And then there was Preston Park. This is the last of my reviews of what might happen in next year’s local elections. Preston Park (or Preston Ward) as it used to be known under different boundaries) was once solid Conservative. You know the old adage that if you put a blue rosette on a monkey it would get elected. Well, in a County Council election in 1989, I think, the Tory candidate was someone called Gibbon! And, you guessed it, he lost.
The ward had become a relatively safe Labour seat until May 2007 when Green Amy Kennedy upset the normal order by topping the poll with 1,633 votes. She was the product of the Green’s cunning plan of encouraging a vote for one Green candidate, allowing traditional Labour voters a protest while still giving the majority of their votes to the Labour candidates. In Preston Park two Labour councillors were re-elected, Juliet McCaffery (1,630 votes) and Kevin Allen (1,474). The third Labour candidate and the two other Greens all polled over 1,000 votes.
This is a genuine marginal between Labour and the Greens with the Tories now well adrift. (However, I wouldn’t altogether write off their chances). Green Amy is a favourite of this blogger for her Delia Smith impersonation and shamelessly donning of a Stassi-style tabard at the Green Party conference. Far more importantly, though, is her record on the Council, championing women’s issues, and her record on Planning issues. I would hope that, at some point in the future, she will stand in a winnable parliamentary seat for the Greens. Her work as a ward councillor has impressed, and her reputation could well sweep two other Greens onto the Council. (In case anyone is wondering, I am not the Mr K referred to in her, sadly, inactive blog). I just hope that her qualities will not take her into professional green planning pastures and away from local politics.
Preston Park is a must win seat for the Greens should they wish to become the largest party on the Council. My recommendation to voters in Preston Park is to vote Green, Green and, with their third vote, Green.