Twickenham, Are You Ready for The Rugby World Cup?

It’s nearly here! After all the talking up, talking down, excitement, dread and indifference (delete as appropriate) the Rugby World Cup kicks off in one month’s time when England take on Fiji. Over the six weeks of the tournament Twickenham will host ten matches from that opening Fiji game on Friday 18th September through to the final on Saturday October 31st. Three of the weekends even have two matches in them. In other words, it’s going to be busy. An England v France warm up ‘test event’ took place last Saturday (featuring extra road closures and pubs being asked to restrict post-match admissions) and another is planned for 5th September when England play Ireland. Basically, Twickenham is now officially in Rugby World Cup mode.


Twickenham stadium

So folks, prepare yourself for rugby fans from around the world descending on Twickenham and not only on match days but across the whole tournament. You might even spot the odd player too as South Africa and the All Blacks will be setting up camp at St Mary’s University and the Lensbury respectively. And even if you don’t see the players you will probably be confronted by some very big coaches on the mean streets of ‘Nam. We mean coaches of the vehicular kind not the bull-necked, vein-busting, overly-shouty kind obviously.  Put simply, love it or loathe it, for the next couple of months you’re unlikely to be able to avoid the Rugby World Cup.

Oh, and talking of mean streets as we were, did you know that on match days the plan is to close the A316 between Hospital Bridge Road and London Road for three hours before each game until two hours afterwards? That’s about seven hours in total so you might want to avoid driving anywhere at all in Twickenham at those times. On the plus side, we’re told that, “Non-essential traffic will be directed away from Twickenham and Richmond”. We can’t wait to see some Second World War style “Is Your Journey Really Necessary?” posters around south west London.  Perhaps Richmond Council Leader, the Blue Baron, aka Sir Lord True, might take on a Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army role to assist with this task. And if he does, will Deputy Leader Geoffrey Samuel will be his Sgt Wilson and will Lib Dem Leader Gareth ‘Red Robbo’ Roberts take on the role of his nemesis, ARP Warden Hodges? It could happen.

But, hey ho, it’s not all just about traffic, we can expect some top quality rugby matches too. No doubt some of you will already have purchased tickets with your own hard cash or maybe you’re one of those El Brute council types who has received a freebie… much to the consternation of some locals it seems. Free tickets, cars at a standstill? Please put any visions of our illustrious Councillors being carried through the crowds to matches in sedan chairs out of your heads right now. It’s not helping.  Even here at twickerati HQ we’re getting in the mood and will be switching our attention from the ‘beautiful game’ to the oval balled variety for a couple of the Saturdays.

Twickenham’s pubs will be rammed to the rafters on match days and many will be screening all the games, putting on special events and the like. Expect tuneless rumblings of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” to be accompanied by the steady and constant ‘ping’ of cash registers. Or at least that’s the theory. For the recent evening kick off England v France warm-up game, town centre pubs were asked to stop any new admissions after 10.00pm although fans at the game were advised that they could carry on drinking at the stadium. Many local pubs were distinctly unhappy about missing out on a chance for some extra customers. For those fans who can’t or don’t want to venture inside our local hostelries, a dedicated Rugby World Cup Fan Zone is being created in Richmond’s Old Deer Park to entertain the masses. Enjoy it or avoid is as you see fit.

By now some of you will be getting anxious about the whole rugby fan / drinking thing. Will the Police, RFU and El Brute be on the case in terms of managing the crowds?  Last May’s Marriot Sevens tournament left a mountain of rubbish in central Twickenham and a lot of angry residents however that event was not a ‘typical’ rugby crowd and we have to hope that won’t be repeated. Hell, let’s do more than just hope, let’s ‘demand’ that it isn’t!  It’s not as if the World Cup isn’t generating big revenues, including for the RFU. The Evening Standard recently cited a £500m boost to the London economy from the tournament.  And it’s here that people tend to drop in words like ‘legacy’.

While we’re talking about fixing problems then, of course, litter isn’t the only thing that needs attention.  Rugby days require enough accessible portable toilets to help reduce the popularity of street pissing. The steps by Twickenham station really are a “go to” destination for this activity and they’ve been tarted-up in readiness. Perhaps the newly installed CCTV cameras might put a few people off.  Perhaps the pictures might get streamed? And hell yeah, even Twickenham station itself has had new toilets and a new café installed and a few licks of paint here and there. Please don’t say you hadn’t noticed the ‘transformation’!

