Caradon was a district of Cornwall, covering the Southeast of the Duchy and adjoining the County of Devon. Formed by a merger of boroughs and district on April 1st, 1974, it included the towns of Callington, Liskeard, Looe, Saltash and Torpoint and over 80 villages and hamlets in 41 civil parishes. Along with the 5 other districts in Cornwall, it was abilished with the foundation of the Unitary Authority on April 1st, 2009. This area produced some of the best UKIP vote shares in Cornwall and they will be hoping to advance from here and I think they will be very disappointed not to gain two seats here, five if they are doing very well.
The home of the Ginsters Pasty, Callington has a fairly thriving economy and has attracted a sizeable population of East European workers. This latter fact may be one of the reasons it attracted UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, to a 300-strong public meeting in Callington Town Hall. Apparently well-received (if not universally agreed with), it has been an obvious fillip to the campaign of the UKIP candidate, Dave Williams. It is probably unlikely to help him gain the seat, but it will probably place added pressure on the Conservative candidate, Sally Nicholson, who will be hoping to defend her party's second place position from the last elections. The Liberal Democrats' Muriel Merret-Jones will be hoping to take advantage of a more lively and split electorate but I think she will hard-put to have any chance of winning, given that it is almost unthinkable that Mebyon Kernow - The Party of Cornwall and its candidate, sitting Councillor Andrew Long, will lose the seat. Originally elected to Caradon District Council in 2007, Councillor Long has managed to build up a good vote and, given the continued lack of a Labour candidate in the seat, he will doubtless soak up most of the vote that may have gone in that direction.
Prediction: Comfortable MK hold with UKIP second.
Gunnislake and Calstock
Gunnislake and Calstock division is based around the the two villages of the title and within the Civil Parish of Calstock. On the very boundary of the Duchy and Devon, it was the historical centre of a booming silver, tin and copper mining industry alongside granite quarrying. The port of Calstock was a busy place until cheaper foreign competition led to the decline of the industry.
This Division is unusual in that, almost alone in the east of Cornwall, it has a history of electing Labour councillors, with the late Godfrey Smale elected to Caradon Council in 1976 where he was to remain a councillor until being defeated in 2007 when Labour was proving very unpopular nationally. He was elected to represent Gunnislake on the old County Council in 1981 and was to remain a councillor until he stood down in 2009. He lead the Labour Group on the County Council and was well-liked. He passed away on 30th May 2012.
It leads one to wonder why Labour did not put up a candidate for the then Gunnislake Division in 2009? Well, it could be argued that they sort of did. The Labour candidate this time is long-time Labour activist and friend of the late Mr Smale, Dorothy Kirk. She was the second-placed candidate at the last elections standing as an Independent, just pipping the Lib Dem by 1 vote. Given that Ms Kirk was a candidate for Labour way back in 1994 for the European elections (Cornwall and West Plymouth constituency) and represented the Labour Candidate for South East Cornwall at a public meeting in the 2010 General Election, one guesses it was a mistake on the nomination papers, or some tactical decision, that led to her standing in the Independent interest.
The defending candidate is Conservative Councillor Russell Bartlett, who managed to be elected whilst gaining only 29.7% of the votes cast. He was formerly a district councillor for Calstock, elected in 2007 (defeating the late Mr Smale in the process) in the Liberal Democrat interest (in which interest he had also stood in 2003). It is always amazing to the outsider to see the same faces reappearing under different political labels.
The Liberal Democrats have selected Martin Emery as their candidate and he will be hoping to match the former Lib Dem success of Cllr Bartlett although I am fairly sure that he may find himself being squeezed by a Labour campaign determined to put all their efforts into this campaign which, in this part of Cornwall, is the only game in town.
UKIP have selected Sam Gardner who, as their candidate in 2009, managed to pick up a respectable 16.7% of the vote. Undoubtedly, UKIP will have the wind in their sails at the moment and I would expect them to put pressure on all parties, but especially the Conservatives.
This seat could be won with an even lower share of the vote than Cllr Bartlett managed in its previous incarnation. Either that, or he could win with a comfortable share of the vote.
If Labour isn't targeting this Division, then they should be. I would put this as a Labour gain, but only just.
