Talkswindon

Elections => Swindon Council Elections 2008 => Topic started by: Geoff Reid on May 19, 2008, 12:07:09 PM

Title: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 19, 2008, 12:07:09 PM


It's taken some time, (17 days to be precise), to find a spare couple of hours in which to jot down my thoughts on this years local elections in Swindon. I haven't been on Talkswindon much recently but I certainly haven't stopped trying to fathom what it's all about eh?......Alfie.

On the surface at least, you'd be forgiven for thinking that not much happened to Swindons political landscape on May the 1st 2008.  No landslides, sudden shocks or tumultuous upheavals shattered the status quo currently 'enjoyed' Swindon councillors and, in stark contrast to the national portrait in which labour lost control of a further 9 councils, the Conservatives gained control of another 12 and the Liberal Democrats one, Swindons relatively modest changes in which buttocks will now warm which seats might indicate to some that Swindons local elections were as 'calm as a millpond' but, as is often said, still waters sometimes run deep, and deep waters often have strong currents which reveal items of interest many miles away from the millpond......

.....which is my way of saying way of saying that in the case of Swindons elections, events of weeks, (and sometimes months), earlier need to be remembered and understood if we are to make any sense of Swindon appearing to to be an apparent oasis of calm in the eye of the storm which was ravaging the rest of Nu-Labours Britain, which in itself is surprising when we consider that both Parliamentary constituencies in the Borough of Swindon are now considered to be 'super-marginals'.

Shall we have a look under the surface of the millpond?....there's a little bit of pond scum on the surface so I'll throw a couple of rocks in to break the surface tension and clear a gap, you stick the glass bottomed bucket in a clear bit and we'll see what we can see shall we?.......and worry about the ripples later.

 
Begins at The Oasis leaisure centre: Thursday May 1st 2008 22:30hrs. 

*Authors note: Other readers who attended the count will recognise that the following account is not necessarily presented in strictly correct chronological order. This is unimportant to the narrative. As ever any errors are mine alone, this is a subjective account and I'm happy to be corrected, shouted out and debate my comments.  It's not really necessary to publish a leaflet, pretend to report me to SREC or start various rumours about me. I'll happily discuss all of it, (bar one thing - more on this later), here on Talkswindon.  This means you Cllr Wright.

I haven't bothered passing comment on every ward that was up for election this year, simply because some wards display a dazzling lack of anything interesting happening within them, (political or otherwise).  I'm not suggesting that there's anything intrinsically wrong with these wards.....it's just that they are, for my purposes, boring.  If anyone takes issue with, or disagrees, with my opinion, please feel free to correct me.  If interesting things do happen in these wards, why not tell us?.   





Michael Wills - For gods sake eat something man....

I'm sat in the bar nursing a coke as Michael Wills strides past. I'm struck with the thought that I've never seen him wear anything other than black. Black shoes, black socks, black trousers and black jacket....and he 'stalks' rather than walks anywhere. This, coupled with his somewhat gaunt, almost cadaverous look, leads me to think that he might deserve the 'something of the night' title more than Michael 'something of the night' Howard ever did.  I didn't get chance to poll others on this as Michael left the Oasis soon after being first seen there.  I like to think that, if there is any justice in the ministry of justice, Michael left early so he could continue looking for some missing data disks (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7104945.stm)....although I suspect that, by now, that the missing disk fiasco has been well and truly brushed under the fading carpet of Michaels Whitehall office.

SBC splurged some dosh on some funky new additions to this years count, namely a large screen onto which the voting results would be displayed.....


The new results screen:

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/screen.JPG)

.....it displayed the results for Covingham and Nythe ward, then displayed nothing for the remainder of the night. Although the screens failure was something of a disappointment for the rest of us, it did mean that Cllr Dale Heenans on-screen moment of electoral glory lasted for most of the evening. 


Anne Snelgrove

It wasn't long before Anne Snelgrove glided into the Oasis dutifully followed by the small, but perfectly formed, crop of her latest political hopefuls. It's immediately obvious than Anne is a good deal less corpulent than she was at this time last year. Although she's not yet as cadaverous in her appearance as Michael Wills, it nevertheless seems that Westminster is sucking the very flesh from her bones or she's joined weightwatchers. Either way, she's looking better for it and she certainly needed to do something if, (now that she's abandoned her 'war on farepak' and her 'war on mini-motos'), she's to continue her 'war on obesity' and 'war on electric dog collars', lest she encourage the local overuse of the words ' pot', 'kettle', 'black' and 'bloody hypocrite'.

Accompanied by her very own revolutionary guard, (seeming to consist solely of Indian restaraunt owners), Anne did some last minute canvassing on behalf of Carol 'I did drop him on his head as a baby'' Heavens in Walcot ward where the message she delivered upon the doorsteps was a simple one.


Annes stark message to the voters of Walcot:

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/votetorykillkitten.jpg)




Central Ward

I understand that Anne has spent a fair amount of her time grazing in the curry gardens, presumably currying favour with 'her boys', namely Junab Ali, Jamal Miah, Walid Meah, Muhammed Ali Talukdar and Abdhul Amin as they plotted their respective election campaign(s) which, in reality, was a single campaign to get Junab elected in Central whilst getting some experience under the belts of the other candidates.  Junabs previous political activism seems to have finally paid off with his election to SBC and his previous trips to events like the 2006 'European Muslims Influencing the European Debate' in Brussels and the 2007 Labour Party Conference as Anne Snelgroves sidekick must now seem worthwhile.  Cllr 'Sideshow Bob' Wright was also invited along for the ride to the 2007 labour party conference, although he was handed a grey hat and allowed to drive the others there..... ;)

....and, while I'm taking the mick out of Sideshow Bob' and before he enthusiastically reaches for his racist branding iron and underground telephone again, I should say that I'm simultaneously pleased to see more ethnic diversity in our political candidates and intrigued by Anne Snelgroves relationship with them as her involvement with, and encouragement of no less than 5 Muslim candidates seems to run contra to the messages being broadcast by central government.  Finally Annie is doing something I thoroughly approve of, I don't believe the 'be afraid of Muslims' messages her government broadcasts so regularly, and I'm assuming that her support of our local Muslim candidates means that she doesn't either.....which must be a good thing, not just from the point of fairer representation for a fairly sizeable minority in Swindon, but also for democracy generally. Swindon needs a stronger and better organised political opposition in Euclid street, and perhaps this is the start of it.

It's worth noting that the Labour party candidate for Old Town and Lawn, Walid Meah, is the owner/manager of the Curry Garden restaurant in Victoria road, an establishment which Anne Snelgrove has canvassed tirelessly on behalf of in the Swindon advertiser, Swindon Business News and the House of Commons 2008 'Tiffin Cup' (http://www.dictatenow.com/DictateNow_TiffinCup2007.html). It's good to see any MP frequenting and supporting a restaurant so local to their digs and perhaps it's only natural that this has given Anne the opportunity to get to know Walid well and decide he's a good thing for the constituency labour group.  This relationship really isn't as moody as as it might at first appear, or as some would have you believe.

The 'Tiffin Cup' is a competition run by parliamentarians to find the best South Asian Restaurant in the country.  Ten entrants are short listed by the competition organisers and invited to a special cook-in at Bellamy’s Restaurant in the Palace of Westminster where the overall winner will be found. The winning restaurant gets a year’s supply of Cobra beer and the 2008 Tiffin Cup. The event is held in support of an orphanage in India. 

