Friday, 2 May 2014

Labouring The Point

The local and European elections are now less than three weeks away and there is much happening. As most blog readers are aware, I have been asked by the Conservatives to stand for a council seat representing Worcester Park. (So I hope you'll all be voting Conservative!) However it's also important to share what some other parties are doing about the place. With this is mind (through slightly gritted teeth) I should inform you that:

The Sutton and Cheam Labour party have organised an open meeting for members of the public to hear from Labour's local election candidates and a London European Parliamentary candidate.

Lucy Anderson, one of Labour’s European Parliamentary candidates in the forthcoming elections, will be setting out her views on Europe and Labour’s European Policy, which will then be followed by a question and answer session. Following on from that, a selection of Labour candidates for the Sutton local elections will introduce themselves and talk about the local Labour Party Manifesto. There will be a question and answer session after that too.

Andy Cook, a Labour candidate in Sutton West Ward, said:
“This May’s local election is very important as, at a local level, we need to have more balance in the elected politicians to Sutton Council so as to include councillors who represent Sutton’s increasing groups of low income households, those struggling to find jobs and housing and those struggling to make ends meet.”
The meeting will be held on Wednesday 14th May, at 6:00pm, at the St Nicholas Community Hall, 34 Robin Hood Lane, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 2RG. Just turn up - there's no need to pre-book.

Thoughts on the political climate for Labour in Sutton

It could be a very interesting election for Labour in Sutton. Other than Councillor John Keys who defected to Labour from the Lib Dems in protest at the Incinerator in Beddington, Labour have been without councillors in Sutton from 2006. However the political situation has changed a great deal since the last council election in 2010. Labour's popularity has more than doubled in that time while the Lib Dems' has more than halved.

Recent local results bare this out. At the Mayoral and London Assembly election in May 2012 Labour finished ahead of the Lib Dems in Sutton and also Worcester Park specifically (in all three elections - not just the Boris vs Ken one). And more recently in last year's Kingston by-election (Beverley ward) which had been a safe Lib Dem seat and one where they told everyone that 'Labour can't win here', Labour almost beat the Lib Dems into third place. More worrying for the Lib Dems is that even more recently (last week in fact) they polled only 9 votes in a by-election - that's one less than the number of nominations required to stand in the first place.

So my advice (as a Conservative candidate) would be to remember what happened to the economy under Labour and make sure you go out and vote Conservative if you don't want an unexpected surprise in Sutton.

Promoted by Ranulph Murray, on behalf of Sutton Borough Conservatives Federation, both of 2a Sutton Court Road, Sutton, SM1 4SY

19 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Alex said...

Personally, I don't care who gets in - so long as it's not the Liberal Democrats who have done so much damage to North Cheam and Worcester Park, and wasted so much money on ridiculous schemes across the Borough. [Like numerous new recycle bins. You know, where Sutton council have invested our money in "recyclable" waste plastic bins, where the waste inside isn't even recycled!]

...And then, of course, there's the unforgivable incinerator issue, the attempted 'quick fix' after years of consistently failing to recycle like all the surrounding Boroughs somehow manage to, regardless of their political colour. And consistently, Sutton Council has been Lib Dem for decades, so there is absolutely nobody else to blame.
Perhaps other Council are successful because they focus on reducing paper and recycling, rather than generating endless paper that claims Sutton Council are wonderful at recycling? Or perhaps it's because they actually care, rather than relying on throwing public money on PR, to offset not caring?

It would be especially gratifying if we ended up with councillors representing all the political parties standing, including the recently formed Keep Our St Helier Hospital Party!As for those (hopefully very few) forgiving voters who vote Lib Dem. I do hope you are well aware that the Lib Dem imposed incinerator will be just over a mile away from St. Helier! That hospital that your party of choice claim to value so much and love posing for photos outside!

