Author Topic: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill  (Read 8953 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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....or

'Doves, Dodo's and Dirty Deeds - Part One'.


Weeeeeeell it's that time of year again, just under a month away from the local elections and it's time to share a few thoughts with you.  Last year my 'Live From The Oasis' political commentary made some people laugh, seemed to interest most, (it was read over 2,700 times), and definitely upset a few people. It seemed like a fairly decent balance to me so this year I'll do it again if it's all the same to you but this year I'll kick off with a pre-election summary of who's who, which wards and candidates will be worth watching and which ones won't, (only in my opinion of course).

This is a quick and dirty write up, any typos, factual mistakes or opinions are mine alone and do not represent those of the forum at large.

This is part One, part two covers Highworth to Wroughton wards which I hope to finish and publish in the next couple of days.


Here we go then.....
 

Abbey Meads

This year sees a few eyebrows being raised across the borough as Justin Tomlinsons mum also hoists the Tory flag in Abbey Meads. Not quite on the same scale as the Kennedy method of dynasty building, but at least Vera Tomlinson will be able to bring Justins sandwiches to work with her if he forgets.  Justins wife Halina isn't standing anywhere this year, last years post-election Tory blurb described Halina as having 'secured 3rd place' in Penhill.  What 'securing 3rd place' actually meant was staying just in front of the BNP's Ken Walters by polling 20% of the vote and being soundly beaten by Liberal Democrat Tel Hudson (25% - 314v) and Labour new boy Paul Baker (41.7% - 519v).

2008 sees Richard Law (Lib Dem), Gerald Lawson (Labour) and UKIP's Robin Tingey all contesting the Abbey Meads seat recently vacated by Cllr Owen Lister who recently resigned from the contituency Tory party after it discovered that, in addition to being a Conservative councillor, Mr Lister was also a member of UKIP.  Cllr Lister remains in Abbey Meads independently until May the 1st.   

The Abbey Meads in Touch website describes Owens departure in a kindlier fashion than I, (although 'AMIT' obviously omits the more juicy facts about Listers departure), saying: "Vera has been selected to be the Conservative Candidate to contest the local elections on Thursday 1st May, replacing the Cllr Owen Lister who is retiring after representing the area for 8 years."

Owen 'Happy' Lister



Spin, it seems, is alive, well and rotating nicely in Abbey Meads, but my interest was properly piqued by "Vera is an experienced Councillor having previously been an elected Councillor in Kidderminster before retiring to Swindon.  She is currently a Blunsdon Parish Councillor"......so, being a nosy bastard I went rummaging.  I wasn't disappointed, Vera does indeed have some 'previous' in the Wyre Forest District where she is fondly/not fondly remembered, (delete as appropriate depending upon your own position and opinion).

It seems Vera made a lasting impression on her fellow Wyre Forest councillors, some of whom described her as being 'too political' and others accusing her of hijacking at least one meeting for 'political ends' and trying to claim the credit for others work. I think, if Vera is elected, (which seems quite likely considering the social/political demographic in Abbey Meads), she could be exactly the sort of addition to the Tory group that will shake at least some the Tory group out of their 'Let's not rock the boat' subjugation to Anne Snelgrove and Michael Wills.  I reckon a few Tory councillors will already be unhappy with Vera's selection so we should be on 'Ripple Watch' from June onwards if/when she's elected.   



Central

Pictures below (from left to right):Junab Ali, Kevin Leakey and David Cox

      


Central will be worth watching as no one really knows quite what is going to happen there although expectations are high in both the Labour and Tory camps.  The seat being contested is, in theory at least, still occupied by Tory Sinead Darker. New followers of Swindon politics may not know that Councillor Darker was originally elected in Central ward as a Labour councillor. She subsequently 'saw the light', or was otherwise encouraged/enthused/induced to become an independant for a short time before completing her journey across the floor to the Tory group and, once there, realised she'd pissed off the residents of Central, (including Tory voters) so badly that she'd be needing a safe Tory seat elsewhere in Swindon. Many Central ward residents were much angered by Darkers defection to the Tories and are almost as glad as she is that she's now ward-hopping her way into St Philip. If she behaves in St Philip as she has done in Central the Tories can expect to see their popularity evaporate fairly quickly there.  Kevin Leakey replaces Sinead Darker as the Tory candidate in Central and he already knows he faces an uphill struggle to surmount the legacy of distrust and dissatisfaction that Sinead Darker leaves in her wake. To put it crudely, Darker has pissed in the bathwater and left the building without pulling the plug.