*Authors note: I haven't eaten in the Curry Garden, but I'm more than willing to investigate their grub thoroughly and report fully to TS members as to its merchantability. I'm fending for myself tonight, so if a large Indian meal were to unexpectedly appear at my front door, gratis, I and my Son would be delighted to give it a glowing report give a full, balanced and honest opinion on it.


Karen Leakey stood down as the Conservative candidate for Central ward prior to the nominations being submitted. This didn't come as much of a surprise to those of us who had been watching events in central. The combination of Sinead Darkers poor representation of the ward, (both since her election there as a Labour councillor and most definitely after her defection to the Conservatives), and the unpopularity of the wheelie bin roll-out in parts of the ward meant that Karen was fighting an uphill battle to present a 'good face' of the Conservative party in parts of the ward. Karen is very, very well known and liked in the Broad Green area, (somewhat less well known elsewhere). I haven't spoken to Karen about this, but I do know that there was some resentment being beamed in her direction from members of the Conservative group because she had dared to put her ward, and it's residents first, and Conservative party policy second.  I will go out on a limb and suggest it was this resentment which encouraged Karen to continue putting her ward first and therefore stand down as a candidate.   Karens husband Kevin was persuaded to stand in her stead, and for a few brief seconds it seemed that he had been elected against general expectations.  I shall explain further.....

....it is the custom that the candidates are informally given their ward results a few minutes before the returning officer formally announces them.  When the Central ward results were given informally to the candidates they were presented thus:

Junab Ali (Lab) 902 , Kevin Leakey 664 (Cons), Hannah Pajak (LibDem) 224, Eric Bagwell (UKIP) 130,  David Cox (Ind) 125


BUT.....somewhere between leaving the counting table and being placed in the returning officers hand, a '1' had appeared on the front of Kevin Leakys 664, meaning that the 'formal' result was returned as being....

Kevin Leakey (Cons) 1,664  Junab Ali (Lab) 902   Hannah Pajak (LibDem) 224   Eric Bagwell (UKIP) 130   David Cox (Ind) 125



The confusion on the real winners face, (Junab Ali) is apparent: (and even on Gary 'The Perkinator' Perkins face - rear right, against the blue shutter)

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/junab-wrong%20result.JPG)


Some of the Conservative group immediately cheered and clapped, all of the labour group produced a stunned 'EH?', and the assembled media types in the centre of the count quietly checked notebooks and wondered whether their shorthand/frantic scribbles were in error, Junab and his gang, worried that they were being deliberately cheated, started to get angry......


An angry Junab Ali (as captured by the Advers photographer bird. It's great shot ain't it!)

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/angrya.jpg)


I felt really sorry for the bloke, what should have been a moment of personal triumph/relief/reward was marred by long seconds of uncertainty. This was especially unfortunate as Centrals votes had already been recounted once...and there really was no doubt about the result, but enthusiastic shouts of "The result has been declared, we've won!"  from one Conservative councillor didn't do anything to soothe Junabs rapidly fraying nerves and he allowed himself a few moments in which to be thoroughly pissed off.  I don't blame him....

I'm pissed off....

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/junab1.JPG)


A couple of minutes later and it's all sorted...and here is Junab Ali about to sign his declaration and formally become Councillor Ali.

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/junabali-declaration.JPG)


Central was, and will for the immediate future continue to be, an interesting ward to watch.  Although the ward has been technically 'lost' by the Conservatives and 'won' by labour it is my contention that this seat in the ward was never properly Conservative anyway. Junab Ali's predecessor, Sinead Darker, was elected as a Labour councillor before crossing the floor to the Conservatives. Darker was never given a mandate, or endorsed by the voters of Central to inflict herself upon them as a Conservative councillor.  She knew this, the Conservative group knew this and the electorate demonstrably knew it....which is why she jumped ship for a much safer seat in St Philip ward.

Central residents can now get used to having new kid on the block wearing the familiar red rosette.  It does remain to be seen how well Kevin Small will be able to cope with someone not 'born and bred' of Swindon, (his own words, not mine), at the heart of 'his' group. the last time I bothered listening to the wee man, he was loudly and roundly attacking Cllr David Sammels Scottish ancestry and leaving the entire council chamber in no doubt that he, (The wee man), was of the opinion that only those born and bred in Swindon should take part in the running of the town......

....and to think that Sideshow Bob Wright called me racist eh?.

Time will tell, but a pound will get you five that the Conservative group is already seeking ways to 'turn' Junab to the other side of the force and no one will bet against you if you said that some members of the Labour group are just hoping to turn Kevin Small out. More on this later on in the post....


Where were the greens and the BNP this year?


No greens and no BNP.  The Greens absence was an administrative error apparently but they're promising to be back stronger than ever in 2010.

The BNP were perhaps waiting to capitalise on the expected, (expected and perhaps even hoped-for by them), public backlash in the wake of guilty verdicts in the Henry Webster hammer attack trial.  Had there been a swelling of public opinion against the Asian community, or a noticable rise in racial tensions in Swindon they might well have sought to capitalise on it and enter some candidates  There wasn't and they didn't.......and I think with particular regard to Swindon, the BNP will only campaign where there is a division to be exploited but with 2 years until the next local and general elections it's likely that the BNP will be using the intervening time to carefully evaluate local conditions and plan to use their fairly meagre resources in areas which will be be most receptive to their campaign.  No sign at all of Andy Newmans Socialist Unity party this year. I reckon the continued absence of the Socialist Unitity party will prompt pythonesque "Whatever happened to the SUP?" comments.....



Freshbrook & Grangepark Ward: Deafened by the loud rustle of paper candidates


This picture of Peter Greenhalgh, (Conservative), tells you everything you need to know about the FB&GP result. 'PG' was returned for another 4 year term with an increased majority. This was aided in part by Liberal Democrat Judith Peppitt not campaigning in the ward at all, which I found personally disappointing as Heidi Teague, (a previous LD candidate), had campaigned quite hard when she stood for election. Labours Jamal Miah didn't bother to put an appearance in either, but this didn't really surprise as he lives way the hell across the other side of town in Parks.  I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again....entering 'paper candidates' demonstrate a serious lack of commitment to the ward they stand in and are an insult to both democracy and the electorate.   


Abbey Meads

Justin Tomlinson now has his mum Vera looking at him from the backbenches. I think Vera Tomlinsons election probably isn't a massive endorsement of her personally, the North Swindon Conservatives could have pinned a blue rosette on Mr Ed and the Abbey Meads electorate would have voted him in..... and he's been dead since 1970. 

Vera Tomlinson

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/veratomlinson.jpg)

I look forward to seeing Vera in action because judging from her past history as a Kidderminster councillor, it's likely she will stir things up a bit, ruffle a few feathers and in doing so generate more public interest in the workings of the elected council. 



Old Town and Lawn

Mike 'Airmiles' Bawden is back for another term. A veritable champion of Swindon property developers, friends of this well known Free Mason will have breathed sighs of relief at his return. Mr Bawden is quite proud of his involvement in brokering property deals and often brazenly reminds people of his record.   

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/airmiles.jpg)

Look at Cllr Bawdens mugshot and ask yourself: "Would I buy a used car from this man?".


