Election reflections

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan

London’s new mayor seems to be no surprise. Boris Johnson was obviously a hard act to follow and it took someone of his stature to win the mayoralty for two terms in what is so clearly a Labour city.  I never thought Zac Goldsmith was up to the job but I had thought he would prove waffly and green and was surprised to hear his attacks on the Labour chap.  It is being hinted that Lynton Corby was the problem and, if so, it demonstrates Goldsmith’s weakness and poor judgement in following his bad advice.  So London has got what it has voted for and we will have to watch out for attacks on the middle class and moves away from Boris’s hugely successful policies for London.  The Conservative Party will also have to look for a candidate for the next contest.  Surely, of all places in the country, there must be someone with some of the personality of Boris to mount a challenge and the best time must be as soon as possible.

Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson

Scotland was a joy, with a Conservative woman outsmarting Lady Macbeth (AKA Nicola Sturgeon) and popping the referendum argument in the bin.  Sturgeon plans to govern as a minority party, having been denied a majority in her second term.  Watch out for dirty plotting with other lefties, particularly the Greens but I think Ruth Davidson is a match for Lady M and we are going to see some real challenge in Scotland.

Locally there were few surprises.  West Oxfordshire  seems to have had practically no change and full marks to them for counting the votes on the evening and getting out a speedy result. Perhaps Cameron told them he wanted a speedy announcement and they jumped?

Sadly, Cherwell moved at a snail’s pace, starting counting half way through the Friday morning and finally getting the last result late in the afternoon. The boundary review has inflicted three member wards on the whole district so that my own village of Adderbury is bundled together with Bloxham, Bodicote and Milton with three councillors covering this ward.  Will all three councillors turn up to the three parish councils and the one parish meeting or will they split their responsibilities?  What happens if one is on planning and the others are not because planning is the single issue that dominates local politics at the moment?  How will voters judge the relative merit of these three; I think accountability is horribly blurred in multi-member wards.

Also sad to see some losses among the Cherwell Conservative ranks.  Norman Bolster was a really hard worker but seems to have lost to others with a lower work rate. Not sure how electors get to value the skills and talents of the people they are voting for?  Tony Mepham took the brave decision to cross the floor some time ago, moving from Labour to Conservative and has proved a committed local representative but had a tough battle in Hardwick Ward where he lost to Labour.  Overall, Cherwell lost two seats in the boundary review, going down from 50 to 48; Labour continues with 8 councillors; the Liberals have disappeared; there are 2 Independents leaving 38 Conservatives.  A large majority may be nice to imagine but it is a nightmare for a leader because lethargy and absenteeism can grow and prove difficult to eliminate.  Good luck, Barry Wood!

I see Labour has tightened its grip in Oxford City at the expense of the Greens and I think this is no bad thing.  The Greens are well to the left and pretty off the page with most of their policies.  A  leading Green in Oxford is Larry (“the lawyer”) Sanders who is the brother to the leftie US senator, Bernie Sanders and that sums up the impossibility of the UK Greens without even mentioning their incompetent and invisible leader, Natalie Bennett.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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