Final Predictions for Colchester Council Elections 2022
Well, what a few weeks. There is currently an awful lot of scandal about so it must be election season. The news cycle usually lasts seven days so what is being reported now is what people will remember when they vote on Thursday.
A lot of this scandal is quite old and has been saved to weaponise at the right moment for maximum impact. Truth is always secondary to the stigma of an allegation. We now live in a 24 hour rolling news society that must have content.
The party gate scandal has now hit Labour and Sir Keir Starmer personally and it is a case of who is last ‘it’ smells. There was an awful sexist furore from the Daily Mail about Angela Rayner, which is so completely tone deaf that it could actually be a positive and the turning for better standards of reporting. One hopes so. There are allegations of an MP watching Porn in the commons, whilst it is not beyond the realms of possibility I would hazard a guess it was NSFW content and not exactly Deep throat 6. However, I would expect this to run its course and an apology outside their Tudor country mansion as he works on his marriage. Then you have the Liam Byrne bullying scandal and see the Barry Gardener £500,000 Chinese spy furore also making a comeback.
Locally there was the Sunday Sport style headline about the candidate for Shrub End stating he was not a Nazi Sympathiser. Although this was leaked to me a few weeks ago I decided to ignore it. The Gazette though, shamelessly had some clickbait for a day.
He took a low blow there and hope this does not put him off standing again, but politics is a contact sport, with no red cards.
Let’s just say that the following will have no change.
Berechurch, Lexden & Braiswick, Marks Tey & Layer, Mersea & Pyefleet, Mile End, Old Heath & Hythe, Prettygate, Rural North, Tiptree and Wivenhoe.
There are wards that could be interesting to watch such as Newtown & Christchurch and Stanway.
Then there are the battlegrounds such as Castle, Greenstead, Highwoods, Shrub End and St Anne’s & St John’s.
Ones to watch
New Town & Christchurch
There is an open election in this ward, which these days is quite the novelty. The momentum is with Labour who won this easily last time around. However, there was the personal vote of the late Nick Cope (Lib Dem) who retained a few years ago. This ward also boasted having the popular Theresa Higgins who is Hall of Fame worthy due to her time in the council. I am really surprised that the Liberal Democrat’s did not go all out on this ward and stretched themselves fighting on five fronts. It would have made more sense to target this one and forgo Shrub End or Stanway. Also last time round the Liberal Democrat’s fell to third place behind the Conservatives so kind of understand it.
There are two seats up for grabs and now the residents are used to voting Labour due to Professor Pam Cox, it could be a clean sweep for Samuel Mclean and Kayleigh Rippingale. This my friends is a perfect example of what can happen when you do not fight to retain.
The result may also be significant as it could lead to Labour being the largest coalition partner.
Prediction: Double Labour victory
This is the ward being defended by Conservative Head honcho Paul Dundas who is also the leader of the council. As you would expect he is a target but is facing a newcomer in Liberal Democrat Tracey Arnold.
*Author deeply sighs, looks down and pinches the bridge of his nose*
Imagine Donald Trump using PowerPoint 98 and then decided to design the bestest campaign material and place it everywhere.
There was a funny anecdote that was overheard from a teacher at Stanway school who used the banners as an example of poor design in a lesson, thus drawing laughs from the students / potential future voters.
This is not a slight on Tracey Arnold, who I am sure is lovely. It is hard enough to get people into local politics but my word this is poor, and those running her campaign need to reflect on their behaviour. I wouldn’t buy a car with them.
Prediction: Conservative hold
It was announced by the candidate Martin Gillingham (Liberal Democrat’s) to not vote for him and for the Green Candidate Richard Kirkby-Taylor. So we were expecting and all out push for the Greens. However, it has not really been forthcoming. We have seen a few bits on social media but very low key. When a name recognition survey took place he also scored very low.
The Green Party like Corbynism has peaked and some of the antics of Insulate Britain, Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion has affected them. It would be naive to not think so.
If the Green party do win and it is a coalition council then for the first time they need to take some responsibility and join.
However, I do feel that the incumbent Simon Crow, Conservative will retain. The Greens lost 3% of the Borough vote versus 2020 in 2021 and in the ward 18.1% so if this is on trend then no change will happen.
Prediction: Conservative Hold
Bear with me. I know this will be thought of utter madness on my part but I have been keeping an eye on this ward. In a nutshell, it has not been worked as hard by the incumbent Labour party as it should have. Tina Bourne is stepping down and Molly Bloomfield is stepping up.
These factors and the assumption it is a safe seat should be enough. However, Petra Crees, Conservative has been campaigning hard. Also, looking at some of her literature it is clear that it is being given all she has.
This is the best opportunity for Petra to win as going against Tim Young or Julie Young would not be easy at all.
I am going to go with my head and one last push will get Labour over the line and Molly Bloomfield- Labour will win her maiden election. However, with the smallest of margins and enough to have Tim sweating.
Prediction: Labour Hold
The Independent Philip Oxford has decided to not stand again this year so this seat is being contested by the Conservative Stephen Rowe and Labours Jocelyn Law. As it stands Gerard Oxford the Patriarch of the Independents is backing Stephen Rowe. The campaigning has been uneventful to be honest, which is bizarrely refreshing. However, Stephen Rowe has been working the area for a while now and with the endorsement from Gerard Oxford I would say that this is a Conservative win. Just.
Prediction: Conservative Gain
Well, this has gotten emotional. I am not going to kick a man when he is down but the Gazette has cost him any chance to win. I did not predict he would in the first instance, but definitely will not now. It goes to show the most effective campaign weapon is a well timed smear.
To Angela Linghorn-Bakers credit she has not used it against him and played a straight bat.
Prediction: Conservative Hold
St Johns & St Annes
I am sure St Cyrus road is littered with kitchen sinks as the Liberal Democrat’s have thrown everything at this. Every trick in the book has been used as they are fighting tooth and nail to win this seat.
The social media backlash with regards to saving things that are not in danger has been uncomfortable to watch. A risky strategy that will actually probably work for Paul Smith, Liberal Democrat due to some spurious leaflets. We are in a post truth world now and it has crept into local politics.
Thomas Rowe Conservative has cut a lone figure campaigning this year. Last time around he nearly took out Mike Hogg which would have been quite an upset. He must be fuming as he has literally been out every weekend for a year working the ward
However, as aggrieved the Liberal Democrat’s are about Shrub End, the literature that was put across St Johns and St Annes cancels it out.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain
So there we have it.
Final standings from 18 seats
Conservative 10 (1 gain and 1 loss)
Liberal Democrat 3 (1 gain and 1 loss)
Labour 5 (1 gain)
Conservative 23 — no change
Liberal Democrat 12 — no change
Labour 12–1 gain
Greens 2 — no change
Independents 2–1 loss
Final overall prediction. No change.
It really is marginal out there and it is not easy to take a seat from a long standing councillor as in the voting booth name recognition is everything. To look at how long it took Lee Scordis (Labour) and Mark Goacher (Greens) to be elected is a testament to putting in the hard work. Every year we see different names of people who stand who decide not to continue to pursue being a councillor. It is a lot of hard work and hope people stick with it.
We need new faces and those in it for the long run and a good example of this is Simon Collis (Labour) who is standing in Prettygate and starting his journey to become a Councillor. Although he lives in solid blue ward he wants to make a name for himself and chip away. This is good for local politics and helps build the parties name in the area. Although a realism must set in that it could take 3–5 years of chipping away and walking 1000s of miles in the process.
Well that’s me. I will see you at the leaders hustings on Monday and of course listen to me live for the results on Actual Radio.