Walcot

Walcot retains a dreadful, insistant and recurrent fascination for the observer of Swindon politics.  Walcot has two councillors, Peter Mallinson and Mavis Childs.  Both crossed the floor from the Labour group to the Conservatives, both remained in the ward to campaign as Conservatives, (Mallinson in 2007 and now Childs in 2008), and to the disgust of the Labour group both were re-elected as Conservatives.

In the 2007 election Peter Mallinson withstood an all-out assault from the Labour group who were furious at him for leaving the Labour party.  That Assault was led personally by Anne Snelgrove who campaigned hard, going from door to door on behalf of her candidate, Neil Heavens.  Neil wasn't seen much in the ward previous to the 2007 election, although a letter drafted by 'x', signed by Heavens and promoted by Kevin Small was. It was an unfortunate electoral 'dirty trick' (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=1562.0) and ultimately led to Heavens soiling himself his electoral credentials and becoming the first ever recipient of the Talkswindon 'Dodo' (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=1902.0), an award given to the candidate who has committed an act so stupid that their political aspirations could be accurately described as 'extinct'.  Neil polled more than 48% of the Talkswindon votes to bag his Dodo, a considerably higher percentage of vote-share than he achieved in the actual election which proves the Nu-Labour philosophy that everybody is good at something, and that even a political idiot can sometimes be a winner.

Not so much as a squeak has been heard from last years recipient of the Dodo and this year it fell to his mum to stand in Walcot against Mavis Childs and she proved only marginally more popular than her son and thus Mavis Childs can once again be found holding court at the Walcot dome. Mavis it seems, is like Marmite. You either love her or loathe her.....but even with a recent history of 'flexible' political allegiances 783 Walcotians lean towards the former and 648 the latter.

2007 Dodo winner Neil Heavens

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/NeilHeavens.jpg)

I'm told the local labour party excused Neil Heavens from paper candidate duty this year after they received a note from his mum.

 
Dorcan

We'll leave Walcot and head South East towards Dorcan now....where the recent resignation of Cllr Andy James (Con) meant that two seats were up for grabs. As Cllr James resigned 2 years before his seat was due to be contested again, a curious situation arose whereby if both Conservative candidates were elected in 1st and 2nd places, the candidate with the greater number of votes wins the 4 year seat and the candidate who comes second serves the remaining two years of Andy James's now vacant seat.

Unfortunately for Cllr Bluh the unthinkable happened and he polled 34 votes less than Kevin Parry. Cllr Parry now enjoys a 4 year term and Cllr Bluh must stand for election again in 2010.  Some are describing Rod Bluh as being a victim of the 'canal effect' although I'd disagree with this completely. Both Bluh and Parry were each over 800 votes in front of their nearest rivals and the result doesn't show that Cllr Bluh did badly, it just shows that Cllr Parry did very, very well, and why shouldn't he?, he's a local boy who's well known in Eldene. It seems only natural that he would do well.....so I'd call this the 'Eldene effect'.



Right, I'm off to get a coffee before I start work on pt2, in which I'd like to share my thoughts on Parks Ward and why Leader of the labour group, Cllr Kevin Small looked delighted when Labours Mark Dempsey wasn't elected.....



Meanwhile, here's a piccie of Tel Hudson staring into space.....can anyone guess what he was looking at?  :popcorn:


(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/spaced.JPG)


Title: Parks: Hard Truths and Easy Lies
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 19, 2008, 12:07:28 PM

 
 
(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/parks%20logo.png)


"The Curious Case Of The Absent Councillor"  or  "Watch A Ward Bleed To Death (Politically) In Front Of Your Very Eyes!"



An independent view of the 2008 local election result in Parks Ward.



A bitter political battle has been raging through Parks over the last couple of years, not that too many people would notice of course, but it's certainly possible to draw a comparison with the Battle of Waterloo. Yep, Parks has become the 'Belgium' of Swindon and the competing Labour and Conservative political armies have decided to slug it out on someone else's front lawn. "Someone else's front lawn?" I hear you ask... "wasn't Parks a Labour ward anyway?"....well, yes it was, although I think there was another battle being fought across the streets and lawns of Parks which was being fought purely within different factions of the Swindon labour group itself. 

It has been said of the 1815 battle that no one can be sure exactly when it began....and the same is true of the battle for Parks, but we can give it a good go, can't we?  So, if you're sitting comfortably I'll begin after I've introduce the main players before leading you on a guided tour of Parks Ward's recent political history and having a bash at untangling, straightening out and explaining this particular part of the twisted spaghetti knot that is Swindon local politics.   


The Absent Councillor: Barrie Thompson (Lab)

                               (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/thompson.jpg)
 

The 2008 Candidates:      Claire Ellis (Cons)         Graham Cherry (Cons)      Steve Allsopp (Lab)      Mark Dempsey (Lab)

                               (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/clareellis.JPG)                   (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/GrahamCherryParks.jpg)                  (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/steveallsopp.jpg)                 (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/dempsey.jpg) 


The Sitting Tenant: Fay Howard (Lab)
 
                               (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/fayhoward.jpg)




The Leader Of The Labour Group: Kevin Small

                               (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/small.jpg)


Parks ward has been represented by Labour Councillors for a long, long time. I don't know exactly how long, but certainly long enough that, when the cosy and familiar relationship between Parks voter and the Labour Party began to sour, it was as obvious as a patch of black mould in the corner of an otherwise spotless white tiled shower cubicle. Something was rotten in the State of Denmark, ward of Parks and many interested noses turned into the wind, caught further whiffs of decay and wondered what could be causing it.  Others put their boots on and went looking. This is what they found.....



Cast your mind back to May 2006. The local elections are over, the Conservatives remained unchallenged as the dominant force in the Council Chamber, Labour have survived by battening down the hatches in their strongholds of Parks , Gorsehill and Western wards. The Lib Dems remain solidly entrenched in the political ghetto of Eastcott.

Are the Labour strongholds as strong as they appear?. Even back in 2006 cracks were starting to appear in the plaster and although it is often said that "a week is a long time in politics", it's also true that sometimes a minute can seem like an hour and that you do indeed "reap what you sow". I usually take a more holistic view of things. I think that events usually happen at their own pace in politics, but I do pay particular attention to seeds that are carefully planted and those that are carelessly dropped by politicians and activists alike....and I take some pleasure in guessing when and where they will burst forth again. 

Jean Saunders, Swindon staunchest defender of Coate and a member of this very forum, had this to say in her letter to the Swindon Adver following the 2006 Parks election result. (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/search/display.var.767782.0.voters_show_their_feelings.php)

Quote from: Jean Saunders
It seems that Coun Barrie Thompson (SA, May 10) has been somewhat humbled by his election result in Parks. This ward is a Labour stronghold and this was not reflected by the votes.

The councillor only polled 694 votes, while the Conservatives got 580 and the Green Party 355, with just a 24.96 turnout.

While Coun Thompson still supports the Coate development, his faithfuls obviously withdrew their vote for him, not able to stomach what would happen to their favourite beauty spot. When our Save Coate petition was studied in the early days and analysed on the area where those signing lived, more than 20 per cent came from Parks, by far the highest percentage.


Barrie had annoyed a sizeable percentage of his own ward prior to his re-election to it in the 2006 local elections....and then he appeared to carry on ignoring and annoying people in his ward, particularly with anything concerning the proposals to develop land adjacent to Coate water.