Prediction: Labour gain
The Liskeard Divisions have been redrawn and there has been an interesting turnaround in terms of candidates from last time. In this Division, Town Councillor and local mayor Tony Powell has been selected to stand for the Liberal Democrats. It would appear that he has replaced the youthful Councillor Jay Schofield who, although having been a district and then Unitary councillor for 6 years, is still only 25 years old. I don't know what has happened here - maybe he has decided to go and try a different path in life whilst he is still young.
At this election there are four candidates and Mr Powell will doubtless be hoping to safely hold the seat. He is facing John Stevenson for the Conservatives, Oliver Challis for UKIP and Sally Hawken who is standing as an Independent. There will doubtless be some concern that Ms Hawken, a high profile local charity worker and project leader may eat into the Lib Dem vote as she seems to be of a more left of centre position but, given the battle on the right between the Conservatives and UKIP, this will probably balance itself out.
Mr Powell was formerly a district councillor for Liskeard on Caradon council and I would think he will be fairly safely home here.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
The former Liskeard North seat was comfortably won for the Conservatives by Councillor Jan Powell, and she is defending this seat but now as a Liberal Democrat. She left the Conservative party because she believed that the behaviour of the Tory leadership on the council was erratic and dictatorial.
She is facing a challenge from Town Councillor Roger Holmes who came second against her in 2009 whilst standing as a Mebyon Kernow candidate; this time, he is running (and standing - English is a wonderful language) as an Independent. Again, I am not aware of a fall-out so one can only guess at why he no longer in the MK interest.
Hoping to gain (or hold) the seat for the Conservatives is (Ariyamuthu) Thusha Balalojanan, about whom I know nothing beyond the fact that he lives above Addington Service Station.
Also standing is Jenifer Lucas for UKIP, who has previously stood for the party in the St Cleer and St Neot ward of the old Caradon Council. Her running mate at the time (and I assume, husband) is standing again in St Cleer. She will hope to put in a good showing for the party but with no history to go on it is going to be interesting to see how successful she will be.
I think this will probably be a battle between Cllr Powell and Mr Holmes although the Conservatives will hope to be in the race, but I think that the Conservatives only win here in a good year and the UKIP candidacy will hurt them more than the others.
I predict a Lib Dem victory but it could be close.
Prediction: Lib Dem gain (though actually a hold for Councillor Powell)
Liskeard West and Dobwalls
This division stretches out to include the village Dobwalls, 3 miles west of Liskeard and home to around 4,000 souls. The local economy will have been effected by the loss of the wonderful Dobwalls Adventure Park with its miniature railway networks which closed in 2006 for redevelopment, but its owners were forced into receivership in 2007.
The race is between sitting Liberal Democrat Councillor, Mike George, and the UKIP candidate, Patricia Marris. Councillor George was formerly a local councillor on Caradon Council, elected in 2007, and then elected for the former Cornwall Council division of Liskeard South and Dobwalls. Cllr George was also a member of Liskeard Town Council until he was unceremoniously and, in the circumstances, appallingly forced to stand down due to his non-attendance at council meetings. Cllr George had been caring for his wife Pauline who was battling cancer and, when she lost the battle and passed away, he was unstandably grieving. Cornwall Council were very understanding but the Town Council thought otherwise and, as so often in politics, made the perfect the enemy of the good.
As there is no Conservative candidate this time, one would assume that Mrs Marris will mop up the larger part of the Tory vote and hope to eat into the Lib Dem vote and get out those who might not normally bother. All I know of Mrs Marris is that she has been the Trustee of the Marris Charitable Trust for a number of years, has been involved in caring for children with special needs and has been studying to see how homeopathy might be useful in helping children with such conditions. An unusual name, I remember a pamphlet written by a lady of the same name concerned about the liberal drift (as she saw it) of the Catholic Church since Vatican II, but it mightn't be the same person.
Either way, I cannot see beyond a Lib Dem hold here, but it'll be interesting to see how UKIP do in a straight fight with a pro-EU candidate.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
On the Eastern side of the River Looe, the division includes the docks for the fleet of small fishing boats and several fish dealers are based here. As with Looe west, tourism is the main industry today and the town is also a centre of shark-fishing. The Division reaches out to St Martin by Looe Parish and towards Deviock Civil Parish.
