Westoe by election mystery
Public keeping cards close to chest
I’ve been out and about in Westoe this afternoon, the South Shields ward which will shortly have a by election for a new councillor after Independent Allen Branley was removed for non attendance at council meetings. I’ve spoken to quite a few people on the doorstep and in shops and streets over the past couple of weeks, as well as speaking to those who are more politically motivated and involved. There is a strange fear amongst the politicians for this by election, they just don’t know which way to call it (sure there is plenty of bravado too, but it wouldn’t be politics without that), that fear is that the unthinkable might just happen, or even worse that a big upset might be on the way.
The two scenarios are that Mr. Branley creeps back in with a reduced majority, or that Labour, despite working their butts off, see their man pipped at the post by the Conservatives as a result of the national swing against the party. Anything is still possible because the public are playing their cards close to their chest, many are telling us who they won’t be voting for, but there is no strong indication of who they will be voting for. Theoretically both Labour and Conservative can eat huge chunks out of the Independent slice, and there is a general trend towards the Tories, but one has to ask do they want this seat badly enough in South Shields, and will they do enough to pull voters out of their front door?
Having seen their modus operandi I don’t think they can achieve much more than a respectable third place finish, although I could be wrong. The Conservatives are Britain’s oldest political party and they have achieved this longevity with a remarkable affinity for change whilst attempting to represent a national consensus whenever they have been called upon, as this video shows:
The people in Westoe may well have lost the habit of voting Conservative, remember they always sent Conservative councillors to the old Tyne Wear County Council, so it shouldn’t take much to revive a position once held, it only requires that determination to go the extra mile and meet a few more people to explain your candidature. I’m hoping that Mr. Dailly doesn’t feel as though he is up against a big party machine in South Shields and that he has the vigour, enthusiasm, and ambition to want better than a good third place. As we enter the final lap of this particular race he should remember that the front runners are not that far ahead.