I've met Barry Thompson a couple of times, the first time being in July 2006 at the 'Let's Talk' (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=618.0) meeting organised by Anne Snelgrove and attended by the then Environment Secretary David Milliband MP. At the time I said:

Quote from: Me
Everyone on table 5 came up with some good suggestions, even Clllr Barrie Thompson...(which surprised me greatly, as I'd kind of assumed anyone who so wholeheartedly and publicly supported the Identity Cards Act 2006 was either easily led or lacking in common sense......), came up with some good, common sense stuff.... (although he did completely blow it when he apparently asked David Miliband to help deregulate the planning and appeals process - I wonder why you so desperately want that to happen Barrie, eh?, eh?.


Barry actually did come up with some good stuff....but then during the question & answer session with David Milliband he rose ponderously to his feet and made a very public appeal for the planning process to be so deregulated as to make it very difficult for people, like the residents of Parks, to object to developments happening on their doorsteps.

Simon also recorded Barry Thompsons request:

Quote from: Simon
Cllr Barrie Thompson (Lab, Parks, and the most outspoken supporter of the plans to build all over Coate) made a point about being bogged down in proscriptive planning legislation. David Milliband replied that compared to, say, France, where the decision to build something in a particular place is made at the top and it just happens, we have much more input from the bottom up into the planning process in the UK. I feel sure that the 28,000 who have saved the Save Coate petition and the hundreds who submitted objections to the local structure plan would beg to differ on that point.


Milliband didn't agree with him, and in not agreeing with him very firmly trod the ground down around another bitter seed that Barry had planted all by himself.....



Fast-Forward to Parks 2007:

It's local election time again and Labours Fay Howard is defending her seat against Conservative candidate Graham Cherry, the BNP's Chris Southgate, Liberal Democrat Helen Thompson -(Thompson defected to the Labour Party soon afterwards which suggests to me that she may have been a Labour party 'ringer' anyway), and the Green party candidate David Miles.

Fay Howard is re-elected with a majority of 172 over nearest rival Graham Cherry. Even for the popular 'Councillor Fay', the margins are getting noticably tighter as Nu-Labour's national gloss is wearing thin and becoming regularly tarnished with allegations of scandal and corruption.  At this point in time it's obvious that, if the majorities enjoyed by Cllr's Howard, Thompson and Allsopp continue to shrink, the Labour group will begin losing seats in Parks.  This is of great concern to Labour MP Anne Snelgrove whose wafer thin majority depends utterly on the voters in wards like Parks, Walcot, Central and Western and, having lost Walcot completely to the Conservatives, Parks is now upgraded from 'Important' to 'Crucial' in Annes election control centre at her constituency office at Little London Court.

At this point Kevin Small, (the leader of the Labour group), isn't particularly bothered about Anne Snelgroves still-distant election campaign and he isn't overly worried about Parks ward.  Cllr Fay is elected as deputy leader of the Labour group and he already knows that she'll do what she's told, (by him), as will Barry Thompson.  He's enjoying the status of 'I'm alright Jack', with the sole exception of having been removed from the Chair of Scrutiny. (He was replaced by the ex-Labour and now independent Cllr David Glaholm - Glaholm subsequently resigned after being arrested in the Manchester Road area of Swindon whilst apparently doing a 'Jeffrey Archer'. Small was re-instated to the chair of Scrutiny admidst Conservative cabinet fears of receiving a bad audit commission report for manipulating the chair of scrutiny for political gain - they just bottled it actually, and Small was the best of what was left to fit the chair.....which isn't much of a compliment, and has resulted in a Conservative council operating with an inneffective scrutiny committee).


Full Council Meeting 19th July 2007

This is the very last Council meeting Cllr Barry Thompson will ever attend. Rumours of illness have started circulating....in fact almost as soon as he started missing meetings. He'd already missed the June meeting and would now go on to miss Council meetings in September and November of 2007 and January of 2008.

Despite what he would later claim in the Swindon Evening Advertiser, Cllr Thompson was also recorded as being absent from every subsequent meeting of both the Children and Young People's Overview Committee and the Children and Young People's Partnership Board.

To all intents and purposes and whatever the reason, Cllr Thompson had effectively abdicated his council seat as of July 2007.


Fast Forward: February 2007: The Talkswindon Forum


For a couple of weeks rumours have been circulating that Barry Thompson has gone AWOL.  I consider carefully whether to discuss this publicly, so I do a bit of sleuthing and decide that, (as it's true), I will do so and on February the 13th 2008  I break the news (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=2888.msg15537#msg15537) here on the Talkswindon forum, that Barry Thompson has been resident in Spain since January and has just emailed SBC to tender his, (meaningless), resignation as a local Councillor. I'm told the email was meaningless as it was unsigned and not from an 'official' xxxx@swindon.gov email account.

The Advertiser also runs the story on its front page on Saturday the 16th Feb 2007 (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/search/display.var.2049658.0.wish_you_were_here_barrie.php) 

Parks ward voters emit a collective and disgusted gasp, Parks councillors, (although clenching their buttocks furiously), fart nervously, and rightly so. Cllr Thompsons ward casework, we learn later, has been quietly handled in his absence by them, without anyone knowing that he's actually in Spain.


Hurried labour group discussion are held and Anne Snelgrove aggressively defends Barry Thompson in the advers Tuesday 19th February (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/search/display.var.2053951.0.costa_councillor_backed_by_mp.php) edition. Cllr Thompson also tells adver readers he has no intention of paying back any of his allowance.

 
Quote from: Anne Snelgrove
"I'm very sorry that Barrie has had to resign but I know that he has been very ill and he has made a decision based on that.

"I strongly resent the implication that he is on holiday in Spain. He is not on holiday, he is recuperating. Barrie has given many years of service to Swindon, and so has his wife Lynn.

I'm sure that had he been aware of how long-lasting his period of illness would be he would have stepped down long ago. It's not unusual that a councillor becomes ill and it's not unusual that a councillor misses some meetings."

"I was in Parks yesterday, with Fay Howard, and we found that the people we spoke to were very sympathetic about Barrie, once they found out what the situation was."

But the Adver found residents have little sympathy with Coun Thompson's situation.


The Parks residents that the adver reporter spoke to didn't agree though:

Quote
Joseph Tyndall, 66, said: "I don't think he should get his money if he's not here to represent the people who elected him."

Maria Alaybeyi, a 41-year-old nurse said: "What about all the elderly people around here who are ill? I'm sure they'd love to go off to Spain and get a bit of sun. "If they can't do it why should he be able to?"

Katherine Stratford, 46, said: "If most people didn't turn up for their job for that long they'd be sacked, "He should have been replaced straight away, if he was too ill to work."

Ronald Coate, a 60-year-old shop owner, said: "If I was ill I couldn't just go off to Spain until I felt better and still get paid. "I'd have to be here at work, and if I couldn't go to work I wouldn't expect to get paid."



Cllr Fay said the criticism of Cllr Thompson was unfair, saying:

Quote
"Barry has been unwell for some time but has continued to be a conscientious councillor. "It's only since last autumn that he's been unable to attend council meetings, and we have been in regular contact about council business.


When I read Cllr Fays comments I remember wondering when autumn had been moved back to July.....



