Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Can I turn up to a Local Authority Meeting to film and/or record this event?

Back in February 2011, Eric Pickles said the following:

"Councils should open up their public meetings to local news ‘bloggers’ and routinely allow online filming of public discussions as part of increasing their transparency."

2 and a half years later and Richard Taylor finds out that how far behind the local Conservatives really are!

Can I turn up and film and/or record proceedings?

The answer, according to each LA standing orders is as follows:

Cambs County Council: Yes
Cambs Fire Authority: Yes
East Cambs DC: Yes - I can find no specific prohibition for or against filming or recording
Huntingdonshire DC: No
Fenland DC: No
South Cambs: No

Time and again it is the Conservative run District Councils, for the most part, are behind the times and behind Conservative policy!

The Liberal Democrat run Cambridge City Council allow turn up filming.

South Cambs DC

21.4 Recording of Business
Unless specifically authorised by resolution, no audio and / or visual or photographic
recording in any format is allowed at any meeting of the Council, the Executive, or any
committee or sub-committee of the Council or the Executive.

Huntingdonshire District Council

Filming, videoing or audio recording of a meeting or photography at a Council
meeting shall be permitted only with the consent of the Chairman of the
meeting concerned. The necessary consent shall have been obtained and the
Head of Paid Service, or in his absence, the Head of Legal and Democratic
Services notified by no later than three working days before the meeting.

Fenland DC

The filming, video filming, photographing or audio recording of a
meeting shall not be permitted by any person without the explicit
consent of the Chairman of the meeting concerned following
consultation with the Chief Executive . The necessary consent
shall have been obtained and the proper officer notified by no
later than one hour before the meeting.

Cambs Fire Authority


The Fire Authority supports the principle of transparency and encourages filming, recording and taking photographs at its meetings that are open to the public. It also welcomes the use of social networking websites (such as Twitter and Facebook) and micro-blogging to communicate with people about what is happening, as it happens.

There is no requirement to notify the Fire Authority in advance, but it should be noted that the Chairman of the meeting will have absolute discretion to terminate or suspend any of these activities if, in their opinion, continuing to do so would prejudice proceedings at the meeting. The circumstances in which termination or suspension might occur could include:
public disturbance or suspension of the meeting

the meeting agreeing to formally exclude the press and public from the meeting due to the confidential nature of the business being discussed

where it is considered that continued recording/photography/filming/webcasting might infringe the rights of any individual, and

when the Chairman, considers that a defamatory statement has been made.

In allowing this, the Fire Authority asks those recording proceedings not to edit the film/ record/photographs in a way that could lead to misinterpretation of the proceedings, or infringe the core values of the Fire Authority. This includes refraining from editing an image or views expressed in a way that may ridicule, or show a lack of respect towards those being photographed/filmed/ recorded.

Those intending to bring large equipment, or wishing to discuss any special requirements are advised to contact the Fire and Rescue Service’s Communications Team in advance of the meeting to seek advice and guidance. The use of flash photography or additional lighting will not be allowed unless this has been discussed in advance of the meeting and agreement reached on how it can be done without disrupting proceedings.

At the beginning of each meeting, the Chairman will make an announcement that the meeting may be filmed, recorded or photographed. Meeting agendas will also carry this message.

The Authority supports the principle of transparency and encourages filming, recording and taking photographs at its meetings that are open to the public. It also welcomes the use of social networking and micro-blogging websites (such as Twitter and Facebook) to communicate with people about what is happening, as it happens. These arrangements will operate in accordance with a protocol agreed by the Chairman of the Authority and political Group Leaders. This protocol will be published on the Authority’s website.

Cambridge City Council

Cambridge City Council protocol on audio/visual recording and
photography at Council meetings.
The Council is committed to being open and transparent in the way it
conducts its decision making. Recording is permitted at council meetings
which are open to the public. The Council understands that some members of
the public attending its meetings may not wish to be recorded. The Chair of
the meeting will facilitate by ensuring that any such request not to be recorded
is respected by those doing the recording.
The rules which the Council will apply are:
1. Anyone wishing to record must let the Chair of the meeting know and the
recording must be overt (i.e clearly visible to anyone at the meeting). The
Council will supply signs which will be deployed at any meeting all or part of
which is to be recorded.
2. The Chair of the meeting has absolute discretion to stop or suspend
recording if in their opinion continuing to do so would prejudice proceedings at
the meeting or if the person recording is in breach of these rules. The
circumstances in which this might occur include :
recording is disrupting the proceedings of the meeting
there is public disturbance or a suspension of the meeting
the meeting has resolved to exclude the public for reasons which are set
down in the Council’s Constitution
3. Any member of the public has the right not to be recorded. We ensure that
agendas for, and signage at, council meetings make it clear that recording
can take place – if anyone does not wish to be recorded they must let the
Chair of the meeting know
4. The recording should not be edited in a way that could lead to
misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the proceedings or infringement of
the Council’s values or; in a way that ridicules or shows a lack of respect for
those in the recording. The Council would expect any recording in breach of
these rules to be removed from public view.
Notes for guidance:
Please contact Democratic Services in advance of the meeting if the
recording you wish to do involves large equipment or special requirements.
The use of lighting for filming/flash photography is allowed if it is arranged with
Democratic Services prior to the meeting. We require this so we can ensure
the meeting will not be unduly disrupted and there is a safe environment to
transact the business.

