Neighbours at war
Whilst on the streets of Diss canvassing for Tony Palmer this morning, I happened upon a LibDem counterpart who told of a “Berlin Wall” forming between South Norfolk and Norwich South LibDems.
On 4th May, the same day that the City LibDems were fighting for their lives to keep control of City Hall, there was a by-election in the Humbleyard division of Norfolk County Council. Humbleyard, which includes Cringleford, was the seat held by former Council Leader Alison King and is one of our safer county divisions. The LibDems, who genuinely and rather egotistically, believe they can (and should) win every by-election going set about Humbelyard with gusto. The result? Tory candidate Judith Virgo was elected with a decent – if reduced – majority. At City Hall the same night the LibDems lost six seats and control of the council to Labour.
Apparently Norwich South LibDems believes they could have held onto at least three (if not more) of the six with a little bit extra help from across the border – the help, of course, never came as they were busy trying to cut Judith Virgo’s majority a bit more.
A few weeks back, one City LibDem Councillor told me it was crazy for the South Norfolk LibDems to try and cut the Tory majority at County Hall by one whilst seeing a whole district authority slip through their fingers next door. Now that comment makes sense.
My Diss friend says that the relationship between the 2 groups is now something similar to that held by the USA and USSR fifty years ago. Oh, dear, I hear you think, how awful.
It gets worse, of course. Next year the LibDems have a pretty easy ride here in Norwich defending only 3 council seats. Across the border, South Norfolk has all-out elections. The worry is that Norwich South will let South Norfolk suffer on their lonesome in the same way that Norwich South suffered last May. And with John Fuller’s Tories on the march, who’s to say that this row won’t cost the LibDems control of another authority?