Saturday, 14 May 2011

Preparing for action and watching what could be a sore loser?

Well the dust is settling both at Cheshire West and Chester Council and Frodsham Town Council.  After the hard work of the election campaigns, the drama of the counts we are now at the hard work of establishing our new Councils.  As you'd expect at CWaC much of the work takes place behind the scenes.  At Frodsham Town Council those campaigning on the Frodsham First common manifesto pledged not to have secret behind the scenes meeetings - so our discussions establishing the new council, and the new council arrangements will be made in public on Monday 16 May.  I have to say this is in stark contrast to the behaviour of the old Council where those controlling what went on would regularly meet in private deliberately excluding a number of us from their discussions. I've mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating, that we know that a sizable number of the old Council met after the last meeting on 26 April to decide who they'd like to fill the position of Mayor and Deputy Mayor deliberately excluding 4 of us from the discussions.  This was, in my view, very wrong - but also typical of what we've had to put up with over the last 4 years.

Nothing can take away from the tremendous vote of support and mandate for change we received from the voters.  Unfortunately it would appear that not everyone is pleased by what has happened.

I am aware of 'noises off' that suggest in some way that one of the defeated candidates should not have lost.
I am also aware of one of the former Councillors very publically having ago at one of the candidates who was elected unopposed.

Having put up with poor behaviour towards me and others  from an unrepresentative Council for 4 years I am not surprised by this behaviour but I am disappointed.

Well lets spell things out in simple language.
Every Frodsham resident had an opportunity to stand for election.
Two of our wards only had enough candidates to fill the vacancies.
In the two wards where there were elections every candidate had the same opportunity to put his or her position to the electorate.  The results were clear and unequivocal.

The Conservative candidates topped the polls in East and South wards by some considerable margin. 
Next came the independents who stood for election on the Frodsham First manifesto.  Then in each ward came another candidate who was not part of the Frodsham First team who was also elected. These candidates were a considerable distance behind the Frodsham First candidates.  Then followed the defeated candidates.

In East I topped the poll with 634 votes, the Frodsham First candidates had 507, 506 and 504 and the unaligned independent Graham Bondi was elected with 439.  The defeated candidates polled 415, 319 and 116.  The result was not even close.

Similarly in South Lynn Riley topped with 599 followed by Sara on 505 - both stood as Conservatives.  Fran on the Frodsham First ticket had 369 votes.  Also elected was the UKIP candidate on 260 votes.  The defeated candidate had 241 votes.

Every candidate had the same chance to campaign, to put his or her position to the Council.  The people have spoken - accept it.

I think the real issue and the explanation for the less than generous behaviour by certain of the defeated candidates lies in 4 factors:
  • the personalities involved;
  • the shock and bereavement understandibly felt in the defeat; 
  • the failure to appreciate that the old Council was unrepresentative of the people given that all candidates were elected unopposed in 2007.  Frodsham is not/was not political in the following proportions 8 Lab; 2 Con and 6 Independents; and
  • the party politics involved.
I hope what we have achieved will be recognised and supported by everyone - we have restored independence to Frodsham.  Overwhelmingly now the majority of the new Councillors are not members of any political party.