A failure to follow these requirements may lead to a request to record being
refused at subsequent council meetings.
Recording and reporting the council’s meetings is subject to the law and it is
the responsibility of those doing the recording and reporting to ensure
compliance. This will include the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act
and the laws of libel and defamation.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

And HDC still don't get it!

Darren Tysoe, Huntingdonshire DC Cabinet member, was on 'County Matters' (a programme on Sunday morning on HCR104FM) last week. In the interview, he said the following (though I may have paraphrased):
  1. HDC saved £8 million.
  2. The Government has cut the money it gives HDC by 5% and HDC needs to save £2 million from current spending.
  3. HDC has low Council Tax. This is paid out of reserves.
  4. People weren't happy with the Council Tax increases.
  5. Most residents are in the 3 bands below the Band D average.
Let me start with the first point.

I don't doubt the savings. But what are savings? For instance if you plan to rebuild the bus station and then don't is that a saving? Is making the Town Councils pay towards CCTV and public toilets actually savings? This maybe a saving to the District Council budget but not necessarily to the Council Tax payer how has to pick up the bill via the Town Council rather than the District Council.

The second point is not very well thought out. The Government for 2012/13 gave grants of £11 million. In this year the total money will be £12.9 million. In 2014/15 this does fall again to £12.1 million but rises to £14.4 million by 2017/18. So where is the 5% cut? The problem isn't lack of Government funding it is point 3.

The third point is the source of the trouble at HDC. Whilst HDC and the Conservatives have shouted from the roof tops that it is a council with low council tax it has forgotten about the spending part. To my mind a low council tax council is also a low spending council. HDC has never been a low spending council. Indeed back at the beginning of the last decade HDC recognised it needed to double Council Tax. The only reason it didn't put tax up was the Labour Government capped HDC.

This caused problems. But HDC went ahead and spent as though it was getting double the amount of council tax in and made up the deficit by using reserves. With Government changes to funding this deficit has hit home. HDC needs to allow building of homes to get Council Tax plus new homes bonus money in to keep this budget afloat.

Which brings me to point 4. Because HDC and Conservative propaganda has focussed on the low council tax rate and leaves out why the Conservatives have been able to spend high by using diminishing reserves, this has meant Council tax increases have come as a bit of a shock. On one hand we have David Cameron and the Conservatives informing people of the Council Tax freeze whilst Conservative run HDC pushes ahead with large increases. The two don't add up.

Which brings me to point 5. Most residents are in Bands A-C. These aren't happy about Council Tax increases. What the Conservatives seem to forget is much of their support comes from Band D-H. Hurting these bands doesn't help with getting their supporters out.

What can the HDC Conservatives do?

They are in a pickle because whatever they do will be wrong. What they should do is admit they were wrong to increase Council Tax. They should commit to freezing council tax for the next few years and cutting council tax back to 2010 levels. They need to be honest with the electorate. The reason HDC needs to increase council tax is simply because Council Tax was too low for the level of spending. Either HDC has to cut spending and services to the current Council Tax level or increase Council Tax to meet current spending. They need to achieve this by holding a referendum.

The Conservatives need to be straight with its residents. Yes, the government cuts are having an effect but much of the trouble was historic. The only trouble will be are there enough Conservative supporters willing to campaign for a Council Tax hike? I doubt it. Whatever the Conservatives do at HDC they will lose and the longer this goes on the worst it will be!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Conservative membership falls - again!

The Conservatives still have a falling membership and it continues to fall. There seems to be no way to arrest this problem. The large number of members in North East Cambs is down to a large number of Conservative Club members.
M 2012
M 2011

NE Cambs 2780 2880 -100
NW Cambs 480 525 -45
Huntingdon 458 577 -119
South Cambs 499 522 -23
SE Cambs 256 259 -3

The big problem comes in the Huntingdon Conservative Association (MP - Jonathan Djanogly) which has seen a 20% fall in membership. This is a big loss. It seems where Council Tax goes up membership goes down.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

How can the Conservatives win?

