Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Local Election For Local People?

Tomorrow's Worcester Park Ward By-election has been one of the hardest fought in many years, with the Conservative Party drafting in their party Chairman, Labour wheeling out Ken Livingstone to boost the campaign and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg dropping in to Worcester Park (albeit unseen) to rally the local Lib Dem troops.

All over the fight for a single seat on the Council.

Much has been made of where each of the  prospective candidates live - with Labour trumpeting that theirs is the only candidate who actually lives in the ward, and the Liberal Democrats deriding their Conservative rival for living in Morden.

So how local are the candidates in this local election?

Below is where each candidate lives, the distance from the Green Lane polling station  and (because nobody would be foolish enough to try and drive to Worcester Park) the walking time from their home address to said polling station:

Hilary Hosking, Labour Party: Longfellow Road, Worcester Park (0.4 miles, 8 minutes)
Roger Roberts, Liberal Democrats:  Oaks Avenue, Worcester Park (1.2 miles, 23 minutes)
Simon Densley, Conservative Party: Love Lane, Morden (2.3 miles, 46 minutes)
David Pickles UK Independence Party: Kingswood Drive, Sutton (4 miles, 1hr 16 minutes)
George Dow, Green Party: London Road, Hackbridge (5 miles, 1hr 39 minutes)

Being local clearly matters to some of the candidates contesting this election - but does it matter to you, the voters?


11 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Paul Scully said...

Being local can help you relate to residents' concerns more quickly but does not guarantee a better quality councillor. One of the current Liberal Democrat Worcester Park councillors lives on the Croydon border, a massive 1 hour, 54 minutes walk from Green Lane. I'm not in a position to comment how effective he is.

Personally if I had to have an operation, I would want the best surgeon, not necessarily the one that lives next door to the hospital. The same would be true of my choice of councillor.

This election is not about who's local, despite the scramble by most of the parties to claim a connection. It's not about who runs the country as UKIP would have you believe. It's not even about who will run the council. The Lib Dems will still be there on Friday morning whatever the result. It's about whether you feel Worcester Park is getting a fair deal or being largely ignored. If the former, vote for LibDem, Labour or UKIP and the status quo will continue. If the latter, the Conservative candidate is the only challenger who can win and send a signal to the LibDem leadership that they cannot take your support for granted. Either way the next local election is only two years away so you can always kick out the winner in 24 months time if they don't perform.

Concerned_parent said...

There is a massive concern in WP which isn't being talked about and that is secondary schools. I'm currently going through the process for the first time and anxiously awaiting results on the 1st March however not feeling very confident.

We have grammars which children from are as far as Slough and Hayes are applying to, all our secondary schools are massively oversubscribed so where are our children supposed to go?

Maria said...

They will probably will drive and park in my road. Hampton Rd. Everybody parks here...

Axlrocky said...

sensible suggestions Paul - just hope someone is listening, whilst you are right that national issues should not cloud a local election and that distance means nothing in terms of capability, Worcester Park has been left out of the mix by the Liberals in Kingston and Sutton for so long now that we just dont beleive that someone from out of worcester park can understand the issues facing WPers. Your national partygetting into bed with the lib dems has damaged credibility and I dont beleive your man has done enough to get the disenfranchised off their bums to vote.  If he is as good as you say he is and as committed then I will judge him on his actions but i fear the liberal machine may maraud their way through this one to the detrement of everyone in the area

Paul Scully said...

Axlrocky, I can understand your frustration and cynicism although, to be frank, having spent a month or so camping in Nonsuch for that by-election and a few weeks this time in Worcester Park speaking to residents and retailers, I think that I've got a reasonably handle on the issues myself and would be ready to start should I have been a candidate. 

I think the common denominator in your statement is the Liberal Democrats. I would contend that it is the fact that the Liberal Democrats cannot understand the issues facing WPers, no matter where they live. (Okay, I would say that, but there's 26 years of history to back me up.)

Left of Worcester Park said...

Paul and Axlrocky- I interrupt your Tory Boy love in with some good news. I have previously voted Lib Dem as a tactical vote against the Tories because we are repeatedly told that this is the only choice. The past 2 years of Tory lead government have certainly reconfirmed the many reasons I dislike the Tory ideology, although even I am surprised at the speed and gusto with which they are seeking to dismantle the NHS and other public services. But I am so disgusted with the Lib Dem support for these policies, particularly with Paul Burstow’s support for the  Health Bill, that I cannot bring myself to vote lib dem even at a local level ( although I appreciate they cannot really influence National Policy). So you will be pleased to know that I plan to vote for the excellent Labour candidate, which as the propaganda keeps telling me, will at best be a wasted vote or at worst, ironically could result in handing the victory to the Tories. But I hope that if other like minded residents do the same, this will at least help to send a message to Paul Burstow about what is to come in 2015.

ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter said...

Is anyone else incensed by the amount of leaflets and party info that has been put through their letterboxes in recent weeks? I've had more of these than takeaway menus. I hope their policies on green issues, littering and waste management are solid

Also I'm annoyed the number of canvassers who have knocked on the door and say 'Ah hello Mr Voter, you do know you should only vote for us, I'll put you down for a possibly then?'

I'll decide who I want to vote for, if at all. I dont need anyone to decide for me.

Paul Scully said...

ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter, sorry for the array of paperwork that I've helped clog up your letterbox with. Until we can find a better way of communicating with the whole electorate, I'm afraid it's the only way. Tip for the top: if you tell each of the parties who you are actually voting for then you are likely to have less hassle.

ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter said...

I'm sorry to say Paul that it's the Conservatives that are the main culprits. I have had numerous propaganda leaflets to my address, one even designed like an official polling card which most probably tricked a lot of voters. Simon Densley will be receiving all his junk mail back attached to a letter of complaint.I haven't had any leaflet from George Dow, maybe the Green Party have found an environmental way of getting across their message. Oh the Internet. They might just have my vote.

ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter said...

I'm sorry to say Paul that it's the Conservatives that are the main culprits. I have had numerous propaganda leaflets to my address, one even designed like an official polling card which most probably tricked a lot of voters. Simon Densley will be receiving all his junk mail back attached to a letter of complaint.I haven't had any leaflet from George Dow, maybe the Green Party have found an environmental way of getting across their message. Oh the Internet. They might just have my vote.

Paul Scully said...

ThingsCanOnlyGetBetter. I'm afraid the Green Party's 46 votes is testament to how effective the internet is in local council elections at this time. It's an effective tool if used properly but doesn't reach the whole electorate. If you have a way of harvesting 8813 emails then please do let me know and I'll gladly encourage the Conservatives to stop delivering so many bits of paper. Pressing a button is a wee bit easier than tramping the streets for a month.

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