Saturday 8 May 2010

Electoral Opposition Wiped Out In Newham

So Newham council has returned to the one-party mini-state that existed before 2006.

Four years ago there were three Respect councillors elected in Green Street West (two of whom subsequently flipped to Labour) and three Christian People's Alliance councillors in Canning Town South. This is how these opposition parties fared on Thursday:



Rustam Hasan Talati - 3,172
Harvinder Singh Virdee - 3,004
Mukesh Patel - 3,181

Ashfaq Ahmed - 1,362
Abdul Karim Sheikh - 1,189
Sabia Begum Kamali - 1,286



Bryan Collier - 2,263
Michael Arthur Nicholas - 2,028
Alan Taylor - 2,074

Christian Peoples Alliance
Alan Craig - 1,399
Denise Stafford - 1,004
Hamilton Amachree - 892

In other words, both opposition parties lost convincingly in the two wards where they had previously been strongest. There is no point in either of them pretending otherwise.

So what happens now? I suspect that far as Labour is concerned, citizens' involvement in local politics came to an end with the conclusion of yesterday's count and the absolute majority that comes with winning around 30% of the electorate in each council ward. Now they would prefer that local people attended the events held periodically in the local parks and kept their months shut. I also suspect that the chances of the council's internal 'scrutiny' process functioning with any greater vigour than we've seen since 2006 has further diminished (it has been useless anyway, even with a tiny opposition).

But whilst the Great Helmsman will probably be insufferably smug over the next couple of weeks, it's not as though we didn't have an elected dictatorship before. The real difference, as we saw when Labour last held every council seat, is that without an outside enemy to plot against and outdo, councillors start faction-fighting internally.

When will the battle to decide the Dear Leader's successor start? Who knows - it's like trying to keep up with the succession plans in North Korea. I'm not even sure that the rumours saying directly-elected mayors are limited to three terms of office and that the Eternal Mayor must stand aside in 2014 are even true.

But for any observer of Planet Newham, it should definitely be intriguing to watch.


It is obviously fantastic news that the BNP have been so comprehensively defeated in Barking & Dagenham. But who knew there were 1,089 people in the West Ham parliamentary seat prepared to vote for old school fascists like Michael Davidson of the National Front?

1 Comment:

The Great Balancer said...

The dust has settled, a new government formed but in Newham nothing has changed, in fact we regress to a pre-1989 Soviet Socialist Republic. Generally, after 13 years of incompetent and oppressive misrule the nation rejects Labour. But East Ham's Stephen Timms polls more votes than any other MP, BAR NONE. Yep, he's the No.1 tip-top candidate in the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Up there, achieving the best result since legendary trade unionist Will Thorne in 1918. His colleague, the well known second home expenses abuser Lyn Brown somehow manages to almost double her majority in West Ham. This is completely improbable. The Egotist Robin Wales crushes his mayoral opponents and Labour's council opposition are wiped out. To me, this stinks to high heaven. Any one got any theories how this happened?

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