Lib Dems hold Wildern in by-election

The recriminations have already started

The recriminations have already started

The Liberal Democrats have comfortably held on to Wildern ward in the Hedge End Town Council by-election on Thursday.

Emma Norman polled 254 votes securing 45% of the vote.

Conservative Jerry Hall came second with 101 votes and Ukip’s Michale O’Donaghue a close third with 99 votes.

Just one vote separated the last two places; Andrew Helps came fourth for Labour with 55 votes and independent Ray Turner took 54 votes.

Turner remarked:

“Any independent would be pleased to running neck and neck with Labour at this stage”.

Eastleigh’s Lib Dem leader Keith House , who  also sits as a HTEC Wildern councillor, said:

“This was a really good result for Emma Norman and the whole Liberal Democrat team in Hedge End.  Local residents valued the team’s all-year-round newsletters and campaigning, keeping council tax down again and protecting local services from cuts”.

There was no continuation of last year’s Ukip surge and the Lib Dems look as strong as ever although at the opposite end of the country, at the Wythenshawe by-election, the results were almost reverse order. It was a win for Labour with Ukip pushing the Conservatives into third while the Lib Dems lost their deposit.

But whatever the state of the Lib Dems nationally there are areas where they remain dominant and Hedge End certainly seems to be one despite controversy over the Local Plan.

At this election as in a previous parish by- election at Chandler’s Ford, no polling cards were issued and this may have contributed to the low 21% turnout.

Both Ukip and Independent candidate Ray Turner complained that a low turnout would favour the ruling Lib Dem party but this was not the only complaint of the campaign.

During the election period it had emerged that two sitting Lib Dems on HTEC had changed their political affiliation from Lib Dem to Independent.

Ray Turner was concerned that this was an attempt to undermine his campaign.

Turner’s campaign leaflets argued that Lib Dems were over-represented on HETC, where there was only one councillor, Keith Day, to oppose a Lib Dem majority of 20.

Turner complained on his campaign website that the two councillors involved were still affiliated to the Lib Dems as Cllr Peter Hughes is married to Lib Dem Borough Councillor Jenny Hughes and the other Councillor involved, Caitlin Bloom, is the daughter of Lib Dem Councillor Louise Bloom.

Hughes now also sits as Independent Borough Councillor having been elected as a Lib Dem.

Councillor Hughes did not respond to Eastleigh News requests to discuss the reason for his move but Caitlin Bloom strenuously denied any suggestion that she was trying to interfere with campaigning in Wildern.

Eastleigh news was told by Lib Dem group leader Keith House that these unpublicised defections occurred some time ago, as far back as December 2012.

Eastleigh’s longest serving Independent Cllr Keith Day said:

“ It’s a bit of a shock to see members of two of Hedge End’s big Lib Dem family dynasties turning their back on the party, but it might be good for local democracy in the long run.”

Cllr Day also blogged that Independents were now “Hedge End’s fastest growing political party”.

There have in fact been a number of Lib Dem resignations in Eastleigh since 2010.

Joyce Sortwell and her Parish Councillor spouse Graham, both left to join the Conservatives, Keith Day went Independent and Glynn Davies Dear, Dave Broughton and Andy Moore all left to form the Independent group of Eastleigh Councillors which was later disbanded after Davies-Dear and Moore joined Ukip.

crescent chris huhne

some ex Lib dems

None of these former Lib Dems were able to defend their seats which were all subsequently reclaimed.

Keith Day was elected as an Independent to Hedge End Town Council and Andy Moore caused a major upset in last May’s county election by standing for Ukip and unseating Cllr Chris Thomas in Eastleigh East.

The local council elections are only weeks away but there was little in the Wildern result to encourage the losing parties. The Lib Dems on the other hand, will have boosted their confidence following a shock defeat at last May’s county poll when Ukip took three Eastleigh divisions from them.

