Friday, July 09, 2010

Another political defection and a by-election.

This morning a leaflet dropped through my letter box from those fine people known as the Conservative Party.

As a resident of the exclusive Victoria ward I have a tough choice coming up, and that's who to vote for in the town council by-election.

Sadly, sitting Conservative councillor Barbara Selby passed away following a losing battle to cancer. According to the Conservative literature, the party wanted to keep the seat vacant until the 2011 town council elections, but the Lib Dems wanted the by-election to go ahead.

It's surprising that it's taking place. Through the media we're often told how the town councillors from both parties work so well together and do the best for the town, so why the urgency to have one extra councillor in place for all of 10 months?

What I found extremely shocking from the leaflet is how it featured former Lib Dem Town Councillor John Merrill. He was a councillor for a number of years, then left the Lib Dems and sought to be elected to the town council as an independent. Sadly the voters appear to vote for the party and not the person, and John missed out.

So John Merrill is now back on the political scene, flying the flag for the Conservative party, he's even been made chairman of Burgess Hill WEST. Is Burgess Hill really that big that the Conservatives need chairman for different areas?

What I'd really like to know is why over the past 4 years or so have so many Lib Dem councillors in Burgess Hill switched to the Conservatives or chosen to go independent? What is so bad about being a member of the Lib Dems at local level?
There has to be some sort of internal problem, doesn't there? If so, why doesn't someone higher up in the Lib Dem foodchain solve any unrest?

If you readers have any ideas, then please leave a comment below.


Anonymous said...

maybe mr merril was never really a liberal democrat?

Anonymous said...

Serena Tierney is the problem.

Anonymous said...

The reason their needs to be an election is that the Town Council has a legal obligation to fill the vacancy because it aros in May this year. The Tories don't tell you that though

Anonymous said...

Who cares how long they're going to be a councillor for? The point is that people have a right to vote for their representatives. The Tories just didn't want the election as they're afraid of losing. Very democratic!

Anonymous said...

So close to the main election in May 2011 the main parties can agree not to call an election or at least not put candidates forward; This has happened before.

Whatever the truth about who called the election or why this can only be a waste of public money.

This is an ideal opportunity for voters to register their verdict on national and local politics. You can deliberately spoil your ballot paper by writing your observations on the ballot paper. Trust me the candidates will see them.

Longstreets Corps spokesman said...

There is no legal requirement to fill the vacancy at Town Council level (there is for district Council). It is true that the Conservatives wanted to leave the vacancy until the full election next May. There are two other town Councillors who are active in the ward and whatever the result of the by-election the Conservatives will still control the Town Council. The election will cost several thousand pounds of Council Taxpayers money and is only being held because as one Lib Dem activist told me 'its the price of democracy'.

There does seem to be a problem within the ranks of the local Lib Dems. It is rumoured that Councillors are sometimes only allowed to speak at Council meetings using a written script agreed before the meeting takes place. Also it has been observed that Lib Dem Councillors have chosen to be in contact by text during meetings of the Council or its committees with some higher authority.

Yet most Town Council matters are non Party Political so is there some paranoia in the Lib Dem Leadership about the party line?

The voters of Victoria Ward have a choice between a local man - John Merrill who has some experience of working for our town and an enthusiastic but partisan activist with a political viewpoint of the left wing.

Despite being wary of turncoats in politics I will support with the local man