Post Election Update and Analysis
We congratulate Cllr O’Shea for his election victory last night, and his retention (now since 2012, and until 2018) of his council seat for Acocks Green, one of the four wards of Birmingham, Yardley. Thanks again to all of the five candidates who took part, and seriously applied themselves, to this on-line hustings, without their efforts this blog post would have been impossible, and thanks to als to them we have succeeded in continuing a serious pre-election debate about Acocks Green issues, before these become crowded out by wider political concerns in Birmingham and nationally. Some of these debate, e.g. about the possibility of a parish council: something all candidates indicated they were willing to support, now looks set to continue more quietly behind the scenes. It was also heartening to see all five candidates pledging support for Acocks Green’s proposed conservation area. This is a scheme which will hopefully come to fruition these year and continued cross-party support will be helpful. In this connection it is also heartening to see support from all on the question of the uses to which larger properties in Acocks Green should be put, and the need to avoid, where possible, clustering of large properties converted to non-family homes.
Above are the early results info is borrowed from The Birmingham Mail. So what happened? It was clearly overall Labour’s night in Birmingham, with Labour adding two more seats to its previous 78 on Birmingham City Council and retaining all of its identified marginals including in Acocks Green and in South Yardley. We know there are national factors at work in these results, with Labour being particularly intent upon defending its existing seats in the face of much current national debate about its position. In Yardley constituency, as a whole, there is also an interesting additional local factor which is that for a long time this constituency has been the Lib-Dem stronghold in Birmingham. Council elections battles in Yardley have for many years have centred around one question only: will the winner be Labour or Lib-Dem? There was no shortage of paper arriving through the door from the major contenders, both with TUSC and the Conservatives were also clearly keen to be heard. However, it appears that near the day both of the areas main parties chose to concentrate their campaign resources and personnel around their existing seats in Yardley. It is noticeable that neither of the key candidates achieved the results as high as those enjoyed by last year’s candidates but last year, in 2015, both candidates were also running on the same bill as the candidate for the parliamentary seat in Yardley, so even more resources and person-power was involved. In Acocks Green John O’Shea (Labour) also enjoyed the advantage over Penny Wagg (Lib-Dem) of being better known as the ‘incumbant’, or seat-holder, and a now a well-known face in Acocks Green, with a strong presence on social media and also an established figure in the Labour MP’s office on the Yardley Road, whilst the Lib-Dems have no MP and therefore no MP’s office at all.
In terms of actual policies perhaps what is most noticeable is the difference between Labour and Lib-Dem in Acocks Green on matters to do with waste and speeding. In regard to waste the Lib-Dems proposed back one bulky household waste collection with Labour preferring to concentrate upon taking legal action against fly-tippers. On speeding the Lib-Dems tend to favour physical traffic-calming over Labour’s planned use of signage in the hope of lowering speeds. These are debates which will no doubt continue Turning to the other candidates: there are one or two surprising alliances, and intersting comments, For example Penny Wagg for the Lib-Dems and Eamonn Flynn for TUSC find themseles in some agreement on the issue of BCC expenditure upon waste collection, and Richard Sparks for the Conservatives, also discussed expenditure here, albeit with a different emphasis. Meantime, Amanda Baker for the Greens proposes some completely different ways of handling waste after the ending of the present contract with Veolia at the Tyesley recycling depot in 2019. All candidates other than Labour appear sceptical about the value of the 20 mph signs for reducing speeds in the ward. None of the ‘minority’ candidates would have expected to win this ward election, and generally their results reflect less of the turbulence of the local two key players. However, Richard Sparkes’s reduced vote here is (speculatively) the result of national factors. It really wasn’t the Tories’ night in Brum, or in most English councils!
We hope to continue to enjoy the contributions of all candidates to the regular Acocks Green elections debate, and look forward to welcoming some of these candidates, and their colleagues, back in 2018. Meantime, we await final decisions upon ward boundary changes, now delayed for another round of discussions. (Watch this space.) and we will also need to wait to see how the boundary changes will affect election battles in 2018.
It’s that time of the year again. Which Birmingham City Council candidate has the best policies in order to care for the fabric and structure of Acocks Green? Who do you want to send in to the Council House to represent Acocks Green Ward? This year we have a line up of five of the six candidates standing. (Unfortunately, despite several approaches we have been unable to get any response from the SDP.) They have all been doing their homework, putting care and time into answering some Acocks Green orientated questions. Now it is up to you to decide. Click on the names underneath the, alphabetically ordered, pictures in order to read each candidate’s answers. We will announce the winner here in due course.
NB polling stations in Brum open 7 am and close 10 pm, Thursday 5 May 2016. You do not need a polling card or ID to vote. To track Acocks Green results on election night click here