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After the election in Bassetlaw

May 4, 2012 9:36 PM
By Leon Duveen
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Leon DuveenUnfortunately we didn't win in Worksop South last night but the good news is we increased our vote on a lower turnout, indeed on percentage terms we more than doubled our share, bucking the national trend. This means that, although we have a long way to go still, we are moving in the right direction. When Mark Hunter's result in the Retford East Ward (achieved with minimal campaigning) is taken into account, we can say that we had a good night, certainly far better than the Tories who lost 7 seats across the District, including the leader of the Conservative group on the Council, Mike Quigley.

The campaign locally shows what happens when there is an energetic Lib Dem campaign. In Worksop South, the other two parties were forced to raise their game. The Tories responded with more leaflets (they claim 5 but I am only aware of 2) and Labour did more canvassing than usual (even so most people who I canvassed said I was the only candidate they saw on the doorstep). In other Wards, the campaign between the two parties was much more subdued, where I live in Worksop South-East we only got one Labour leaflet. Whatever you think of the different parties, it can only be good for local democracy that the claims and promises of each candidate are challenged and examined by the electorate and the other parties. It also energised the voters and the highest turnout on Worksop was in Worksop South, with the lowest in Worksop South-East

We now have a Council with an overwhelming Labour majority. One party, any party, having an large majority is not good news for anyone. As we saw nationally under Thatcher & Blair, such a majority leads to the party in power not having to justify its actions and this leads to bad government. I hope our local Labour party is wise enough to realise this, and I know that there are some members of it who are, but my fear is that, as we have seen here and elsewhere before, there are some in senior positions in the Labour group who will become so carried away with their power that they will not stop to think before they act. As the Tory & Independent councillors will not be able to hold the Labour administration to account within the Council, I hope everyone will be vigilant and do their best to keep them to account through letters to the local press, writing to their local councillors and by keeping up pressure on the Council to run Bassetlaw for the good of everyone not just the Labour party.