The Conservatives in Cambridgeshire can win again and can beat UKIP. They need to do 2 things to win.

1. Freeze and then cut council tax.
2. Communicate with the electorate with leaflets

Sounds easy. Yet this isn't aren't the easy options. Councils such as Fenland and Huntingdonshire have little room for manoeuvre if at all. For instance, Huntingdonshire has to increase council tax and cut spending to keep afloat. So freezing and cutting council tax is pretty much out of the question for some Councils/Local Authorities. In any case all Conservative run Local Authorities need to sign up to the Conservative policy of a Council Tax freeze.

Since moving to Cambridgeshire I haven't received a Conservative political leaflet outside of the election period and sometimes during an election. This is awful communication. The only way to ensure electors get your message is by delivering a leaflet on a regular monthly basis or quarterly at an absolute minimum.

The Conservatives Associations are in decline. Huntingdon CA lost 20% of its membership in 2012. Other faired better losing less membership. The Conservatives need more members and friends to get their message out and communicate with the electorate.

If the Conservatives don't do anything to reverse the UKIP leap forward, come the General Election in 2015 UKIP will be in a position to take Conservative seats of Huntingdon, North West Cambridgeshire and North East Cambridgeshire.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Why did the Conservative lose in Cambridgeshire?

In two words - Council Tax.

The Conservatives are currently blaming "the national situation" and "national policies" and, of course, the County Conservatives did nothing wrong! But they did. Cambs Conservatives didn't institute the Council Tax freeze after year 1. That is not just the County Council. Conservative run District Councils, The Police and The Fire Authority all ignored the Council Tax freeze and the funding that came with this Conservative pledge.

Ignoring this pledge gave UKIP and the Liberal Democrats a cause to run with. Campaigning on keeping council tax down, UKIP ran riot in areas where they campaigned. The Liberal Democrats held onto their share of the vote to win in some areas.

Whilst UKIP did well, the Independents did well winning in Histon, St Neots and in Cambridge. They took two seats from the LD's and two seats from the Conservatives.

Labour did well in Cambridge by taking seats from the Lib Dems. But the Lib Dems held on to some of their seats.

The maxim seems to be ignore your own parties policies at your peril. The trouble is the Conservatives have yet to come to terms with not Freezing Council Tax. When they do they will realise they were wrong and not the electorate.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Nick Clarke still doesn't get it

I had to laugh when I found out Nick Clarke, now ex-leader of Cambs CC, lost his seat at Fulbourn. The result is below:

CandidatePartyVotes% Share
Nick ClarkeConservative84832.2
June Patricia FordLabour43416.5
David SmithGreen1696.4
John George Williams Liberal Democrat 1,180 44.8

The result in 2009 was:

CandidatePartyVotes% Share
Nick ClarkeConservative106435.6
Josephine Patricia TeagueLabour2357.8
John Neal ScarrIndependent90630.3
John George Williams Liberal Democrat 785         26.3

Without the Independent candidate this left 906 or 26.3% of the voting public looking for a home.

In his blog Nick Clarke said:

No one should be surprised by this as the minority parties smell blood. But it is a shame that a protest vote about immigration, which is a national issue, should derail an energetic and enthusiastic council that was gaining a national reputation for getting things done.

I don't feel this is right. True immigration is an national issue and Council Tax Freeze is a national issue which Nick Clarke and the Cambs Conservatives ignored and raised council tax. If they had frozen council tax and still lost they could have blamed national policies. But you can only blame if you implement policies in the first place.

Nick also reckons he lost because he moved to Papworth Everard. His own vote held up in % terms. A loss of 3.3% is not as massive as other divisions. So why did Nick lose? Notice there is no UKIP candidate standing in Fulborn. Where were those who would have voted UKIP gone. Many sat at home. A large minority went and voted for the Liberal Democrats.

Nick was in a bad position form the start. Not having a UKIP candidate meant the vote went to the Lib Dems. In the end that is why Nick Clarke lost. No UKIP candidate.

Nicks blog also shows how out of touch he is. Nick said:

Response on the door step in my Fulbourn division remains very positive.

IUTVT: Not positive enough to win!!!

This afternoon I took time off from my own division to go and help James Hockney fight the Waterbeach seat. James is very well thought of locally and clearly understands the local issues.

IUTVT: And the Liberal Democrat still won!

It seems that only a Lib Dem perspective can justify such a ridiculous statement.

IUTVT: And the Liberal Democrat still won!