Sinead Darker



Labours Junab Ali is seeking to join 'Sideshow' Bob Wright and Derique Montaut as the wards third labour councillor. Opinions vary as to whether the Three Amigos will be a triumvirate of incompetence or perform quite well for the ward. Junab became ensnared in something of a political stitch up last year but managed to extricate himself fairly successfully by using the 'deny,deny,deny' approach.  Last years Labour candidate in Walcot was also heavily implicated but he, (Neil Heavens), attempted the 'run away and hide bravely' defence, couldn't quite pull it off and thereby effectively pressed the self-destruct button on his political career in Swindon, earning himself a Talkswindon 'Dodo' award as he did so. (The dust hasn't yet settled in Walcot so Neils mum Carol is standing there this year, Neil has a note from his mum and is excused from this years election).

Neil 'I was dropped on my head as a baby' Heavens



Ex Labour Mayor David 'Marathon Man' Cox is conducting an independent assault on Precinct Central. Last year David polled a disappointing 4.x% of the vote, but I do wonder whether his standing in 2007 was more of a protest against the Swindon Labour group than a serious attempt at election. Perhaps this year he really means it, and if so he might well be seen as a credible, and experienced alternative to Labours somewhat inexperienced Junab Ali.

Eric Wreford Arthur Bagwell is UKIP's man in Central. 'Ewab', (as I've christened him), is an unknown quantity in Central, a wildcard if you like, or possibly a paper candidate. I simply don't know anything about Ewab yet.....

Junab Ali's selection to stand in Central is also interesting and perhaps represents a gamble, or even a dare, by the constituency labour party, (or to be more precise by Anne Snelgrove), as Junabs 2007 attempt on Cllr Steve Wakefields seat in Toothill and Westlea was less than successful.  Wakefield was returned with 52.27% of the vote and a majority of 568 over Ali who managed 21.94% of the vote and 411 votes.   



Covingham & Nythe

Pictures Below (Left to right): Dale Heenan, David Pajak

 


Dale Heenan is defending the honour of the Tories in C&N and is under siege from UKIP's Cynthia Desmond and Labours Joanne Dilley, (I think Maureen Dilley stood against Tory Glen Smith in C&N last year). Another member of the Pajak family, (David Pajak), is the Lib Dems front man. David Pajak didn't do very well last year returning only 7.2% of the vote, (coming last), compared to Tory Glen Smiths 54.2% winning percentage of the vote.

Cllr Heenan has 'enjoyed' a turbulent few months of it recently, including a little spat here on Talkswindon, but he does appear to have come through all of it a bit older, a bit wiser and is still beavering away industriously on his wards behalf. Well done that man, he's a nice bloke and I wish him well.


Dorcan

Pictures below (left to right): Rodderick Bluh and Nell Aylett

 

Dorcan, Dorcan, so good they named it twice......only they didn't actually name it twice and it's known simply as 'Dorcan', whatever that means.

Dorcan ward is interesting because, until a few weeks ago, only one seat was expected to be up for grabs, then, seemingly hot on the heels of Labour Cllr Barrie Thompsons exposure as being completely absent from his ward, town and the entire country, it became public knowledge that Tory Councillor Andy James was also about to, or already had left the country.  Anxious to avoid an embarrassing repeat of the Thompson debacle, Cllr James swiftly resigned meaning that two council seats will now be contested in Dorcan next month.

Because Cllr James's seat is being contested two years early, an interesting situation may arise where Rod Bluh, (if successfully re-elected), may need to fight for his seat again in two years time if he receives less votes than whoever wins Councillor James's now vacant perch, strange but true.  Rods fellow Conservative candidate is Kevin Parry. Sam James and Cindy Matthews comprise the Labour attack force.  Robert Sheppard carries the UKIP flag.


Eastcott

Pictures (left to right):  Stan Pajak (Lib Dem) and Paul Gregory (Conservative)

 


Eastcott is generally considered to be a Liberal Democrat stronghold......usually by the Lib Dems themselves. I suspect the main reason that the Lib Dems hold all three seats in the ward is because no one, (recently), has had much more than a gentle swipe at it, or the sitting incumbents.  Paul Gregory and Labours Sarah Bush were more or less equal last year with Gregory leading Bush by only 25 votes.  Martin Wiltshire stayed out in front of Gregory with a comfy majority of 328.  Eastcott residents should keep a sharp eye out for Anne Snelgrove as she is very likely to be pounding up their streets and on their doors soon.     


Freshbrook & Grange Park

Pictures (left to right):  Peter Greenhalgh (Conservative) and Judith Peppitt (Liberal Democrat)

 

Peter Greenhalgh is up for re-election in FB&GP and is being challenged by Lib Dem Judith Peppitt. Last year Judith Peppitt made a lot of noise about last years winner, Conservative Michael Dickinson, and other candidates not living in the ward. That argument didn't cut much ice with the residents of FB&GP though, and tricky Dicky was returned with a majority of 483. Judith came second and Labours Carol Heavens third.  Carol Heavens is off to chance her arm in Walcot ward this year, the ward where her son Neil soiled himself so badly, (figuratively speaking), last year.  Labour is offering the voters of FB&GP a new guy this year, Jamal Miah, and I feel sorry for him already. Jamal lives in Kingswood Avenue, (Parks?), so not only will he have some travelling to do but he'll no doubt face the ire of Judith Peppitt once he gets over here. That said, if he's prepared to put in some serious effort he shouldn't have much trouble improving on Carol Heavens 17.7% of last years vote, if he does worse than Carol I would suggest that FB&GP, and perhaps West Swindon generally isn't ready for Nu-Nu-Labour yet, if ever. Good luck to the bloke though, I look forward to chatting to him on my doorstep, just as long as he doesn't bring the Snelgrove woman with him.


