[dropcap type=”circle”]A[/dropcap]t the 2015 General Election, Wirral South’s Labour MP, Alison McGovern, received 20,165 votes or 48.2% of the turnout, which was a healthy 73.5%. This represented a majority of more than 4,500 and a 4.9% swing to Labour from 2010 when Ms McGovern won the seat with a majority of just 531.
In 2015, UKIP polled 3,737 votes, trebling their 2010 result and knocking the Liberal Democrats into fourth place.
So, assuming that on Wednesday Prime Minister May wins the required support for an election of two thirds of MPs, what might 2017’s June the 8th snap election hold for our constituency?
Is it a safe Labour seat despite the party’s current dismal showing in national opinion polls?
Will Conservatives unite behind the Prime Minister’s desire to win a powerful mandate or, given that she aims to use it to silence voices in her own party, might damaging divisions make themselves felt?
Is UKIP a busted flush with no more political peaks left to conquer following the result of the EU referendum?
Can the Liberal Democrats gain traction with their Brexit doubts in an area which voted overall to Remain?
To be frank, Heswall Today has no idea, but what is clear is that right now the world is unstable, our nation is divided, and the future is bleak for most young people beginning their working lives, trying to take a step up the property ladder, or thinking of starting families.
In a time when many important politicians are often, at best, economical with the truth, and, at worst, tellers of downright whoppers, and when they seem able to change political direction and reverse policies at the drop of a hat, it has never been more important for facts and considered opinion to take centre stage, and for voters to be given a genuine chance to make informed rather than emotional or gut instinct decisions.
In the wider world the chances of this happening are slim. This year slogans will hopefully be placed under more scrutiny before they are pasted on the sides of battle buses, but there will always be powerful interests pushing self-serving agendas that have absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of most of us.
Perhaps locally we can recapture some of the spirit of old fashioned political debate, with vigorous meetings, gatherings and plenty of knocking on doors.
In the run-up to June 8 it will be down to Ms McGovern and her fellow candidates to engage on a human level at a time when, quite rightly, many voters are less likely to take for granted what they see and read on their TV sets, newspapers and phones.
It will also be time for us to respect their efforts on behalf of our democracy, and to listen hard and think deeply about what they have to say.