Candidates announced in Wildern by-election

Ballott box

The list of candidates for the Hedge End town council by election on February 13 has been declared.

The vacancy in Wildern ward has arisen following the death of Liberal Democrat Councillor June Watson

A total of five candidates are standing one independent and a candidate from each of main parties.

All are Hedge Enders.

Currently the council consists of 20 Lib Dems and just one Independent.

Unlike borough councillors, town councillors do not receive an allowance.

First on the list is Jerry Hall for the Conservatives.

The tory activist has previously canvassed for Maria Hutchings during her parliamentary campaign and has also campaigned hard on local issues – opposing the proposed housing developments at Boorley Green and Stoneham Park.

The local business owner has previously served as a Hedge End town councilor and has come close to wining again, recently contesting both a borough seat in St John’s ward and a town council seat at St Helen’s finishing a tight second on both occasions pushing Ukip’s Michale O’Donoghue into second place.

Ukip’s ability to split the tory vote probably cost Hall a seat and it is O’Donoghue who Jerry Hall will face again.

O’Donoghue has stood for a council seat in Hedge End (both borough and town) five times since 2011, coming third three times and fourth twice.

In the town council by-election in Shamblehurst ward in 2012 O’Donoghue scored only 22 votes and was beaten into fourth by the independent candidate (and Eastleigh News contributor) Ray Turner who is also standing in Wildern.

Turner – a former civil servant and blogger – believes that local representation is bedeviled by party politics and wants to join sitting Independent Councillor Keith Day as a counterweight to the Liberal Democrat majority.

Cllr Day previously outpolled the Ukip candidate Fred Estall in Wildern ward in 2011 so there is support for Independent candidates as an alternative choice here.

Of course since these poor results there has been a surge of support for Ukip in Eastleigh in both the parliamentary and county elections.

During 2013 public anxiety over immigration, dissatisfaction with coalition policies, fallout from former MP Chris Huhne’s trial and local development issues combined to give Ukip their best ever results here.

Ukip insist the surge was more than just a protest vote but the political impetus shows signs of shifting once again towards the coalition partners.

A predicted tidal wave of millions of Romanian and Bulgarian refugees has so far failed to materialise and since the elections last year, the economy has started to pick up.

GDP is up and inflation is down along with unemployment, figures reflected in rising consumer confidence.

Despite Ukip’s recent strong performance in Eastleigh the latest national populous poll puts them behind the other main parties at 9%.

Hedge End itself is one of the more affluent areas of the borough and hasn’t felt the full force of coalition austerity measures.

In Wildern there are currently only 34 jobseekers or 1% of working population – by comparison Eastleigh Central has 165 workless people signing on (2.3%) so unemployment is hardly an issue.

Of course Ukip are expected to sweep the board in the Euro elections and this could have effect on the outcome of local elections being held on the same day but that still a year away and this year’s previously untested Lib Dem candidate in Wildern, Emma Norman, can still win comfortably despite Eastleigh Lib Dems hemorrhaging votes since 2011.

Last year Eastleigh Lib Dems lost three county seats but they still remain the dominant party at every tier of government in Eastleigh while their leafleting operation is the envy of other parties.

Most voters seem impressed by the Lib Dem claim to have pegged Council Tax and although anger over housing developments might pose a problem for them in some wards – it is not likely feature as a voter concern in Wildern.

Labour Candidate Andrew Helps stood in the Botley and Hedge End division during the county elections last year when Ray Turner interviewed him for Eastleigh News.

Despite Labour’s lead in the national polls past voting patterns would suggest their prospects of success are slim here but Labour have made it clear they wish to contest seats in order to give voters a choice and avoid uncontested seats falling to the Lib Dems as has previously happened in some Eastleigh parishes.

This is small by-election which would normally pass off unnoticed but the outcome – of what is likely to be a three horse race – will be closely studied for pointers to May’s borough elections.

photo. ©Electoral Commission

  11 comments for “Candidates announced in Wildern by-election

  1. Rosie
    January 20, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Hopefully the Independent candidate will be voted in. There needs to be some objectivity on our local councils, with at least some councillors acting for all the people in their area and protecting our countryside from EBC’s wanton destruction of it. EBC Lib Dems seem to control most of our local councils – eg, the Leader of EBC is able to also sit on at least one other local council – a definite conflict of interest and all the other Lib Dem councillors just do as they’re told and seem scared to disobey or question anything the Leader of EBC says! Our MP also insists on keeping his local councillor role, despite his actions proving he needs to be focusing full time on being an MP as he’s just not up to the job and couldn’t even understand charities and voluntary organisations’ concerns about the “gagging” law or admit that he didn’t! Are not ALL councillors supposed to act objectively and consider the interests of ALL their residents, not just the ones that they live close to or who support the Lib Dems? As for the jobless figures anywhere, take them with a pinch of salt as the true jobless includes, eg, many career women (and probably many men) made redundant in mid-life and pushed into minimum wage jobs or “hobby” self employment by Job Centres and then finding themselves unable to claim job seekers allowance or benefits. So we don’t need thousands of new-build houses to just bring more people into the area to take all but the lowest paid jobs, make us wait up to a month for a doctor’s appointment and sit breathing in exhaust fumes on our gridlocked roads for hours each day. We need local councillors who act for us and not themselves or their own party.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      January 20, 2014 at 2:13 am

