Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Election Time

Hello everyone!

It's been a while since I've written anything on here and to be fair it's been a combination of being fully consumed with another project and not having the time to spend that it takes to be aware of everything going on in the area around Worcester Park.

The other project (for those interested) is my rock band Denzeity which has been taking up all my spare time for over a year now. We may have a gig coming up at the Royal British Legion in July so keep your eyes open...

Anyway, given it's a council election, it's probably high time I at least made contact, climbed onto my soapbox and had a little rant about what been going on in the local area recently. And as anyone local will agree, all has not been well.

#SuttonBinShame is of course the issues that has dominated the entire borough for the last 2 years. Additionally numerous local problems that the existing Lib Dem council has been promising to sort out for aeons but have just been left to fester for as long as anyone can remember.

It would be utter madness to re-elect yet more Lib Dems when there are so many other good candidates from other parties ready to step up and take responsibility for sorting out the mess we are in.

Many blog readers were probably assuming I would be standing as a candidate myself in Worcester Park (as I have done before) but I have not had the time recently to dedicate to Worcester Park and it would not be right to ask people to give me responsibility for the local area if I can't dedicate the time to do so.

Speaking of which, regular readers will be aware that I have been involved in the minutia of Worcester Park issues for many years. Indeed I was proud to be asked to chair the Worcester Park residents' association (a non political organisation) in 2015 and then re-elected to the position in 2016. So I'd say I have known every stalwart, mover, shaker and community active person in Worcester Park for the last several years.

Why then are the three grinning faces in the 'Focus' election leaflets so unfamiliar to me? Whilst in 2014 I was standing against Lib Dems Arthur Hookway and Richard Marston - at least they were local and had done stuff in the local community. This year the Lib Dems seem to be putting up people who would struggle to tell the difference between Beverley Road and Beverley Gardens - (one runs between Ruskin Drive and Colborne Way, the other runs off Green Lane - in case you were wondering). It seems the party that has done such damage to the local area is finally unable to find any suitable new candidates who either live in the ward or have any history of local community service what-so-ever.

So who would I recommend for Worcester Park ward? Well given that I'm not standing in Worcester Park this time round I don't need to say please vote for me. I can however say that the best way to avoid yet four more years of Lib Dem incompetence (including councillors who know nothing about the local area) is to vote for the three Conservatives standing in Worcester Park: Tom Drummond, Bob Mian and Paul Newman. Knowing them personally I can say that as well as being really decent people, they are all dedicated to making the changes necessary to sort out the problems in the local area. I have been out knocking on doors with them several times and hearing them engage with local people I know they will all do an outstanding job and work extremely hard as local councillors. (Paul Newman has been a councillor in the area before so also knows the system and how to get things done.)

That leaves two other wards, Nonsuch and Old Malden -Kingston (there being no local elections in Cuddington ward - Epson and Ewell this year). I'll start with Nonsuch. - Two of the Lib Dems who have overseen #SuttonBinShame, the Victoria house fiaso, litter piling up in residential streets, flooding under the bridge etc. etc. are asking to be given responsibility for all this again for the next four years. Are they joking? I think it's time to say good bye and get some competent people in.

Local people may remember when Eric Allen was a Conservative councillor on Nonsuch ward a few years ago. Unfortunately Eric isn't standing again in Nonsuch as he was an excellent councillor - he is standing in Cheam this time, but his wife Martina, who could arguably be even better, is. She is joined on the Conservative ticket by Peter Geiringer (who has been a councillor in Sutton for many years) and James McDermot-Hill - all of whom I know well and would recommend highly as hard working responsible candidates to represent the local area.

Also standing in Nonsuch is a chap I know quite well called Richard Johnson, standing as an independent. I tried to persuade Richard to stand as a Conservative as that would give the community the best chance of stopping the Lib Dems but he is not in the Conservative political camp but rather than joining any party is standing as an independent. For the best chance of binning the Lib Dems I would say vote for three Conservatives, but if you are not minded to support Conservatives, consider Richard as a better alternative to more Lib Dem madness. (Mind you I'd consider anyone as a better alternative to the current administration of Tweedle Lib and Tweedle Dem.)

That just brings me round to Old Malden ward in Kingston. I was very pleased to find out that my old friend Jason Hughes is standing in Old Malden. Jason used to live on the Sutton side of the bridge and I have worked with him extensively on local issues over the years. He worked as my election agent when I stood for election in Worcester park back in 2012 so he knows the area well. He recently married a Kingston girl which is why he's now on the Kingston side of the bridge but what it means is that he is ideally placed to work with councillors across the borough boundary to solve the problems that affect both sides but no one wants to take responsibility for. He brings the enthusiasm of youth with a wisdom beyond his years and I would highly recommend you put an X in his box if you have the opportunity to do so. Also standing in Old Malden in Kevin Davis, the leader of Kingston council who I am pleased to say I know reasonably well too (and has a proven track record as a very good councillor - if not borough leader). I have to say that I haven't met Nicola Sheppard, the third candidate standing with Jason and Kevin but I know that she must be good to have gotten onto the Conservative ticket there. She has been a school governor (including Chair of governors) and lived in the local area since 1996 so I'd guess she'd be a fairly safe bet for a dependable councillor - not like some of the numpties the Lib Dems seem to put up these days.

So there you have it. You have the chance to go out and put some Xs in boxes and change your local area for the better. Go for it...

Update - the next day

Well Worcester Park has turned a much bluer shade overnight I'm glad to report. Of the three wards up for election, 6 councillors had been Lib Dem (both Sutton wards of Nonsuch and Worcester Park), and the 3 in Old Malden had already been Conservative. Old Malden once again elected 3 Conservatives, Worcester Park ward (where I stood last time) elected 1 in the form of Tom Drummond but the real prize was Nonsuch ward which dumped 3 Lib Dems in favour of three Conservatives - one on the toss of a coin after several recounts found James McDermot Hill with exactly the same number of votes as Sam Bourne. It just goes to show that every vote really does count in local elections. Had a single person who voted Consevative in Nonsuch ward not done so, James would not have won - so well done Nonsuch ward!

That means the majority (7 out of 12) Worcester Park council representatives are now Conservative compared with 3 previously. It also means, particularly as the Conservatives won Stonecot ward further up London Road across to the A217 (where the big Tesco is), that the Council Local Committee is now a majority (7-2) Conservative committee (is was 9 Lib Dems before). Meaning that certain things in the area can now start to be done differently. I would encourage local people to attend the local committee meetings as they are public meetings to make sure the new councillors know what local people want.