I am playing in a charity cricket match Wednesday evening starting at 6pm, at the Needingworth cricket ground in aid of bowel cancer. The electioneering can wait for an evening.

IUTVT: Obviously electioneering couldn't wait because Nick lost!

I nipped up to join a canvassing team in Histon later in the day. Great response. Lots of indications that people get the financial problems we face and think we are the party to put it right.

IUTVT: The Conservatives didn't win here either.

Nick Clarke has an arrogance about him in all the decisions he took as leader were all correct. What the Conservatives need to get over is some of the decisions are wrong especially over raising Council Tax instead of freezing it. Until they do the Conservatives will keep losing.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

How near was my prediction?

I predicted the Conservatives would lose control. They did!

I also predicted the following result in seats:

Conservatives 30
Lib Dems 18
Labour 10
Independents 5

The result was:

Conservatives 32  (+2)
Lib Dems 14 (-4)
Labour 7 (-3)
UKIP 12 (+6)
Independents 4 (-1)

Not bad for a first try!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

My prediction for the 2nd May 2013 elections for Cambridgeshire County Council.

% of votes:

Conservatives 32%
Liberal Democrats 15%
Labour 15%
UKIP 24%
Independents 10%
Green 4%

In terms of seats out of 69 seats

Conservatives 30
Lib Dems 18
Labour 10
Independents 5

Lets see how wrong I am be tomorrow.

The Conservatives will lose control of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Reason 9 not to vote Conservative: Nick Clarke just doesn't get it!

Nick Clarke in a recent blogpost said:

"I made the point that whilst I am not an expert on planning I do have the largest democratic mandate, representing all 680,000 people of Cambridgeshire."

Nick isn't directly elected. Nor was Nick leader at the time of the last County Elections in 2009. Therefore he doesn't have a mandate. If Nick held a referendum over Council Tax increases he would have a mandate to increase these taxes. He won't do that. If Nick gets a majority on 2nd May 2013 he may also have a mandate. Until then Nick doesn't have a mandate for anything!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Nick Clarke is due for a fall

I took this (below) from Nick Clarke's blog about how everything is looking rosy. It may well be from his perspective. But that isn't the problem. From what I'm reading Nick is missing the point. For all the achievements Nick has a problem and that are the Council Tax rises. Of course when you are met on the doorstep by the Leader of the County Council you are hardly going tell him to go away. No let him witter on, say goodbye and close the door. Then go and vote UKIP or Lib Dem or even don't go and vote at all.

From his blog looks like he is going to romp home in Fulbourn and the Conservatives will romp home in Cottenham, Histon and Impington. Not long to find out!

Conservative campaign – positive and well received

April 20, 2013

A great day in my division. Lots of leaflets dropped and some great chats. I have been encouraged by the many offers of help and messages of support.

Speaking on the doorstep, unhappiness with national politicians of all parties is raised. When I have explained our local priorities of protecting the vulnerable, helping people live healthy and independent lives and driving the economy they get more engaged.

When I explain what we have been up to over the last two years people can see we are a party of getting things done rather than talking about it.

It’s great to be able to talk about Superfast broadband, the new station in Cambridge, bringing forward the A14 upgrade, the Ely bypass and more. Opposition parties can’t claim any success because they are not able to deliver anything. All they can talk about are promises for the future with not track record.

I have had lots of comments about the Lib Dems. People are confused because they are in coalition in government but want to appose all the time. How can they look both ways, I’m asked? If you know the Lib Dems like I do it’s not just two ways they look they can normally mange half a dozen.

I nipped up to join a canvassing team in Histon later in the day. Great response. Lots of indications that people get the financial problems we face and think we are the party to put it right. Labour is still, rightly, held to blame for the mess we are in. Again lots of confused people not understanding where the Lib Dems sit, in coalition or opposition.

I bumped into David Jenkins, the Lib Dem candidate for Histon. We had a pleasant chat. Apart from being perpetually negative about everything I like David. It must have been a shock to him seeing a dozen Conservatives, one county council leader and an MEP all knocking on doors in his street.

Overall a very positive day.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Reason 8 not to vote Conservative: They aren't Conservatives

At the Conservatives campaign launch for the local elections David Cameron said:

Conservative councils understand it is your money that they spend. Every single pound in your pocket has been hard-earned and Conservative councils are fighting to keep it there.

That's why this year, on an average Band D Bill, Conservative councils continue to charge lower levels of council tax than Labour or Liberal Democrats.

Conservatives in Government have also given councils money to freeze council tax because during these tough times we want to be on the side of hardworking families. On average, this has delivered a 10 per cent real terms cut in council tax - real help with the cost of living. By contrast, under the last Labour Government council tax more than doubled.

