The horse as ridden by Jes

One of the long-standing opinions is that in a General Election independent voices are squeezed out of the picture, a voice in the wilderness so to speak. Almost everyone will go to their local polling station on Thursday 7th May with one thought uppermost in their mind. Voters will be choosing their Member of Parliament, and by extension stating which Government they would prefer.

This is a generalisation, but I think it will be true in the overwhelming number of cases. Local elections are being held on the same day, and it certainly used to be true that votes cast in a council election would invariably be for the same party as was chosen for the Parliamentary election.

Add in the increased turnout, likely double or more of what is normally cast in local elections, and it becomes obvious that any independent, who also has to contend with a backdrop of blanket coverage for the national parties, is going to struggle to make an impact.

Cllr Paul Van Looy should be facing a fight to the death in his St Luke’s ward. Whilst Labour are giving it a go, both the Conservative and UKIP candidates seem to be asleep. Neither the Greens, nor the Liberal Democrats, have selected (or announced anyway); this is going to be a late show for them.

The Tories made a big show of announcing their slate in the East last year, and by selecting a Rochford Parish Councillor (James Cottis) they were making a statement. Judging by the amount of campaign time Cllr Cottis has put in since selection I do not think it was of the “you really matter to us” variety. Either James is a poor campaigner, or the Conservatives really have given up on St Luke’s.

Roger Weaver’s fanfare was about as far as it got for UKIP in St Luke’s too. He has perhaps been hampered by having a local party more willing to fight amongst themselves than to take it to the opposition; Paul must be enjoying that spectacle.

I fear that it might be an over-used phrase in the coming weeks, but the campaign in St Luke’s is (for the present at least) a two-horse race. It is Phillips versus Van Looy; big party candidate or independent.

In any other year Paul Van Looy would be the favourite. Elected with a handsome majority, an incumbent who is a member of the new, and popular, administration. However.

Jes Phillips, a young mum, has the benefit of a national campaign running aside her own personal one. Usually reluctant residents will come out, and whilst little thought will be given to her campaign, she will be the beneficiary of a vote to banish Cameron from Number Ten.

It promises to be an intriguing contest ….

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7 Responses to The horse as ridden by Jes

  1. John says:

    Ever since PVL came onto the St. Lukes scene it has been a three horse race in St. Lukes and I don’t expect it will be so different this time despite recent Tory and UKIP set backs – the recent rise of UKIP could even make it a four horse race. A few years back St. Lukes was a safe Labour seat until Mel Day (Tory) unseated Reg Copley (Labour). Since then it has been a mix of Labour, Conservative and for the past three years Independent. What I find perplexing is the lack of political activity in St. Lukes with candidates trying to convince me and other residents they are worthy of my vote – shame!

  2. Rob Brown says:

    You should try living in a seat that isn’t a marginal John. You can literally get nothing, ever.

  3. I am amazed that John says there is a lack of political activity in St Luke’s because I have campaigned there on several occasions, despite my other commitments. I also know that our candidates also work hard. Is John saying that he has never seen either our leaflets or us at his doorstep? I really find that surprising.

  4. D says:

    i have seen leaflets from a number of parties around election times in previous times at my place in st lukes – but nothing so far – not sure when its all going to start.

    needless to say i wont be voting ukip and def not cllr cottis but would welcome some input from the remaining parties on their local ideas outside of the main parties in the general.

    i dont recall any labour reps attending the local community meetings that have been running in the ward (now combined with a larger area) the past 6 or 7 years – i dont know who is eligible (if they have to be the cllr for that ward, or just prospective) to attend so i dont know the reasoning.

  5. As a councillor (I represent Milton ward on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council) I can state that what you get invited to is often quite hit and miss. I am not aware of any hustings in St Luke’s ward in recent years – which is a shame. This is a good way to judge the relative merit of the candidates.

    Since I wrote this, Cllr James Cottis has confirmed that he is not now standing.

  6. D says:

    So Mr Cottis *not* actually standing in St Lukes…

  7. D says:

    oh whoops, so you’ve just said in february…. ignore me!

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