The defending Councillor is Armand Toms, Deputy Mayor of Looe, Looe Town Councillor and Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Support. It is never ceases to amaze that one person can manage so many jobs. Elected as a Conservative councillor to Caradon Council in 2007, he was already a member of the County Council for the old Looe division. A long-term Conservative, he resigned from the party on the 14th of March of this year and joined the Independent Group, which means that he retained his Cabinet Post, something that has obtained for two other recent defectors from Tories to the Independents, Carolyn Rule (Mullion) and Lance Kennedy (Bodmin East), which means that Independents now outnumber Conservatives in the Cabinet by 7-2 (until 6th March, it was 5-4 to the Conservatives).
The Conservatives are hoping to regain this seat through the efforts of their candidate, James Gowing, a financial advisor. As the Party have been successful here for a number of years, he will hope to pick up the vote share of Councillor Toms but it could be a hard ask as the people of Looe have happily voted for Independents in the past as well.
The Liberal Democrats have Sandra Preston standing for them. I believe she is a member of the South East Cornwall Liberal Democratic Party executive committee and, given the chances of her party here with them coming a distant third in 2009, that might be the best she has to hope for.
The Greens have selected Rick Harmes, who is doing post-graduate rearch into localism and politics at Exeter University. He will doubtless learn much to inform his research on this campaign, including the disappointment of losing.
UKIP's candidate is Les Richmond who will be doubtless hoping to go one better than the (distant) second place that UKIP managed in 2009. He will hope that the Tory vote will split between Cllr Toms, Mr Gowing and himself allowing a path through the middle.
I would predict that Cllr Toms will be re-elected, but it could be difficult and the local fishing industry are very unhappy with the EU so Mr Richmond may do quite well.
Prediction: Independent gain (a hold for Councillor Toms)
Looe West, Lansallos and Lanteglos
This division lies on the west of the River Looe and stretches out to the east side of the tidal estuary of the River Towey to include the civil parish of Lanteglos-by-Fowey as well as the civil parish of Lansellos. The Looe end of the Division is very much a tourist area and this provides the majority of employment. There is a reported threat to the Tourist Information Centre as funding cuts are planned by the County Council.
This election is a repeat of the 2009 battle for the former division of Looe West and Lansallos in that the same three candidates are fighting for victory - and for the same parties as last time!
Liberal Democrat County and Town Councillor Edwina Hannaford managed to grab victory by 42 votes in 2009 and she will be hoping to be more comfortably elected this time. The problem is that she again faces the man she edged out last time, Looe Town Councillor (Emile) Brian Gallipeau. A former Caradon District Councillor, Mr Gallipeau will doubtless hope that he can get out the Conservative vote this time.
The third figure in this returning trio is the UKIP candidate, Tony Winter, who will probably be facing a Conservative "A vote for UKIP is a vote for the Lib Dems" leaflet campaign. At the last election he managed to accrue 19.3% of the vote and he could justifibly see this as a good base to try to take the seat. It would appear more likely that any growth in the UKIP vote wouldn't be enough to win but might well give the incumbent a more comfortable majority.
This is a tough one to call and, without a UKIP presence, I would go for a Conservative gain. I just see the dynamics as favouring the Lib Dems to hold on, and by more than 42 votes.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
The battle for this division, centred on the small rural community of St Ive (not to be confused with St Ives), looks like being fascinating. As with most other communities in this area, it was touched by the 19th Century mining boom with the nearby South Caradon mine once being the largest and most prosperous copper mine in the world.
The candidates are a quite interesting bunch with the Liberal Democrats looking to defend a small vote share in the 2009 elections in the former St Ive division. The retiring councillor, John Turner, came through a divided field to win that election with less than 32% of the vote, just beating the Independent former Caradon councillor Beryl Martin by 36 votes. UKIP's Stephanie McWilliams pipped the Tories for third place by 2 votes and managed a creditable 19.2% of the vote.
Defending for the Liberal Democrats is Christine Joy Hordley, a supply teacher who is also a dog owner and a leading light in the Donkey Breed Society. She encourages people to foster abandoned dogs through a UK Forum dog rescue group. I believe she previously stood for the Liberal Democrats in the 2003 Southampton City Council elections.
Challenging Ms Hordley is a St Ive parish councillor, Alan Neal from the village of Pensilva. Standing as an Independent, he will hope to inherit the vote of Ms Martin and close the small gap on the Liberal Democrats but I think he will have a tough job with both UKIP and the Conservatives hoping to close the gap.
