Dem sub-agent I was warmly welcomed by the presiding officer. The runes from the start didn’t look good for us gaining the second seat in the NW and my five-bar gates were suggesting anything between 6 and 11%. At one point the Green vote was level pegging with the Lib Dems. As I expected the BNP did well as did UKIP who did better than them. Labour did the best on 25% of the vote – derisory for a borough such as Tameside which has been ruled by the iron fist of Labour’s Cllr Roy Oldham for around 30 years. In the end about 4218 souls went out and voted Liberal Democrat in Tameside with nothing more than a freepost leaflet and the reputation of Chris Davies, Vince Cable and Nick Clegg.
Was there a purpose for me being there? Well I did manage to get one vote that was being put in the `others` box back on to the correct Lib Dem column; Tameside had Liberal Democrat representation at the process; and I caught up on old times with a Gay Conservative Cllr who knows a Lib Dem Gay couple I know!
On taking a cab back home I reflected on the relief of going home to Stockport!