Saturday, May 05, 2007

Labour keep their head whilst all about them lose their's!

The strange tale of the 2007 local elections in Mid Sussex is that both the Conservative leader, Patrick Shanahan, and the Liberal Democrat leader Graham Knight lost their seats, whilst Paddy Henry, the Labour group leader retained his but lost his group, (Richard Goddard).

We are very sorry to lose Patrick as group and council leader. He is a very good man, and a very good leader. He lost his seat because of a planning issue over 220 houses in Mackie avenue in Hassocks where the opposition seemed to blame the Conservative council for allowing it. The reality is rather different. The planning application was fought by the council as far as it could be, with the council even employing a barrister for the planning appeal.

Local planning is now far less at the discretion of local government and is now based on rules. The net result is that if people don't want a large development on their doorstep, and the council does not either, the developer can just appeal, and if the land meets the statutory criteria, they get it. That is not good for local democracy.

However we did make some fantastic gains. We gained all two seats in East Grinstead Ashplats, from the Liberal Democrats, two in Haywards Heath, Heath ward, again from the Liberal Democrats, two in Lucastes from two former Conservatives who went independent, and could have split the vote. In Burgess Hill we won one seat out of two from the Liberal Democrats (very well done Pru, and Jim for helping out!) the same in Victoria ward, (well done Mandy! Good work Julian, better luck next time).

We also gained a seat from an Independent in Hurstpierpoint and Downs. Our total gains being 9! We did however lose 4, 3 in Crawley Down and one in Hassocks.

Katy Bourne and I managed to get turnout up from 32.55% last time to 41.2% this time. Whilst Katy and I did not win this time in Ashenground, we certainly got a result in terms of getting the vote out!

My blisters have blisters, I am personally shattered, as no doubt are all our members who have worked very very hard indeed.


james higham said...

You'll take it next time.

Benedict White said...

James, Many thanks! I will give it my best shot!

ChrisD said...

Benedict, I am sorry you did not win but hope that all the hard work you put in this time pays off and you are successful on the next attempt.
You seemed to take the whole campaign in your stride and you sound like you enjoyed the whole experience.

Benedict White said...

ChrisD, many thanks, I enjoyed it, especially taking the fight to them!

I will try harder next time!

proud tory said...

Is it true that you also have a new young councillor?

Benedict White said...

proud tory, yes we do, we have Jonathan Ash Edwards!

Very good chap, very intelligent. I knew when he started smiling during the count it was going well!

Anonymous said...

despite the blisters, seems the Tory position was no better than 2003 in your seat?

Benedict White said...

Anonymous at 12:37 AM, May 06, 2007, We got more of our vote out, and we got turn out up.

We fought a hard campaign, with fewer activists on the ground, which forced them to work that ward a lot harder than they did before.

The result? Well they had less bodies to work elsewhere. That helped take the pressure of us in key battle grounds which we won.

What is more we have established that there are voters in that ward. Our main issue is getting them out.