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South Shields premier political blog

South Tyneside local election candidates announced.

with 22 comments

One third of council to be elected on May 5th.

Some interesting and unusual things to read into this year’s local elections in South Tyneside, the list of nominated candidates has been announced and you can see them here.

First off we recently heard that the BNP would NOT be fielding candidates in this local election in an effort to get rid of their party leader Nick Griffin, – not the case – they have decided to put up seven candidates in the election and some of the “Independents” are people who have represented the BNP in the past, including Pete Hodgkinson in Primrose. The Conservatives and Labour are the only parties to field full teams contesting every one of the 18 wards, the Liberal-Democrats are only contesting four wards, and the newly formed branch of the old Liberal Party is to fight  six of the South Shields wards, the South Tyneside Progressive Association is to contest only three seats this year, and a further 15 Independent candidates take to the field.

There are some odd decisions and positions on view today, the Tories field Ali Hayder in Beacon and Bents ward, a charming and very friendly man who will find this a very difficult first outing I think, whilst sitting Labour councillor Audrey McMillan ought to find things relatively easy with five other candidates splitting the opposition share of the vote, this could be another bruising outing for the Independent Alliance. In Biddick and All Saints the Conservatives have a Brian Gilchrist making his first outing, now I knew someone of that name many years ago when I worked for Ladbrokes (bet it’s not the same man, I’d offer you 6/1 against), but Mayor Tom Piggott ought to do well against his three opponents. In Cleadon Park sitting Independent councillor George Elsom may have an uphill task defending the seat against a strong Labour candidate Doreen Purvis who has now served an apprenticeship of fighting non winnable seats, he also faces another Independent, local campaigner and property developer Colin Campbell, and new Tory Tamara Alani. The Harton ward sees a five way fight which should suit the Labour Party and their candidate Rob Dix, but Progressive Lawrence Nolan may have a chance of sneaking back into his old seat if he can convince non Labour supporters that he’s the only viable opposition candidate, however I wouldn’t bet on it, Marilyn Huartt for the Conservatives , Melanie Baker for the Liberals and Terry Smith make up the other numbers here. Horsley Hill will be interesting too, five candidates will all be vying to oust the Labour Leader of South Tyneside Council Iain Malcolm, he’ll be delighted to be receiving so much opposition! Amongst Cllr. Malcolm’s opponents will be David Wood for the Liberals (same David Wood formerly of the Labour Party perhaps and also a losing independent candidate?), along with Marilyn Huartt’s husband Ross for the Conservatives, Vivienne Mahon will give this one a first try as will Kraig White for the Independent Alliance, oddly Enid Berry will contest Horsley Hill as a Liberal Democrat trying to take votes away from Mr. Wood, as I said, Iain Malcolm probably couldn’t be more pleased.

Veteran George Smith, the former chairman of the Housing Committee in a Progressive led South Shields Council fights Simonside and Rekendyke for the Conservative, I’m surprised the former Tory leader on Tyne Wear County Council has the legs, but you cannot keep a good man down, he’ll have a tough time trying to make a dent in Michael Clare’s majority, the Labour man ought to mop up here with a further three candidates standing, Carol Troupe once again puts down a marker for the Liberal Democrats (they are  fun family, great bunch.)

There will be a tough and very close fight in West Park, this South Shields ward for many years was an automatic Progressive ward, and Conservative at County Council level, but last year the Independent Alliance succeeded in diluting the anti Labour vote here, thus allowing Bob Watters to win the seat. This time Labour field a strong candidate in Joyce Welsh who will put in the leg work with an organised team, whilst sitting Progressive Marjorie Robinson may only be able to rely on family support to garner the votes, Conservative veteran and former Progressive councillor Eddie Russell may just fancy his chances too, he knows the ward like the back of his hand (and as I found out at the general election there are lots of natural Conservative supporters in the ward, they just need to be approached). I don’t expect to see much activity or support for the Liberals, the BNP,  or the Greens in West Park but do they know how much they could influence the result? This one could be too close to call.

