Sunday, 12 April 2015

Broxtowe Borough Council elections: what not putting up candidates tells us

I have compiled the table below from information you can find on the Broxtowe Borough Council elections webpage, where there is a notice for each ward listing all the candidates properly nominated (all of them).

This year there will be a Broxtowe* Parliamentary election on the same day (*Ashfield if you live in the north of Broxtowe), so the ability of political parties to field candidates in the ward elections  tells us about their chances of electing our next MP.

Straight away it becomes clear that the Liberals, Greens, UKIP and the other candidate are, at best, spoilers. If they had any real commitment to the communities which make up Broxtowe, they would be fielding Borough Council election candidates in every ward. Even the Conservatives have no candidates in one ward (Eastwood St. Mary) and are one candidate short in Kimberley. Only the Labour Party has a full slate of candidates.

At the end of the day local elections are little better in the minds of many Westminster MPs (and national party HQs) than dress rehersals for the main event - a General Election. If you doubt my assertion, how do you justify or explain the erosion of local power and democracy in the years since 1974? It is no accident that constituency parties organise and oversee branches and not the other way round.

Because I am a liberation socialist I am also a localist and fall into the camp that every election should be contested with a full slate of candidates and that local power matters. The failure in Broxtowe of the Liberals, Greens and UKIP to field candidates in a good few wards tell you that they are organisationally weak, either unable to find candidates or find just twelve people in the ward who will support the nomination of a candidate in the ward. What other explanation can there be which is not even more damning (and one I have already referred to)?

When local and Parliamentary elections occur on the same day, local council results often favour the party which wins the local constituency Parliamentary election - which should mean the Labour Party in Broxtowe. I hope so.

It is also very short-sighted of a party not to field candidates in every ward. They will be unable to measure their support accurately or to use what scant resources they have in terms of money and volunteers to best advantage.

The outcome of both the local and Parliamentary elections in Broxtow could be determined by what ballot paper a voter chooses to mark first. It is going to be that kind of election. Very different to any other I have known in my fifty years as a voter.

I want Nick Palmer to win and for Labour to have a clear majority on the Borough Council.

We shall have to wait until the early hours of 8 May to see if it happens.

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