David Cameron says Conservatives councils are fighting to keep the pound in our pockets. Obviously except in Cambridgeshire! Where the Conservatives have been upping Council Tax and taking pounds out of our pockets!

David Cameron says: ..during these tough times we want to be on the side of working families - having given money to Councils to freeze Council Tax.
Obviously except in Cambridgeshire! Where the money offered has been rejected by all local authorities.

David Cameron is leader of the Conservative Party. The local Conservative politicians in Cambridgeshire feel they know better and reject Government money towards a Council Tax Freeze. They are only too willing to take money from our pockets to prop up their municipal socialist soviets. Therefore the reason not to vote Conservative in Cambridgeshire is the Conservatives are really socialists!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Reason 7 for not voting Conservative: Democracy Dodging

Councils that are planning to increase council tax without holding a local referendum have been slammed as ‘democracy dodgers’ by Conservative Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

Pickles said local authorities should ‘man up’ and ‘be straight with people’. Those planning on circumventing a local poll, by setting their tax increase just below the 2% threshold, could lose out on Whitehall funds next year, he warned.

Councils should stop treating residents with contempt,’ Pickles wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph.

‘Democracy dodgers who try to creep in under the radar, putting up their stealth tax by 1.99% in a bid to avoid our 2% referendum threshold, need a reality check. We will take into consideration anybody cheating their taxpayers. Anybody using loopholes will lose out next year.’

He added that the ‘days of the kneejerk tax and spend hike’ were over. He praised councils that were either freezing or cutting their council tax, including West Sussex, Wolverhampton and Windsor & Maidenhead.

And what are our Local Authorities doing? Council Tax increases, in many cases to the limit, before a referendum needs to be called. Conservative run Local Authorities are Democracy Dodging.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Reason 6 not to vote Conservative: Local Conservatives can't follow Conservative policy

At the local election campaign launch, David Cameron was speaking in front of the Tories' local election campaign slogan "For Hardworking People".

David Cameron said: "We’re fighting for the pound in your pocket in fact – we’re fighting to keep it there. Because Conservatives get something. It’s your money. Every single pound has been hard-earned - early mornings, late nights, long commutes, time away from the children, hours put in on the factory floor, the shop floor, the hospital ward.

"And then you come home and there, on the door-mat, is the council tax bill. There is a clear moral imperative to keep that tax down.

"That’s why we said to councils of all colours: even when money is tight, we’ll give you this extra cash to freeze council tax."

David Cameron is the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party. His party gave pledges to freeze council, something which most Conservative run local authorities in Cambridgeshire have simply ignored.

The Conservative Party is campaigning for a Council Tax Freeze, but locally the Conservatives have been upping Council Tax.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Reason 5 not to vote Conservative: Muddled Thinking

Martin Curtis is a Conservative County Councillor for North Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire. He is also Cabinet Member for Adult Services. When CCC put up tax by 2.95% for 2012/13 one of the reasons for doing this was a consultation had taken place and therefore:

"A local referendum would cost money to deliver, money that could be spent on services."
To validate this point Martin went on to say:

That last point is an important one, it is not that anyone is scared of listening to local people, rather that we have already consulted as part of our consideration for the current budget proposals. That (statistically valid) consultation showed that there was appetite around the County for a small council tax rise - provided that the money was spent on residents' priorities; we have done this. As an example by investing more in Adult Social Care in order to slow down the reductions and allow us to make the long term savings we need in a much more measured and joined up way, and by investing an extra £90m in roads (which means roads, pavements and cycle paths). Both of these areas were shown to be priorities in our consultation.

That sounds great. The County Council did a consultation of all residents and came up with a council tax rise. Forget the Conservative Manifesto promise of 2 years Council Tax freeze. If the Conservatives lose control of Cambridgeshire County Council on 2nd May 2013 it would be because of muddled thinking.

That is muddled thinking by the Conservatives. To stay in power the Conservatives need votes. These votes are unlikely to come from the opposition. If you are making your supporters unhappy by pushing up Council Tax they won't vote for you and could vote UKIP instead. That is the muddle. Wanting to get re-elected has everything to do with designing policies to garner enough support. With Council Tax increases this policy is designed to alienate the Conservatives core support.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The curious cases of Kilian Bourke and Martin Land

The recent resignation of Paris Brown as Youf PCC in Kent due to racist and homophobic tweets, I thought I would take a quick look a two Liberal Democrat candidates with histories of offensive comments.

Cllr Kilian Bourke (Romsey) was hauled up for making homophobic comments back in 2010. News and Crier article here. What was Kilian's reward for making these remarks? He is currently Leader of the Liberal Democrats on CCC.