Friday 22nd February Cllr Thompson Strikes Back (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/mostpopular.var.2064298.mostcommented.councillor_hits_back_im_not_in_spain_on_a_jolly.php). From Spain.  Squirting ink into the water like a startled squid, Barrie seems, to me, to be trying to muddy the waters up a bit by focussing on his allowances instead of his hidden absence.

     

Quote
"It is said that I receive in the region of £7,400 in allowances for being a Swindon borough councillor. What isn't said is that that is a gross amount for 12 months. Income tax has to be deducted, bringing the figure closer to £5,000, paid monthly. Despite having stated it on a number of occasions in the council chamber, it has not been said that I give it away to voluntary organisations. Along with all Labour Party members I voted against the increase in allowances proposed by the Conservatives last year.

I, along with Fay Howard and Steve Allsopp, decided to give the increase allowance to Dial-A-Ride to offset the massive reductions in grants to voluntary organisations implemented by the Conservatives.

And the allowance I received stopped on February 13, the day I indicated to the council that I wanted to resign.

Secondly, it is said that I haven't attended any council meetings since July. On the contrary I attended two, if not three, meetings during July and August.  I also represent the people of Swindon on the South West Regional Assembly, South West Skills Alliance and, was appointed by the council as a director to the Local Government Information Unit. During the period in question I attended up to 12 meetings. I receive no additional allowance for this work and the cost of travelling to London, Exeter and Taunton, which probably amounted to something like £500, I could claim for but have not.

So, far from coming to Spain on a jolly at the expense of local taxpayers, I came to Spain to recuperate and made the decision to retire for my health. I have informed the council that I do not want to receive any more allowance as, due to ill health, I am unable to attend any more meetings.

I am standing down as a councillor from May and my duties will be covered more than adequately by Fay Howard and Steve Allsopp for the next 11 weeks. I will be returning to Swindon on about May 7.

I have been proud to have served as a councillor for Parks and am only sorry, but not surprised, that the Tories have chosen to misrepresent my last few months in this way.


I won't waste time tearing Cllr Thompsons reply apart, a five year old could probably spot the difference between the Officially Recorded Hard Truth (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=2966.msg16135#msg16135) and the easy lies of Cllr Thompson. Is describing Cllr Thompsons various excuses as 'easy lies' too harsh?, I don't think so but opinions will differ. Please make your own minds up.....just as the voters of Parks did on May the 1st this year.


"The game is afoot Watson, the game is afoot....."

The stage is almost set for the 2008 local elections in Parks ward, but there is something else I want to say before we look at the election itself, and that is how Cllr Thompsons absence was handled by the Swindon labour group.  It is my belief that Cllr Thompsons departure to Spain was not a spontaneous and spur of the moment decision. The man was, by his own admission, ill and unable to continue his obligations to his ward and this fact alone would justify his complete absence from Council meetings for the previous five months. What is harder to accept easily is that, instead of stepping down at, or before, the point he departed for Spain, (already knowing that he would not return until at least May 2008), he colluded with other members of the labour group in hiding his absence and it is therefore my belief that his absence would have continued to be covered up until the last possible moment before the nominations for the 2008 elections had to be submitted.

I have a mental picture of selected members of the labour group meeting, probably before Christmas 2007, to discuss how they would handle Thompsons absence. Keep it quiet until April 2008 then announce his ill-health retirement and present his successor in the form of, oh...I don't know....Mark Dempsey? 

Marks sudden appearance in the 'Parks Matters' leaflet was a pretty big clue so, on the 26th February 2008 I emailed him. The message was short and quite clear:

Quote
From: Geoff Reid         Subject: Parks

Dear Mark

I was just reading your 'Parks Matters' leaflet and wondered, as you're obviously  quite involved in Parks, whether you're going to stand there as a labour candidate in this Mays local elections?

Kind Regards


Geoff Reid



I didn't receive a reply, so I sent the same message to him by SMS text.  That too, went unanswered....which I took as proof positive that he firstly didn't want to deny it because he didn't want to tell any easy porkies which would return to bite him later, but neither did he particularly want to confirm the labour groups plan for Parks at the very point where it seemed he might finally get elected somewhere.

I hear you ask: "What do you mean finally elected Mr Reid?".....and I in turn shall tell you. It appears that Mark been trying to wriggle his way into an elected position, almost any elected position, somewhat like a desperate sperm battering away at an unyielding egg.

Prior to the 2005 General election Mark was managing the Parliamentary Sustainable Waste Group (http://www.markdempsey.org.uk/index.php?f=data_home&a=1) and presumably his departure from this venture was to allow him to campaign for the September general election in which he had been selected to stand as the Labour party candidate in the Cotswold constituency (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/hoc/constituency/0,,-845,00.html).  I reckon Mark quite fancied his own chances in the 2005 election having put a shed load of effort into the area for no less than nine years. His previous activities are recorded thus:

Quote
Leader of Young Labour Gloucestershire: Mark founded Young Labour Gloucester in 1996 and extended the group to cover the whole of Gloucestershire in 1997.  The group was extremely successful in bringing to Gloucestershire high profile speakers such as Stephen Byers and Andrew Smith to talk to young members of the party.  Young Labour Gloucestershire made significant headway in providing a forum to encourage young people into the party and into active participation within the party ranks.

Candidate in the 2005 General Election: Mark was selected as the Parliamentary Candidate for the Cotswold Constituency, where he managed the constituency campaign team, led the press strategy, ensured a full slate of local election candidates for the first time ever in the Cotswolds and made numerous speeches and public appearances.


However, when the 2005 General election rolled around, (and despite all his previous 'extremely successful' work in Gloucestershire), Mark was soundly beaten into 3rd place by the wining Tory and Liberal Democrat runner up.

2007 found Mark standing alongside his labour running mate John Keeping in Swindons Haydon Wick Ward, chasing either of the two available seats. This time Mark came fourth.


Marks 2008 local election chances must have seemed much better to him and the Swindon Labour group. If they could manage Cllr Thompsons absence intelligently, they thought Dempsey would be a 'shoe-in' in Parks, but not all of the labour group were overjoyed at this thought.  Perhaps some of them were nervous or threatened by Marks 'Rising Political Star', especially as he had previously been part of the:

Quote
Young Leaders Programme, Moscow: Mark was selected for an international Young Leaders Programme in Moscow ([url]http://www.markdempsey.org.uk/index.php?f=data_interests&a=0[/url]). This was comprised of selected ‘leaders’ from Russia, USA and Britain derived from industry, government, and the media. The conference sessions included speeches from some of the most influential figures within Russia.


I don't think Mark Dempseys political ambitions bothered kevin Small very much when he was still aiming himself at Westminster, (perhaps Dempsey wasn't even on Smalls radar then), but after his knock-backs in the Cotswolds and Haydon Wick, Dempseys 'promotion' to Anne Snelgroves 'Parks Action Team' put Mark very firmly on the ground, right in the centre of the Swindon Labour groups political map, and with his political credentials, appeared to be a natural successor to, or direct replacement for Kevin Small himself. Cllr Small began to twitch gently.....

The game was now afoot in more ways than one, and on the 18th of March 2008 Barrie Thompsons resignation finally happened, as duly reported (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/search/display.var.2126824.0.thompsons_no_longer_a_councillor_for_the_parks.php) by the adver. The terseness of the report suggests to me a 'cooling' in the usually very friendly relationship between Labour and the Adver. (since wholly recovered after adver editor Dave King was personally entertained by both Swindons MPs at The Houses Of Parliament).