Popular peeing point

A popular peeing point

If rugby’s not your thing there are other events including films, music, arts and sports activities taking place right through until the end of the tournament under the banner of the Try It Festival. It’s here that we point out that several of these things would be happening regardless of the Rugby World Cup, we’re talking Open House London and the Great River Race and the like, but some are new and El Brute have pulled them all together on one section of its own RWC website. Take a look in between fretting about the road closures and wondering how you’re going to get over to see Auntie Mabel in Isleworth, you might even find something you like.

So, ready or not, here it comes.  We have to say that from our vantage point in the ice cream van, we’re moderately looking forward to it. Needless to say our view is totally and utterly irrelevant, it’s how it’s all shaping up for you that really matters. And finally, remember to smile Twickenham, the eyes of the rugby world are upon you.

Twickenham stadium

Twickenham stadium

* England Rugby – Twickenham Community Page
* Richmond Council RWC2015 Page
* Try It Festival (Events until October)
* Rugby World Cup – Official Site
* Twickerati: The Rugby World Cup, the RFU and you (Nov 2014)

RWC Matches at Twickenham Stadium

[Saturday 5th Sept – England v Ireland warm up event (KO 2.30pm)]

Friday 18th Sept – Opening Ceremony + England v Fiji (KO 8.00pm)
Saturday 19th Sept – France v Italy (KO 8.00pm)
Saturday 26th Sept – England v Wales (KO 8.00pm)
Saturday 3rd Oct – England v Australia (KO 8.00pm)
Saturday 10th Oct – Australia v Wales (KO 4.45pm)
Saturday 17th Oct – Quarter Final 2 (KO 4.00pm)
Sunday 18th Oct – Quarter Final 4 (KO4.00pm)
Saturday 24th Oct – Semi Final 1 (KO 4.00pm)
Sunday 25th Oct – Semi Final 2 (KO 4.00pm)
Saturday 31st Oct – Final (KO 4.00pm)


Filed under Local Issues & News

Twickenham Lido?

If you read the local paper or do the ol’ social media thing then you’ll be well aware of the current shenanigans around the idea for a new Twickenham Lido. Given that some of you lovely folk have already mentioned it on our recent High Street Update we thought we’d add a brief new item for you to talk all about it. And not only did we think about adding a post about it, we’ve bloody well gone ahead and done it. Here.

In brief:
El Brute recently(ish) bought the Water Lane site which runs from Santander and M&Co down to the river. The plan? To develop it into some kind of town square complete with mixed use development to make the whole thing viable. Think words like plaza and piazza. Many people – including the team here at twickerati – thought this was broadly a good idea. Some didn’t. Will it work? Who knows? Details are still scant at this stage. It goes without saying that the devil will be in the detail… although we have actually just said it anyway.

El Brute then announced it was running some kind of competition to find the best design for the site. As far as we could tell this turned out to be more along the lines of a standard procurement exercise than what Joe Public might interpret as a ‘competition’.  But we could be wrong and often are. The Council have announced that architects Quinlan and Francis Terry will be the ones to do the business for Twickenham. They’re the people who revamped Richmond Riverside and who specialise in classical designs which suggests we can rule out anything modern. El Brute plan to share the ideas with the public at some point so perhaps that’s where we’ll get to see the rosettes, certificates and cups.

Meanwhile, local outfit Twickenham Alive had done a lot of work putting together a plan for the site which would include a new Lido for Twickenham. As we’re not privy to the workings of the Council we cannot say why the Twickenham Alive bid didn’t make the shortlist but it didn’t.  One might expect an organisation that’s closely linked to the local community to get a look in.

After getting knocked back by LBRuT, Twickenham Alive are now lobbying hard for their proposal to be taken seriously. We’re talking articles and letters in the press and a petition.

