Monday, 18 June 2012

Election looms for H&F

Forget Greece, election fever has hit Town Ward in Fulham where the departing colossus Stephen Greenhalgh has created a vacancy in his wake. The normally safe Conservative seat on the Council is up for grabs and the four candidates will be scrapping all the way to polling day on July 12th

Now then - Town Ward is true blue, and unless there is a political earthquake the winner of this election will be Andrew Brown the Conservative candidate. But recently in leafy Barnet Labour did take what should have been a similarly safe seat from the Tories, and the Labour campaign is clearly all about getting people to "send a message" either to the Council or to Cameron & Clegg. Perhaps over-egging it a bit the Labour candidate says the vote in Fulham will go "direct to Downing Street".

You can see the tactics there.

The problem for Labour is that they managed to take a safe Conservative seat in Barnet because local people were mightily unhappy with local policies being pursued by the council on parking charges and other issues. But this Council has been very careful indeed only to do really unpopular things in the north of the borough, which is why all of the controversial hook-ups with property developers are in our neck of the woods. The good people of Fulham have been spared all of that so the challenge for Labour is to find some other way of motivating them to vote differently.

But then local elections are sometimes volatile which is why the Conservatives will surely be focusing a lot of time and attention on ensuring they don't just win the seat but win it with a sizeable majority. So expect to hear a lot about low council tax bills and the importance of local businesses.

I can't see anything other than a Conservative retention of this seat but it will be interesting to watch the parties use this election as something of a dry run for the real local elections that will determine the fate of Hammersmith Town Hall in 2014. Given that we're already half way through 2012 that's not a million miles away.

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