For the Conservatives, the wonderfully named Finbar Heeley (if you knew my name, you'd guess why I thought this) is hoping to turn back the tide of Tory underachievement in council elections over the past few years. Mr Heeley is a craftsman who works in leaded and stained glass window design, manufacture and restoration as well as ornamental metalwork. At the same time, he and his family run Brook Barn Farm Self-Catering Accommodation with equestrian facilities. I am glad he has enough to keep himself busy because I think the real dark horse in this race is UKIP.
Standing again for UKIP is St Ive parish councillor Stephanie McWilliam, who is the UKIP national Health Spokesman, chair of the party's Health Policy Group, sometime chair of the Cornwall UKIP and the 2010 candidate for the South East Cornwall constituency where she receieved 3,083 votes, 6.2% of the votes cast. A former Radiographer, she is an accomplished public speaker, she has stood for election in the St Ive area since 2007 when she ran for Caradon District council (Menheniot and St Ive ward, 18.3%). UKIP has been standing candidates in this area for quite a long time (at least since 2003) and I believe that she will have the wind in her sails for this election. I suspect that the Lib Dems will lose this seat and that the Independent candidate, Mr Neal, will have a battle on his hands to gain it.
Prediction: UKIP gain (in a very divided field)
The Rame Peninsula is just across the border from Devon and is known as the 'Forgotten Corner'.
It would seem that the sitting councillor, George Trubody, forgot that he had resigned his post on 25th January of this year to "pursue a personal career opportunity". Since then the division has had no representation on the Unitary Authority. Elected as a Conservative, Mr Trubody is back as an Independent candidate. A former Cornwall Cabinet member, Mr Trubody doubtless has found a way to make both jobs work. Elected with only 33.7% of the vote, he defeated the Independent candidate Rebecca (Becky) Lingard, a Maker in Rame Parish councillor and former Caradon District councillor. She is back, now as the Liberal Democrat candidate (do try to keep up), and is probably the favourite to gain the seat as voters are notoriously annoyed at politicians they see as 'mucking them about' as Mr Trubody seems to have done.
The Conservative candidate is Chris Wilton of the highly-rated Penhillard Farm holiday accommodation (4* ) and is the sixth generation of his family to farm there. He will be hoping to take advantage of a likely heavily split vote to be able to top the poll, but it might be a struggle with Mr Trubody likely to hold on to a reasonable number of Conservative voters.
Adding to this mix is Peter McLaren. the chairman of the Torpoint Allotment Association, as the UKIP candidate. Last time around, UKIP came fourth with 13% of the vote and one might assume that the party's higher national profile would help him to increase that vote. A Peter McLaren was elected for Torpoint East on the old Caradon Council in 2007, in the Liberal Democrat interest. I guess it may be the same guy. It will be interesting to see if Cllr Lingard can hold onto the Independent votes she received last time and add them to the Lib Dem vote which would see her comfortably home. Former Cllr Trubody will be seeking to hold on to as many of the Conservative votes he picked up last time as well as the independently minded. Mr Wilton must be somewhat frustrated by the resurrection of Mr Trubody and I guess this will dash his chances of winning the seat. UKIP will see if they can double their vote which might even, in a split vote, see them close to victory.
I would predict a win for the Lib Dem's Becky Lingard, but I am not overly certain that I am right.
Prediction: Lib Dem gain (but could be very close)
Like many of the communities in this part of Cornwall, the economy of Menheniot used to be based on a successful mining industry, in this case lead. The village lies 2 1/2 miles south East of Liskeard.
Their are four candidates standing in the elections this year, with Councillor Bernie Ellis defending for the Conservative Party. In 2009 he had a comfortable majority on the old boundaries due, not least, to a split vote between the Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates. The area of south east Cornwall provided UKIP with some of its best vote shares in 2009 and the old Menheniot Division produced the highest vote UKIP share in Cornwall with David Clue gaining 24.8%. Whilst being pipped to second place by the Liberal Democrats, this must be UKIP's best hope of a gain in these elections.
The Liberal Democrat's Charles Boney will be hoping to re-establish his party's winning ways in this area and will hope to pick up enough votes to come through the middle. I would guess that this will be somewhat hampered by the race being joined by the Green Party, in the shape of Richard Sedgeley.
With UKIP in the ascendancy, I see this as a race between Cllr Ellis and Mr Clue and incumbency will doubtless be of help to Councillor Ellis.