And what of their plan? It draws its influences from Twickenham’s history of having an outside pool, the famous Twickenham Baths, and also from the Bristol Lido. A lido sounds interesting – think sunny days relaxing by the pool – but could it work here and what kind of business model would it use? We’ve been never been to Bristol Lido and probably never will but, from its website, it looks like a private health spa, pool and restaurant complex with a strong focus on membership schemes. Guest passes for a swim retail at £20. That’s a lot more pricey than Hampton Pool which,  thanks to its large size, gets year round use from fitness freaks, triathletes and other weirdos. Of course we’re not saying that the lido scheme couldn’t work in Twickenham but it will need to ensure it’s a genuine public amenity rather than a semi-private ‘Amida’ (OK so it’s actually David Lloyd now but that didn’t work as well in terms of alliteration).  We’d also want to know that it would work in November and February and not just June, July and August. The devil is in the detail. Again.

So, should El Brute continue with its ‘competition’ to find a way to improve Twickenham river frontage through the medium of a publicly accessible mixed use development (something a bit like Richmond Riverside) or should it return to the drawing board and look at the idea of bringing a pool back to the town over 30 years since the last one closed? Either way, we could be heading into choppy waters as we decide which plan will sink and which will swim.  Other analogies are available but we’ll leave them for you to add in the comments section. Dive right in.


Twickenham Lido ( & petition)
* LBRuT Twickenham Town Square
* LBRuT press release re Quinlan Terry


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

Twickenham Summer High Street Update

Just so you know that we’re still alive here at twickerati HQ and haven’t given up on the website completely we thought we’d rush out this bumper summer sizzler of an update for all you lovely people to read while you’re on holiday, stuck on an overcrowded train or whatever it is that you do during the so-called Great British Summer. And in case you’re wondering what happened to the idea of some kind of twickerati 2.0 ‘collaboration meeting’ about how we might take things forward into a whole new era (or not) then that’s something that still might happen but after the summer holidays.

As ever, by now you’re screaming, “Get the muthaflippin point” at your monitor, phone or tablet. And do you know what? We will, we bloody well will. So here’s our very quick rundown on recent high street additions and departures in case you’ve been just too unobservant to notice them for yourself…

There’s a fair bit going on in Church Street. The Church Street Food Hall is now open for business in the former Langton’s book shop. It’s got the whole deli vibe going on with cheeses and fancy-dan jars of things as well as a selection of wines from Borough Wines and bread from local baker Blackbird Bread. Worth a look inside.

Church Street Food Hall

Church Street Food Hall

The former London Zu shop is now The Bloomery, a new florist. We reckon a decent flower shop could do well in Church Street given that it doesn’t have much competition slap bang in the town centre. Obviously for those really special occasions there’s still the Shell petrol station on Richmond Road but this will have to suffice at other times.

The Bloomery, Twickenham

The Bloomery, Twickenham

Twitter rumblings have alerted us to the impending arrival of Warren Wines at 56 Church Street in the place that was Complement jewellery and, before that, Toko. It’s an independent outfit that will have a heavy focus of wine tastings and education. Sounds good but we hope it does plenty to get itself noticed as that shop unit is a little bit… how shall we say.. tucked away behind Pincho.

Elsewhere in Church Street, the Sheer Laser Clinic has opened at number 17, near the Delhi Durbar. Laser clinics seem to be popping up all over the place these days, don’t they? Is the UK, as a nation,  growing more unwanted hair than in days of yore? It’s a big question but we’re not going to attempt to answer it…  let alone Google it.

And speaking of beauty, which we sort of were, Raksa Thai Therapy  has opened in the former Coffee Lab shop on King Street. A new Rush Hair and Beauty salon is now open on King Street and if it’s “almost new designer wear” that you’re after then Dynasty is new on Cross Deep near Headmasters.  Scrub up nicely don’t you Twickenham?


Elsewhere Cook, purveyors of posh frozen food  to the ‘time poor’ has closed its London Road branch. The place is soon to be a new cafe, The Press Room, filling that caffeine free zone that exists between Caffe Nero and Lulu’z. There’s already a Press Room in Suburbiton so this new Twickers shop is an expansion for them.

The Press Room, TW1

The Press Room, TW1

Also on London Road, the Money Shop or whatever it was called has ceased doing whatever it did and is now doing that elsewhere. There also seem to be some signs of life at the long defunct Wishbone butchers on King Street next door to Cousins the greengrocer. Could something really be about to happen there or is it just a facelift in advance of the rugby world cup?