Quote
BARRIE Thompson no longer represents Swindon's Parks ward.

Mr Thompson made headlines last month when it was revealed he had been living in Spain since the start of the year. The Advertiser reported that he had not attended a council meeting since last July and had missed a number of meetings he had been required to attend.

He had, however, attended a number of regional assembly meetings. He went to Spain to recover from a bout of ill health. At the time we reported that he was in the process of resigning his council seat. Now that process is complete and Mr Thompson no longer represents the ward.

No by-election will be held, so in the May 1 council elections, Parks voters will be choosing candidates for the two available seats.


I'd still received no response from Mark Dempsey regarding his 'possibly' standing as a candidate, but the conservatives had already mobilised themselves by this point and were already interviewing potential running mate for their existing candidate, Graham Cherry, to contest both ex Councillor Thompsons now stone cold seat and the very-much-still-warm seat of Labours Steve Allsopp. It has to be said that Steve Allsopp keeps his head down and just gets on with the job, and if he's ever going to lose that seat, it's likely to be through a protest vote at the Labour party generally rather than because of the man himself.

Early April sees Claire Ellis selected as the 2nd Tory candidate for Parks. Although she's not a resident of Parks herself, Claire throws herself into trudging around the ward accompanied by Talkswindons Dick Norman who, in his own inimitable style, holds her banner high and gives it a hearty shake.  Claire also joined Talkswindon and made a few campaign contributions which I found, and I hope she doesn't take too much offence at this, a bit arrogant. I know, I can sense you thinking....pot, kettle, black, and I'm sure I'll have to wait a while to see whether I'm right or not, but I doubt that Mrs Ellis will be campaigning in Parks in 2010 when Cllr Fays seat is up again....and unless something goes very wrong with Graham Cherry and the Tory party, she certainly won't be campaigning against him in 2010.

2010?  Yes, 2010.  Barry Thompson resigned his seat two years before it was due to be contested at the ballot box, meaning that Cllr Cherry has to defend it again in 2010.

Anyway, we all know the result(s) in Parks although I did skip forwards a little too far in the last couple of paragraphs so with your permission I'll skip backwards slightly and take us top the night of the Oasis count itself, as it is here that everything I've described above come to a head, several bubbles are burst and, perhaps most significantly, Anne Snelgrove acknowledges that the writing is on the wall for her.


The Parks Counting Table

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/parks1.JPG)

No table at the count generated more interest than Parks. The concentration, and the strain of constant concentration was plain to see on the counting agents faces as the count ground onwards.

In the picture below Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Robert Buckland is flanked by Claire Ellis, (wearing a fetching blue trimmed white blazer), and a bespectacled Graham Cherry wearing a light coloured suit. Although fresh faces did appear in the Parks table crowd, some of them didn't seem to leave it and were constant features in a shifting landscape of red, blue, yellow and purple/yellow rosettes.

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/parks2.JPG)


Kevin Small spent almost the entire evening at the Western Ward counting table, (his own ward), keeping a watchful eye on the progress of his mate Jim Gant, (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/search/display.var.2181657.0.leaflet_error_is_attacked_by_rival.php) sorry, Jim Grant, although I did notice that Cllr Small also kept a watchful eye on both the Parks table and Mark Dempsey.

Jim Gant Grant

(http://ww2.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/UserData/8/0/2/Info00001208/smallpic.jpg)

I spent a few minutes half-watching Cllr Small almost constant glances across the hall at Mark Dempsey and concluded that Cllr Smalls reaction to the Parks result would be revealing. I wasn't disappointed.

The results were quietly given to the candidates first, and Claire Ellis was just as unable to mask her disappointment as Graham Cherry was to hide his elation.  Steve Allsopp looked more relieved than elated and I didn't see Mark Dempseys reaction because I was looking at a smirking Cllr Small.  Happy because Claire Ellis hadn't been elected?, or because Mark Dempsey hadn't?, and because of Marks non-election, Cllr Smalls Napoleonic grip over the labour group could now continue unchallenged by any young pretenders to his fading crown. 

Mark Dempseys failure to get himself elected must have been a huge blow to Anne Snelgrove herself. The Swindon Labour group have as good a record of supporting her as she does of listening to and respecting her constituents. I very much doubt that many in the Labour group itself will lift a finger to help her next general election campaign, yet Mark Dempsey could have been replied upon to help.....unless perchance he was/is in line to replace Michael Wills should he suddenly step down prior to the next election.

What next?, I'll step aside for now in the hope that other members will give their assessments of the Parks result and how it will/will not affect the political landscape across Swindon.  The result of the Crewe and Nantwich Parliamentary by-election will no doubt figure prominently in many minds when considering the increasingly likely prospect of combined general & local elections in 2010. Like it or not, National and local politics seem destined to converge over the coming months, and with the current economic climate affecting every one of us, it is only natural that the electorate will make their opinions increasingly felt at the ballot boxes until the next Government, (whatever colour that might be), is elected.

By the way, I wanted to check something I'd read on the Swindon Labour Group website about their Parks candidates, but when I followed my bookmarked link to where it used to be, http://www.swindonlabour.co.uk/ac03ca85-93cd-e7a4-516c-b78bb8d17ec0 I received the following message:

Quote
Page Not Found - error 404 - The requested URL was not found on this server


This isn't unusual with the Labour Party's web presence. They will often re-write their web history and remove entire blogs according to how they think it will be perceived by voters. (Anyone seen Annes blog recently?), it's irritating, but makes people like me store interesting pages as soon as they're seen.  Perhaps this was Councillor Small erasing the evidence and memory of a close brush with his almost successor, or perhaps it's just incompetance with technology. Labours good at that.
 

That's me done for a bit, apart from leaving you with this comment of Anne Snelgroves. According to the BBC she made it on the day of the elections, but before the Swindon results were known.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/7376868.stm

Quote
"We're suffering because of some of the decisions we have made."


Is the writing on the wall for her, and if it is, has she read and understood it do you think?

 :popcorn:
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Jarvis on May 19, 2008, 02:02:18 PM
Meanwhile, here's a piccie of Tel Hudson staring into space.....can anyone guess what he was looking at?  :popcorn:


([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/spaced.JPG[/url])



I deduce, after careful examination of the photograph, that El Tel has the glazed, happy and contented expression of elderly gentlemen everywhere wot has done battle with a swollen prostrate and who is now enjoying the marvellous, joyful even, sensation of emptying his bladder without restriction.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: ZPW on May 19, 2008, 02:58:41 PM
Whereas I deduce that tel's quietly happy attitude is brought about as he catches sight of Peter Mallinson caber-tossing Dickie Drearie... at the announcement of Mavis Child's victory...
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Mart on May 19, 2008, 06:23:03 PM
Cllr Wright?

Tell us more.

Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Pandora on May 19, 2008, 08:50:17 PM
Meanwhile, here's a piccie of Tel Hudson staring into space.....can anyone guess what he was looking at?  :popcorn:


([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/spaced.JPG[/url])



I deduce, after careful examination of the photograph, that El Tel has the glazed, happy and contented expression of elderly gentlemen everywhere wot has done battle with a swollen prostrate and who is now enjoying the marvellous, joyful even, sensation of emptying his bladder without restriction.



