Friday, April 20, 2007

Candidates - Part II

Catton Grove could prove to be the result of the night. Depsite being a safe-ish Labour seat (the party won it quite easily in 2006), one seat went to Tory Eve Collishaw in 2004 who seeks re-election this year. Miss Collishaw is something of a novelty - a proper Tory in Norwich. She like the incincerator, wants to cut tax and build the NDR. However, few people doubt her dedication and she has added to the life of the council. The ward is an odd shape and nobody really thinks they live in "Catton Grove". Cllr Collishaw is - as I understand from Antony - campaigning hard to win. She is up again Nesar Ahmed - the LibDem candidate who could have done better if his party had taken this seriously a few years back. Green lady Penny Edwards looks to be one of the party's few fourth placed candidates. Labour's candidate this time is Martin Booth. After a bit of research I found out he was Labour's former County Councillor for North Walsham and was on the frontbench during their recent spell in power. Mr Booth's campaign doesn't seem to have taken off, so I predicted a very close Conservative hold.

Crome Ward - Despite being the home of the 2000 Tory gain shock of the night, Crome has since reverted to being as safe a seat for Labour as they have in Norwich. Alan Waters, the man who lost by 4 votes 7 years ago, is the candidate again this year and will be hoping that history doesn't repeat itself as he will have hopes of being Council Leader if Steve Morphew falls in Mile Cross. Green candidate Chris Webb and LibDem Irene Bowling won't be making too much of an effort. But then, you have to question if Tory Kay Mason is either. Current Norwich North Association Chairman Ms Mason was Dr Gibson's challenger in 2001. If this is her reaunch for the next election she may have to wait. Prediction: Labour hold with a slightly reduced majority.

Mile Cross: By far the most exciting ward to follow. Perenial Tory candidate David Mackie and Green Christine Way will be just onlookers in this contest. This seat went LibDem under Vic Elvin (RIP) and Labour has to wrest it back. When Vic passed away, young gun Carl Mayhew disproved the theory that "only Vic can win here". The LibDems are throwing the kitchen sink at this whilst Labour are pulling in activists to try and save their Leader. Leaflets and canvassers are everywhere ... Former LibDem Councillor Simon Nobbs - not the most popular guy but hard working - is setting the pace here but don't write off Cllr Morphew's campaignin and personal vote. If Labour lose this seat they are in real trouble - only because they'll lose the most obvious and best leader they've had in years. Prediction: Too close to call, but at this moment I'd go for a LibDem gain from Labour with a very small majority.

Eaton: This last bastion of a safe LibDem seat is under heavy attack from the Tories this year. With former Leader Ian Couzens standing down, the wife of PPC Simon Wright - Ros Wright - is standing and the Conservatives have the bit between their teeth. They are contrasting Mrs Wright's "parachute" jump into Eaton with their own - Vic Hopes - and his 400 years of service to the area. The Conservatives are certainly delivering more leaflets but you just don't gte the feeling this majority can be overcome in one poll. Labour have former Bowthorpe man Ron Borrett, the Greens have Cllr Janet Bearman's husband Richard and UKIP have South Park man John Wilder standing. LibDems to hold but Tories to cut the majority again. A much better fight to watch in 2007.

Mancroft - Whilst some may right Mancroft off as an easy Green hold, for some reason both Labour and the Tories have chosen to make a fight of it here. Labour's David Fullman (who fought the Town Close by-election in 2005) has been heavily leafletting in the ward whilst Tory new boy Niki George is putitng himself about a bit. Odd thing is that Mr George's leaflets seem not to admit to him being a Conservative ... how well this tactic does is yet to be seen. The LibDems hope that Alan Oliver will win their once safe berth but the general consensus is not. The new Green candidate - Cllr Steve Altman quit after just a year - is Tom Dylan. Mr Dylan is by far the scariest man on a leaflet I have ever seen! But he is odds on the take the seat. Prediction: Green hold

Antony's thoughts... I wouldn't agree with everything here - but I did say I would publish them in full. My personal thought is Morph will hold Mile Cross and that the Tories will come a lot closer in Crome. Tory hold in Catton, Green hold in Mancroft and too-close-to-call in Eaton.