So good luck Labour, Conservatives, Greens, UKIP and the newly formed KOSHH - I hope as many of you as possible can get elected. It will be wonderful to emerge from the elections with councillors on our side, rather than having more of those who have been undermining and damaging lives of residents and traders throughout the Borough.

Gino said...

Any vote other than for your local Conservative team keeps the Lib Dem in , that means ,when the council tax freeze ends there is a high risk of continued out of control rises in tax and waste. A backward leap away from progress for the community. The Labour-oligy doesn't fool the people of Sutton and only remnants are clinging on in LibDem clothing , don't let pull the wool over YOUR eyes.
Use your clout to keep them ALL out ! Remember the three must get here .

adrianshort said...

Highly unconvincing examples from other elections, none of which are likely to be directly relevant in Sutton.

If the London mayor/GLA election results were a good indicator of local voting for the council election then we'd have elected a Tory council in 2010 with a strong Labour opposition. That didn't happen. The voting areas and voting systems in those elections are also different, leading to forms of tactical or untactical voting that aren't similar to how people vote in council elections.

Kingston Council has its own concerns that are separate from how things play in Sutton. And no doubt the Lib Dems losing a safe seat there in a byelection was connected with the fact that the Lib Dem councillor who resigned did so because he was arrested for alleged child abuse images on his computer. And the Lib Dems still came second, even so.

And what does a byelection result in North Kesteven District Council tell us about Sutton? Absolutely nothing. In the previous election there, the Lib Dems and Labour didn't even run candidates in that seat. It's hardly a Lib Dem stronghold like Sutton. 93% of the vote in that election was shared between the Tories and an independent candidate.

The most recent _council_ election in Sutton was the Stonecot byelection in December 2012 where the Lib Dems held their seat with a 32 percentage point lead over the Tories.

The next most recent _council_ election in Sutton was the February 2012 byelection in Worcester Park. Worcester Park blogger Simon Densley probably remembers that one as he was the Tory candidate there who lost to the Lib Dem winner by a margin of 13 percentage points.

Alex said...

Adrian, I'm sure Sutton's Liberal Democrats will be delighted to receive confirmation of at least one guaranteed, loyal vote.
Having passed through North Cheam earlier today and heard the views of traders fighting for survival and seen the looks of disbelief and heard the words of deep dissatisfaction from residents, I'd say you are optimistic in assuming this area is a safe Liberal Democrat stronghold.
Time will tell.

adrianshort said...

I don't support the Lib Dems. I'm just referring to the relevant evidence here. Of course things can and do change, but it's notable that even at the height of the Lib Dem tuition fees row, the Lib Dems managed to hold a council seat in Sutton with a 32 point margin.

Gino said...

Zzz .Yes I'm a bit of a historian too.
I respect the point that history appears to show ,however people are thankfully more aware .people are from what I understand not only struggling but also see for themselves where the waste is .
The community is fed up with the insincerity and excuses and rightly so. 7500 households that owe £1.5M in council tax is testimony . They struggle while the Lib dem wastes.
I believe the majority want an end to the pain and will do something to change the mismanagement that gives lip service about rising cost of living?
Time Lib Lab packed it in.

Guest D said...

Gino, that is as spurious as the Lib Dems 'a vote for Labour is a vote for the Tories' argument. People should vote for the candidate that matches their viewpoint best or the one they feel would do a good job based on the candidate's experience.

I must agree with Alex, my preferred result would be one in which no party had overall control and so the loony fringe of the party (and they all have them) is reigned in.

Gino said...

I respect your position and understand your reasons ,I know people stuck in Tower Hamlets.
Perhaps you will acknowledge the best intentions for the community that my colleagues and I have .
Please remember .

Alex said...

Ignoring all the relevant evidence of failure surrounding everyone in North Cheam and Worcester Park, and that these are local elections, to elect local councillors, to decide whether we want more of the same, or not...

