Blogger vows to topple Lib Dem leader

ray turner TGRWorzel

A local blogger has vowed he will “end  Liberal Democrat dominance within Eastleigh” by standing for election as an Independent and by launching an online campaign.

The blogger, Hedge End resident Ray Turner, has started an e-petition which aims to “Prevent Councillors from serving on several Councils”.

If successful,  the e-petition could eventually reduce the number of roles that the leader of the local Liberal Democrats and leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Cllr. Keith House, can hold concurrently.

Other Liberal Democrat Councillors will also be affected.

Besides his leadership responsibilities, the roles that Cllr. House currently holds are Hampshire County Councillor, Eastleigh Borough Councillor, Hedge End Town Councillor, Bursledon Parish Councillor and Board member of SEEDA (South East England Development Agency).

Keith House bigger

Eastleigh Leader Keith House. Hampshire's highest paid councillor according to website 'Isitfair?'

E-petitions are a recent innovation of the coalition Government, which enable any UK citizen to petition Parliament on matters of concern to them. If 100,000 signatures are obtained, there is a chance that the matter will be debated in the House of Commons and a possibility that the law might be changed.

Ray’s petition states:

We have a situation in Eastleigh where local Councillors serve on the Borough Council and can vote to approve a particular measure. That measure is then referred down to the Town or Parish Council for approval, but because those Borough Councillors also serve on the lower tier they are able to vote on the measure again.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Borough Councillors also pop-up on the local area committee and can vote for it a third-time. The result is that certain measures (good and bad) can be easily swept through the various tiers of local Government, irrespective of what the constituents think.

It is most undemocratic and very unhealthy. I want the Government to prevent this from happening and to strengthen local democracy, by making it against the law for Councillors to serve on more than one tier of Local Government.

Said Ray:

“I have felt for some time that the Lib Dem stranglehold within the Borough of Eastleigh is unhealthy. We recently had a good example of how that power can be used to stifle local debate and opposition and force through measures which have already been decided at a much higher level.

I’d like to see a completely different set of Councillors serving at each tier of local Government, to reduce the likelihood of this sort of suppression of local democracy from happening again.”

“Although my petition specifically mentions the situation in Eastleigh, it could easily arise in other parts of the country. I hope the petition will attract wider support, across the whole of England & Wales, not just within the Borough of Eastleigh”

Ray, aka ‘TGRWorzel’ is often to be found commenting on the pages of Eastleigh News, HedgeEndPeople, various BBC and Channel 4 Blogs and his own personal blog The Complete Works of TGR Worzel,

He claims his blogging activity has enabled him to make an impact in local and national politics.

“Since I started blogging in 2008, thoroughly frustrated with the deteriorating economic situation and the Government of the day, I’ve become steadily more involved in politics.

“I’m sure that many local and national politicians have at least read what I’ve been writing, even if they don’t always act upon it.

“This regular activity, commenting on current affairs, issues of the day, anything that gets me thinking really, has now brought me to the point where I feel obliged to take the next logical step and stand for election myself.

“I’ve therefore decided to stand in the Hedge End St Johns ward, in the 2012 Election for Eastleigh Borough Council. I don’t feel comfortable with any of the main parties, so I will therefore be standing as an independent candidate.”

Eastleigh News asked whether his photo,above, taken from The Complete Works of TGR Worzel sum-ups how Ray feels about mainstream politics and the local Liberal Democrats.

“It does”, said Ray.

“Its not terribly polite, but it does show how I feel.”

“I suspect I’m not the only person who feels this way. If anybody else would like to stand as an independent, I’d encourage them to stick their head over the parapet, bite-the bullet and do so. We can’t allow this Lib Dem stranglehold to continue in Eastleigh…”

Ray’s petition can be found here:

Follow Ray Turner’s Twitter feed @TGRWorzel

  11 comments for “Blogger vows to topple Lib Dem leader

  1. October 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    The recent example that I referred to is documented in the Eastleigh News story entitled Councillor Votes against his own motion

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      October 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Opps! I forgot the link…Thanks Ray!

  2. October 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I am totally in support of Ray.

    Thank you for making a stand on this issue.