      I’m kind of hoping Ray isn’t elected as I’d prefer to read his reports of HETC meetings rather than read about him taking part in them but I’m sure he will be pleased by your support.

      Unemployment – the figures are for those claiming JSA and you can (rightly) throw all sorts of caveats at them like part time workers, zero hour contractors, bogus self employed etc but when you take them in conjunction with the figures for job centre vacancies which are rising, then it clearly points to a pick up in the economy.

      My concerns is that these job gains are being created by credit fuelled inflation – by inflation I mean an increase in money supply through printing – not a rise in retail prices though i beleive the retail price rises are there but being masked by ‘shrinkflation’.

  2. January 20, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Some of our current Town Councillors are in their seats by default, because the election wasn’t contested

    This happens for one of two reasons;

    1) Because Hedge Enders haven’t come forward to put their name on the ballot paper when the regular election is due

    2) Because the co-option notice either goes unnoticed or nobody collects the signatures needed to force a by-election. The Lib Dems then appoint another Lib Dem, without an election being held, thus strengthening their majority and adding to the impression that they are popular locally.

    But Hedge Ender’s are getting better at making sure that democracy happens. This is the third by-election we’ve had in the last few years. How Wildern will vote this time remains to be seen, but it is a five-horse race so there is plenty of choice.

    WIth all of the Town Council seats up for re-election in 2015, we need lots more people to come forward and stand as candidates against the Lib Dems. We need more people to stand as Independent [or for Labour, UKIP, Conservative, Monster Raving Loony, Beer Baccy & Crumpet – or some other party], just to make sure that every seat and every by-election is contested in Hedge End..

    If you can help in that way, i.e. by standing in Hedge End in future, please contact one of the candidates in this election (any of them). We’ll all be pleased to hear from you…!

    • January 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Hedge End Town Council spends in excess of £600,000 of council tax payers’ money each year. It always surprises me that more people don’t want a say in how their money is spent.

  3. Alex Wade
    January 20, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Hi ray, good luck in the by election, just wandering would you be happy to work with lib Dems on the council, or remove them all, as a outsider of the borough I understands acting a mixture of views,and I enjoy reading your site a roots, but I think any sweeping generalisation of any party Is unfair, and at least they can find people to get involved, I’m involved in local politics and finding future cllrs at any level is hard work, let alone with cuts from government.

    • January 22, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks Alex.

      I do not believe in opposition for opposition’s sake and would have no trouble working with the Lib Dems, provided of course that I feel that what they are proposing is correct. Where I don’t agree I will always say so. My judgement will be influenced by the constituents and what they are telling me, rather than my own opinion.That is the beauty of being an Independent. Keith House can glare at me all he likes in Council meetings, and it won’t make a difference: I can say what I think.

      I completely agree that the Lib Dems have done well to get people to stand in these Parish level elections. I’m campaigning to get more people to stand in them too, either for one of the parties or as an Independent. The most important thing is that they are all contested.

      Apart from the odd bus-fare into Eastleigh, the Town Councillors are not remunerated, which could be part of the problem…!

      As for sweeping generalisations, you’re right, there are exceptions. I can think of some Parish/Borough Councillors Lib Dem and Tory who I rate highly, but generally speaking….

  4. January 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Yep, Keith. People are always looking for the best deal when buying anything from a burger to a new phone or a new car. But they’re happy to part with well over £1000 a year in Council Tax without looking at the labels on the tins!

  5. Sue
    January 20, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I live in the Wildern ward. I’m hoping for a good turnout and a Labour win! That aside I agree with Ray Turners comments.

    • January 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks Sue.

      I don’t mind who wins, so long as somebody manages to break the Lib Dems 20-1 majority on the Town Council. It is ‘absolute power’ and as such, it is a very unhealthy situation.

  6. Sam Snook.
    January 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    The rules on Predetermination Bill has been scrapped so councillors
    can now openly discuss planning application’ with its residents.
    Sam Snook

  7. Sam
    January 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Sam Snook on January 2 -2014
    Rosie —-“Brilliant- Comments”
    “Independent” Councillors need people like you. WELL DONE Rosie, I’m just off to sweep up the wet leaves on Salisbury Arch at “Twyford Rd”
    Sam Snook

Comments are closed.