It's a funny old election - and this lot proves it - Neil Elkes

It’s a funny old election – and this lot proves it – Neil Elkes

1. Tory campaign gathers Momentum, literally

There are blushes in Harborne, where one of the country’s leading Momentum activists accidentally found himself on Conservative Party promotional leaflets.

Michael Thawe is a very vocal supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour on social media and is running for election to Momentum’s National Coordinating Group.

But he appeared to be giving the thumbs up to Tory candidates for Harborne, Akaal Sidhu and Peter Fowler in a picture on their leaflet.



Michael Thawe in top right photo with Conservative candidates Akall Sidhu and Peter Fowler

Aston

The photograph was taken when they turned up to help out at a community litter pick. Mr Thawe says he was just being friendly.

He argues he was set up and says he would never give permission to appear in a Conservative leaflet. He has complained.

The Conservatives have agreed to Mr Thawe’s request and withdrawn the leaflet from circulation.

Is this a tacit admission that they misled him?

It is also true that the Harborne Labour Party has been a far from happy place in recent months – the vote to select a candidate was restarted twice after complaints .

Momentum-backed candidates lost out to former Leicester councillor and PCS union rep Sundip Meghani who secured the nomination.

2. Flipping mistake

Poor Conservatives are being mocked by rivals over their plans for a pollution absorbing green wall on the Aston Expressway, but it is not so much about the science or whether or not someone will have to risk life and limb on the roadside to trim the creeping foliage.

Opponents have pointed out that under the Conservatives, Birmingham will be driving in the wrong direction. Their mock-up image shows motorists driving on the right – perhaps another congestion-busting idea to confuse motorists into not using the road.



New direction

It was not another of those celebrated cases of photos of Birmingham Alabama being absent-mindedly substituted for our own fair city in council leaflets. Simply some poor designer hitting the flip button.

3. Propositioned on the doorstep

Fiona Williams , the Labour candidate for Acocks Green, is what we might politely call a seasoned campaigner with decades of leafleting, door knocking and debating under her belt.

But she has enjoyed a first on the campaign trail this week.



Cllr Fiona Williams (Lab, Hodge Hill)

“I knocked on a door and got propositioned,” she said. “He said to me ‘what are you doing tonight?’ It took me a few seconds to realise what he was asking. I thanked him and explained I would be sitting by the fire with my husband!”

4. Before she was born

Lib Dem candidate Moriam Jam, who is contesting the Perry Barr ward, has come under fire for a decision taken before she was even born.

Her Labour opponent highlighted in a leaflet a number of facilities in Perry Park including boating lakes, tennis courts and, bizarrely, cross-country skiing slopes, which were “all lost under the watch of your current Lib Dem councillors”.



Setting aside that Cllr Jam has only been on the council for 12 months following a by-election, many of the facilities were closed in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I know I have a reputation for being hyperactive but I think even I could not have been plotting to close boating lakes before I was born,” she says.

5. How not to win friends

Labour have done little to endear themselves to some voters in the key battleground of Stechford. They sent out letters to many households but embarrassingly forgot to pay for postage.

Lib Dem candidate Barber Baz was one of those who had to go to the sorting office and pay £2 to reclaim the letter only to find out it was from his Labour rivals.



Postage not paid for Labour leaflet

He says hundreds have received the unpaid letters, but Labour candidate Basharat Dad disputes this, saying it is only a few.

Red-faced Labour officials have apologised and agreed to reimburse those forced to fork out for the error.

6. Identity crisis

Ward End candidate Wajid Hussain has been on a bit of a merry-go-round in the run up to the election.

The community activist announced on Twitter in December that he is definitely not a member of a political party and therefore not going to become a councillor.

Then residents started getting promotional material from their Conservative candidate… Mr Wajid Hussain.

But his conversion was short-lived as he completed the full 360 degree turn back to fierce independence in time for the nominations.

Confused voters were told on his Facebook page: “I was going to stand as a Conservative candidate, but as I said before, the overwhelming majority of people I spoke to asked me to stand as a independent.

“People were fed up with the Labour party and didn’t want to vote for the Tories either, hence I am standing as an Independent.”

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