Author Topic: Unitary By-Election Result for Westbury North Division (Thursday 18/7/19)  (Read 1787 times)

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Offline baldy

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The results of the Westbury North unitary (ie. Wiltshire Council) by-election have been confirmed:

Ian Cunningham (Ind) 231
Carole King (LD) 488
Francis Morland (Ind) 16
Antonio Piazza (Con) 140
Jane Russ (Lab) 57

Carole King has been elected.
Turnout was 24.4%.

This is a strong win for Carole King and the LibDems. It is similar to the results that the previous councillor here used to get at elections. He was David Jenkins (LibDem) who resigned recently after about a year since he stopped working as a councillor due to ill health.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 12:32:16 PM by baldy »
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Offline Shizzy

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Francis Morland! Does this chap stand at every election in the area??
Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.

Offline baldy

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No, but he is on the town council and several local parish councils including Dilton Marsh and Heywood.


He was a Wiltshire Councillor for a while until 2013 in the Southwick division (which includes North Bradley etc) and every now and then lines himself up to have a go in local unitary by-elections but he will only throw money at his campaign and put out leaflets if he has a decent chance of winning - hence he gets low votes if he has not actually campaigned.  Normally, one does not know who the candidates are until it is too late to withdraw. When he does put on a full campaign, his leaflets are seriously impressive. He is a mine of information and has a very good knowledge of local government and other relevant law etc.



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Offline baldy

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I was surprised at the very low Labour result.   Maybe Jane Russ was hampered by the fact that her town council work is focused in her ward, Westbury West, not Westbury North.

I was a district councillor for the area that is now called Westbury North prior to 2009 and have lived in Rosefield Way. My last attempt at proper canvassing, knocking door to door, was during the 2007 district council elections, and I gained a lasting impression about the sort of folk who live in the area. In all normal circumstances with relatively capable candidates each, I would expect Labour, LibDems and the Conservative parties to get roughly similar results.

Something is going on in Westbury with the Conservative party and Labour party. They both cannot find candidates with a strong track record to pull in a personal vote and they both seem really unpopular as parties right now.

I was a bit surprised that our recent Mayor, Ian Cunningham, did not do better.   I'm pretty sure he will have a go in my division, Westbury West, at the ordinary elections in May 2021 when I will stand down as my final step away from politics to refocus my life on other matters.  I think he is likely to do very well at that point as I will be out of the way and I can't think of anyone else - whether running for a major party or not - who could beat him ..... as long as he puts on a strong campaign ...
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 09:16:11 AM by baldy »
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Offline Michael

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I was surprised at the very low Labour result.   Maybe Jane Russ was hampered by the fact that her town council work is focused in her ward, Westbury West, not Westbury North.
I think you are right I'm bound to say that it was considered that this was a predominately Lib/Dem seat and they did pull out all the stops to ensure victory.

Offline baldy

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I was surprised at the very low Labour result.   Maybe Jane Russ was hampered by the fact that her town council work is focused in her ward, Westbury West, not Westbury North.


I think you are right I'm bound to say that it was considered that this was a predominately Lib/Dem seat and they did pull out all the stops to ensure victory.


Local LibDems do put on full campaigns to try to ensure victory and I know that they were pulling in Trowbridge Wiltshire Councillors plus the WC LibDem group leader to help with the canvassing (because I heard them discussing it at County Hall during a long full council meeting about 2 weeks ago). Also, in fairness to Carole, she has a very long track record of doing local community stuff and so is a strong and easy candidate to promote.

However, someone of equal profile and with an equally strong campaign could have beaten her if they were independent, I think. For example, Ian Cunningham. I don't think he pulled out all the stops and maybe he was concerned about the fact that another independent would have cut into the independent vote share this time (as Francis was).

I've won every district and WC election I've run in as an independent since 2007 and every time I've ensured I had a list of achievements over the previous 4 years to talk about and I've put out at least 5 leaflets each time. It is thoroughly knackering to do all those deliveries but it usually means I'm quite fit by polling day and I've lost about a stone or so in weight each time ...

One mistake I used to make was to wear normal shoes. The blisters caused were murder ... These days I've learnt to use trainers which are really kind to the feet ...
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 17:32:14 PM by baldy »
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Offline Michael

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Yes the Lib/Dems did similar in Trowbridge Drynham and won the seat there mainly because John Knight split the Tory vote. The Tory candidate, as in Westbury, wasn't particularly strong with no local history, but it was after all a strong Tory seat.



Offline baldy

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Well, Graham Payne, the Wiltshire Councillor who held Trowbridge Drynham until he passed away, was of course a living legend having led the Tories at the district council for decades and having been the de facto chief campaigner for Conservative candidates in both Wiltshire County Council and West Wilts District Council within the areas contained within the old Westbury Parliamentary Constituency when the Westbury Constituency Conservative association was based at Lovemead House in Trowbridge.  Those were the days when the the Conservative Party allowed constituency association and even local branch chairs to run their own campaigns and produce local leaflets. These days its all controlled from the constituency association main office for the local regional group of constituencies, which is now in Salisbury.

Basically, Graham had a huge personal following and without him it would need a very strong candidate to hold that part of Trowbridge for the Tories, I think.

As an aside, he is the only person I can recall of all the paid up Conservative Party members I have met who on occasions would fill his sentences with f and b words. He even once let rip with a very loud $art at me in the district council offices after I resigned from the Conservatives (though that had nothing to do with him - I did not even consult him as my argument was with Westbury Town Council Conservatives).

When his political life was celebrated in a full Wiltshire Council meeting after his death, one veteran councillor from Westbury recalled that when the takeover of the district council was completed but before the keys to the old WWDC offices had been handed over to the new Wiltshire Council, Graham was doing last minute checks in the building as latest leader of the newly defunct council when a few top directors from Wiltshire Council turned up with tape measures ... they were told to F*c£ Off!!!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 20:56:39 PM by baldy »
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