  3. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    October 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I don’t think it seems very fair that some councillors get to vote more than once on the same issue as it passes through various councils and committee stages.
    I think it is rather unusual that Hedge End Town council should have three members of the same family sitting on it – or that the leader should be free to pick members of his family to sit on his cabinet – although I am sure its not without precedent.
    Sometimes it dosen’t feel like we are living in
    in a modern 21st Century conurbation – it feels more a Wild West town with a population of 301 – where the Sheriff is also the Judge and the Doctor doubles as undertaker.

    • October 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      Yes I agree. There are other problems with our local democracy besides the one that is the basis of my petition.

  4. Peter Stewart
    October 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    GOOD ON YOU RAY! It sounds like you are serious about getting on to the Council. If so you will need financial support plus a reliable team of volunteers to help you.

    If you are the candidate, then we are the party. If you want to discuss this further then give me a ring, or email me (Eastleigh News will give you my contact details) or if you would like to speak to one of our candidates in Hedge End (Michale O’Donoghue) then that can be sorted.

    One thing to consider is that if you stand as an “independent”, all you will get will be the vote of those who know you. If you stand as a UKIP candidate, you will also pick up the UKIP vote.

    Please give it some thought.

    • October 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks Peter. You have certainly hit on two of the things that make life harder as an independent, getting financial support and building a reliable team of volunteers.

      If anybody reading this would like to help with either issue I’d be very pleased to hear from you.

      Thanks for the hand of friendship from UKIP, but I’ve taken a firm decision here and intend to stick with it. Come what may, I’m going to run as an independent on this occasion.

      I take your point that if I stood with a party (any party) I’d get a good chunk of that party’s core vote, but as turnout at local elections is generally very low, there’s clearly a large number of disaffected voters who might be grateful of the chance to vote for an independent.

      Perhaps that silent majority will prove to be my core vote…!

  5. Peter Stewart
    October 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    p.s. The LibDems have got to where they have got by sheer hard slog. The road is not easy.

    • October 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      Completely agree with you here. I’ll give the Lib Dems credit for that. The road is not easy and they’ve done well to achieve this stranglehold.

      But I also feel they’ve gone off the road in recent years and are now driving on the pavements…

    October 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Completely agree with you here. I’ll give the Lib Dems credit for that. The road is not easy and they’ve done well to achieve this stranglehold.

    But I also feel they’ve gone off the road in recent years and are now driving on the pavements…

    Hi Ray,

    I admire your efforts to select a team. If you find this does not materialize as you would like, within perhaps the next month, then please contact me, but do so early, because time and momentum are EVERYTHING when one is facing such a strong opponent. Not one single vote can be taken for granted. Not one vote can be ignored. You are facing a truly mighty opponent and although I always like to mention the David and Goliath story to boost morale, in practice it needs a miracle to bring it to pass. Alas in politics, there are no miracles!

  7. October 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks Peter.

    In Hedge End St Johns ward I believe I’ll be standing against Cllr Jane Welsh from the Lib Dems and Paul Redding from the Tories, though we won’t know for sure until the formal nomination papers are submitted next year.

    I’ve chosen to stand in this ward because I feel that gives me the best chance of success. I have lived here for a very long time.

    If elected as an independent Councillor, I’ll be in the fabulous position of not having any party policies to follow or party leader to support. I expect that would give me the freedom to air some other points of view, ensure a much fuller discussion, drive a more considered debate and ultimately (I hope) get some better decisions out of the Council.

    But I don’t just want my point of view to be aired. I want to hear what everybody else thinks and I’ll do my best to make sure that those opinions are discussed too, even if I don’t entirely agree with them. The reason I want to be on the Council is to represent people, not to pursue a party or a personal agenda.

    I agree it would be interesting to stand directly against Keith House, perhaps that will happen one day, but its actually the petition that I’m hoping will eventually reduce Cllr House’s power.

    So that’s why every signature is important.

    Even if the petition doesn’t ultimately get 100,000 signatures, the idea might still be seen as a good one and it could be the subject of a private members bill one day.

    You never know who might pick it up and run with it…!

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