Assuming there's no thirst for change, don't you think it's relevant evidence that all of the Liberal Democrat Councillors in the Worcester Park and Nonsuch Ward wards have thrown in the towel, rather than face the electorate?

Better to jump than be pushed? Especially when your team is in fourth place across the country and struggling to maintain a single figure percentage of the vote.

Gino said...

It is exactly the defeatist characteristic that has allowed such mismanagement. From my experience of life challenges it is adversity that tests the character.
Every adversity has the seed of an equal or greater advantage. When the community is in need of proper representation ,the best qualification surely has to be selflessness and a willing to stand resolute with only the best for the community in mind.
Winners never quit . We just need to harness the enthusiasm and charge forward together.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

I must disagree with you somewhat Adrian. All of these examples have a degree of direct relevance in the coming election in Sutton. They each show some aspect of the current trend and if you wish to ignore them and the colour they bring to the discussion you are welcome to merely look at the the rather cold and dull, but much more authoritative national opinion polls which have Labour between 4 and five time more popular in comparison to the Lib Dems than they were in 2010.

Had there been a council election in 2012 instead of at the same time as the general election in 2010 we may well have had Tory council in 2010 with a strong Labour opposition. We might not have some of the mess in Sutton we now do if that was the case. There is a strong case for believing the London Mayor/GLA election results contained much less tactical voting and were therefore more representative of voters' first choices. As you well know and have even lampooned from time to time, the Lib Dems rely profoundly on tactical voting to get and keep themselves in power. Even to the point that they are claiming a vote for a London wide MEP is a two horse race here in Sutton - a claim which as you have rightly pointed out is completely ridiculous, and yet as their only chance to pick up votes they are still happy to use the dubious tactic, based on 4 year old, pre-coalition information, shamelessly.

Kingston is very similar to Sutton in that it has been dominated mainly by the Lib Dems with Conservative opposition for a long time - both at Council and Parliamentary level. Many people in Worcester Park don't feel particularly connected to Sutton or Kingston and I know there are some on the Sutton side who feel more of an affinity with Kingston and probably vice versa. (This is why we want more cross boundary communication and cooperation - but that's a separate discussion). Had the outcome in the Beverly by-election been connected with the fact that the Lib Dem councillor resigned because he was arrested, you would expect a similar pattern in most seats where an election has been triggered due to the arrest/conviction of the incumbent. My limited knowledge suggests that this is not the case - however it would be interesting data to see in full - perhaps a future project for you? No two places or elections are the same however my point is that there are strong indications of a trend both in the local area and nationally. The rickety four year old data that the Lib Dems continue to point to is clearly a bunkum argument and I suspect that Labour will create a surprise in Sutton.

adrianshort said...

Densley's argument was based on election results so my counterargument did the same.

With the exception of Stephen Fenwick, I don't know why the Lib Dem councillors (and presumably others elsewhere) are standing down. We can only speculate. But I find it hard to believe that Lib Dem councillors aren't re-standing because they think they're very likely to lose. In 2010, Worcester Park and Nonsuch wards were both very marginal and returned a mix of Lib Dem and Tory councillors. A puff of wind could have blown both those results strongly in either direction in terms of who got elected. The two Sutton council byelections in 2012 show that the Lib Dem vote was holding up strongly at that time.

This year, we might see a slight drop in Lib Dem support but we will probably also see an increase in Ukip support taking votes from the Tories. The net result: probably roughly the same outcome in terms of votes as 2010. But as with 2010, given how close those votes were, that could mean all Lib Dems, all Tories or a mix of the two in Worcester Park and Nonsuch wards.

In Nonsuch in 2010 there was only 2 percentage points difference between 1st and 6th place. In Worcester Park it was 3 percentage points between 1st and 6th. The top three candidates get elected. It's all to play for in these two wards. See if you want to explore the data.

Alex said...

So by your own admission, in 2010, "A puff of wind could have blown both those results strongly in either direction in terms of who got elected." And what has happened since the 2010 election?...

