The Tab’s Election Profiles
With polling day just hours away, The Tab gives you the lowdown on the men who would be king.
It’s been quite a month since Brown triggered the race for Westminister on April 6th. Come Friday morning, Cambridge will have a new representative, and that man will be one of the 7 below. We use the word ‘man’ without any guilt because this campaign has been notable for an absence of oestrogen. It’s a great shame that a city as progressive as ours couldn’t produce a single female hopeful (although there’s no guarantees about Old Holborn’s sex). Maybe next time.
Among all the beards, masks, pot-smoking and trade unionism, only one winner can emerge. Here’s The Tab‘s guide to the candidates.
Don’t forget to vote in The Tab‘s election poll and watch our video interviews.
Tony Juniper, Green Party
Silver fox Tony Juniper has gone from rank outsider to potential winner in the Cambridge race. The Green Party polled just 2.9% in Cambridge in 2005, but former Friends of the Earth chief Juniper has run a flawless campaign that has seen him top a Cambridge News opinion poll. The savvy environmentalist, who has left admirers swooning with his unbuttoned shirts and straight-talking charisma, is keen to point out that the Greens are more than just a pressure group. Alongside his progressive environmental agenda, Juniper offers common-sense policies on housing, transport and anti-social behaviour.
Key policies: Work towards making Cambridge a sustainable city, defend local shops, cut University fees, prevent further concentration of take-away establishments, redistribution of wealth.
Bookies’ Odds: 33/1
He says: “I’ve tried marijuana and to be honest I can see the attraction.”
Vote for him because: He’s these only candidate who wouldn’t blindly follow the party line in Westminister.
Nick Hillman, Conservative Party
Tory candidate Nick ‘Pillman’ Hillman has gone on record stating that he has never used drugs of any kind. The former teacher, who was a postgraduate student at Christ’s college, had been rumoured to have gained the nickname ‘Pillman’ due to the amount of drugs he took at school. Hillman was the only candidate to be elected in an open primary rather than selected by party officials and along with Julian Huppert was the only one of 4 interviewees who knew what Cindies was, having visited the club with Cambridge’s ‘street pastors.’
Key policies: Less government interference in University affairs, 10,000 extra student places in 2010/11, elected police chiefs, public spending cuts, no congestion charge in Cambridge.
Bookies’ Odds: 17-1
He says: “The last thing I want to see is a war with Iraq.”
Vote for him because: He’s no maverick.
Peter Burkinshaw, UKIP
75 year old Peter Burkinshaw has been a relatively silent voice in this election campaign, which explains the lack of any photos of the man anywhere online. ‘The Burk’ survived an attempt by King’s students to have him banned from the college’s election hustings but has been sidelined from many other campaign events. UKIP expect to pick up some extra votes compared to their showing of 1.3% last time out thanks to redrawn constituency boundaries but realistically the moaning old git faces a battle with Old Holborn and Martin Booth to avoid the wooden spoon.
Key policies: More and better maintained cycle routes, withdraw from EU, no policies to prevent climate change (believes it is not man-made), withdraw from EU, no congestion charge in Cambridge, end VAT on Werther’s Originals, withdraw from EU, control immigration, did we mention the EU?
Bookies’ Odds: 100/1
He says: “I’m not a big fan of public transport.”
Vote for him because: He needs 5% to get his deposit back. £500 could buy Pete a lot of blankets and heaters.
Daniel Zeichner, Labour Party
Labour’s candidate was probably the best known name before the race began, having been selected to fight the seat right after the last election. His party’s loss to the Lib Dems on a massive 15% swing in 2005 was a shock to the local party’s system but they’ve told us repeatedly that they are hoping to regain voters who deserted Labour over the war in Iraq. Zeichner, whose trade union background puts him on the left of the party, has impressed audiences with his quick-wittedness in public hustings although Cindies goers might not be impressed by his failure to know our favourite Wednesday night haunt.
Key policies: Opposes the congestion charge in Cambridge, believes Labour’s commitment to sustaining public spending will benefit the town’s schools and hospitals.
Bookies’ Odds: 17-1
He says: “My priority in Cambridge is the town’s poorest people”.
Vote for him because: He’s obviously not in it for himself.
Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrats
Few will vote for Huppert for his public speaking presence – Tony Blair he is not. But Liberal activists in the town point to their candidate’s record as an academic at the Cavendish and in running a technology busines as evidence of his promise as a local MP. He describes his goatee as “one of the most trustworthy designs” and mentions his time as a student at the university even more often than his party’s leader talks about fairness. Huppert suffers at public hustings from an irritating habit of agitatedly shaking his head whilst his opponents are speaking and had a tricky night at Peterhouse as the other’s took advantage of his lacking sense of humour.
Key policies: Better cycling facilities in Cambridge, providing more money to schools in poorer areas.
Bookies’ Odds: 1-20
He says: “Actually, I know Cindies very well!”.
Vote for him because: He knows his stuff.
Old Holborn, Independent
This maverick libertarian blogger probably won’t realise his ambition of becoming the first anonymous candidate ever to be elected to parliament but at least he’s entertained us.
The stunt where he gave members of the public eggs to throw at a suited ‘MP’ was our favourite moment, or perhaps just the fact that he appears at all hustings wearing his mask and black boots.
Key policies: Opposes the smoking ban, thinks all politicians are corrupt, believes in direct democracy.
Bookies’ Odds: 100-1
He says: “I remember when Students could change governments”.
Vote for him because: You hate politicians.
Martin Booth, Trade Union and Socialists
Trade Union bigwig Martin Booth has worked at Addenbrookes for 34 years as a ‘Clinical Leader’ in operating theatres. Unfortunately, his campaign strategy has been less than clinical, and he has struggled to land any blows on his opponents at a time when you’d hope a socialist could make some ground (think recession). Booth may look like Gerry Adams after a shave but he is popular locally thanks to his campaigns to protect our health services. He’s also standing for a position on the local council.
Key Policies: Fight public service cuts, nationalize private services and industries, nationalize banks and place them under democratic control, 35 hour working week, free education for all.
Bookies’ Odds: 100-1
He says: “The banks must be made to pay for the crisis.”
Vote for him because: You don’t believe in free-market capitalism.