May 3rd Elections

I am mainly going to focus on the council elections in my ward but first a bit more on the top level stuff.
These are mainly local council elections and so while national issues and the politics of Westminster have an effect they are not the primary purpose of these elections, electing inadequate councillors locally in order to send a message nationally is unwise because the skill of the particular individual is more likely to have an effect at the councillor level than at the MP level. There is also a fairly significant divide between national party politics and local party politics and those involved at the two levels may not agree with each other and so should be assessed on their own merits.

In terms of elections where I can’t vote: In Inverness Millburn I would heartily recommend my mum, Anne Thomas, candidate for the Green party. Not just because she is my mum but because I know she really cares, has good policies and has demonstrated her commitment to the local community in various voluntary capacities. In Burley in Wharfedale I would probably vote for Matt Palmer (Conservative and my cousin) if he is standing because though I don’t agree with him on everything he is solid and will do his best to do his constituents proud. In London I would be voting for Ken Livingstone because he was Mayor when I lived in London and did a really good job and while Boris has also done some good things I think Ken would do it better.

However I get to vote in Kings Hedges, and so it is my privilege and duty to do so to the best of my ability.

In terms of the people who have attempted to contact me and persuade me to vote for them there are two candidates Nigel Gawthorpe (Labour) and Neil McGovern (Lib Dem). The latter is currently a councillor and has made at least 6 deliveries of election material (some of it rather repetitive) against Nigel’s two pieces. No other parties of candidates have made any effort so I am inclined to believe both that it is a two horse race between Labour and the Lib Dems. Either the Neil really cares a lot about our vote or he is desperate.

I am a big fan of evidence based policy so lets look at the policies being articulated.

Labour: more dog waste bins, full time dog warden, litter trail from Tesco to C.R.C, Motorist rat run on Ramsden Square and Northfield Avenue [I haven’t noticed a problem on Northfield], fly tipping on Minerva Way, two Lib Dem former councillors have joined Labour, more affordable homes, 20mph citywide, ensure drains cleared, help residents clear snow and ice, start an energy cooperative [nice policy], more public seating.

Lib Dems: saved local library, want new Post Office (claimed closed by Labour), stop Labour’s plan to restrict the number of shared houses in Cambridge [as someone who lives in a shared house that is a fairly major concern for me, Labour haven’t refuted this claim but I haven’t seen them proposing it either], ‘Heatseekers’ to come and help people reduce heat leaking from their homes, money for fixing roads and pavements (apparently Labour did not support increasing this, particularly for pavements [which are quite bad]), Labour taxed Council tenants £1500 to spend in big cities, been councillor for the last four years and hard working. Helpful map and reminder of when and where to vote the day before voting.

Based on all that I am inclined to vote for Neil McGovern (Lib Dem) on the basis that he seems pretty committed and hardworking (at least for elections, I hope that continues throughout the year) and has some good policies though I might send him a letter saying “These were policies that Labour had which I thought were good and were not on your list, please do them too”.

In any case if you can vote tomorrow, do. (07:00-22:00 at a polling station near you, there is no excuse)

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