Anonymous said...

Think Morph will hold Mile Cross, Eve to lose to Lab in Catton, Mancroft Green hold and Eaton anything

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree anon, Cllr Collishaw is not Green in her approach to the NDR and views on Incineration, and the communities affected by her decisions at County, including Catton Grove from the emissions. It a time to expose this Green hypocrisy and past track record at the ballet box at Catton Grove. I hope Ahmed, Booth or Edwards nick it.

Maltheus said...

Lib Dems believe that they can hold Eaton and i think so too. Morphew will be safe but only just.

Anonymous said...

IMO, The three strongest distinct issues for City Tories are:

Congestion Charging
Unitary Status
Council Tax levels and 4.9% increase this year.

Anonymous said...

I would go on Council Tax, they forgot to turn up for the vote.

Antony said...

Ah anonymous 3.30 you have been reading too many LibDem leaflets. If having bronchitis equals "forgetting" to turn up then I plead guilty. I am happy to make my medical notes public if that satisfies you. Actually, Labour made a similar point about a travellers meeting - saying I forgot to turn up ... without mentioning that I was at work (teaching, so I cna hardly nip out.)

Such attacks demean you, anon., me and politics as a whole. Is it any wonder people don't vote with comments like that?

I'm sure you'll apologise and stop bleating such nonsense in your next comment post.

Anonymous said...

Annon. 3.30 very cheap shot.

Perhaps this May election should be a referendum on Unitary Status and Congestion charging. I think the public should vote yeah or nay on these so the local democractic mandate is very clear either ways on these issues, and that they aren't slide in and imposed after the elections. Perhaps the Council would stutter in their tracks if majorities said no to Unitary and Congestion Charging.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:10, whilst I agree that referendums on big single issues are a good idea, lets not confuse it with an election. If we do so, we could (for example) end up with a bunch of Councillors who really don't have an excuse for missing meetings, but at least they had the right position on issue x 3 years ago.
Representative democracy= good, Direct democracy= good, mixing the 2 = utter confusion and bad decision making!

Anonymous said...

I did know that but what was the matter with Eve, can't see turn up without you to hold her hand?

Anonymous said...

Antony, can you find out why your writer thinks Simon Nobbs in not popular?

And what is so scary about Dylan?

Antony said...

LOL Eve leads me by the hand!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6.10 Surely democracy is morphous and the electorate determine whats important to them. Surely if a party like labour wish to administer, and change the goals on how to administer (Unitary), and this is one of the top issues, an effective referendum is a good thing where most parties have effectively covering the same ground on ASB, Waste Collection, inward investment etc. Perhaps Labour / Lib Dems know they will really come a cropper in this debate (if transparent) and wish to brush it under the election rug, and keep stage managing the result?

There is no point voting for a representative who ducks the main issue of contention at the election box,or who is less than transparent on main issues at the ballet box, or even tells electors what sort of democracy is good for them, then claims some sort of mandate at the end of things. Elections can be an narrow issues as they can be on diverse issues. Who decides, who decides, who decides? Surely this is up to tha people putting the crosses on the ballets.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6.10 Is not Unitary Status a big key issue for Norwich residents and elsewhere? This is issue will not just affect Norwich for 3 years, but potentially for many decades, with unknown financial and political representative results. Labour/ Lib Dems do not what to put this issue up at the top of the issue list, because they know they will get savaged by 60-70% of electorates on the issue at the ballet box on the 3rd, with no resulting mandate. Is this not correct?

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts

Mancroft: David Fullman's paper candidature in Town Close is mentioned but not that he is a former Lord Mayor and former Deputy Leader of the council. David was a councillor for some years in Mancroft and very highly regarded - particularly on resolving housing issues. Regardless of political persuasion it was a loss to the council when David lost his seat in 2002.

Mancroft is likely to be Green again this year but Labour will come second and in a better year for them nationally could win here again.

How many councillors do the Greens get through - another one quits after just a year!