Nonetheless, I am predicting a UKIP gain here.
Prediction: UKIP gain
2 miles north of Liskeard, the village of St Cleer is the centre of this Division. It has been a happy hunting ground for the Liberal Democrats for a number of years with their defending candidate, Councillor Derris Watson, having been a Caradon District councillor before election to the Unitary Authority in 2009. She is also a St Cleer parish councillor.
Comfortably home last time, this time she faces a challenge from the Conservatives, UKIP and an Independent candidate. For the Conservatives, Lisa Sargeant is standing but, given the fact that the area seems to have been moving away from them in recent years, and the presence of a UKIP campaign with hopes of victory, I think she will be lucky to keep second place.
The UKIP candidate is David Lucas, who stood against Cllr Watson in 2009, achieving a very creditable 20.5% of the vote. Whilst doubtless confident that he can grab the seat, it will be an achievement if UKIP were able to take a strong second place here, pushing out the Tories.
For the Independents, St Cleer Parish councillor Len Clark adds an unknown wrinkle into the campaign. In the past, Independent councillors have been elected and his local profile may well encourage a decent vote for him.
As with most places in Cornwall, particularly in the east, it is hard to know how the politics will play out, but I would give Cllr Watson an evens chance of holding the seat, with Mr Lucas the one most likely to gain from any slippage in her, or the Tory, support.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold (could be a UKIP upset though).
Among the dastardly actions of the Boundary Commission has been the unimaginative renaming of the 4 Saltash divisions to East, North, South and West, from the more prosaic Burraton, Essa, Pill and St Stephens. A large town, by Cornish standards, with somewhere over 15,000 residents, it is known as the "Gateway to Cornwall" and is the home of the Royal Albert Bridge (built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel) across which trains cross the Tamar. Adjacent to this is the Tamar Suspension Bridge which brings the A38 into (and out of) Cornwall. In a recent survey (2009), Saltash was described as the most desirable place to live in Great Britain
Whilst Saltash has been a good area for the Lib Dems, the area of Saltash known as Pill has been happily electing Independents for a number of years. Covering the area of the Tamar Bridge it truly is the "Gateway to Cornwall". Representing the area, formerly on Caradon Council and now in County Hall, is defending Independent Councillor Derek Holley. Also a member of Saltash Town Council (mayor from 2008-2009), a keen walker who enjoys "caravanning" (not my word but his), Councillor Holley was comfortably elected in 2009.
For the Conservatives, David Ward will be looking to close the gap on Cllr Holley, but even if there is some resentment of the ruling coalition in County Hall, it is unlikely that the Tories, as those leading said coalition, are likely to benefit from this.
Making up the field is the Liberal Democrat's Town counciller, James Shepherd, an environmental charity worker, who will be hoping to rebuild the party's vote in this area. As the only candidate not representing one of the ruling parties at County Hall, he might hope to run on this issue but, given the strange politics of the times, I wouldn't give him much hope.
Prediction: I see this as an Independent hold.
In this division, we have a chance for a new councillor to be elected and, given that of the three candidates, two are Independents, it'll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
For the Liberal Democrats, and therefore the favourite, Denise Watson is standing.
Independent Town councillor and former mayor of Saltash, Joe Ellison, has a fairly impressive CV of local activity, including being ViceChair of Saltash Waterfront Residents' Association and Chair of Saltash Regatta. He also leads the Lottery Projest to build a new Celtic Cross as part of a woodland regeneration project. Recently retired, he enjoys walking and (sigh) "caravanning"
Also standing as an Independent is John Joseph Brady, about whom I can glisten little beyond the fact that he was a Trustee of the League of Friends of St Barnabas Hospital in Saltash and, I assume, a fairly well-known figure locally.
I imagine that Mr Ellison, given his higher apparent profile than Mr Brady, will be the stronger of the two Independents, will have a strong campaign and may well run Ms Watson close, not least given the absence of a Conservative candidate. Having said that, the Liberal Democrats will campaign hard and I do not see them losing this, so a Lib Dem hold.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
Another seat with no defending Councillor, it is a straight fight between Hilary Frank (Liberal Democrat) and Beryl Rosekilly (Conservative). A town councillor, Ms Frank was elected in a closely contested byelection for the Pill ward of the town council in November of 2010. Apparently having had an interesting life in Japan, where she was on the Organising Committees of the 1998 Winter Olympics for Nagano and for the 2002 World Cup, she returned to Cornwall with a Japanese husband she met at a Sumo wrestling match.
