One member of SMS was at Apu Bagchi’s event last night to hear Martin Bell speak on behalf of the leading Independent candidate. Martin described himself as “just an old bloke who wants to make a difference” or something similar – well, hopefully he has made a difference to Apu’s campaign.
Starting as a 66-1 outsider, odds on Apu have now shortened to 8-1 or less, and, talking to people outside SMS (which we do occasionally), momentum is being carried into the final ten days of the Mayoral campaign by someone who would carry cross-party respect.
Martin’s support has obviously helped put Apu in the public eye. But Apu’s surge in the polls is more than that. It is a sign that the voting public are disaffected with party politics.
Steve Lowe (in the BoS) and others have said before that Bedford needed Frank Branston as Mayor precisely because he was genuinely and obviously his own man – a true Independent.
Apu Bagchi is not another Frank Branston – nobody is – but he is most certainly Independent, and experienced enough to be the calming hand on the tiller.
And Apu’s stance on schools? Don’t be silly – of course he wouldn’t embark on an expensive and unnecessary reorganisation when massive public spending cuts are just around the corner.