Christmas truce in Hedge End

christmas_truce_5With Christmas on our doorstep, Eastleigh News has learned of a heart-warming story that shows the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Hedge End.

In a move that is reminiscent of the Christmas truce of 1914, where soldiers on the Western front buried the hatchet and staged an impromptu international football match, we hear that the hostilities which broke out earlier this year, between the Southern Parishes Conservative Club and the neighbouring Beer Baccy & Crumpet party HQ, have reached a diplomatic truce which allows Ray Hall to be admitted to the bar of the Conservative club as a guest.

In 1915, the soldiers were quickly ordered back to their trenches by their Officers, so sadly the impromptu football match of 1914 didn’t become a regular fixture.

The modern feud in Hedge End broke out earlier this year, when Ray Hall decided to leave the Conservatives, set up his own political party and actively campaign against the Conservatives and their candidate [Maria Hutchings] in the Eastleigh by-election. Ray Hall’s mischevious campaign even caused the Prime Minister to divert to a different location, instead of visiting the SPCC as planned, disappointing a lot of local Conservatives who had gathered for the big visit. However, we should also record that the fact that I was seen at Beer, Baccy & Crumpet HQ that afternoon, clearly in the right place to report anything that embarrassed the PM, might also have had something to do with it…!

In the event, thanks largely to the novelty of the name of his party, which appealed to people who were disconnected with mainstream politics, Ray Hall attracted a useful share of the vote and inspired many people in Eastleigh, around the UK and more widely around the world to take an interest in the Eastleigh by-election.

Whether the Beer Baccy & Crumpet party ultimately influenced the outcome of the Eastleigh by-election, by spitting the anti Lib Dem vote is questionable, but having to campaign against his friends, family and neighbours did cause a problem for Ray Hall and the Conservatives, with Ray finding himself banned from the Conservative Club, not even welcome as a guest.

I spoke with Ray Hall earlier today, and he joyfully told me;

“I sent a long missive to the Conservative Club, apologising for my actions earlier this year. After a couple of weeks, I had a reply to say that the ban was temporarily lifted. I am ‘on probation’ for six months, but I am delighted that I can now be signed into the club as a guest.”

Eastleigh News is not expecting a football match (nor cricket) to break out in the Nomansland between the respective campaign HQ’s in Hedge End this Christmas, but we are pleased to report this story which shows that things have returned to as near a normal situation as possible, given that the two campaign HQ’s are separated only by a fence…

However, with Ray Hall also telling us that he is looking forward to planning his campaign for the 2014 European elections, possibly even standing if there is a by-election for the vacant Town Council seat in Hedge End, we wonder how long the truce will last…

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site.