This used to do something or other

This used to do something or other

Mac’s Diner has closed. The owners worked hard to publicise their restaurant and it housed the indoor market stalls for a while last year but (and we’re purely speculating here) perhaps its first floor location didn’t help matters especially when up against the influx of new American / BBQ themed competition in town. Word is that Curves gym will be moving into the space above M&S. (We has heard on Twitter that it was  Riley’s sports bar being replaced by a gym but we’ve been corrected on that point. On Facebook)

On Heath Road, the short-lived Royal Spice Indian restaurant and takeaway has closed. It is, or rather was, the place where Amins was based for a good few years. You’re now  left with about a dozen others to choose from.

Sticking with food for a second, on London Road, Steers has now opened in what used to be Wimpy. It’s a kind of beefed-up burger bar all the way from South Africa and, as it happens, it’s part of the same group as Wimpy. Meanwhile let us know how you’re getting on with the rest of the carnivore’s quartet: Chicago Rib Shack, Blue’s Smokehouse, The Shack 68 on London Road. Or maybe share you’re views on other fairly recent openings, the new Malaysian Chuba Rasa or Sapori Siciliani.

And finally two things that will have you rushing to Heath Road just to take a look. As you know, Albert’s Music Shop is no more but what you might not fully appreciate is that if you have unfulfilled vacuum cleaner needs you can visit Seldram Supplies which has sprung up where Alberts was. It’s certainly got an interesting window display. We think it’s gone for ‘suburban French trading estate’ chic. And why the hell not, eh?

Seldram Supplies. For all your vacuum cleaner spares requirements

Seldram Supplies. For all your vacuum cleaner spares requirements

And the squatters who had occupied the old Scrubys furniture shop have moved on (or been moved on). We’re now privileged to enjoy the giant metal shutters that have been put up to deter a repeat performance. If you have any complaints about the new ‘run down inner city’ look in Twickenham then feel free to direct them to Tesco who own the site. They’re sure to give you their full and urgent attention.

No squatters here.

No squatters here, just shutters.


The end! We’ve probably missed a few things but that’s all you’re getting for now. Bye!


Filed under High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

Heathrow Third Runway Gets The Nod

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

So there you have it. SO. THERE. YOU… oh hang on a minute, let’s just wait for that plane to pass…

… There, that’s better.

So there you have it, we’re gonna take one for the team! The Davies Report into UK airport expansion has been published and recommends a third runway at Heathrow. We can exclusively reveal that no one at all expresses much surprise at that but that plenty of people will express anger and some will express joy, not least the airport’s Spanish owner Ferrovial and its shareholders. Get ready for tens of thousands of extra flights a year… although not for a while yet.

The Commission focused on the business case for the UK, looking at growth, jobs and trade whilst trying to give due consideration to issues such as noise, pollution and pressure on infrastructure. On the business case, it does feel like a bigger Heathrow was always going to be the winner. The Commission says a third runway will add “£147bn in economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050”. But of course life isn’t just about pure economics, if it were, Londoners might as well start campaigning for devolution from the rest of the UK.

The report recommends that strict conditions be applied around a commitment to no night flights and no fourth runway as well as other protections around noise, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that will get chipped away at quite quickly. The Sir Howard Davies ruled out the ‘extended’ second runway plan at Heathrow but expansion at Gatwick is billed as ‘credible option’ giving politicians a get-out clause if opposition to Heathrow all gets a bit too much for them.

So what next? We can expect a lot of rubbishing of the recommendations from the various opposition groups, or “report slamming” to use the correct phrase. And we can also expect a few smug and self-satisfied tweets from the Back Heathrow boys. You might be thinking there’s no difference between smug and self-satisfied but we’re playing safe here and reckoning they’ll be ticking both boxes ‘for the community’.

Boris and Zac will be rolled out to voice their objections and we can expect “our Tania” to do the same. Probably. Richmond Council leader Lord ‘The Blue Baron’ True has already come out, all guns blazing with his own brand of slamming. In an LBRuT press release he says: “In a democracy people look to their Government to listen to the voice of Londoners, who already contribute massively more than any other community in Europe in accepting airport pollution, noise and danger. Ministers should bin this flawed report; they should not put the self-interest of the big overseas interests who own Heathrow and their paid lobbyists before the reasoned case of Londoners”.

