Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Labour Win Southwark!

Labour won the council elections which took place last Thursday! After 8 years of Lib Dem / Tory rule we picked up 7 seats to end the elections with 35 councillors; the Lib Dems went down to 25 and the Tories were left with just 3.
If you've been reading my blog over the past few months you will know how frustrated I have been with some of the Lib Dem's campaigning - and in particular their deliberate distortions of what we have been saying.
Well it looks as if Labour's very positive message won the day - and the negative campaign of the Lib Dems was rejected.
Why did we win so well? In the north and middle of the borough I believe that voters were passing a judgment on the council and choosing between the competing policies and pledges. Whilst Simon Hughes' vote went up in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, voters chose to vote Labour in the local elections in the same constituency.
In College Ward in the south of the borough it does seem as if the Tories were squeezed by the fact that the local elections were taking place on the same day as the general election.
In South Camberwell our 4 years of work and campaigning paid off and we won all 3 seats. I am delighted that Cllr Stephen Govier will now be joining Veronica and I on the Labour benches in the Town Hall!
And the victory means that I am now the Leader-elect of the Council! A slightly daunting and humbling prospect, but one which I am really looking forward to, and a role in which I intend to deliver on Labour's manifesto pledges and priorities.
A big thank you to all the residents of South Camberwell who voted Labour on May 6th. We will not let you down!

1 comment:

James said...

Congratulations on the election result. I'm glad Labour did well in the Local Election, but I'm afraid if I'm honest I think you are being slightly unrealistic about the reasons. I think Labour did so well in the Local Election for one simple reason: Labour's local loyal vote turned out in force to reject David Cameron in the General Election and voted in the Local Election for the same reason.

The impact of the General Election on the Local Election was huge. If people were judging the previous administration in Southwark, why else did the Lib Dem and Conservative vote go up so much in areas like Peckham and Camberwell where these parties barely bothered campaigning? People could hardly have been endorsing what they had done for this area, because they've really done very little. The reality is that people were voting on national issues.

It's a rather worrying fact in our democracy that, firstly, many voters were barely aware that Local Elections were taking place last Thursday and, secondly, that few voters are clear on the different responsibility of local and national governments.

I do hope that now Labour is in control of Southwark they will make significant progress. It was easy to blame the Lib Dem/Conservative coalition for failing. It will be much harder to make progress yourselves.

I also hope that in areas like Camberwell where there are now no other voices on the community council that the Labour Party will work hard to engage with the community, including other political parties, for the good of Camberwell. The election results were a clear endorsement of Labour, but you must remember that good governments are made by good oppositions. For this reason, the Labour Party needs to allow others to retain a voice on the community council where there are no opposition councillors. The fact that you don't have to do this but choose to will give earn you great credit amongst the community.