  39 comments for “Lib Dems hold Wildern in by-election

  1. Sue
    February 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

    With a turnout of only 21.3%, and over half of those being postal votes, I think democracy is the biggest loser? I think it was Ray Turner in his leaflet that urged people to vote, even if not for him. I wish they had done in higher numbers! The appalling leaflet I recieved, (which only upon very close inspection with a magnifying glass!) turned out to be from the Lib Dems and was aimed against UKIP shows how frightened the Lib Dems are locally re the UKIP threat. Apart from that leaflet I also had at least 2 (maybe) three others, a lady knocking the door and 2 phonecalls from the Lib Dems. So the Lib Dems did throw all they have at this election. I had 2 leaflets from Labour and a door knock. I voted Labour. But my question is ——- why were so few people in the Wildern Ward interested in this election? There may not have been polling cards but there were ample leaflets delivered at a cost of ? So Lib Dem lady was elected by about 10% of the electorate? In other words 90% did not vote for her.

    • Keith House
      February 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      It’s always interesting to read analysis of election results, especially when they try to ascribe views to people who did not vote. 21% is pretty good, historically, for a Town Council by-election on a stormy winter’s day. As the Lib Dem candidate got more than double the vote of any other candidate, and as UKIP finished 3rd, it hardly suggests they are very relevant other than as a protest vote.
      Caitlin Bloom has sat as an Independent for well over a year. If Keith Day and Ray Turner have not noticed that, well, that’s their problem. It rather knocks out the conspiracy theory.
      Liberal Democrats win elections locally due to their strong track record, year in year out. The other parties (including so-called Independents) only turn up when there’s an election on.

      • February 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm

        Yes, I wish I had noticed that change earlier, but how many Hedge Enders peruse the directory of Councillors on the HETC website every day to see if any of them have jumped ship…?

        When these changes occur, a clear public statement is important. We should be told there has been a change, rather than left to trip over it…

        But its out in the open now. Hopefully everybody can move on and work together to do what’s best for Hedge End and Eastleigh.

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        February 16, 2014 at 11:19 pm

        Surely if you have been elected on a party ticket and subsequently resign the whip you should at least tell your electorate?

        • February 16, 2014 at 11:37 pm

          I would have thought so Stephen.

          Equally, if one remains a member of [whatever] party it isn’t appropriate to describe yourself as ‘Independent’

          The Shadow Immigration Minister, David Hanson MP, tried to get The UK Elected Representatives (Disclosure of Party Membership) Bill 2012-13 through Parliament last year and deserves credit for seeing the problem and trying to do something about it.

          Sadly the Bill ran out of time, but a spin-off is that I now see David Hanson MP as a decent MP. He has gone up in my estimation and would make a good future leader of the Labour party – in my eyes…!

  2. Rosie
    February 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    The total number of votes for non-Lib Dem candidates shows the true picture, which will hopefully have more impact at the next elections across the Borough (the ones where there is the option to select multiple candidates, not just one). Many of us will be ticking all the non-Lib Dems and no Lib Dems, following on from the Lib Dems’ destruction of our countryside, whilst protecting more suitable low cost housing sites, and their pre-election and continually- misleading and trumpet-blowing “propaganda” ….!). Also, I remain very suspicious of the 2 Lib Dem councillors who have supposedly become “independent” – no doubt we’ll all be watching their future actions (especially if they decide to become Lib Dem again when it suits the Lib Dems!). It all has a nasty smell to me, and many other people!

  3. February 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Like most Hedge Enders who live in St John’s ward, I’ve had lots of Lib Dem leaflets pushed through my door last year campaigning for Cllr Peter Hughes. I’ve even had one such leaflet since Christmas…!

    Now we learn, in your report, that Keith House told E.N. that these two Town Cllrs have been “Independent” since 2012…?

    We also learn that even Cllr Keith Day was surprised by this news, and he’s been sat in how many Council meetings with these two new ‘Independents’ over the last year…?

    This sort of deception is a recognised problem in UK politics. There was even a private members bill put before Parliament in 2013, which aimed to stop exactly this from happening. Sadly it ran out of time….

    I think that Bill needs to be resurrected…

    • February 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      Interestingly, barely an hour after I posted this comment, I heard a car pull-up outside and moments later another Lib Dem leaflet was pushed through my letterbox. I didn’t see who was in the car…!

      This latest leaflet, dated January 2014 but delivered today (Feb 16th), introduces ‘hard-working campaigner’ Mark McCormick. Given that his name/face is now appearing on the Lib Dem leaflets, it appears that Mark McCormick will be the Lib Dem’s replacement for Cllr Peter Hughes, when Cllr Hughes Borough seat is contested [later this year I think].