It’s gonna get nasty. It’s gonna get noisy. And, after all of that, there are plenty of folk saying it still might not ever happen. Or will it?

* The Commission Report
* BBC News
* El Brute Press Release
* Teddington (& Twickenham) Action Group
* Back Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow


Filed under Heathrow, Local Issues & News

Twickenham Festival 2015 is Here

Having a tug

Having a tug (in 2014)

Nope, normal service has not, repeat, not been resumed at twickerati but with Twickenham Festival just around the corner we felt it deserved a brief mention. We still have your best interests at heart, you see.

It runs across June, getting underway on Friday 5th with the annual tug of war competition outside the Eel Pie pub at 6.00pm. After that there’s the usual array of festival type things taking place over several weeks.

A few worth a special mention are Axel Scheffler, off of  Gruffalo illustrating fame, at the Diamond Jubilee Gardens on Saturday 6th June (12-4pm) and there’s a Church Street craft market on the same day. On Sunday 7th it’s the Crown Road Fair and Bearcat 10k run (well done to those who remembered to register in time).

On Friday 12th there are screenings at the Twickenham Alive Film Festival. Dragon Boat Racing returns to Twickenham Embankment on Saturday 13th as part of the ‘Riverside Festival’, and there will be stand-up paddling boarding on the Sunday. Also taking place that weekend is  Church Street ‘goes green’ with plants and garden gear for sale on the Saturday, while on Sunday 14th Twickenham Carnival is back. There’ll be a parade and floats shimmying their way from St Mary’s Church to the grounds of Orleans House Gallery where the music and dancing will continue and there will also be craft and food stalls.

Live further east? Well get you! East Twickenham is hosting its summer fair on Sunday 21st June.

Our final mention goes to ARThouse Open studios. There’s a pop up gallery running from 2nd June to 10th July in the (very) old cinema building on Richmond Road opposite York House, and there are also the two weekends when artists across the borough – including those on Eel Pie Island – open their studios for Joe Public to have a good old nose around. Which weekends? Why, it’s the 26th-28th June and 3rd-5th July of course.

Needless to say, we’ve missed out much more than we’ve included but we’re assuming you have the ability to read the festival events programme that can be found in many local shops or even to go crazy and ‘do a Google’ on the interweb. That’s it. Go forth and festivalise, Team Twickenham!

* Twickenham Town Business Association
* Twickenham Alive
* ARThouse Open Studios
* Twickenham Carnival


Filed under Local Issues & News

Twickerati Takes A Break

Hello everyone. I want to share some news with you hence abandoning the pretentious first person plural style and going straight to the first person singular. This is the 501st posting on this blog and it’s one of the more important ones.

When I started twickerati in May 2010 I didn’t really know what to expect. I just felt there was an opportunity for someone relatively normal to witter on about Twickenham. Someone who was not linked to any political party, local society or interest group and who wasn’t even the sort of person who wrote regular letters of complaint to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, laudable as those things are. There was a lot going on in 2010: the future of the Riverside, shops opening and closing, the planned station redevelopment, schools issues and so on. In the first few months I got very few hits on the site. A mere handful, if the hand in question belonged to a small child. Then one day someone posted a comment on one of my stories and then someone else did. Thank you Maria, thank you Chris. I began to realise that it was not just family and close friends who were following my ramblings but that other people were actually reading them out of choice rather than loyalty. Amazing! Ditto for Twitter and Facebook. In those early days I thought I’d be happy if I got one thousand page views a month on the blog and one hundred Twitter followers. Fast forward five years and the site now gets over 5,000 views a week from an audience of nearly 2,000 locals. Often more. On Twitter, @twickerati now has over 9,000 followers… although you can of course buy that number for about $100 if you really care about such trivial things.