Gorsehill & Pinehurst

Pictures (left to right):  Ray Ballman (Labour) and Les Wood (Liberal Democrat)

 

Ray Ballman: female Labour councillor and married to fellow Labour Councillor John.  Husband John enjoys a 365 majority in the ward and Ray is expecting to emulate that number. There are two challengers to the Ballman supremacy, Tory Louise Gallavin and Lib dem Leslie (Les) Wood, Dave Wood's pappy.

Last year John Ballman found himself opposed by BNP candidate Reg 'Norman' Bates, Green party candidate Neil Gutteridge and UKIPS Robin Tingey. He 'done 'em all' and this year there isn't a green or BNP candidate to found standing anywhere in the borough and Robin Tingey is hoping to take out Justin Tomlinsons mum in Abbey Meads, (although only in the electoral sense).

I should also mention that I upset some of the Woods clan last year when I said: "Les managed to get 154 votes in Gorsehill and Pinehurst without doing anything wrong.......in fact it looks like he didn't do anything at all !"  Strangely, Dave's bird confirmed that Les had worked hard in other wards across the town....but not in Gorsehill and Pinehurst because, and I quote directly:

"Gorsehill was a ward that we knew we wouldn't win, but rather than digging in his heels and only wanting to work that ward, he recognised that we didn't stand much of a chance and invested his time instead in helping other candidates".

This, (and please correct me if I'm wrong), seems to corroborate exactly what I said about Leslies campaign, or more accurately 'non-campaign' in Gorsehill & Pinehurst. 

Perhaps if the Lib Dems had campaigned properly in Gorsehill instead of nominating a deliberately absent paper-tiger as their candidate, they wouldn't have suffered the embarrassment of seeing the electorate favour the marginally stiffer cardboard BNP candidate instead. Moral of the story?: if you can't be arsed to campaign seriously for a ward, don't enter a candidate. It demonstrates a clear and genuine lack of commitment to the ward from the off and stinks of half-arsed political gambling.  One of Mr Woods' own phrases describes this perfectly for me - Not Cool.

Last years results from Gorsehill and Pinehurst






« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 01:54:45 PM by Geoff Reid »



Offline swindonlad

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2008, 07:03:50 PM »
hi geoff, where's part 2 - we're waiting for more of your words of wisdom

Offline Tobes

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2008, 10:27:46 PM »
Genius Geoff - genius!!! (and a thousand times better than any of of the coverage we'll read in any of the local so-called 'professional' press!  O0 )
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline ZPW

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2008, 08:07:36 PM »
Love this first installment.
Love it.
Thank you.

Bemused and confused ( but then I have been trying to communicate with Dickie Drearie) about the Rod Bluh Dorcan do dah.

If the chap is elected... why will it only be for a 2 year term?


Offline nordic

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2008, 08:36:00 PM »
There are two seats in Dorcan and two votes. The lowest vote at the count gets the remaining time from Andy James.  The highest one gets a four year term.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2008, 11:47:54 AM »

You're too kind....

Anyway, pt II should be published early next week. I thought it was almost ready to go but I've developed a temporary interest in the likely election expenses being incurred in Eastcott and one of the Labour candidates warrants a bit of further digging.

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2008, 01:03:37 PM »
 O0

Well done Geoff....

carry on digging

Interesting stuff about our Vera and the sandwiches   :D

Offline ZPW

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2008, 12:13:09 PM »
There are two seats in Dorcan and two votes. The lowest vote at the count gets the remaining time from Andy James.  The highest one gets a four year term.

Thank you

Offline swindonlad

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2008, 08:10:41 PM »
hi geoff, just 50 hours to the polls close....

Offline komadori

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2008, 02:15:35 AM »
Because Cllr James's seat is being contested two years early, an interesting situation may arise where Rod Bluh, (if successfully re-elected), may need to fight for his seat again in two years time if he receives less votes than whoever wins Councillor James's now vacant perch, strange but true.

No 'if' about it now. Mr Parry 1326, Mr Bluh 1292.
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Reidy's 2008 Pre-Election Ramble Pt 1: Abbey Meads to Gorsehill
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2010, 11:47:38 PM »
Bump.  :)