Ms Rosekilly is a past president of the Saltash Rotary Club, a school governor, the Co-ordinator of the Conservative Policy Forum for Cornwall. A Dorothy B Rosekilly stood for the Conservatives for the St Stephen's ward of Caradon council in 2007 and I am guessing it is the same person.
Whilst it is a reorganised seat and, in that sense new, I cannot see beyond the Lib Dems taking this seat.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
Another straight fight between the Lib Dems and Conservatives where Councillor Bob Austin is seeking to be returned to County Hall. A town councillor and former Caradon Councillor for St Stephen's ward, Cllr Austin is a retired Project Leader for British Aerospace who became very active in the Saltash Methodist Circuit. A very busy and apparently capable man, Cllr Austin achieved, in the former division, 60.1% of the vote.
The Conservative's Gloria Challen is involved, with her husband Neil (a former town councillor) with the Saltash Lions Club, a local fundraising organisation, with a great deal of acclaim. She stood previously in the Essa ward for the town council in 2007.
I cannot see Cllr Austin losing here and would see him comfortably home.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
St Dominick, Harrowbarrow and Kelly Bray
This beautifully named division is on the border of Devon, north of Saltash and close to Callington. It includes several villages in the Civil Parishes of Callington and Calstock, including the former mining area of Kelly Bray and the small community of Harrowbarrow; partly rural, it has light industrial businesses situateded in the Business park area of Kelly Bray.
The defending Councillor is the Conservatives' Jim Flashman, who managed to make national news with his fellow Cornwall Council miscellaneous (indeed) licensing committees's fact-finding trip to a lap-dancing club. One cannot help but admire his dedication to his remit. He was a Caradon District councillor for Calstock ward, elected initailly as an Independent in 2003, he was a Conservative by 2007. Just failing to be elected to the old Calstock division of the County Council in 2005, he was comfortably elected to the new division in 2009.
Campaigning to succeed him are Callington Independent town councillor Phillip Harriman, Mebyon Kernow town councillor Maria Coakley, UKIP's Dave Lawson and the Liberal Democrat Charles Merrett-Jones.
The Lib Dems managed 2nd place in 2009 with 25.9% of the vote, and would hope to do better this time. The problem will be that MK's Maria Coakley will be campaigning for the left-of-centre vote here and may well do quite well in the present political circumstances. In 2009 they managed to take just under 10% of the vote in the old Kelly Bray division and, being next door to the MK seat of Andrew Long, she may hope for some success here. Every vote she gains will probably do for Mr Merrett-Jones's hope of a family double act making into to County Hall with his wife standing in Callington.
Independent Phillip Harriman will be hoping that a tiredness with party political labels and a local profile will help him in an area that has often voted for Independents, but I feel he will struggle in what will probably be a stiff fight for votes between Cllr Flashman and the UKIP's flag-bearer, Dave Lawson.
In 2009, UKIP achieved very good results in this area and got their second highest share of the vote in Cornwall in Kelly Bray. I would think that they will be pushing hard here to take the seat but whether or not they have enough resources to do so is the issue.
I think that Cllr Flashman will hold on, but UKIP will be in a strong second place.
Prediction: Conservative hold (UKIP a strong second)
St Germans and Landulph
St Germans civil parish is on the Tamar Estuary and was formerly a busy fishing village and transporter of timber, coal and limestone; these days it is home to the Quay sailing Club. Further along the estuary and 3 miles North of Saltash is the hamlet of Landulph, the village of Cargreen and the village of Botusfleming, the latter of which glories in a "small colony of artists".
For a long time, the various manifestations of ward in this area elected Liberal Democrats, but at the last election the then St Germans division produced a resounding victory for the Conservative, Olive Eggleston. This time, the Conservatives are represented by Daniel Pugh - sadly not the former Manchester United youth player now on loan at Sheffield Wednesday (from Leeds United) - who will be hoping to inherit the strong vote share of Cllr Eggleston. I suspect that will not be too easy given that UKIP have entered this race with Joseph Cummins as their candidate who will be hoping that the strong showing that the party has had in the general area will be repeated in this seat. In 2003, UKIP managed to get 28% of the vote in the old Caradon District ward of St Germans and times may be more auspicious now with no sitting councillor. Mr Cummins' commitment to the cause cannot be questioned as, in May 2012, he won the South East Cornwall UKIP party 'Leafleter of the Year' cup ("I'd like to thank those who folded for me, the dogs that gave up chasing me after 100 yards...").
