A friend texted me today to say he had met the Tory candidate for Norwich North and was, how should we put it, deeply underwhelmed.
It is clear that the Tories never saw Norwich North as a seat they really stood a chance of winning against Ian Gibson, and their selection was viewed by many in this area at the time as them given a chance to someone who really would not have got a look in at a truly winnable seat.
I seem to recall the Labour Party prior to 1997 selecting all sorts of characters (and the characterless) to stand in seats all over the country where they felt they had little chance only to find in the New Labour avalanche that some of these people, some very clearly not of the highest calibre, were suddenly elected. I remember talking to a Labour activist in South London who told me that if they had known that they stood even the slightest chance in his constituency they would have chosen a candidate who had a least half a brain rather than the "idiot" they chose.
Now who am I to knock the Tory in Norwich North. I have yet to meet her and perhaps she does have the full skill set required even if she does not set the world alight. But 1997 serves as a lesson to every party, but particularly the Tories this time, to ensure that their candidates in even half winnable seats have the full set of skills needed to be an MP and not just have been gone to the right university of private school.