As for Martin Land (LD Candidate for St Neots Eaton Socon and Eynesbury) his faux pas was to say about the Conservatives:

"that the Tories remain a coalition between the blatantly self-interested, closet racists, and homophobes.."

The Liberal Democrats rewarded Martin Land for these views with continuing to be their Parliamentary Candidate for Huntingdon at the 2010 General Election and he is even standing again at the County elections in May 2013.

Great to know you can smear other people and still be a Liberal Democrat.

First prediction on who is going to win.

The 2009 County Council elections were held in tandem with the Euro elections. This meant many voters who wouldn't normally vote because the party they support wasn't standing at the County were standing in the Euros.

Cambridgeshire County Council election, 2009
PartySeatsGainsLossesNet gain/lossSeats %Votes %Votes+/−
 Liberal Democrat2355033.3%33.7%70,030
 Labour Co-op001−10.0%0.7%1,409
 Monster Raving Loony00000.0%0.3%566
 UK First00000.0%0.1%117

This led to a fall in the major votes when voting at the Euros. The main losers were the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. The main gainers were UKIP and the BNP (where are they now?).

For 2013, UKIP has got a candidate in many of the seats. This is both dangerous to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

The total number of seats up for election are 69. In 2009, the Conservatives won 42, Liberal Democrats 23, Labour 2, The Greens 1 and UKIP 1. Therefore the Conservatives need 35 seats to have an overall majority. Anything less and the Conservatives will lose to No overall control.

From what I have seen the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are defending the seats they currently hold and are looking to make any advances. Instead of sweeping elections this fight for the County Council is really about the Conservatives hanging on and other parties making small but significant gains.

Lets look at the individual parties:

Conservatives: They need to retain as many seats as they can. Lose 8 seats from their current total and they remain the largest party but not in overall control. Where the Conservatives properly campaign they should still win, though with a much reduced share of the vote. Where they take their support for granted UKIP could do very well.

Liberal Democrats: They are being targeted in Cambridge by a resurgent Labour Party (why of why didn't people get hurt last time!). Where the Liberal Democrats really campaign I expect no set back. Their vote will fall dramatically where there is minimal or no campaigning.

Labour: Targeting Cambridge Divisions because this is a target seat for the General Election. Labour needs to take 10 seats in Cambridge to be doing well. All seats and they have Cambridge sown up.

UKIP: Winning will depend on the number of seats they can gain. Putting a candidate up in most seats is a tactic. Though whether this will payoff is a different matter. UKIP needs to do well. This means they need to get more than a gain in the number of seats. If they do well they need 5 seats. Fantastic is 10 seats. Breakthrough is 15 seats. The trouble with UKIP hype is Nigel Farage over eggs the position.

Independents: There are a few Independents standing mainly in St Neots. The Conservatives could lose seats here.


This election is hard to call. The Conservatives could really lose control. The Liberal Democrats could hold onto many of their seats and make gains from the Conservatives as the UKIP vote bites.
Labour has to start to take control of Cambridge to be in sight of a General Election win. UKIP could do well but really needs to campaign.


Conservatives: 32 seats
Liberal Democrats: 21
Labour: 8
Independents: 3

This would result in a truly hung council with no party or 2 party coalition able to govern. What would be needed would be a grand coalition between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Interesting election 6: Godmanchester and Huntingdon East

Back in 2009 the Liberal Democrats slipped one in to win a seat here.
Godmanchester and Huntingdon East electoral division
Liberal DemocratGraham Wilson2,23223.9+5.4
ConservativeJeffery Dutton2,22323.8−0.2
ConservativeColin Hyams2,19723.4+1.6
Liberal DemocratMichael Shellens2,10522.5+6.8
LabourRuth Pugh3273.5−6.5
LabourPatrick Kadewere2722.9−7.1
Rejected ballots591.2{{{change}}}
Liberal Democrat gain from ConservativeSwing
Conservative holdSwing

In 2013 the field has been enlarged by the addition of 2 UKIP candidates and 2 candidates from the some weird socialist splitter group.
Godmanchester and Huntingdon East electoral division (2 seats)
ConservativeAndrew Paul Bish
ConservativeDaryl Brown
UKIPMartin Cohen
TUSCRobert Alan Cossey-Mowle
LabourDavid Mitchel King
UKIPDerek Arthur Norman
LabourRobert Kenneth Pugh
Liberal DemocratMichael Frederick Shellens
TUSCAntony Staples
Liberal DemocratGraham Martin Wilson
The Conservatives, have two newish candidates with Jeff Dutton and Colin Hyams not re-standing. The Liberal Democrats are campaigning here and could win.