Mile X: Funnily enough it was Simon Nobbs who beat David Fullman - largely due to a drop in the Tory vote and tactical voting in 2002. He didn't make much of an impact on the council and dropped off in 2004. He has few links with the estate and although seems to be doing ok largely on the back of Mayhews by election work and nostalgia for "ole Vic". The by election win was mainly because the Liberals brought in activists from all over Norfolk.

Steve Morphew is a very effective local politician both in the chamber and the ward. I tip him to hold on.

Crome: Is the Tory dark horse seat - if they have a very good night it could be very close. There is a solid Tory vote in the ward mainly supported by an older demographic of folks who bought their council houses in the 80's.

Labour have in the past been blighted by internal splits here of the Waters vs Simpson variety but that is now in the past. It is difficult to see lightening striking Alan Waters twice (after 2000) but you never know.

Eaton: Really if this isn't the year the Tories get there or there abouts they never will. This is referred to as a safe Liberal seat but they have only held it since the late 90's and largely due to no other party making much of an effort. Question did one Anthony Little stand here in 2000? - prediction Liberals (just)

Sewell: Ought to be Labour but is there for the taking if another party puts a decent campaign together. Labour won on less than 30% last year. The interestign question is what will happen to the NOTW votes from last year. The Liberals have a history here - they even won the old Mousehold seat with Simon Richardson in 2000. However, I am not sure that Ian Williams' heart is fully in his comeback - this is a shame because he was one of the few peopel who really organised the local Lib Dems - they miss him. This seat could be good Green territory when you look at the rows of terraces except that hey are camped in Norwich South. The Tory candidate had a somewhat forgettable period as a Broadland District cllr.
Prediction - Labour

Thorpe Hamlet: The old Liberal stronghold has survived despite two cllrs spending time behind bars in the past ten years. They neglected the seat badly but held on year on year due to the disapearance of the local Tories. teh seat is now different to old with Pilling Park gone and a chunk of fertile Tory territory around the cathedral area coming in. However, my fancy is for the Greens to spring a potential shock. It could be close.

Nelson: Green hold (yawn)

Wensum: Green hold - the rumour is the Lib Dems have given up. Labour have got a good chunk of support and hold the county seat so will be second albeit some distance behind

Catton Grove: Too close to call - the Tories appear to be working some parts of the ward very hard. Labour has a sleeping vote here - Martin Booth is a pretty effective operator who would be very good on the council. Recount land - but hunch is for Eve to hang on

Bowthorpe: Can the Tories really lose in a seat they won 12 months ago? I think not. Tory gain

Town Close: Green gain. Chris Thomas is a nice man but has been a perpetually silent cllr for the past 15 years. It is time for a change.

University: Is this a contest? Roy Blower is nominated as Lord Mayor which is very unusual for someone up for re-election. Is he getting a clear run?? I think it is all rather academic - he has a good profile and has worked his socks off in recent years - the Roy Blower party will win.

Lakenham: Knife edge last year. Keith Driver is a very dedicated local cllr who got elected in 2004 against a very strong Lib Dem tide in this seat. Gordon Dean was county cllr for Eaton, lost in the old Henderson seat in 2000, then on the city for Nelson and was parliamentary candidate in South West Norfolk in 2001 ( he urged his supporters to tactically vote Labour just before the poll. He is a careerist Lib Dem who will switch seats seeking election. I believe he still lives in Nelson but is clearly chicken running. On the national swing the Lib Dems will gain - which I actually think is a shame because Driver has a far better record as a cllr.

Overall result - Lab -2, Tory +1, Green +2, Lib Dem -1. Lab 14, Lib 11, Green 11, Con 3.
Well and truly hung - Greens biggest party next year??? - bets are on.

Anonymous said...

Word is that the Lib Dems are not content with throwing the kitchen sink at Mile X - over the weekend most of the bathroom suite was chucked at it too..

Anonymous said...

Could the Morph be struggling in Mile Cross and the City Labour come out without its best leader for years? Or will the Steve charm and charisma get him through for another 3 years?