      Lib Dems don’t normally write about the ‘hard-working campaigners’ behind the scenes in Standpoint, just the serving Councillors and the people they intend to put up for election…!

      • February 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

        Whilst looking at old Parish/Town Council by-election results, I’ve stumbled across a record of Mark McCormick being elected to Bursledon Parish Council in 2011. Sure enough, check the Bursledon Parish Council website and he’s currently listed as Chairman of Bursledon Parish Council.

        His home address, as listed on that website, is in Bursledon Green.

        Does anybody else remember the Lib Dems telling voters, during this recent campaign, that Emma Norman was the right candidate for Wildern, because she lives in Wildern, and that the other candidates should be rejected because they live outside the ward…?

        Ho hum…!

  4. John Renard
    February 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I have no political affiliations, but I was intrigued by what is said above about two long-term Lib Dems quietly becoming ‘Independent’. This, of course, would split the Independent vote, to the obvious advantage of the Lib Dems. It would also affect the public’s perception of the make-up of EBC.

    So I looked at Mr Turner’s campaign website (link in the main article above), and was astonished to read this:

    “Cllr Caitlin Bloom, as her name suggests, is the daughter of Cllr Louise Bloom. That’s one important connection that keeps her in the Lib Dem loop, but because Cllr Louise Bloom and Cllr Keith House live together that also means that Cllr Caitlin Bloom is also potentially subject to the direct influence of the leader of the local Liberal Democrats and the Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Cllr Keith House.”

    Is this ‘family’ connection true as stated? If so, there is the most appalling stench of fish over Eastleigh Lib Dems, and very rotten fish at that.

    • February 16, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Anybody can change their affiliation John, but why do it so quietly…?

      Normally, when this happens, the Cllrs who have resigned [whichever] party make a lot of noise about it….!

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      February 16, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      I suppose when you think about it is astonishing that although there is a population of 20,000 people in Hedge End they should select three members of the same family as their representatives.

      But hey, that’s democracy for you 🙂

      Come to think of it there 68 million people in UK but the official head of state is only ever chosen from one family – the Glucksbergs.

      Then of course there is North Korea.

      USA is very democratic and any one of its 314 million citizens can rise to become head of state so isn’t it a weird coincidence that they ended up with TWO presidents BOTH called George Bush?

      What are the chances of that happening?

      • John Renard
        February 16, 2014 at 10:31 pm

        QUOTE: ” . . . astonishing that [the voters] select three members of the same family as their representatives.”

        You seem to be missing the point.

        OK, so three people from the same family were elected (not surprising in Eastleigh, where a chimp would be returned if wearing a Lib Dem rosette).

        What raises the eyebrows and sets the nostrils twitching is when the family is such a strong bastion of Lib Demmery and one of them – without the customary fanfare – quietly purports to have become ‘Independent’, thereby benefiting the party.

        But hey-ho! We should not be surprised by any Lib Dem machinations. This is the party which bombards me with leaflets proclaiming its love of green fields and inter-village gaps, while simultaneously planning to destroy them . . .

        (BTW – we don’t choose our head of state. And ‘Glucksbergs’? Please elucidate.)

        • February 16, 2014 at 11:02 pm

          A footnote John. There are two other Town Cllrs who we know are ‘an item’. I rate them as two of the better Town Cllrs actually. No need to name them here. Hedge Enders just need to be alert that there are such connections / relationships within the Town Council – if only to save the embarrassment of moaning about one Councillor when speaking to their partner…!

          • mm
            Eastleigh Xpress
            February 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm

            There are a few ‘family connections’ in the constituency party and, we are led to believe, other connections of a brotherly nature.

          • Alex Wade
            February 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm

            This is not that unusual I am a third generation cllr in my parish, and we all sit on the local council, in fact at last local elections my father was elected uopposed, but my grandfather a myself were both elected. One of the reasons there is a family connection is due to lack of people willing to put them selves forward. Often, but not always family share political beliefs a values, so I cannot knock such connections, particularly in local government.

            • Rigel
              February 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm

              Interesting alex ,may I ask are you all members of the same party , if any?
              do you disagree/vote differently?
              we have a situation where there is one party rule, many people would like to stand against them but the 40 lib dems (+ network of wannabees) campaign for each other and spend so much
              on mailshots that it is v difficult to take them on .

        • mm
          Eastleigh Xpress
          February 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

          Mrs Elizabeth Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg to give HRH The Queen her full family name.