In Westoe Independent Alliance leader Jane Branley will be defending her huge majority, and she has amassed massive personal support over the years, against Tory chairman Anthony Dailly, Labour’s Pat Hay (I don’t know how strong a candidate she will prove to be), Joe Stephenson for the Liberals, and Lynne Barber a committed Green Party activist. This seat was again a natural Conservative/Progressive win years ago but last year went to Labour after the Allen Branley fiasco, but I’d be surprised if they do so well this time.

Whitburn and Marsden sees one of only two two-way fight between the Conservatives and Labour, again there is a fair amount of Conservaive support in the ward but without a third candidate to bleed Labour votes I’d put my money on Sylvia Spraggon to hold.

Whiteleas ought to be nailed on for Labour’s Ernie Gibson his BNP, Conservative, and Independent opponents will prove to be weak, Chris Taylor once again gets a run out for the Tories.

In the Jarrow wards there will be an interesting fight between former Mayor’s Secretary Fay Cunningham for Labour, and former Labour man Tom Defty for the Independents in Bede ward. Tony Gair a Green Party newcomer, and Oliver Wallhead, Conservative make up the others – look for a very close finish here. In Boldon Colliery there is a huge surprise, no Linda Waggott for Labour! Having spent so much time attempting to return to the council she is to be replaced by Sherie Murphy, and no she’s not the former Emmerdale babe who married footballer Harry Kewell, doh! I wonder what the back story is on that one?

In Cleadon and East Boldon Conservative Donald Wood may actually have his work cut out to retain the seat after the intervention of a Progressive, Lilian Milne and Independent David Lawson, then there will be a strong challenge from Labour’s Joan Atkinson who is well used to the territory now. I’d still expect a Conservative hold here but it could be tight.

Another surprise comes in Fellgate and Hedworth where it looks as though Independent Alliance sitting councillor George Waddle has had enough, Linda Hemmer takes his place, although I’d expect former Labour councillor Moira Smith to take the seat, this one could also be a close and interesting result.

John McKie defends Hebburn North for the Liberal Democrats and will face a Labour newcomer Ian Harkus, and with the Lib-Dems facing a severe political squeeze Mr. Harkus may well add this seat to Labour’s ranks. Hebburn South will be a certain victory for Labour’s veteran bruiser Eddie McAtominey in a straight fight with John Coe for the Conservatives. Monkton is a nailed on win for Alan Kerr against Conservative councillor Jeff Milburn’s son James, Susan Troupe will carry the family fight for the Lib-Dems here. In Primrose Ken Stephenson ought to hold the seat which he won at a by election, former BNP man Pete Hodginson ought to be heavily outgunned and I’d love to see Anthony Lanaghan come second for the Conservatives but it’s a big ask.

You will have noted a common theme here which has served the Labour Party well in South Tyneside over the years, too much opposition! That’s right, there are many four and five way fights which serve to split up the anti-Labour vote, we just haven’t learned to try and negotiate with each other, form workable alliances, or agree a strategy to unseat Labour councillors. I’ve said this many times and I’ll repeat it here, we have the council we deserve, mainly because of the quality of the opposition.

So, bearing in mind that we will be one year into coalition government at Westminster, popularity maybe starting to wane, Liberal Democrats will be competing for votes with Liberals, and Conservatives will be struggling to harvest votes because of a poor local organisation, the Independent Alliance has probably peaked in its popularity, and BNP folks are fighting amongst themselves, the sad fact will be that there is every possibility of Labour strengthening its stranglehold on South Tyneside Council in May.

If only this were a normal place with just three strong local parties competing for seats, it might then become a bit less predictable.

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22 Responses

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  1. A comprehensive summary Curly.
    Is one of the surprises not that there is only 1 vacancy in Cleadon & East Boldon given the ‘resignation with immediate effect’ that got lost in the post? I have no time for the personal attacks which often seemed to surround the individual concerned, but don’t residents deserve an explanation? There is genuine anger in the ward at the sense that voters (and taxpayers given allowances are still payable) are being taken for a ride.