Most of those Twickenham issues from the early days are still relevant and continue to be the subject of heated debate in our town. However, after five years of posting fresh items once or twice a week and tweeting several times a day I’ve decided to scale things back. It’s just too time consuming given other things going on: family life, the day job, building work (maybe), other hobbies, and basically just life in general. There’s no money in local blogging, I can vouch for that, although had twickerati generated even a trickle of income I might see things differently. Has it all just been a massively time consuming hobby? A bit of fun? An addiction? A labour of love? A millstone and a bind? Yes, it’s been all of those things at different times and sometimes all of them at once.

“Boring. Get to the point”, I hear you cry. Well the point is that I will be cutting right back on new postings and closing existing threads to new comments. Perhaps I’ll dabble with the occasional High Street Update, opinion piece or write something about the Rugby World Cup. I just don’t know yet but I didn’t want twickerati to become one of those websites which just stops or becomes totally rubbish without any explanation. You deserve better.

It’s been great creating something that people seem to enjoy and I’ve met some fantastic people along the way. A few of you even wrote pieces for the site so thank you again for those. And hell, some of your comments have made me laugh too – plenty of them for the right reasons and some of them for the wrong ones.

This isn’t necessarily a complete end to twickerati but it’s the end of it in its current format and I’m certainly going to enjoy taking a bit of a break from it. Well, at least I think I am.

So, if you do want to know when a new post is published your best bet is to sign up for email subscriptions (there’s a box on here somewhere) and that will save you the trouble of returning time and again to the same tedious, unchanging page. The email will still be valid but please don’t take offence if your requests for publicising X, Y or Z gets ignored or if I take a while to reply to any other messages. It’s nothing personal.

Tweeting will be cut right back too. If you want to get in touch you can always find my other account on Twitter for the occasional tweet about football, running, cycling, Twickenham and other life-affirming matters. It’s here.

In the meantime, get yourselves hyped up and ready for Twickenham Festival (maybe we’ll meet there for a beer or two?), fresh arguments about the Riverside and town square developments, Heathrow battles, more El Brute shenanigans and a whole bunch of new shops opening and then closing down again. It’s what we all love about living here isn’t it?

I’ve really enjoyed the last five years of turning out regular Twickocentric updates and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. So, for the short term at least, thank you so much for your support Twickenham, it’s been a blast.



UPDATE 19/05/15:
Wow! Thank you for all you kind words, advice and suggestions. I really do appreciate them. I have said above that I hope this is not a complete end to the blog and I will consider some of the ideas you’ve made although I won’t be leaping into anything straightaway. Just to address a few of the points raised.

Would I consider a collaborative thing? Yes, but as you’ve seen above, it’s a time consuming enterprise and previous requests for contributions have generated a bit of interest but only occasional end product. Regular writing is quite a commitment. I’d also want to ensure the ‘ethos’ of the site remained even if writers’ styles differ.

Can these things make any money?  I have generated some money (about £1,500 in total) for charities Spear & Shooting Star Chase but as many a ‘real’ business knows, turning site views into any kind of regular money can be hard work. And of course the returns get smaller if they get split several ways. Sponsorship? Maybe but it needs to not affecting the editorial, he said whilst enjoying a delicious, refreshing Twickenham Ale.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much thought to new ideas immediately but if people are serious about getting involved in something new then a pub-based discussion might be appropriate in a while.

Thank you all once again and bye for now.


Filed under Local Issues & News

A Rubbish Morning in Twickenham 

A sunny Sunday morning in Twickenham after the Marriot London 7s. Everyone likes a party, right? Certainly the tens of thousands who descended on Twickenham at the weekend in fancy dress liked to party. Hard. In fact, they liked it so much they decided to share some of it with the rest of us. Litter (tick), broken glass (tick), pissing in the street (tick). The combination of an event that has become party destination for a youngish crowd, the warm weather, people stocking up with shop bought booze to carry on drinking after pubs closed early, all made for a grim sight on Sunday morning. Yes, the Council did turn up to begin the clear-up at about 11.00am but surely LBRuT and the RFU need to be doing more? The annual London 7s is not your average day at Twickenham (luckily) but with the Rugby World Cup only months away, some serious thinking – and money – is required to tackle mess like this sooner and better.


