THE winning candidates in the local election held on 5th May, 2011 have enjoyed for the past 15 days or so the congratulations and back-slapping of their loyal supporters and telling us how hard they have worked for us in the past and how hard they will work for us in the future.
Some of the victorious councillors have basked in the glory of what they call their personal popularity which they believe to be justified by the “size of their majority”, yes it seems that “size” does matter to some councillors.
Despite the probability of being called a “spoiler” I would suggest that the councillors take account of the total number of votes cast in their respective wards not confine themselves to Labour/Conservative votes when boasting about their majorities. I give some examples:-
BELHUS WARD – Elected Councillor Charles Curtis Labour. Claimed majority 641. Votes cast: Labour 1034
Total 2002 = 31%
Taking account of ALL votes cast in Belhus the actual Labour majority was 66.
SOUTH OCKENDON Ward – Elected Councillor Aaron Kiely Labour. Claimed majority 87. Votes cast: Labour 1096
Total 1536 = 38%
Taking account of ALL votes cast in South Ockendon there was no Labour majority there being a -440.
GRAYS RIVERSIDE- Elected Councillor Val Morris-Cook Labour. Claimed majority 521. Votes Cast: Labour 1036
Total 1963 = 27%
Taking account of ALL votes cast in Grays Riverside the actual Labour majority was 109.
A considerable number of people turned out to vote for candidates other than Labour/Conservative and are entitled to have their vote taken seriously and not ignored by councillors as if they did not matter. When the number of people who, for whatever reason, did not vote is also taken into account then perhaps Councillors would be wise to ask themselves why they and their Party are not as popular as they supposed. Labour Councillors should take heed of the words Ed Milliband with regard to how the Labour Party is perceived not just by the public but by its own membership.