Friday, November 02, 2007

Another former LibDems enters Adrian's big tent ...

The one thing that Adrian Ramsay, co-ordinator of the Greens at City Hall, has been remarkably good at is encouraging defections from other parties ... well, Labour and the LibDems anyway. Although no sitting member has crossed the floor, all of these defectors are big players in their now-former parties. If you want to find political activists, I suppose the best way is to find other activists and get them to join your side!

Today I learnt thay Paul McAlenan, LibDem Councillor 1999-2004, has quit the LibDems to back Ramsay as our potential Green consistuency MP. So what? Well, McAlenan was part of the "Nelson mafia" a group of young LibDem activists that were active in the late 90s just as I got into politics. Heavily armed with Focus leaflets and some vicious Bar Charts they decimated Labour and crushed the Tories, winning first Nelson Ward and then St. Stephens which seemed to fall with relative ease. McAlenen and friends represented the young, confident edge which surrounded the LibDems before they dramatically siezed control from Labour. McAlenan, along with Billy Boulton and Sarah Mitchell, were the modern and successful face of the party.

Then along came Ramsay and the Greens swept the board in the ward and Nelson elected its fourth party in twenty years. So to have picked up the endorsement of McAlenan is good work for Ramsay - he's a tribal LibDem and to secure his backing shows us either the lure of the Greens or the complete shambles which the Norwich LibDems have become, losing council seats, former councillors and activists. If I were Ramsay, I'd want McAlenan casting his expert eye over his election material. If I were Simon Wright, I'd be extremely worried about this. It looks more and more like he'll only have the North Norfolk LibDems to prop up his piss-poor campaign.

So, where are they now? We hear nothing of Sarah Mitchell now (expect Ramsay to be working his charm) and Billy Boulton famously attempted a come-back to the Council by taking over the LibDem Town Close seat from Derek Wood, which he went on to lose to the Greens on a massive swing. Nelson LibDems is now run by David Fairbairn who has led the party in the ward from calamity to distaster with the Greens now on 62% of the vote.

6 comments:

comrade said...

My understanding was that Paul and Sarah usually came as a pair. I understand that Paul was previouly in the Ecology Party so I am actually surprised that it has taken him so long to join the Greens.

Long ago I likened Lib Dem support to be a strange three legged beast akin to a stool - the Green leg has dropped off so the whole thing topples - next goes the tactical Tories because if the Libs aren't "winning here" whats the point - it just leaves the wierd and wonderful bonafide Liberals - and who would ever vote for them.....

Hoping Paul will make a comeback - the council needs people who storm out of meetings more often in protest at someone agreeing with him. Even better when he memorably called then cllr Andy Pearmain (now a Green colleague) an arsehole in full council. Happy days....

Paul said...

That's quite funny (really) Antony :)

And who is comrade?

Paul said...

Comrade, who are you?

What's there to tempt me to make a comeback? I'll have to create my own 'Let's not trash Norwich with rubbish architecture' party! :)

Paul said...

Sorry Antony,

Can't read! Thought that my first comment hadn't been posted so posted another.

How crap am I!

Comrade said...

Come on Paul, the council needs a bit more passion! Particularly liked your chapelfield letter!

Rubbish architecture is one of the few things Norwich City council can claim to be good at. If there was a question in council I am sure that the portfolio holder would give a stream of statistics about the amount and level of "crapness" the council has proudly promoted over the years. It can't be easy maintaining such low standards.


Best wishes
C.

Paul said...

But which Party through which to make a comeback?