One of my photos

Crawley election results

May 7th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 2 Comments · Politics

Very belated results, due to my Internet access problems over the last few days but…

The full results are on the Crawley Borough Council website, but the highlights are:

  • Labour lost 3 seats
  • Tories gained 3 seats
  • Tories gained control of the council
  • BNP finished 4th in two wards and 3rd in two wards, with a total of over 1200 votes in total.

One of the Tory gains was by a mere 21 votes in a ward where the postal votes had been screwed up and had to be re-issued. I do not know if that result will be challenged, I guess its up to the agent or the local party or the candidate or someone. Not me anyway. If I was in that position I would be putting in a petition. The other ward affected by the postal votes mess was lost by 200 votes. Probably beyond challenge,

Another Tory gain was in a ward where the Labour/Tory votes were a dead heat, so control of the council was effectively decided by the drawing of lots. A cruel way to do it, but unavoidable in the circumstances. Given the track record of the reluctance of a small minority of voters to vote for foreign-sounding names, we would have held that seat if we had not fielded an Asian candidate but I am glad that principle guided our selection rather than pure electoral considerations.

Labour failed to re-take Broadfield South. There was a problem with a major power outage in the area on election day, but no way of knowing if that affected the turnout or the vote, or how it might have affected the vote. The Tories won by 112 votes, which could easily have been accounted for by a masterpiece of blatant lying and scaremongering a week before election day. Unfortunately that is probably not grounds to challenge the result, but it is not something we will forget. Elections in Crawley have been fought pretty fairly by all parties in the past, and I hope in the future too. There were also some voters who claimed to have not received polling cards and postal votes, but no way of telling how widespread that was.

Obviously there was a large increase in the Tory vote generally, and that cannot be denied, but I do have some doubts about whether it would have been decisive in view of the large increase in our vote in Broadfield South. (Jayne lost with more votes than the Tories won it with in 2004)

Over in Pound Hill South I had a very poor result personally. I know we were not expected to win, and I had no particular desire to re-join the council, but I would have liked to have lost with something between 400 and 500 votes, so I am belatedly disappointed – I only found out my result on Saturday as we left the count before that point to get home and take advantage of having electricity at last. I still can’t see why the counting took so long. There was a dedicated team or counters for each ward, but it seemed like they were only counting one at a time.

At the end of the day, we lost a couple of good councillors, and control of the council. I do not expect to see immediate signs of change though. I do not expect to see the travellers visiting the town less often or being moved on any faster, I do not expect to see a new hospital magically appear, in fact I do not really expect to see any improvement. The real changes will come next year, when the budget is set and the Tories start selling the family silver, but the tangible effects of that will not be felt for a long time.

The result will help a few of our remaining Labour councillors though – the ones who have spent the last 6 years criticising as a matter of course everything the executive has done. At least if they continue in this habit it will be to the benefit of our party and not the other lot and they will be able to vote against the executive following the party whip instead of against it.

It will be interesting to see if the Tories can manage their 1-seat majority better than we managed our 1-seat majority. I suspect they will. What they lack in policy they make up for in discipline, as they proved during the election. Unlike during the election they have to manage the council without the help of coachloads of helpers from Horsham, Surrey and Mid-Sussex, but I think they will manage to hold together their majority.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Paul Burgin

    Sorry to read about the bad news, albeit expected as we all got something of a kicking. Hopefully once the Party starts a period of renewal things will look up!

  • Richard W. Symonds

    I have formally written to CBC’s Michael Coughlan to request an ‘election’ investigation into the Ifield Ward (especially the Postal Vote ‘Blunder’) – with a view to a re-vote.