          • John Renard
            February 17, 2014 at 12:04 am

            “It’s a poor day when you learn nothing new!”
            Thanks for that. I didn’t know that S-H-S-G is Prince Philip’s ancestral family. We just know him from his adopted name, Mountbatten – or Phil the Greek!
            But of course it is not Her Maj’s ancestral family. Wasn’t that Battenburg, or perhaps some other sort of cake?

            • mm
              Eastleigh Xpress
              February 17, 2014 at 12:58 am

              Yes, indeed they were Battenburgers but still don’t see why her kids should get a chance to have a crack at the top job and not mine!

  5. February 17, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Why are the Lib Dems still having a dig at their opponents after the election is over? I’ve heard of sore losers but we seem to have a new category in Hedge End of “sore winners”.

    Congratulations to my new ward colleague Cllr Emma Norman. She has put herself forward to do a job for her felllow residents which is necessary, important, is unremunerated, and for which she will get scant thanks.

  6. Rigel
    February 17, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I don’t get it…. if Hedge end population is 20,000 , 254 votes is .0128%

    all those votes cast added up is 563 which is only about 2.5% of the electorate , ok double or triple these numbers because of kids younger than the voting age perhaps ,

    to get 21% of the electorate you need 4,200 votes cast….

    …someone is out by a factor of 10……

    If KH thinks cllr Norman is representative with 254 votes he is mad, that is just friends and family , I mean 1 school year has 60 people so if just her school friends and their parents and siblings voted for her she’s in .

    254 is so small that actually the direct and indirect employees of EBC in the ward can vote you in..

    its 8.30 in the morning so I can’t ring and get the correct figures but there is not just a void in democracy there is a void in our opposition to scandal.

    • February 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Hedge End is split into 7 wards Rigel, Wildern being one of them. As Stephen says, circa 2.5K voters eligible for this by-election.

      I was disappointed to see KH claiming that 21.32% is a good turnout, particularly as one of his many roles is to promote democracy in other parts of the world. We had nearly 25% turnout in the Shamblehurst by-election of 2012. At the time, we thought that was a new low…!

      • Keith House
        February 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

        If you research Parish/Town by-elections, Ray, you will see historically that many had turnouts in the 10-20% area, and that’s before accounting for the weather/winter short days. Blaming the electorate for a result is rarely helpful.

        • February 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

          I see that Hiltingbury East 23/6/2011 had a 35.38% turnout.
          Shamblehurst 2012 was 24.81%
          And to be fair, I also see that Bursledon 8/9/2011 had a 16.94% turnout.
          I couldn’t find any more results on the EBC website, for this type of of by-election, so it is hard to compare further.

          Why are those earlier results missing Keith..?
          Could they be added to the EBC website please, for the sake of historical record, research, aide-memoire etc…?

          Lastly, I wish more MP’s, Cllrs & Candidates would criticise the electorate for not turning out. It doesn’t matter who people vote for, that’s democracy, but it would be nice if everybody generally made the effort to turn out.

  7. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    February 17, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Population of Hedge End is 20k ish. Electorate in Wildern ward is around 2.5k

  8. Rigel
    February 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    OK ,well 10% gets you a seat then, untill an opposition puts a similar amount of man hours and money into a campaign then the lib dems will win.

    The (House)hold is a bit like a family on benefit streets , tricks to exploit the system passed down to the next generation, with a continual gush of taxpayers money flooding into their enterprise.

    The marshall and his gunslingers run the town and you don’t have to watch many westerns to know that the catalyst of one angry cowboy can make the town stand up to the marshall, but it is the town that must overthrow him not the cowboy.

    Our problem is with our defective opposition , and only manhours and money will fix it. The Lib Dems do whatever they can to get elected and once elected they do whatever they want. I presume this is all within the legal limits but I have not researched it, it might not be, these are some of the manhours required to overthrow them.

    how do the finances of the local lib dem operation work ? what incomes and benefits are provided to Cllrs , who are the donors ? , the phone bill … whose name is it in . what compliance is there to standards ????

    KH is not going to post the spreadsheet, he doesn’t have to, he is the marshall and many people just presume that the tin star brings the honesty with it, ……… we gave him the star folks……..