Since 2010, at the very centre of the Borough, in central Sutton, we had the fall out of the first urban planning disaster. A financial shambles, including paying £100K to a contractor and being unable to identify why.

Nearer home was the second attempt in Worcester Park and North Cheam, which has proven to be more of the same: funding repeatedly thrown at impractical, (if not plainly absurd) vanity projects, despite the local and vocal opposition.

Meanwhile, at the far side of the Borough, the Lib Dem solution to increasing failure to recycle (as all the surrounding Boroughs quietly manage to) has led to a crisis - and the incinerator! This is from the party that has barraged every property in the Borough with recycling propaganda for the last 25+ years!

And you reckon, following a disastrous term of mismanagement, statistically, the Lib Dem vote should be largely unchanged around the local wards?

Only two small groups hope Sutton's Liberal Democrats do well: Sutton's Liberal Democrats themselves and that posse of 'fly by night', urban regeneration contractors, who no doubt hope the supply of easy money in exchange for 'urban myths' will continue for another four years.

Guest D said...

Alex, we shall see in a few weeks time as to what the result is, the pollsters think that Croydon will go to the Lib Dems, Sutton will remain Lib Dem with a reduced majority, Kingston will goTory and Merton will go to full control.

But the problem with local elections is, people like to use them to punish the party in power, so it all depends on how badly people are disaffected with 'Dithering Dave' and how many right wing Tories want to protest about the Gay marriage bill. It won't take many previous Tory voters, voting for UKIP to swing it locally back to the Lib Dems.

Steve said...

Labour supporters traditionally vote tactically for the Lib Dems in Sutton & Cheam, but it will be interesting to see how this changes given the nasty taste left in voters' mouths after the last general election. Sad that under our voting system, a shift in support from the Lib Dems to Labour will most likely benefit the Tories.

Steve said...

And to add to my last point, I'm surprised that the blogger has devoted so much column space to slagging off the Lib Dems and so little to slagging off UKIP, given they're the ones most likely to be siphoning off his votes.

Gino said...

As we know it is the Lib dems that have had a 28 year run on Sutton council.
Therefore to highlight the waste ,complacency and mismanagement is natural.
We all know the damage that Labour oligy causes . We are still recovering from the last bout nationally.
The Conservatives that went to UKIP did so Mainly in the it's early stage ,now it is Labour and others that are jumping what are in a manner of speaking sinking ships.
Only a Conservative vote will correct the mismanagement and rid the council of arrogance ,allowing the whole community to enjoy an overall proper service ,one that we can afford. Don't get fooled again.

Guest said...

After the Lib Dems block voted to impose the building of an incinerator, and just a few minute's walk away from St Helier Hospital, they became as toxic as the burned waste that they will be artificially creating.

In response, our local Lib Dems say they calculate the wind should blow mostly eastwards, so actually Croydon and it's University Hospital (as close as St. Helier) should get more of it... but the people there are outside the Borough, so it doesn't matter!

Just as unforgivable was the discovery that this incinerator is happening because this Lib Dem administration's recycling record is so appalling (and consistently dropping) in the official UK league table. Although they still continue to spend a fortune (of our money) on Sutton Council PR recycling 'spin'. [Ironically adding to the waste].

More than likely, the next piece of Lib Dem trash through your door will be about saving St. Helier or complete commitment to recycling. And 'round these parts, that tarnished old chestnut, about having a post-election plan for Victoria House. They are 'hopeful' about making a firm commitment. Really? Just like 4 years ago! [Bung it in a recycle bin and you can rely on your Lib Dem Councillors getting it safely and responsibly sent to landfill].

Given the moral bankruptcy of Sutton's failing Lib Dem councillors, is it any wonder that the focus is on getting them out, rather than getting anyone else in?

Terry Proudfoot said...

Just remembered why I don't bother reading this blog any more....

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