There were five principal council by-elections held on 8th October. The Tories held three seats. The Lib Dems took one seat off Independents but lost one to an Independent Liberal. There was one Parish and Town council election reported to ALDC which was won by the Tories.
According to the agent in the Penrith West Ward by-election for Eden District Council in Cumbria we ran a “classic ALDC campaign”, “by the book”. I could write a whole column – in fact a book – about that but what was clear was that it was considerably better than the campaigns run by the other parties. Blue letters and “Good mornings” were a novelty without competition. With only 1500 doors a full foot canvass was accomplished. The town has an incomplete supermarket, where the developer has gone bust. The council is run by Independents and Tories (often elected in uncontested elections) and has been taking decisions about the sites future behind closed doors. An easy campaigning target.
In the Pickering East Ward of Ryedale Council, North Yorkshire we’ve had a chequered recent history. The two-member ward elected an Independent and a Liberal Democrat in 2003. In 2007 it elected a Lib Dem and (after a by-election) an Independent Liberal. The one Liberal Democrat councillor moved away from the area causing the by-election. The independent Liberal candidate won giving them both seats in the ward. There was obvious confusion between the Liberal and Liberal Democrat Candidates, particularly as the Liberal was above us on the ballot paper. This might have been a case for using the party description “Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats”.
In the Grange Hill ward of Epping Forest we nearly regained a seat lost to the Tories in 2004. Gavin Chambers has been building for success, starting with his impressive election to the Buckhurst Hill Parish council at the end of August with 62% of the vote. To come within 42 votes of winning with a 31% increase in our vote is frustrating but we need to stick with it, and we’ll win in the end.