    April 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm

  2. Last year’s local government elections saw the Independant Alliance desperately short in fielding willing candidates so they instead recruited their relatives.
    Jane Branley’s brother in Westoe and Alan Branley’s sister in West Park come to mind.
    So, who could this Kathy Sheerin in Biddick Hall be related to?


    April 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

    • shes related to the biddick hall res assoc chair


      May 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

  3. The Indies have to use relatives nobody else will support them, thats why Geraldine Whites son is in Horsley Hill,and as Lewis says the “independent” councillor Potts ought to go if he isn’t taking a real role in the council meetings etc.

    Sandra D

    April 5, 2011 at 7:55 am

  4. The problem is that the Standards Board appears to have little or no power to deal with tardy,lazy uncommitted councillors, nor it appears those who tweet abusively and possibly libellously about fellow councillors or council officers. Conduct that would see an LGO disciplined or dismissed goes unsanctioned and unpunished.The elector can punish by voting such individuals out of office, but it is a long wait between elections.


    April 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

    • It really annoys me to see and hear personal attacks made upon council officers, they are public servants and NOT in a position to defend themselves. It is their job to advise members and to enact agreed policy on behalf of members. Public attacks on officers bring no credit at all to the mudslingers.


      April 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm

  5. Have to feel a bit sorry for Mr. Hodginson in Beacon and Bents, all of his leaflets so far are just adverts and bragging for Ahmed Khan, nowt at all from the candidate.

    Roman Soldier

    April 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  6. Wouldn’t it be something if nobody turned out to vote 🙂 I don’t feel represented in my West Park ward, I might get a crappy leaflet coming up to election time and it normally contains the same old crap as the one I got shoved through the door last year. I have seen local politics in Shields close up, I’m half enjoying the spasms the council is going through at least its forcing them to do something.

    I think we shoud have a un-election day!


    April 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm

  7. Meanwhile, hundreds are dying on African and Middle Eastern streets who would welcome the chance of even a crappy leaflet through the door which gave them the choice of whom to vote for and expressed political views contrary to the government.


    April 6, 2011 at 9:24 am

  8. Avatar in a way raises a point I tried to expand upon earlier, that of safe seats.
    Whilst I agree that the current climate may be making councils think,I’m not sure that always translates into good business transaction. Democracy is a strange business in that a fraction of those registered to vote can decide the outcome. Therefore the level of democracy in the current system allows those who vote quite a loud say (although I am for keeping the current system). It would be useful if there was an independant audit of councillors to see how they voted, on what issues, their attendace at functions, meetings, surgeries, the amount of mail they have had to deal with, how they ensure they are representative of all. And, some system that indicates what value for money they contribute. On the issue of coucil members who bully, harang or expect preferential treatment from LGOs they should be subject to and subject of a discipline code. If they have requests for information these should surely be delivered via some official, transparent channel!


    April 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

  9. Let the mudslinging commence, Greed is a very funny thing.

    Positive particle

    April 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

  10. LLB, that is bollocks and you know it a cheap attempt at best. Your not seriously suggesting that the local parties we have represent anything but their own interests are you?


    April 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    • I wonder what the motives are for some in standing for election, never mind party interests. The ‘good’ councillors I have met, and worked with, genuinely do care about their community and most issues they need to deal with are not of a party political nature, but are about helping people. So they are representatives in that sense – but then we also have the political animals that thrive on conflict. Even Curly accepts that across the floor on all sides there are many who give a good deal to the community. These are generally the’nice’ councillors who are civil and listen more than they shout and easy to get on with.


      April 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      • Or they have lots of contact with officers, but may not necessarily say or do much in committee meetings, yet they are fulfilling their role with satisfaction for their constituents. There are many hard working unheard and unseen councillors, who it must be said rely on “word of mouth” to advertise their effectiveness.


        April 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    • Yes; you are welcome to your cynicism and your vulgar illiterate retorts, meanwhile I am part of a team of politically committed people who unpaid, and often at our own expense, are trying to improve our community, and look with horror at what is happening in the Middle East and Africa.