This would show the Liberal Democrats winning here.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Interesting Elections 5: Romsey

Kilian Bourke is currently Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the County Council. In 2009 his election was on 34.3% of the vote out of 6 candidates.
Romsey electoral division
Liberal DemocratKilian Bourke82934.3−10.7
LabourChristine Freeman49320.4−12.9
IndependentThomas Woodcock42517.6N/A
GreenPhilip Richards29712.3+1.5
ConservativeSamuel Barker27011.2+1.5
UKIPMarjorie Barr963.9+2.7
Rejected ballots90.4
Liberal Democrat holdSwing

In 2013 Kilian is again one out of 6 candidates.
Romsey electoral division[2]
UKIPMarjorie Ruth Barr
Liberal DemocratKilian Bourke
ConservativeAndrew James Bower
GreenHywel Francis Taylor Sedgwick-Jell
LabourMartin Smart
Cambridge SocialistsTom Woodcock
This time he doesn't have an Independent standing against him. But Kilian's vote could be eroded by UKIP, Green, Labour. Labour will be hoping to turnover Kilian who isn't without controversy.

If Labour does overturn Kilian, this decapitation could cause problems with the outcome of this election.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Interesting Elections 4: Willingham

Shona Johnstone's old seat of Willingham as Ray Manning looks to take over the seat. Cllr Manning already has a job as Leader of South Cambs DC (Council Tax rise= 4.8%).

Willingham electoral division
UKIPMartin John Hale
ConservativeRay Manning
LabourBen Monks
Liberal DemocratBarry John Platt
GreenHelen Stocks

At the 2009 CC Elections the Conservatives did very well.
Willingham electoral division
ConservativeShona Johnstone1,48556.5+9.9
Liberal DemocratRob Falla88833.8−8.5
LabourCharlie Wilson1857.0N/A
Rejected ballots521.9
Conservative holdSwing
Shona had a bit of a problem with being found guilty of criminal damage. This gave her trouble with standing for Police Commissioner. This didn't happen. It will be interesting to see whether the Liberal Democrats can put up a candidate and fight to win this seat. UKIP could also take a load of vote from the Conservatives.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Reason 4 not to vote Conservative: Broken promise over Council Tax rises

At the 2010 General Election the Conservatives pledged to freeze Council Tax for 2 years. The Conservatives didn't win and in the coalition agreement this pledge was watered down to 1 year freeze with the possibility of a second year freeze if money could be found. Monet was found!

The County Council Conservatives ignored this pledge and went ahead with Council Tax rises for the County Council and two authorities they nominated councillors too. Namely the Police Authority and the Fire Authority. All three raised Council Tax contrary to the pledge the Conservatives made and contrary to the coalition agreement.

One reason why the County Conservatives took the decision to break the Conservative Party election pledge was they did a consultation. The following reason was stated as to why Council Tax was increased:

"That (statistically valid) consultation showed that there was appetite around the County for a small council tax rise - provided that the money was spent on residents' priorities; we have done this."

The choice was simple either freeze Council Tax, as per the Manifesto/Coalition agreement or say no to Government money and up the tax because of consultation said so. Of course the County Conservatives were only too willing to throw away their commitment to a Council Tax freeze and go on a spend, spend, spend policy.

I feel the Conservatives will rue the day they threw away this national pledge for a Council Tax freeze. If they do lose power it is because they lost support because they raised Council Tax when they should have frozen it. It is all well to do a consultation but the results shouldn't abrogate your pledge. The Conservatives now can't point at other parties and say they will raise Council Tax because they already have!

Reason 5 on not voting Conservative is a broken promise over a Council Tax freeze and therefore Council Tax rises which shouldn't have happened.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Interesting Election 3: Little Paxton and St Neots North

This division is interesting because the Conservatives are fighting 2 former members and current County Councillors.

At the 2009 election the Conservatives did very well.
Little Paxton and St Neots North electoral division
ConservativeKenneth Churchill2,57329.8+5.7
ConservativeDavid Harty2,45128.4+2.4
Liberal DemocratRobert Eaton1,22814.2−3.0
Liberal DemocratGordon Thorpe1,05212.2−2.3
GreenSarah Boulton8349.7N/A
LabourGraham Hitchings2803.2−5.9
LabourJohn Watson2172.5−6.4
Rejected ballots450.9 
Conservative holdSwing
Conservative holdSwing
And the Conservatives still do very well at the district elections. But there have been some changes. Cllr Ken Churchill had a problem with his sports massage business. Ken was struck off the physiotherapist register for an inappropriate relationship with a 72 year old woman. Ken was thrown out of the County Council Conservative Group but continued to be a Conservative District Councillor because the District Council Conservative Group couldn't get the super majority needed to expel him from their group, though over half did vote to get rid of Ken.

