Labour’s Tom French alleges that Green Queens Park councillor Ben Duncan was “slated by member of public for not attending 6 Police Authority meetings”. Really? The public no less. Everyone of them? Tom French then says that the Tories “refuse to protect local bus services in Queen’s Park”. The infamous, number 81 no less, the one with ‘Brian Fitch’ on the front. He calls on another Green councillor, Jason Kitcat, to support the campaign to save the number 81. Councillor Kitcat replies “if valued bus services are being actually cut then I’d be very very worried. But no firm signs of that yet”. Then councillor Kitcat says “AFAIK”. What could he possibly mean?
The Queens Park campaign is likely to be one of the liveliest in the city. The three Labour candidates, media-savvy Tom French, local community activist-extraordinaire Chris Cooke, and the other one (the lovely Dan Chapman) are hard workers, part of the new breed of Labour activists who lack electoral experience (which is a good thing given the tired out hacks on the council radiate doom and defeat).
But up against them is the Green Dream Team, sitting councillor Ben Duncan (who cares if he misses the occasional meeting – focus on your own campaign, Tom French. Attacking a popular and hardworking councillor like Ben Duncan makes you look shallow). Steph Powell, a youth worker, is energetic and personable, and offers an alternative to voters because it is rumoured she is not a gay man! Again it is rumoured that Labour tried to recruit her as recently as November. Geoffrey Bowden, the Sussex Square, matches Tom French in his use of new media. He is a communications consultant, no less.
Queens Park was the outstanding result last time for the Greens. Ben Duncan, the very popular Rachel Fryer and the much respected Paul Steedman ousted Labour’s leadership on the Council, Simon Burgess, Ken Bodfish and Delia Forrester. Ben beat Delia by a mere 15 votes, but it would be wrong to think that a small swing to Labour nationally will even things up and allow Labour back in. Rachel, Paul and Ben have consolidated the Greens position and the Greens could be on the verge of being the natural party to represent Queens Park.
But one shouldn’t forget Chris Cooke who has been everywhere in Queens Park over the last few years, with a profile as high as that of an active councillor. We could get a split decision here. My prediction is that Queens Park will return 3 Greens or 2 Greens and one Labour councillor. No wonder it is a lively battle, and no wonder it is getting dirty!
Filed under: Council Elections 2011 Tagged: | Ben Duncan, Chris Cooke, Dan Chapman, Delia Forrester, Geoffrey Bowden, Jason Kitcat, Ken Bodfish, Paul Steedman, Queens Park, Rachel Fryer, Simon Burgess, Steph Powell, Sussex Square, Tom French