He's avoiding all eye contact from the lady next to him, and matey boy whos about to mess with his tie.
Either that, or its a scene from 'Close Encounters of The Third Kind' and he has heard the voices and is about to make his way outside of the Oasis, which looks as though its a UFO beakon. He is about to be followed by a few extraterrestrial life forms whoalso want to phone home.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Swindon Cobbler on May 21, 2008, 07:39:28 AM


([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/junab-wrong%20result.JPG[/url])





I feel sorry for the poor waiter behind Junab Ali who’s clearly tying to get his order…… and how typical of a politician to forget the little people when out on a jolly….

Probably couldn’t make his mind up…..


Chicken..... Madras or Vindaloo…. :-\


SC
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Tobes on May 21, 2008, 07:04:52 PM
The bloke speaking to Tel looks the spit of the Great Randi to me...

(http://i16.ebayimg.com/02/i/000/f0/a9/0b47_1.JPG)

He's a well known debunker of spiritualists and mediums... << insert Lib Dem joke>>
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 21, 2008, 10:50:11 PM
The bloke speaking to Tel looks the spit of the Great Randi to me...



Oh dear, you've just provided the caption for the picture below:

Old chap with the beard to lady:

Quote
"Hi....I'm Randy!"


(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/2008-sbc-elections/oasiscount/spaced.JPG)[/quote]
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: DaveWood on May 21, 2008, 11:14:31 PM
<< insert Lib Dem joke>>

Why did Charles Kennedy name his son Donald?
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Tobes on May 22, 2008, 09:57:12 AM
Quote
Why did Charles Kennedy name his son Donald?

Tell me Dave, why did Charles Kennedy name his son Donald?
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: DaveWood on May 22, 2008, 10:28:32 AM
Quote
Why did Charles Kennedy name his son Donald?

Tell me Dave, why did Charles Kennedy name his son Donald?

The punchline's so trite I'm not sure I can even face the shame of repeating it  ;)
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Mart on May 22, 2008, 11:11:53 AM
Sorry, thought I was looking at a ZZ Top reunion.

Frank Beard has his back to you in the picture.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 22, 2008, 09:42:57 PM
Sorry, thought I was looking at a ZZ Top reunion.

Frank Beard has his back to you in the picture.

Funny thing about ZZ Top, Frank Beard was, (at one point), the only member of the band not to have one....
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 27, 2008, 05:24:22 PM


Parks: Hard Truths and Easy Lies (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=3175.msg17621#msg17621) can be found at post #2 of this very thread.

Enjoy....

.....dons tin hat  :)
Title: Re: Parks: Hard Truths and Easy Lies
Post by: komadori on May 27, 2008, 09:59:31 PM

I won't waste time tearing Cllr Thompsons reply apart, a five year old could probably spot the difference between the Officially Recorded Hard Truth ([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=2966.msg16135#msg16135[/url]) and the easy lies of Cllr Thompson. Is describing Cllr Thompsons various excuses as 'easy lies' too harsh?, I don't think so but opinions will differ. Please make your own minds up.....just as the voters of Parks did on May the 1st this year.



Hmm.... Is that perhaps reading more into why the result in Parks was as it was than is there to be read? Are voters in Parks, or elsewhere in Swindon, really paying that much attention to the cut-and-thrust of Swindon politics? I have a different reading of the result.

I'm sure Mr Thompson's unadvertised absence didn't help Mr Dempsey, but might not the localness of some of the candidates have been more important? Mr Cherry has for the last few years given his red nest adversaries a close run for their money. So, when given the opportunity to select two councillors, the voters went for known, local candidates, Mr Allsopp and Mr Cherry, rather than the two people, Mr Dempsey and Ms Ellis, planted by their political parties more for the benefit of their parties than for the benefit of the locals.

(For the importance of fielding local candidates in Swindon politics, look at Central, where blue nest candidates like Mr Bluh consistently came no better than third and they only starting giving the red nest any cause for concern when they stood first Mr McCue and later Mr & Mrs Leakey, all well known in the area.)
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 27, 2008, 10:29:57 PM


Actually I mostly agree with your points, but I do think that whereas Allsopp is widely respected in Parks, any labour candidate perceived to be Thompsons replacement would have been at a disadvantage because of Thompsons behaviour...even a local one.

I don't think all of Parks voting residents would need to be particularly well boned up on Dempseys history, or Swindon politics generally, but I do think that just enough of them were  :)

Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Terminatrix on May 28, 2008, 08:30:00 AM


There were three reasons I did not vote for Mr Dempsey.

1. I was aware of his political history. [Thanks to Talkswindon]

2. Because of his political history I believe it to be unlikely, if elected, that he would treat being a Parks councillor as anything other than a stepping stone on his road to Parliament.

3. I was uneasy about the whole Barry Thompson thing, it reeked of spin and manipulation.

I wanted two Councillors who I felt I would be able to communicate with, being local was not a primary consideration. I would have been happy with an Allsopp and Ellis combination as I was not bowled over by either Cherry or Dempsey.

I enjoy these on-the-ground topics. My thanks to everyone who contributes and spends time finding things out on our behalf.
 
Title: Re: Parks: Hard Truths and Easy Lies
Post by: swindonlad on May 28, 2008, 12:20:50 PM
Parks ward has been represented by Labour Councillors for a long, long time. I don't know exactly how long, but certainly long enough that, when the cosy and familiar relationship between Parks voter and the Labour Party began to sour, it was as obvious as a patch of black mould in the corner of an otherwise spotless white tiled shower cubicle.

It has been labour since 1976, when the ward was created.  It was the only ward to go from 1976 to 2007 with just 1 party winning every election
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: komadori on May 28, 2008, 11:45:05 PM

I would have been happy with an Allsopp and Ellis combination as I was not bowled over by either Cherry or Dempsey.


[Looks down, and notices absence of a leg on which to stand.] Hmm... again. Interesting how the perception from a distance can differ from that within a ward. Everything (including even the faintest murmur) from the blue nest would suggest that Mr Cherry had been hardworking within Parks. Your comments suggest not.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 30, 2008, 12:45:29 AM
Everything (including even the faintest murmur) from the blue nest would suggest that Mr Cherry had been hardworking within Parks. Your comments suggest not.

I heard somewhat different comments this year which ranged from: "He's not doing anything" to "Grahams idea of campaigning is leaning against a lamp post chatting to his mates and smoking a rollup".

I spoke to Graham Cherry at the count in 2007 and asked him whether he thought 'traditional' campaign methods would work for a genuine working class Tory. "I want to campaign in my own way next year" was his immediate reply, so not an outright confirmation/denial, but however he did it this year, 'it' seems to have worked for him.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Chav on May 30, 2008, 09:54:17 PM
This is what really happened at Midnight at the Oasis...............................

They came.........
They saw.......
They followed...........

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE !!!!!!!!!!!!! Or Is It !!!!

                      Innit Just !
                       CHAV  :angel:

[attachment deleted by admin - Older than 365 days]
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Chav on May 30, 2008, 10:03:56 PM
Oooopps! nearly 4got innit!
                 CHAV  :angel: :angel:

[attachment deleted by admin - Older than 365 days]
Title: Re: Parks: Hard Truths and Easy Lies
Post by: Claire Ellis on May 31, 2008, 10:48:52 AM

 Claire also joined Talkswindon and made a few campaign contributions which I found, and I hope she doesn't take too much offence at this, a bit arrogant.