The Liberal Democrats field Jesse Foot, a remarkable self-publicist who has one of the most psychadelic MySpace blogs a candidate for public office in Cornwall is likely to have. Mr Foot became quite famous two years ago as the "Bodmin Bible Burning" librarian; a somewhat misleading headline as he was actually trying to point out that if you didn't use the library, then it would shut down. He asked people to nominate the books to put on a display to burn as not borrowing books was tantamount to burning the building down. A devout Christian, the criticism of him was unfair - he was made redundant, along with a number of other Cornwall Council library managers, a month later. Last time, the presence of a Green candidate split the centre-left vote so he will be hoping that he will be able to take advantage of the Conservative/UKIP battle and win the seat.
Mervyn Ellis, an Independent candidate, makes up the field.
This is a hard one to call and UKIP has shown a recent ability to take votes from Lib Dems as well as Tories. It could prove to be a three-way (or, with respect to Mr Ellis, 4-way) split.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain - BUT, it will be very close.
Torpoint is a fair-sized town on the Rame Peninsula and is situated opposite the City of Plymouth across the estuary of the River Tamar. A planned town, it grew with the Devonport Dockyard of Plymouth, to which it is linked by the Torpoint Ferry, which are chain-ferries which are propelled across the river by pulling themselves on fixed chains which lie across the riverbed. The main Royal Naval training facility, HMS Raleigh, is based in Torpoint.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Brian Hobbs is defending his seat; also a town councillor, he again faces Conservative town councillor John Crago whom he comfortably defeated in 2009. There used to be a Caradon Councillor for Torpoint East ward called Michael Crago, and I am learning that first names are a moveable commodity for council candidates, so it may be the same man or a relative. That Mr Crago was originally elected as an Independent and then, in 2007, was elected in the Conservative interest. He also stood in 2005 for the County Council as an Independent and failed to be elected.
Standing for UKIP is Rob White who will be hoping to soak up any anti-national government feeling and to ride the current wave of UKIP popularity, not least in this part of Cornwall.
Given the Naval connection, it is hard to imagine that concern about cuts in the Armed Forces won't play a part in voters choices this time and it may well be that Mr White can do well here but it is still more likely that he will eat into the Conservative rather then the Lib Dem vote and I can't see UKIP winning here at the moment.
Prediction: Lib Dem hold
A two-horse race sees sitting Councillor Mike Pearn defending his seat against the Liberal Democrat's Adam Killeya. A town councillor and former mayor of Torpoint, Cllr Pearn was first elected as an Independent to Caradon Council in 2007 before standing for the Conservatives in 2009 (as Mike, rather than Michael - what is this rush to familiarity?).
With Cllr Pearn handily winning the seat last time with almost two thirds of the vote, it will be difficult for the engaging Mr Killeya, a town councillor for, and former mayor of, Saltash. He has shown his ability as a campigner when he was elected as a District councillor for Caradon Council for the Saltash Essa ward, coming from nowhere to gain a seat from an Independent. An Oxford graduate in Politics and Philosophy, he is head of Politics at the interestingly-named Saltash.net Community School, an Academy Trust comprehensive school. With this pedigree, he might spring a surprise.
Prediction: Conservative hold (with a much reduced majority).
The former Pelynt division, renamed for this election, is centred on the village of Pelynt, which has a history going back before the compilation of the Domesday Book. The division is to the north and west of Looe.
Perhaps surprisingly, in 2009 the Conservatives gained this seat from local organic farmer and campaigner, Liberal Democrat Jim Candy.
The Conservative candidate this time is Peter Hunt, replacing retiring Councillor Richard Pugh.
For UKIP, who polled 14.4% in 2009, Anthony Marris is standing and hoping to significantly increase the vote share, if the national polls are right. He is of the same family of Patricia Marris who is standing for UKIP in Liskeard West and Dobwalls.
If the Liberal Democrats in this part of Cornwall are to make a recovery over the 2009 result, then this is the seat in which they should do it. It is going to be difficult for Mr Hunt to hold this seat, not least given the intervention of UKIP, and I can see Mr Candy returning to County Hall.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain