The Dane Valley by-election is tomorrow. The circumstances behind it are unfortunate with former Conservative councillor Stephen Broadhurst having spent most of his time since his election in 2007 in Panama. Credit to Tony Flaig for his role in exposing his local councillor. Together with my Labour colleagues we finally managed to force a by-election.
I note that Tony Flaig rejoined the Liberal Democrats recently and think with his frequent comments on the by-election campaign it would be best if readers saw writing or an image or clear writing so that they knew they were reading a yellowtinted opinion. I put my Labour party membership at the top of my page and my fellow Labour councillors Dave Green and Mike Harrison say the same clearly on their front pages as does Conservative councillor Ken Gregory. Simon Moores is different. There is nothing on his homepage to indicate his Conservative affiliations. I think local elected representatives should be transparent about their views and affiliations, and I hope he will review his site so that casual readers are clear as to where he is coming from. With a by-election on all the more reason to be proper.
I was asked by the way whether I would be declaring this blog as an election expense. As this blog is done entirely on a voluntary basis I'm happy for a nil return to be recorded.
Sandra Hart is an impressive candidate and it is good to see her Independent rival acknowledging this. Sandra recently wrote saying:
"Unlike some in this election I don’t have to pretend to be local – I am local. I live in Margate and have done so for forty years, twenty of them in Dane Valley ward. My business premises are in Margate and so is the office that I work from with a strong team of Local Labour councillors.
I don’t have to pretend to work hard for our local community either; through my business I have supported many local community events over the years. I was the membership secretary for a local residents association for several years and in my spare time I currently work within a local fundraising committee supporting elderly people right here in Margate.
The fact is – residents have most certainly received a regular newsletter, several times each year, from our Local Labour team at 44 Northdown Road, and for well over 6 years now. I have been delighted to help deliver many editions myself."
Having delivered leadlets in Dane Valley outside of election time I can confirm that this is the X Factor that Sandra offers over her rivals. She also would hit the ground running as part of an team.
The national opinion polls would predict an easy Conservative hold. Let's have a look at the mathematics. In May 2007 nationally the Conservatives had a 2% lead over Labour, now they have polls giving them average leads of 12% so a 5% swing from Labour to Conservative.
Last time in Dane Valley the result was
Grey Party 19%
Wendy Allan although standing as an independent this time, has omitted to point out that she was a member of a different political party at the previous election and thought that the Grey Party leader John Worrow would be the answer to all of Thanet's problems.
There is now a Liberal Democrat standing as well. Let's assume he takes 5% of each candidate's vote and polls 15%. Pure guesswork he will not win but I expect he will get into double figures in percentage terms.
This adjusts the figures to
Lib Dem 15%
Ind ( Grey) 14%
If the national swing of 5% applies the Conservatives win 44% and Labour goes down to 27%.
Putting it another way if the Dane Valley turnout is 26% like the last election then the results should be
Lid Dem 214
Now the assumptions I am making are clear, but they are just assumptions and will not be what happens. These figures though do illustrate how the Conservatives should coast home more than doubling their majority.
My prediction? Labour's Sandra to win of course, but even if she does not, she will demonstrate that when people actually have to vote, not just moan or talk to an opinion poll Labour's vote is a lot stronger than received opinion currently reports.