Sunday, March 02, 2008

Congratulations to Jonathan in Cheam

After a hard-fought campaign, I look forward to the new version of the LibDem posters sprouting up around Cheam Village.

First the result:-
Conservative 1541
LibDem 1454
UKIP 260
Labour 106
Turnout 44.1%

So, Jonathan Pritchard was elected in a tight race. UKIP ran an campaign that, though negative and uninformed had a significant effect winning 7.5% of the vote.

The great surprise was the LibDems. I was taken aback by their newsletters which were cynical and negative. Despite running the Borough for 22 years, they resorted to personal attacks and failed to demonstrate any track record of success in that time. Instead they promised to tackle crime in Cheam despite regularly telling councillors and residents that Cheam had very little crime. They even started to steal some of the campaigning techniques from UKIP with some of the UKIP headlines being repeated word for word in the LibDem Focus. My surprise came from how clearly they demonstrated that they were living off their successes in the 1990s, with no new ideas for the Borough.

I could only agree with several women that I spoke to throughout the campaign who felt patronised by the claim that they should vote for Wendy Mathys because Cheam already had two male councillors and they didn't need a third. So much for the best man (or woman) winning. I would like to see the councillors being broadly representative of the community in which they live but quotas and female chauvinism is really not the way to go to acheive this.

Paul Burstow MP must be concerned with the result. He allied himself very closely to the LibDem candidate but could not swing any extra votes. Midway through the campaign he rediscovered the art of communication using House of Commons headed paper to write unsolicited mail to residents. I'm sure his local electorate will take a dim view of using parliamentary stationary to influence a council election whether or not he paid for it himself. Maybe he hasn't noticed the media coverage about MPs using parliamentary resources for their own ends.

Cheam has the lowest Labour vote of any ward in London, so this was never to be a happy hunting ground for them. Nonetheless they sought to ask questions of residents to debate local issues. It was an interesting tack and deserved a few more votes from the LibDems for being positive.

As for us, we picked three main themes, crime, planning and council tax. Our campaign was positive, though taking the LibDems to task where necessary. Unlike their campaign we played the ball, not the man to take a footballing analogy. It has been a hard slog for the last few weeks. We did not take a single vote for granted despite the misquote in the Sutton Advertiser and I'm really pleased that Jonathan came out as the worthy winner. He will be an asset to the residents of Cheam and he will be an asset to the Conservative Group as we look to build on this in order to win the election in 2010 when we can really effect the change required to make Sutton a better place to live.

17 comments:

Trundles said...

Well done both Jonathon and Paul for the way the campaign was conducted.
We are not renowned for winning by elections even in supposed safe seats so i was not surprised it was close.
What we have seen is the way the Lds are going to campaign going forward and that is of benefit to
all Conservatives.
I gather Lord Tope said to a council officer on Friday that
"It was the best result possible"
I would have thought a Ld victory would have been that.
Remember in 2006 it was only around 200 votes spread over 7 wards that made the difference between a LD council and a Conservative one.

Cllr David Pickles said...

Paul - we in UKIP would also like to proffer our congratulations to the winning candidate, but I don't see how you can focus on our campaign as being "negative and uninformed".

Our leaflets spoke of the issues and the answers to the problems, whereas I must agree with you about the negative campaigning of the Lib-Dems. It was very flattering to see some of our literature being reproduced in the Lib-Dem literature. I think what is of real concern here to the Tories is the fact that majority plunged from 725 to a mere 87. It was hardly a "we'll walk it" victory as quoted in the Sutton Advertiser (whether that was a misquote or not). Unfortunately your party seem to think that you have a divine right to win and we in UKIP are a nuisance. The opposite is true. In a democracy, everybody has a right to win. We start off at the starting gate and the people decide the winner. For us to garner almost 8% of the vote from a standing start and never having representation in the ward before is an excellent result. What should worry you is if we repeat that result in other wards over the next 2 years, and in May 2010, and it's quite obvious from some of the vicious personal remarks on here against me that you and your party are severely anguished over this result. No amount of dressing up what happened can obscure the fact that you thought we would get a token 50-70 votes. In effect we are now a threat and great danger to the Conservatives.

Scully said...

David

You started off having a go at the Red Lion and the Railway Tavern and then had to back off because you didn't realise that they had both had new management, your claim that it is a problem that 80% of planning applications are approved shows a lack of understanding of the process (they are not all high-rise or back garden development), not a single one of your "good reasons to vote for Frank Day" were within the council's remit, Jonathan Pritchard has never claimed to live in Cheam Ward, zero tolerance policing is not unique to UKIP, your suggestion that a small development at the back of Cheam Baths would be enough to finance a replacement leisure centre is incorrect and would involve the closure of a day centre located on that part, need I go on! Eleanor was disqualified by the Adjudication Panel following several instances of persistent harrassment of officers which were considered to bring her office into disrepute. This was not a decision of the Conservative Group and not one that we could influence.

