General Election 2015: Our south west London campaign trail

They say a week is a long time in politics so for those of us reporting from the campaign trail it’s sometimes felt like an eternity.

Here at SW Londoner we’ve been scouring campaign literature, doggedly pursuing candidates and securing exclusive interviews to bring you comprehensive coverage of each of the 16 south west London constituencies.

It seems that the days of ideological monoliths battling it out to produce strong single-party government have taken a back seat.

Instead a myriad of candidates from across the political spectrum have fought to the wire in a bid to secure their seats in the House of Commons.

polling station election voting sign flickr secretlondon123
 LET BATTLE COMMENCE! Voting opened at 7am today (© secretlondon123)

There could be weeks of protracted backroom negotiations before we know who actually runs the country.

But before the dust settles on this highly-fought general election campaign, let’s take a look back over the last few weeks and months of canvassing.

Back in November we tracked down Waleed Ghani who revived a 336-year-old institution – the Whig Party – in a bid to bring about the 21st century’s very own glorious revolution.

GETTING WHIG-GY WITH IT! Leader Waleed Ghani

Fast-forward to January and Labour’s controversial pink campaign van, which travelled across the country aiming to get female voters to turn out and vote, got some writers hot under the collar.

In February we kept a close eye on Malcolm Rifkind’s former seat of Kensington after he resigned as security committee chairman and MP following the ‘cash for access’ scandal.

Footballers Frank Lampard and Sol Campbell were mooted as candidates for the typically safe constituency before former deputy mayor of London Victoria Borwick clinched the seat.

Victoria Borwick flickr Garry Knight
VICTORIOUS: Former London deputy mayor clinches candidacy (© Garry Knight)

In March One Directioners were left bereft when the news broke that heartthrob Zayn Malik had left the band.

Following this news Ed Miliband dismissed claims that Tooting’s Labour candidate Sadiq Khan would replace the 22-year-old, despite having the vocal ability.

One Direction Zayn Malik youtube Syco Music and Columbia Records ed miliband flickr Cabinet Office
ED-ING IN ONE DIRECTION? (© Syco Music, Columbia Records & Cabinet Office)

The general election campaign took a bizarre turn in April when the Green Party launched a campaign video featuring a cheeky quartet of their own.

Green Party General Election 2015 broadcast dancingEVERYBODY DANCE NOW! The look-a-likes dance to their own tune (© Green Party)

We even managed to sneak in a cheeky April Fool declaring the former PM John Major was to be the face of the new Brixton Pound note which didn’t go down well with some readers… until they realised the date (and clocked the author’s name).

Brixton Pound Note John Major April 1MAJOR DEAL: Former Conservative PM was announced as the face of the new B£ note 

As the election campaign really got underway we secured two exclusive chats with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg – the first of which branded Labour’s economic plan ‘farcical’ and urged caution against voters lurching to the right.

Jack-Austin-Clegg-SWL-e1429017130636GRILLING: SW Londoner reporter Jack Austin questions the deputy prime minister

During our second meeting he turned his attention towards his right-wing opponents.

He praised Cabinet colleague Vince Cable while warning against the country ‘dancing to the tune of Nigel Farage and the right wing swivel-eyed brigade’.

Not content with rustling a few UKIP feathers he mocked Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith’s reliance on ‘vast private wealth and handful of charm’ ahead of the general election.

Nick-Clegg-campaign-trail-baby-swl-picKEEPING MUM: It’s not a campaign trail unless a baby makes an appearance!

While we’ve had the opportunity to chat with the Liberal Democrat leader, tracking down David Cameron and Ed Miliband has been much trickier.

We’ve been searching high and low for any sight of Dave and Ed but sadly to no avail.

We did manage to track down Boris’ unmistakable blond mop while he was out supporting Gavin Barwell, but it’s not just BoJo who’s sprinkled some celebrity magic on the Croydon Central campaign.

Boris Johnson Gavin Barwell Twitter Mario Creatura
BOJO’S IN TOWN! Canvassing with Gavin Barwell (© Maruio Creatura)

Labour’s Sarah Jones welcomed actor, comedian and life-long Labour supporter Eddie Izzard on the campaign trail.

Eddie Izzard selfie gen election 2015 croydon sarah jonesCAKE OR DEATH? Eddie Izzard instead opts for securing Labour votes (© Sarah Jones)

Selfie enthusiasts went into overdrive again in the marginal seat when comedian Steve Coogan dropped by to lend his support during his whistle-stop Save the NHS tour.

Steve Coogan Labour campaign trail close up SWL
A-HA! Steve Coogan hit the campaign trail with Labour’s Sarah Jones and Tom Watson

We even grabbed an exclusive chat with Palme D’or winner Ken Loach who hailed Brixton’s ‘history of resistance’ and strong socialist left voice.

Ken Loach flickr Chris Payne
REVOLUTIONARY: Ken Loach hails Brixton’s political spirit (© Chris Payne)

But it’s not all been smiles, kissing babies and photo ops.

Twickenham’s Green candidate Tanya Williams courted controversy after labelling Israel a ‘racist’ state akin to South Africa under apartheid during an Amnesty International hustings last month.

Twickenham Amnesty hustings Steve McCubbinCONTROVERSIAL: Amnesty International hustings at Teddington Baptist Church

Carshalton and Wallington’s National Front candidate and self-proclaimed Holocaust questioner, Richard Edmonds, claimed that Britain is ‘under threat’ while the traditional parties hold power.

We’ve also chatted to candidates from political parties other than ‘the big three’ including UKIP, the Christian Peoples Alliance, Class War and Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol (CISTA).

Today we’ll be launching our live blog which will collate our exhaustive round-the-clock coverage from our 16 south west London counts.

SW Londoner reporters will be at the counts revealing immediate results and chatting to the election winners and losers.

Click here to find out more.

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