King Street litter [Photo courtesy of Deryn Harvey on Facebook]

King Street litter
[Photo courtesy of Deryn Harvey on Facebook]


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

Pic of the Week: More Spring

A bit cold, wet and miz outside? Not yesterday it wasn’t. It was bloomin’ luvverly, especially early in the morning. In fact, the view from Richmond Hill looked a little bit like this…

Twickenham, as seen from the wrong side of the river

Twickenham, as seen from the wrong side of the river

Twickenham, you’re lookin’ good!


Filed under Pix of the Week

And Your New MP is… Tania Mathias

And so there we have it. Twickenham has spoken. And so have Hampton, St Margarets and Whitton. Even little old Teddington piped up. Bless. The polling stations have closed and the votes have been counted.  The result? Vince Cable is ousted and we have the Conservative Tania Mathias as our MP for the next 5 years.

Are you surprised? We are. It’s one of the shocks of the night.

It was always going to be a two horse race between Vince Cable, Twickenham’s MP since 1997, starting off as clear favourite with his 12,000 majority, and the Tories’ Tania Mathias. A tale of two doctors, if you will. Over recent weeks Tania Mathias and her fellow Conservatives have been busy trying to chip away at the Liberal Democrat lead and even overturn it but it’s felt like something that they’ve been working on, if not for this election, then for the next one whenever that might be. Last minute visits to Twickenham by Messrs Clegg and Cameron added to the excitement and gave a fleeting sense that this might actually be a seat where an upset could take place but was a Lib Dem victory in real doubt? It didn’t feel like it but then again politics is a funny old game.  They might well have taken a battering elsewhere but Twickenham seemed a relatively safe seat for the Lib Dems. In the end Cable’s 12,000 majority was overturned to give a 2,000 majority to Mathias. It’s a big big swing from yellow to blue. In his speech on the platform Cable said it was a “terrible night” for the Lib Dems and put the result down to a “well organised national campaign by the Conservatives”. For her part Mathias was gracious in paying tribute to his long service as an “amazing local MP for Twickenham” who it will be an “absolute privilege to follow”.

So, after 18 years as Twickenham’s voice in parliament Vince Cable must find something else to do with his time and Tania Mathias will have to get ready for a new career ‘up West’.

And what of the other candidates? Labour’s Nick Grant finished third picking up more votes for Labour than in 2010, with Barry Edwards of UKIP and Tanya Williams of the Greens trailing in behind. Again, no surprises there. Despite all the heated UKIP-related debate on this site and elsewhere, there was no big change to the landscape in the political garden here in Twickers.

Six candidates. Five are now disappointed

Six candidates. Five are now disappointed

What does all this mean for the next Government? After having a high profile MP for many years and a member of the cabinet for the last five,  Twickenham’s MP will be a backbencher. At this precise point in time we don’t know the final outcome of the election but a very narrow Conservative majority looks likely. If it isn’t it may be a while before we get any sense of what coalitions might be viable. As they might say in the non-existent film Carry on Governing, “Just how well hung is our parliament going to be?” It’ll take a little while longer to find out. Discovering what it all means locally for the likes of schools policy, Heathrow expansion, job creation, affordable housing and mansion taxes may take longer still.

And that’s all for the moment, we say ‘Thank you and farewell’ to Dr Cable and ‘Congratulations and good luck’ to Dr Mathias.

The 2015 Results
Tania Mathias (Conservative) 25,580
Vince Cable (Liberal Democrat) 23,563
Nick Grant (Labour) 7,129
Barry Edwards (UKIP) 3,069
Tanya Williams (Green) 2,463
Dominic Stockford (Christian Party) 174
David Wedgwood (Magna Carta) 26
Majority 2,017
Turnout 77.3%

The 2010 Results (BBC website)
Vince Cable (Liberal Democrat) 32,483
Deborah Thomas (Conservative) 20,343
Brian Tomlinson (Labour) 4,583
Brian Gilbert (UKIP) 868
Steve Roest (Green) 674
Chris Hurst (BNP) 654
Harry Cole (Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality) 76
Paul Armstrong (Magna Carta Party) 40
Majority 12,140
Turnout 59,721 (74.8%)

* BBC Twickenham Constituency Results
* Cable loses seat – BBC

Our previous General Election items are now both closed to new comments but can still be read here:
*  The ‘All New’ Election Spectacular
*  The Original ‘Defunct’ Election Spectacular


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