These are the people who want you to vote for them in Bristol West
Remember the thing where you tick a box and forget about it for the next five years? It’s happening again in May
Let’s talk numbers for a second.
On the face of it Bristol West is one of the safest Lib Dem seats in the country. In 2010 they defeated Labour by a comfortable margin of 11,366.
But then everything changed, well, not everything – we all just decided Nick Clegg is a twat – and when combined with another number it makes things here very interesting indeed.
The other number: over 20% of the electorate in Bristol West are students. We are the key demographic in this constituency, we are the kingmakers.
This led the New Statesman to tip this seat as the most likely to give the Green Party its second MP.
The Spectator is less sure – pointing out how neither the Greens nor the Lib Dems have conducted private polling or focus groups in the constituency, making the result hard to call.
But there’s another reason why everyone is scared to predict what will happen in Bristol West: because nobody is sure if any of us students, in our potentially contest-deciding wave, will actually turn up on May 7th to vote.
A change to the electoral register meant we had to sign up individually in order to vote, instead of relying on a household registration.
This could mean fewer of us registered to vote. We could decide which way this seat goes or we could do fuck all. It’s up to you.
Liberal Democrats: Stephen Williams MP
Stephen Williams studied History at the University of Bristol and has been the MP for Bristol West since 2005. He strongly supported a ban on smoking in all public places in the same year.
Williams won an award from Cancer Research UK for his advocacy of a full ban.
He lived in Wills Hall (booo) during his first two years of study in Bristol and remains a member of the Wills Hall Association.
We asked Stephen what his ideal super power would be and he replied: “I would have secret water jets so that I could extinguish people’s cigarettes.”
Our verdict: Williams faces an uncertain future given the dire national poll ratings of his party. Nevertheless William Hill currently put the Lib Dems as the favourites to win Bristol West with odds of 10/11.
We’re not too impressed with his douchey choice of superpower.
Green: Darren Hall
Darren Hall works in Bristol as a freelance project manager in the social and environmental sector.
Previously he served as an Engineering Officer in the Royal Air Force from 1990-2001. In 2010 Hall moved to work for the City Council to run the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, project managing the team that won the European Green Capital Award.
We asked him what song best described him and this is what he said:
Our verdict: Darren has a great chance of becoming the UK’s second ever Green MP. If people in Bristol West vote as they did in the last local elections he will become our MP in May.
But does anyone else think the song choice is a bit weird?
Labour – Thangam Debbonaire
For the last fifteen years Thangam Debbonaire has working in her post as National Research and Training Manager for Respect, the UK national organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims and young people using violence.
When younger, Thangam was a professional cellist and in the 1990s, she was National Children’s Officer at Women’s Aid England.
We asked her what her favourite spot in Bristol was and she said: “I always welcome the sight of Temple Meads Station because it means I’ve arrived home.”
Our verdict: Of all the runners and riders Thangam’s CV is by far and away the most impressive.
In person she comes across as both passionate and convincing – but we’re not sure it will be enough for her to take the seat in May.
Conservatives – Claire Hiscott
Claire is a pharmacist by profession. She’s lived and worked in Bristol for the last 17 years.
According to her website she feels that “common sense rather than ideology is what is needed to bring politics back to the people”
The profile adds that as a City Councillor Claire has become known for her “cutting rhetoric”.
We asked Claire what her favourite song is and she replied: “Land of Hope and Glory – I am definitely the ‘mother of the free’ just ask my kids! (But ditch the empire connotations!)”
Our verdict: Bristol West is a three way scrap between the Lib Dems, the Greens and Labour. The Tories could parachute Winston Churchill or Benjamin Disraeli in to fight for this constituency and they still wouldn’t have a chance.