      April 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    • See tonight’s “Gazette” it tends to support your narrow view, but only to the extent that all organisations harbour the occasional selfish person, who appears to have no conscience. Not interested in responding to unnecessary vulgarity, that is not reasoned debate or discussion.


      April 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

  11. Once again thanks to Curly and Kevin for maintaining standards, auditing of Councillor’s performance is vital, given some recent events; monitoring of their tweets and blogs also essential. Conservative Home Local Govt has featured some helpful and constructive input from Councillors, why can’t our councillors, whatever their political colour set up a similar type of site, and edit it for vulgar, abusive or irrelevant content, which does not constructively advance discussion or debate. Councillors who attend CAFs and PACT or other public open forums also make a positive contribution.


    April 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

  12. I’m appalled that one councillor who is not currently facing election is still claiming his allowances despite NOT attending meetings (one hopes he is actively involved in some other way). Councillor Potts, – if he is NOT involved in the normal representative work of a local councillor – ought to finally end this embarrassing situation by doing the right thing. Resign the seat, repay the allowances, and give Jarrow Conservatives the chance to be represented on South Tyneside Council via an election.


    April 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

  13. The Beacon and Bents election will be very interesting this year and next.
    First you have the experienced Audrey Mcmillan battling Khan’s dog aka Jim Hodgson aka weatherman (ref: Jim’s twitter) and Conservative candidate Ali Hayder. What’s interesting is the fact Audrey has traditionally relied on the Bangladeshi vote, and she has got it, but this year maybe different, as the Conservative has fielded a Bangladeshi candidate( Ali Hayder) my bets on Ali Hayder to get most of the Bangladeshi votes, simply because he is part of that community, and i believe the Bangladeshis are quite close knit and loyal. Wether he wins or not, thats another question, but certainly the margins are going to be close.

    As for Jim the weatherman, i think he is fighting a lost cause, simply because of the KHAN FACTOR… Who is not exactly everyones cup of tea, or for that matter, anyones cup of tea, lets see why, whats on the charge sheet:

    1) CYBER BULLY (You just have to read his twitter accounts, and his monkey blog, to realise that he has a canny habit of bullying the editor of the Gazette, David Potts, Iain Malcolm, Curly, Lalon Amin, George Elsom, what the heck everyone that does not agree with him, has been viciously attacked by Khan through his cyber accounts. (word has it, that he has been reprimanded by TWITTER because of his libellous attacks, and if you noticed, he has stopped his outrageous personal attacks on John Szymanski, editor of the Shields Gazette), touch wood, my source is right.

    2) OVERBEARING BULLY (According to a Judge)

    3) Bringing council into disrepute

    4) Censored by the Standards Board

    And im sure you will agree that there is at least twenty more things i have not added, due to time.

    I also believe, the wolves will be out next year, when Khan fights for his seat, im sure Khan will lose, and lose big, as the people of Beacon and Bents will say



    April 20, 2011 at 11:12 pm

  14. As a legal beagle, but not quite an eagle, I was amazed at the allegedly defamatory content of various twitter/blog sites, coupled with the extreme industrial language in some cases. Ironically, in legal terms, it was one of the “milder” tweets comparatively speaking that brought about censure and expulsion. Whilst one may not always agree with Curly, he sets the standard, and is a template for how to express opinions and debate with other contributors on a blog/twitter site. Pickles seeks to abolish the Standards Board, but surely there needs to be some form of efficiently administered disciplinary system in place (would welcome Curly’s views on this). Childish personal abuse and attacks upon the editor of the local paper is beyond my comprehension, he/she is simply not a viable target for any aspiring electee, or someone seeking reelection.Unless you look like Clooney and cook like Roux, any male jibing at the appearance of another or his eating habits is on shaky ground.


    April 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

    • Yes, I agree there does need to be a framework of rules governing behaviour and conduct, and with some sort of sanctions applicable to those who cannot fit the framework. I’m not so sure that those sanctions should include immediate removal from office, that is something which electors ought to decide, rather than a handful on a committee.

      Perhaps the ultimate sanction ought to be the imposition of a period whereby a person may not be able to seek election (i.e. after the current term has expired).


      April 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

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