None of us accepted the premise that we would walk the election and we did not treat the campaign in this way. We do not have a divine right to win as the last 22 years of LibDem administration have proved. I would be surprised if you could sustain a 7.5% poll in a main election. Nonetheless I do not dismiss you out of hand as you seem to think. Polling even half of this will hand victory in some seats to the LibDems thus ensuring another four years of substantial council tax rises with no change in council services. You have spent years attacking the LibDems trying to get rid of them and ironically it may be you that is their greatest weapon.

Adrian Short said...

If anyone's interested in keeping an eye on local planning applications, take a look at Planning Alerts.

This lets you receive an email every time there's a planning application submitted near to you (based on your postcode).

You'll be able to view the planning applications on a map just as soon as I've fixed a couple of bugs in it, too.

I've created a handy spreadsheet of the election results which shows the percentages of the vote and electorate as well as the actual votes cast.

Cllr David Pickles said...

Paul - I don't agree with your points. Frank did a lot of work involving the local hostelries, and indeed we have been told since that where one of them is involved, the residents are still unhappy. Our ideas for Cheam baths were suggestions. We were the ONLY party that had any ideas on it, unlike the Lib-Cons who farcically had a go at each other (remember the £10 bet?) in the chamber and achieved precisely nothing. We have never said that the Tories de-barred Eleanor. Our comment was that neither you as leader or the vast majority of the other Tory councillors gave her any backing. As for planning, what else could we say when the facts are that Development Control is entirely run by both Libs and Cons. It's the 3-party system that has consistently failed and let down the electorate, something that at least 260 voters in Cheam recognised. I'll wager that our vote is higher next time in the ward, and by the way according official calculations we obtained 7.8% not 7.5%.

All-in-all it would have been nice if you had acknowledged that we had done rather well, instead of having yet another go. Still that's politics, you are entitled to your views as I am mine. UKIP will not ease off though because we are sure that eventually we will make the breakthrough that we deserve. Let battle be joined!

Adrian Short said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trtundles said...

It is obvious that David Pickles is unable to take criticism of any description.
His is a personal vendetta based on him now being a reasonable sized fish in a small pond.
It is interesting that he does not care about anything apart from what he himself does and that means to the detriment of everything and everybody else.
Paul Scully did acknowledge how well UKIP did.
What do you want him to do/Send you flowers and Champagne as way of congratulations.
Is it any wonder that Tories will not speak to you when you only believe in one thing...Yourself.
Tomorrow will be interesting.

Cllr David Pickles said...

Trundles - what cobblers. I think its the other side that can't take criticism. And I care not one jot who speaks to me or who doesn't for your information.

Trundles said...

Well why do you keep bringing it up?
You cant take criticism as bourne out by a lot of your blog entries.
Please reread them to confirm.
The important thing about criticism is to learn from the bits that are correct.
Some of the stuff hurled at you has been unfair but not all of it.
Hope you can accept that.

Cllr David Pickles said...

Trundles - okay we'll call it a truce.

David said...

It was a mighty close run poll and a far more exciting day than I thought it would be!

Congrats to Jonathan

Scully said...

David (Pickles)

I wasn't having another go per se, merely trying to justify my previous comment. I thought that I did acknowledge that you did well. Although I still believe that your campaign was misinformed, reading back through your newsletters it wasn't as negative as the LibDems in that you did attempt to cover some of the issues. Obviously, you had to since your candidate didn't have the same persuasive earth- shattering reason for people to vote for him as the LibDem in that he was a man :)

I don't expect you to ease off, but I do much prefer debating like this. Not in fear of ducking questions, rather the fact that it must turn off every new visitor to this site from politics in general. My shoulders are broad enough to take what is dished out but the comments section rarely tackles the issues that actually matter to people rather than the local equivalent of the Westminster Village gossip.

Yes, I denied you about 10 votes in my rounding down when being chased by my family to get off the computer!

Cllr David Pickles said...

Paul - OK let's cool it. You won, you fought a decent campaign, and I must admit I was pleased that you didn't slag off UKIP in your material.

I'm doing a one minute tomorrow on the budget, and by and large I'm with you on the council-tax increase.

Maybe I'm not as bad as aardvark suggests!

Scully said...

Thanks David. Let's look forward to tackling the LibDems that need attacking on the fact that they think 3.4% extra tax is actually a good thing for the people of Sutton.

Cllr Barry Russell said...

Folks

What a fascinating contest. I am sorry that I had to be out of the country on the actual day itself. A big congratulations to Jonathan, welcome to a very weird world! Well done also to Von Pickles and UKIP.

I am also very pleased that the LibDems did not disappoint. A campaign peppered with personal attacks and innuendo is very much their trade mark approach. I always worry that they might one day move onto factual debate and realsitic policies.

Anonymous said...

What a pity the new councillor for Cheam couldn't acknowledge the hard work that was done to salvage the accounts down at Tory HQ (48 Benhill Avenue), instead of being "superior" when it came to spread sheets.

Scully said...

anonymous 21.52

What on earth are you talking about?!? Why are you making personal attacks that mean nothing to anyone else under cover of anonymity. If you must fight an internecine war, please do it on a members' blog somewhere, contact Jonathan directly or at least have the balls to put your name to it.