Two Lovely Christmas Gifts from Tory Santa

It’s Christmas 2023. The Tories have filled a big bucket full of pigswill, pushed your head in it, and then sat on your head. Still going to vote for them? Yes! Of course you are!  Because it’s not you getting it done to. At the bedside of the nearly dead Tory Government and in the 2 most marginal wards on the new Bridgwater Constituency the Conservatives have won 2 narrow victories. In Fairfax East and in Highbridge. Town Council Labour Leader Brian Smedley says the reasons are obvious “With a 12% and a 10% turnout the result’s a lottery and only the most dedicated will bother to take the vote seriously. Neither seat voted Tory actually. In Bridgwater just 167 wanted a Tory councillor and 263 didn’t whilst in Highbridge 179 wanted one and 326 didn’t. Apathy will be our grave, if the Tories don’t finish digging it first.”

Cllr Leigh Redman manages to capture all 4 candidates. The Tory is the one not wearing his rosette

In Bridgwater Fairfax East a by election was called following the death of Labour councillor Alex Glassford. It was a 4 way contest in a marginal with former Tory candidate Pele Barnes standing as an ‘independent’ -helped , or maybe hindered, by the support of ex Labour councillor and now Independent Richard Morgan. But who can tell. He got the customary last place with a low but irritating 47 votes despite a massive campaign of election law flouting signwriting and a tee shirt campaign, mainly confined to Cllr Morgan. Labour clearly took a bit of a hit from this campaign which lost them crucial  votes in the 25 needed to keep the seat.

Apathy

This Mercury headline says it all

The Lib Dems put in their customary challenge for 3rd place with Anthony Nicholls running a friendly unobstrusive  campaign although somewhat helped by the usual LibDem dodgy tactics claiming Labour had given up as they hadn’t selected a parliamentary candidate yet. The Lib Dem candidate -imported from Mendip-was out and about a bit and taking selfies with the Tory on election day. Anthony got a creditable 74 votes

The Tory candidate was the infamous Diogo Rodrigues. Originally elected as Labour, went  independent, went Tory, now the County Councillor for the area. Name recognition of course helps in these elections and to be fair only Diogo of any other Tory could have won here. Any other might have been sent packing with a bucket of pigswill wrapped round their head. Rodrigues gained 167 votes. That’s 38% of the people who voted. 62% really didn’t want him.

Labour’s Meg Boucher was on the Polling station dawn till dusk

And of course with just 12% of the Fairfax East electors bothering to vote (and 57% of those by post) it means that just 4.8% of Fairfax East voters elected a Tory. Well, it was Christmas, it was a Monday (that’s not normal) and the polling station wasn’t even in the ward. But we can come up with a number of excuses. In a democracy you have to be bothered to get out there and vote or don’t blame anybody else but yourself. Diogo won fair and square and now he’s your councillor again. this time a Tory.

Poor turnout

For Labour Megan Boucher stood and ran an excellent campaign  and would have made a great councillor but the split of the vote, the low turnout and the high profile (non rosette wearing) Tory just pipped her to the post.  With 142 votes she fell just short of the 25 needed to stop the Tory victory.

In Highbridge Labour has not made much of an impact for many years. At one time it was part of the Bridgwater constituency and regularly returned 3 Labour councillors. In recent decades it was moved to the Wells constituency where Labour is seen as ‘also rans’ and somewhat neglected. Now Highbridge is part of the new winnable Bridgwater Constituency and so the party put a bit more campaigning into it. Kate Pearce stood for Labour and came out of it with a credible result that shows Highbridge is ripe for a proper labour campaign. Yet again however it was a low turnout. 10.71% of which 59% voted by post.

Tory self interest

A creditable Labour vote in Highbridge achieved by Kate Pearce bodes well for the future

For the first time in many a year Labour rosettes were on Highbridge polling stations and the Labour vote was 149. The Lib Dems however, who held the seat previously, gained 177 and it’s hard to blame people who might be confused as to the best way to get the Tory out. The result though was the Tory Alistair Hendry, again a bit of name recognition as a sitting County Councillor and former district councillor, just squeaking through on 179.

Cllr Smedley concludes “At elections with a low turnout the Tories will do just that. Turn out. Because their dwindling supporters are of course very happy with the Government targeting the rest of us while they grow richer. Classic Tory self interest. Our Class really needs to do the same and make that little bit of effort to stop them.”

So the Tories have just sneaked in through the back door in 2 Marginal seats. Labour needs to do better . Not a lot. But enough to make a difference. In January the party is selecting the Labour candidate for the Parliamentary constituency and then…we may well see Christmas in Spring!

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Sean O’Brien
Sean O’Brien
5 months ago

Diogo wins his elections because he is the only councillor that gets stuff done. I go to him because I can’t get any councillor to do anything in Eastover. He gets stuff done for me even though he’s not my councillor. They are just bloody lazy!

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