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      February 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      I think the four strong opposition on EBC take their duty to oppose seriously – they are simply too few in number to be effective but they do take any opportunity ask awkward and unwelcome questions- not many members of the public there to hear them though. Of course no opposition members at all sitting on Eastleigh Local Area Committee which acts as a de facto Town Council. At least Hedge End Town Council has three independents even if two of them are only nominally so.

      • Rigel
        February 17, 2014 at 10:15 pm

        If there is an independant that votes with the lib dem consensus perpetually then they are shown to not be an independant .

        If when asked the nominal independant cannot write 1000 words for the public record about his or her reasoning for becoming an independant mid term then again they are shown as a sham.

        Power concedes nothing without a demand.

        • John Renard
          February 17, 2014 at 11:22 pm

          QUOTE: ” . . . Hedge End Town Council has three independents even if two of them are only nominally so.”

          Which precisely sums up the stench about this whole “staunch Lib Dem family but nominally Independent” business!

          My, what an unlovely lot the Lib Dems and their source Party have always been, beginning with randy, hypocritical Lloyd George. Never forget Jeremy Thorpe, Paddy Pantsdown, Simon Hughes, Mark Oaten, Charles Kennedy, Cyril Smith, David Laws, Chris Huhne, Lord Rennard, Mike Hancock, Nick ’30 women’ Clegg . . . the roll of dishonour seems never ending.

          I know they don’t have the monopoly on sleaze but their own record of misdeeds is abysmal. I wouldn’t put anything past them, and certainly would not trust them to practise ethical politics.

          • February 18, 2014 at 9:07 am

            Thanks for your comment John.
            I’m disgusted with the situation in Hedge End. You have used the right words…!

            Though I would add that it is the local party machine and the constant drive to maintain the Lib Dems position of power & control that brings out the worst in the Lib Dems. Its true of all the parties actually, when they’re under threat of losing power. That’s one of the reasons why I struggle to ‘connect’ with any of them and have campaigned as an Independent.

  9. Sam Snook
    February 18, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Hi Rigel
    Its good being an Independent-free- not tied down-and most important its
    a chance to tell local people- the truth about Ukip and the EFD. I’m going to stand in East North as a Independent.

    They are putting leaflets around-I six from my neighbours-they post them to me. “All about politics”
    Take care Rigel

  10. Pete Stewart
    February 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    UKIP is a non-racist Party devoted to restoring government of the British people by the British people, i.e. democracy.

    Conservative and Labour governments since 1972 all support government by foreign politicians. By definition, they are anti-democratic. Does anyone think that is acceptable?

  11. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    February 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    But Pete…

    Q1: How many Ukip candidates have won seats by standing in ‘undemocratic’ Euro parliamentary elections ?

    Q2: How many Ukip candidates have won seats in “democratic’ British parliamentary elections?

    Which is the more democratic system?

    Surely the only way Ukip voters can gain democratic parliamentary representation – and influence legislation – is through the EU?

  12. Pete Stewart
    February 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Aha! Good questions!

    A1) To participate in anti-democratic EU elections to help remove Britain from the anti-democratic EU is itself “democratic”, since it promotes democracy.

    A2) At the time of writing, UKIP has not yet won a Parliamentary seat, but something tells me we should ask the same question next summer!

    Neither the EU “parliament” nor the Westminster Parliament are democratic. The EU parliament never can be by definition, since it is foreign to all member States, while the Westminster Parliament will be democratic only when every single law applicable to the British people has had its origins in our own illustrious Houses.

    Neither UKIP voters, nor any other, can gain democratic parliamentary representation through the EU because British representation in the EU is in the minority. Without the power to control legislation imposed on the British people, there is no “government of the people by the people”, hence no democratic representation.

    • Keith House
      February 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Ah, that must explain why UKIP MEPs have the poorest attendance record and highest expenses then of the UK political parties.

      • Rigel
        February 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        a referenced source would be helpful for this assertion

  13. Pete Stewart
    February 22, 2014 at 9:43 am


    Let’s not get defocussed by the minutiae of attendance records in the EU “parliament”. There relevant issues are:-

    1) WILDERN
    I respect the Wildern electorate’s decision because I believe democracy is paramount.

    EU elections are ANTI-democratic because they reinforce foreign government.

    Lincoln said, “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent”. The British people have never consented to foreign government.

    Do you believe foreign government is ANTI-democratic?

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