Yes I do, but I am not arrogant enough to suppose that it is something I will never have to come across or indeed deal with!  I just find it very sad. Ho hum.

Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: swindonlad on May 31, 2008, 05:20:48 PM
all,

i have attached a graph of votes since the ward was created - look back even a few years ago & it was a really safe labour seat, which shows the work done by the tories helped by a good national swing.  (for year of multiple seats up i have taken the average - which is why it still shows labour ahead this year

[attachment deleted by admin - Older than 365 days]
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 31, 2008, 05:50:54 PM
 
 
i have attached a graph of votes since the ward was created


(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/sbc-elections-stats/Parks-1.jpg)


That's pretty graphic...thanks.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on February 19, 2010, 02:20:01 PM
Bump.  :)
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Ringer on March 02, 2010, 10:41:04 AM
Looks like Parks is solid tory so no need for a  tory onslaught. :angel: So why did the vote return 1 labour and 1 tory councillor? I am sure the lad has an answer :-\
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Richard Symonds on March 02, 2010, 11:09:00 AM
Looks like Parks is solid tory so no need for a  tory onslaught. :angel: So why did the vote return 1 labour and 1 tory councillor? I am sure the lad has an answer :-\

Ringer, the reason why there was one Labour and one Tory Councillor elected was because they both were well known and live in the ward.  Sadly for them neither Mark Dempsey or Claire Ellis lived there otherwise the vote may have been entirely different.  I still maintain that the work done by Claire Ellis actually achieved a Council Membership for Graham Cherry as he only canvassed when notables arrived and he could not avoid it.  It is such a pity that he has never acknowledged the time that Claire and I put in to achieve his election.

As I have said eslewhere we will not be available this year and so Graham will live or die by his own or lack of effort.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Steve Wakefield on March 02, 2010, 11:11:15 AM
Notables as in Michael Gove MP, now what impression did he have to bring the Conservative Victory he was there did you see him? If you see Sid tell him :)
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Richard Symonds on March 02, 2010, 11:23:25 AM
No Stephen it was 'two brains' David Willets (nice photo in the adver knocking a door at the back of Cavendish Square knowing no one was at home) and Council Leader Rod Bluh were the notables about whom I was making reference.  There were a whole raft of other Councillors who also turned up and knocked a few doors.  There was also another Tory MP shadow but I can't remember his name.

As Graham Cherry is Rod Bluh's protage I am sure he will be sorry if he is not returned at the election.

Will anyone have a stab at Mark Dempsey's majority?

1. If he gets out of bed now and canvasses the electorate and this time does not take his vote for granted. and........

2. If he just turns up like last time.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Steve Wakefield on March 02, 2010, 11:55:06 AM
Sorry mate could not remember who it was.  :emb: I do have a photo of Gove in Parks.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Claire Ellis on March 02, 2010, 01:33:24 PM
It was Grant Shapps (shadow housing), who I have to say came across very well.  ::)

We didn't meet Michael Gove. (Relates to the other thread)
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Bobby Bingo on March 02, 2010, 03:11:17 PM
Not meeting Michael Grove has got to be a bonus.
After his recent insipid performances on the Politics Show (Sunday) and Newsnight (Monday)if there is a glimmer of hope for the tories in Park I suggest you keep him in London!
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Steve Wakefield on March 02, 2010, 03:31:51 PM
Not meeting Michael Grove has got to be a bonus.
After his recent insipid performances on the Politics Show (Sunday) and Newsnight (Monday)if there is a glimmer of hope for the tories in Park I suggest you keep him in London!

 :2funny:
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Terry Reynolds on April 08, 2010, 09:06:52 PM
Perhaps Mr Prescott will come along and give us his views on transport, regional councils etc or will he still be having it away with his secretary.........
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Richard Symonds on April 09, 2010, 10:40:38 AM
No Kohima he will be driving his Transit Van 'battlevan' supporting his son as his replacement in Hull or so I understand.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Bobby Bingo on April 09, 2010, 12:33:43 PM
Kohima your remarks about John Prescott were totally uncalled for.
What about the Tory Prime Minister John Major the man that loved his Curry, and I do not mean the edible type, also Paddy Pantsdown.
Then there was the idiot that used to wear the Chelsea shirt, his name escapes for the moment, and Profumo, God you can go as far back as Stanley Baldwin, his excuse was he was only trying to convert the prostitutes. That statement was used by a local well known councillor once.
The list is endless but I would bet the Tory content would be the largest.
Remember "Let him without sin cast the first stone"
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on April 09, 2010, 01:07:15 PM

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39720000/jpg/_39720527_mellor203.jpg)

I've never really investigated the truth of this, but I've heard it said that you get more sex scandals with Tories and more cash scandals with labour.  Geoffrey Archer managed to get both elements into his scandal and David Mellor missed both points entirely, but did get Chelsea, (or was it toe-sucking - I've genuinely forgotten?), discussed in the Westminster village for the first time.

On a more local and more recent level, Conservative Councillors Roderick Bluh and Mark Edwards are not happy that they've not only been linked with a scandal of their own creation, but their actions have been permanently recorded in Hansard.....alongside the names of those Talkswindon Members who have been consistently exposing the lies, deceptions, errors and incompetence that have attended this project constantly since before day one.

There are some scandals that are destined to be tomorrows chip-wrappings and flooring for budgie cages, and some that will launch those involved straight into the permanent record without much fanfare or press interest.  The WiFi'asco is the latter.

Bluh and Edwards, being merely incompetent, arrogant and aggressive, can't produce the same standard of scandal as done by Mellor, Major, Prescott, Profumo, Jeremy Thorpe and Quentin Crisp who, as history shows, displayed a certain 'It's a fair cop guv' attitude when they were caught with their trousers down.

Bluh and Edwards, on the other hand, point to everyone else and blame them. 'Not me guv'

No honour and no Credibility.

Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Geoff Reid on April 09, 2010, 01:23:39 PM
Oh, nearly forgot - John Prescotts Scandal.  'Confessions of a diary secretary' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38-okzdrGP8) is one of the funniest damn political drama's I 've ever seen  :)
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Mart on April 09, 2010, 03:39:40 PM
Then there was the idiot that used to wear the Chelsea shirt

Yeah, I don't know why they bought Ballack either, he clearly hampers Super Frank.

Sooner Essien is fit the better, can stick the dollop on the bench where he belongs.

As far as political types go, well you pick your poison don't you? I find Prescott an unpleasant man at the distance I view him from (it has to be at distance or you can't see all of him) so I am perfectly happy to be spiteful about him, and to see others be spiteful about him. I think he's earned it.

Find me a politician to be proud of from the present generation, that's worthy of comment.
Title: Re: Midnight At The Oasis: Of Millponds And Maelstroms
Post by: Steve Wakefield on April 09, 2010, 04:05:32 PM
Oh, nearly forgot - John Prescotts Scandal.  'Confessions of a diary secretary' ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38-okzdrGP8[/url]) is one of the funniest damn political drama's I 've ever seen  :)


I quite liked the drama lavender list and Scandal on the Profumo case. Our friends up North hangs loosley around the T. Dan Smith and Poulson saga there are many more but you are right the Pressa one was  fun. :)