Tory Karl McCartney is the walking, talking embodiment of why Lincoln needs Labour

by Jack Tunmore

The good people of Lincoln have every reason to feel proud this year. Their copy of the Magna Carta, housed in the freshly revamped castle, is drawing in speakers as illustrious as the Governor of the Bank of England to mull over its significance. They also live in a seat that has been a bellwether constituency since October 1974, is always a central election battleground and now wait to play their part in deciding who will enter Number 10 after May 7th.

Against this grand backdrop skulks the figure of Karl McCartney, the Conservative incumbent who defeated Gillian Merron in 2010 with a slender majority of 1058. McCartney has managed to mangle his public image since then in a way that takes some politicians a lifetime.

A full analysis of McCartney’s mishaps would exhaust the reader, but it is worth skimming over the highlights because his behaviour is a considerable factor on the doorstep.

In January he invited constituents to attend a seminar with representatives from the Department for Transport and Network Rail. Given that both are public bodies it raised some eyebrows that he asked each constituent to send a cheque for £15 to his home address to attend, or £5 for a summary of the meeting sent via email.

His constituents were not as unfortunate as the IPSA officials, however, who received personalised notes from the Honourable Member for Lincoln attached to his expenses claims.

One such note accused an official of “talking sh*t” while another innocent scrutiniser was called a “pedantic SOAB.” SOAB, I am reliably informed, is internet shorthand for “son of a b*tch.”

Other bloopers are typically absurd. McCartney provoked widespread ridicule when he claimed to have been the victim of a malicious hacker who favourited a pornographic image on his twitter account, whilst his response to a constituent’s letter about equal marriage included such reasoning as “the LGBT community have exhausted the cause of equal rights and have now picked on an issue which would possibly only affect a few thousand people every year.”

McCartney reacts with public fury to local media reports about such misdeeds via twitter, accusing reporters of being “laughably” partisan. The lack of impartial media hosts is one of the excuses he gave to avoid some local hustings – along with a diary clash and an unsuitable venue – although he has agreed to do one with the local Federation of Small Businesses.

Labour’s Lucy Rigby has been campaigning in Lincoln for three years building up momentum and is about to make her closing arguments to the voters. With the help of big hitters, most recently including Ed Balls and Dan Jarvis, she is driving home her local message and represents everything that the blundering, boorish McCartney is not.

Central to turning Lincoln into a Labour gain will be the 9000-odd Liberal Democrat voters from 2010. The Liberal Democrats have been hampered locally by the resignation of their candidate late last year and the Ashcroft poll, which had Labour four points ahead, showed how Lincoln’s voters have turned away from Nick Clegg’s party.

The one note of caution for Labour in the poll was the 17% for Ukip. The Tories will be doing everything they can to squeeze these voters in the hope of clinging on, which is why Labour’s campaign is fighting hard every day, for every vote, to make sure Lincoln gets the fresh start it needs on May 8th.

If you can knock a door, make some calls or post a leaflet and want to help kick out Karl McCartney, please e-mail Lucy Rigby’s campaign team on

Jack Tunmore is a Labour activist

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One Response to “Tory Karl McCartney is the walking, talking embodiment of why Lincoln needs Labour”

  1. Ringstone says:

    McCartney may well be an idiot, but unlike Merron at least he’s not had the taxpayer over for £6305.17 in cold hard cash.
    Had she not maybe it would still be “Red Lincoln”?

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