Journalists, bloggers and politicians. We all live this symbiotic relationship. Journalists and bloggers need access to politicians to make sure our stories are accurate and that we’re reporting the “news” to our readers. Politicians need access to journalists and bloggers to ensure that they get their message across to the maximum number of potential voters.
Yet it is a product of this symbiotic relationship that we bloggers come to know politicians better than our readers do. We have to be careful not to get too close, because that can interfere with objectivity. But some politicians become friends, others acquaintances.
It was with this in mind that I was suddenly faced, in the early hours of Friday morning, with the knowledge that one such politician, for whom I had developed a growing respect, had missed his ambition. David Ellesmere had clearly wanted to be the town’s MP for a long time, and to be rejected by the electorate must have hurt. To then have journalists shoving microphones in his face, jotting down his thoughts in short hand, seemed almost cruel.
Don’t get me wrong. I would have found it much more difficult to interview Ben Gummer after a loss. But that doesn’t mean I had any pleasure in watching David’s dream crumble to ashes before him. He fought a valiant campaign, but was unable to beat the relentless positivity of Mr Gummer.
Mr Ellesmere now wants to return to being Leader of the Council, with his name going before the Labour Group AGM on Monday. I think that’s a mistake for him. He deserves some time away from the front line of Ipswich politics. After all, he did run his campaign on his record as council leader, and that record was rejected by the public, both at the General Election and in the Borough Election, where the Tories gained five seats, four of which came from Labour. The Ipswich public clearly want a new direction here in Ipswich – and Mr Ellesmere doesn’t represent that new direction.