The Current State of Local Politics
I am back after a long hiatus and just in time to add my two-penn’orth for the upcoming elections in May.
To sum up the parties it will be fun to use some of the more extreme opinions that are held. These opinions pop up in some of the research groups that I assist with, and thought it would be fun to see if you can match the party to the quote. These are actually verbatim from my last session.
“A bunch of thick inbred self serving toffs who are in it for themselves and their mates”
“Hates Britain, our flag and its citizens and would happily let us be ruled by France and Germany”
“Woke rich snobs, unions and celebrities who fetishise and infantilise minorities”
“Hippy trust fund kids with no life skills, whose constant protests stop working class people from earning a living”
Now the fun bit is out the way, and we equally offended everybody. Let us see how this could be transcribing locally.
As the party in power (albeit with Highwood’s independent Party) they have been pretty quiet. The national situation will have an effect on them. However, opinion is a swinging pendulum and where it sits prior to election day will be the true test.
They are not setting the world alight but there is a sensible pragmatic approach that is gimmick free. Paul Dundas Council Leader has been effective and the lack of noise has also been refreshing.
The idea of a Gin bar on top of the Castle was actually met with positivity when framed as a neutral idea, so adding value to historical elements is a big yes in Colchester.
You used to be able to count on the local Tories to create some mayhem on social media and nowadays they are a bit boring.
Getting in power was a surprise for the Conservatives in 2021, staying in power for the rest of 2022 maybe even more so.
Whilst I do not expect many cross over votes, I do expect voter apathy with turnout, and feel that this could be their downfall. This will be looked at in more detail in my next blog.
We must applaud the Adam Fox era as he has truly solidified Labour’s position as the second party in Colchester. The sensible approach of having Sir Kier Starmer and the credible Wes Streeting MP visiting and campaigning in our town is streets away from the previous Chris Williamson who was a divisive character, who represented the further left of the party and Corbynism.
The current councillors and activists have been very well behaved, but there is an element of the party who like the Conservatives will not vote due to the direction under their current leader. I guess this will be the first true test.
Losing the Russianism’s is also a good look, comrade this and comrade that is now in bad taste considering all that has happened in Ukraine.
There is a phrase in politics, “the party closest the centre will always win”(sic) and the discipline within Labours ranks has been impressive so far. However, it only takes one person to say or do something stupid, and feel it is a matter of ‘when and not if’ the inevitable will come.
I do not know where to start. There is a reason as to why they are no longer the second party in Colchester anymore.
To me this is a party of two halves, you have the likes of Mark Cory, Dave King, Lyn Barton, Andrea Luxford-Vaughan & Sam McCarthy (not an exhaustive list) who in my opinion represent the Liberal ethos of Open, Tolerant and United. Then you have the other side. I am not going to give names.
When it comes to communicating, consistency is the key and to put it one way the password for the comm’s accounts need to be with the above. As it stands I could probably tell you everything they hate, yet nothing they stand for.
The personal attacks from the official comm’s account and prominent activists have been wildly ad hominem and clearly defamatory in some cases. This is against the previously described ethos.
It has been said that if on Facebook they saw how certain people behave on Twitter their votes would significantly fall, so this needs to be ruminated on.
I also know that more bad news is yet to come with a situation they should have addressed several months ago.
That said, I feel they will have a good election, I am not sure some candidates realise they have active social media accounts. However, a good election nonetheless.
The popularity over the years for the Green Party comes in cycles, they have rebranded before but they are clearly ready to start a new iteration.
Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain have annoyed the British working class and red top readers to a point of no return. The alignment will hurt, as we can see they have already stepped candidates away from marginal local seats. It looks strategic but fear otherwise.
They pitched themselves as the conscience of politics but now are seen as the problem, which is a shame as our planet is fragile and clearly needs some change. They lack the skills to actively communicate a solution other than some shouting from a plummy voiced post graduate protester on National TV.
Locally it is hard to decipher what policies they promote or protest against, there is a possibility they could be in power with a rainbow coalition. So this will be the first test of principles.
There you have it, whilst I will go into detail more in my next blog my overall prediction is that there are only a few wards in it, and at this stage can go either way. I suspect the Conservatives will WIN Highwood’s with Labour a very very close second and Conservatives will LOSE St John’s to the Liberal Democrats. The other outlier is New Town, the sad passing of Councillor Nick Cope has created a packed field and feel that Labour could potentially WIN this seat, although it remains to be seen how this will be contested.
There is an electoral pact in place Libs/Labour/Greens with some paper candidates so it will be interesting to see how this holds up, especially with some big ego’s out there. The fun to watch will be Wivenhoe and can see this being the first breach of the progressive ceasefire.
The biggest battlegrounds will be Highwood’s and St John’s so it will be exciting to look at these in more detail in my next blog as I go through all the nuances and explain the “why”.
My gut feeling is that there will be NO CHANGE and the alliance will get tested. Remember there are some big ego’s out there.