With Ken suspended he could not stand as a Conservative candidate so he and Bob Farrer left the Conservative Groups to set up an Independent (Conservative) Group. With the Liberal Democrats unable to put up two candidates and Labour plus UKIP having to ship in candidates this means this will be a grudge match between the Conservatives (Harty in the County Cabinet + Barry Chapman is currently Town Mayor) and the Independent Conservatives with tainted Churchill and taint free Farrer.

St Neots should be very interesting!

Name of Candidate              Home Address
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
APPLETON  Marian May   Flat 3, Hinton Lodge, St. Neots Road, Eaton Ford, St. Neots.

Conservative Party Candidate
CHAPMAN Barry Stephen
6 Kipling Place, Eaton Ford, St Neots, PE19 7RG

CHURCHILL Ken    51 Gordon Road, Little Paxton, St Neots, PE19 6NJ
FARRER Bob          151A Crosshall Road, Eaton Ford, St Neots, Cambs, PE19 7GB

Conservative Party Candidate
HARTY David         10 Sambar Close, St Neots, PE19 8QG

Green Party
27 Queen's Gardens, Eaton Socon, St Neots, Cambs, PE19 8BY

Labour Party Candidate
LOMAX Jim        2 Windsor Road, Godmanchester, Huntingdon, PE29 2DD

Labour Party Candidate
REES Emlyn Ian     7 The Grove, St. Neots, PE19 1EX

UK Independence Party (UKIP)
SMART Sherrell Lee  Hermitage Marina, Earith Bridge, Earith, PE28 3PR

Liberal Democrat
THORPE Gordon Sydney  5 Milton Avenue, Eaton Ford, St Neots, PE19 7LH, Cambs

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Interesting Elections 2: St Neots Eaton Socon and Eynesbury

This election is turning into a bitter fight between former Liberal Democrats standing as Independents and the Conservatives. At the 2009 elections the 2 seats up for grabs were won by the Conservatives.
St Neots Eaton Socon and Eynesbury electoral division
ConservativeRodney Farrer1,69925.6+5.7
ConservativeCatherine Hodgson Hutton1,64224.7+7.9
Liberal DemocratJulia Hayward1,44321.7+0.9
Liberal DemocratMartin Land1,30519.7+1.9
LabourChristine Ellarby2754.1−9.1
LabourWilliam O'Connor2734.1−7.5
Rejected ballots772.1
Conservative holdSwing
Conservative gain from Liberal DemocratSwing
At this election the Conservatives gained one seat from the Liberal Democrats who were not far behind. In 2013 the parties have changed. Last year Derek Giles convincingly beat the Conservatives standing as an Independent. Derek and fellow former Liberal Democrat Steven Van De Kerkhove, still a District Councillor for Eynesbury, are fighting Conservatives Roger Harrison (District and Town Councillor and is also Leader of the Town Council) and Adrian Usher (Town Councillor).

From the list of candidates below I cannot see the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Labour or the Greens doing anything to campaign in this Division. This is a straight Conservative v Independent fight. Harrison and Usher have got to get out and campaign to get elected.

Bob Farrer is also standing as an Independent in the neighbouring division of Little Paxton and St Neots North. Another interesting fight!

Name of Candidate     Home Address
GILES Derek Arthur  6 Stratford Place, Eaton Socon,  PE19 8HY

Conservative Party Candidate
HARRISON Roger    55 Bushmead Rd, Eaton Socon,  PE19 8GQ

UK Independence Party (UKIP)
HOWARD Dave        81, Howitts Gardens, Eynesbury, St. Neots, PE19 2NS

Labour Party Candidate
HURST Wendy Jean   11 Andrew Rd, Eynesbury, St Neots, PE19 2QE

UK Independence Party (UKIP)
LANCASTER Steve 128 Burstellars, St Ives, PE27 3YN

Liberal Democrat
LAND Martin Graham The Hideaway, 11B St Marys St, Eynesbury, St Neots, PE19 2TA

Labour Party Candidate
O`CONNOR William Francis 23 Chamberlain Way, St. Neots, Cambs., PE19 1RD
Green Party
THOMAS Gareth Robert 11 Eayre Court, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 1QZ

Conservative Party Candidate
USHER Adrian Lee "Dentonby", 21 Luke Street, Eynesbury, St. Neots, Cambs, PE19 2TW

VAN DE KERKHOVE Steven Mark 6 Manor Park, St Neots, Cambs, PE19 1NY