‘Double tackle a surprisingly acquainted combat for change’

I had the distinct ­impression that somehow I’ve been here before.

And I was right, I have: nine years ago, when Labour fielded the same candidates in my local constituency and the one next door.

Architect Malcolm Birks is standing again in traditionally Tory-safe Skipton and Ripon, and John Grogan returns to marginal Keighley and Ilkley.

Let’s hope we get better results this time, because in 2015 they came second. Latest polls show the Tories losing all but two of their Yorkshire seats.

Skipton, a largely-rural area with more sheep than voters (its name is ­Anglo-Saxon for sheep-town) has been held by the Conservatives for as long as I can remember.

Incumbent Julian Smith, a Scots-born carpet-bagger who served in Boris ­Johnson’s Cabinet, had a majority of almost 24,000 last time out. His star has waned since then, but Malcolm, fine man though he is, still has an electoral ­Ingleborough to climb. Across the road in Keighley, I have great hopes for the return to Parliament of John Grogan, in my experience one of the nicest men in public life.

He won Keighley in 2017, only to lose in the Brexit poll two years later. The ­constituency now straddles Ilkley Moor – no mean feat, especially without a hat.

The Tory who took it, another carpet-bagger this time from Northumberland, had a majority of only 2,200 in 2019. If this barometer constituency doesn’t fall to Labour, I will stand the drop of York.

They say all politics is local, and there is much to be said for what they say. ­Preferably, by somebody else.

Apart from the issue of a new Airedale hospital, already sorted by NHS rebuilding plans, there isn’t a lot round ’ere to talk about.

For me, and many of my generation, this election is about one thing: getting rid of the bloody Tories for the rest of my lifetime, short or long as it may be.