The division in the Tory ranks is deep and it is wide

When I was a member of the Boys Brigade, we used to sing a song that went “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide …”. We had hand actions to emphasise thewords, and the speed of the song increased with each verse.

Walking along a corridor in Kings House the other day, I came across a group of Tory councillors singing that song, complete with hand movements. But the words have been changed: “Deep and wide, deep and wide, the division’s so deep and wide …”.

The split in the Tory Party is, indeed, deep and wide. And no more so than in Hangleton and Knoll. Following the untimely death of councillor David Smart, it had been expected that Jo Heard, the daughter of the retiring councillor for Central Hove, Averill Older, would be his natural successor.

But no, one of the Young Turks, Michael Ireland, has been parachuted into the seat. This is a source of a lot of unhappiness in the local Conservative association. Several members are in open rebellion and Jo Heard has, herself, cut her losses with the Tories and is standing as an Independent.

Jo is very well known in the area, has campaigned for years on various issues and is a highly respected fundraiser (for the Alzheimer’s Society). She has routes in the Church, having been active in St Andrew’s Church in Hove. I assume that Bishop Brian (Oxley) is sympathetic to Jo, but party loyalties prevent him from speaking out.

Another of Jo’s claim to fame was having her photograph reproduced on the side of a bus, dressed in a blue dress (appropriate for a Tory) and her arms spread wide “Deep and wide, deep and wide, etc etc”. Believe it or not, the bus was the number 5 to Hangleton, the very one that is about to be saved by Brian Fitch. What a tangled web we weave!

But what happened to that bus and Jo’s image. In June 2009 the bus was, sadly, repainted. And so, too, has Jo repainted her political allegiance. A Tory no more, she is standing as an independent.

Her entry into this election makes the outcome in Hangleton and Knoll most unpredictable. Dawn Barnett remains the favourite for re-election, but Tony Janio’s future is more uncertain. Michael Ireland is the Tory least likely to be elected. Brian Fitch, one of the most able and energetic campaigners inspite of approaching three score years and ten, can be counted on to make a very strong challenge. His cause is helped by Jo’s candidature. It is tough for an independent to be elected, but I would not rule Jo out altogether.

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16 Responses

  1. I have not a doubt in my mind that Brian will get elected.

    Go and have a walk around the ward, and you count how many FITCH FORD JONES posters there are… its excellent.

  2. I don’t believe posters necessarily equal votes.

    The LibDems had orange posters all over the City before last year’s elections and it didn’t reflect on their vote. I’ve found that many people would rather not publicise their personal vote.

  3. Presumably Jo Heard has a copy of the Electoral Roll?

    I noted below another post that Hanleton is now a three-way tussle, and that could bring up the emergent Green vote there. And do not ignore the numbers that the LibDems once got. They are presumably up for grabs.

    Hangleton depends upon those who work the doorsteps.

    It could be a most interesting result: Brian, Dawn, and Jo.

    I fully expect the Library there to be bursting with books by May 5th. And the place chockablock with Number 5 buses, each driver in a peaked cap.

    From the beginning of this campain I have said that the outlying districts are among the most interesting.

    Follow the demography.

  4. The Greesn cannot win Hangleton *sigh*

    Now, i was also in the Boys Brigade BPB- I wonder which company you were in?

    Good luck to Jo, I emailed her this week to find out what happened, I wasn’t aware she was standing.

    How does everyone think the AV vote will go?

    • I had thought that the Referendum vote might lift the Local vote in general but others say that, if anything, the Local vote could bring some interest in what many regard as arcane Referendum.

      And indeed I am hearing more about Local, I think.

      What always amazes me in canvassing is that some people declare “I don’t vote” as if that is a tenable point of view when in fact it’s just a spur to be polite and hurry on to somebody who might be counted one way or the other.

      But I did make one truculent non-voter pause this evening… Can be done

      • I got about 10 non voters putting up posters and signing up to vote labour. Greens have no chance of hangleton… that’s just laughable

    • Baron and Fitch, please read Christopher’s comment more carefully.

  5. I wonder how independent Jo Heard will be if she gets elected? As ‘independent’ as Jayne Bennett was?

    At least if you vote for someone with a party label you know roughly what you are going to get (insert your own Nick Clegg/Lib Dem joke here…) – whereas voting for an independent is akin to handing them a blank cheque.

    Chris: Back in my days as a party politician I used to occasionally tell ‘ won’t vote’ ‘you’re all the same’ responders that they had a responsibility to vote, and to choose the *least bad* of the candidates standing. That caused a few jaws to sag (not least among party colleagues) but maybe a few pennies to drop too.

    AV: the low turnout elsewhere may help it get through (enthusiasts are likely to be pro). Cue a lot of squealing from the NO camp if so. I really wish we were voting on the additional member system instead.

  6. There is no doubt that Jo has worked hard for the tories over the years and she deserves some recognition for that,however Michael was picked and voted for by the standing selection committee of Hangleton and it would be pretty “AV” to have picked Jo once Michael had received the most votes!, Both Jo and Michael will make excellant Cllrs if elected.

    • Bet they use a ‘run off’ system to select candidates – whittling down to a final vote between the last two left standing.

      Which is exactly what AV does.

  7. I had an e mail from Jo this morning who said she was ‘staggered and thrilled’ at the support she is getting. It was always her wish to represent the ward in which she lived (I wish more councillors would), so she chose to stand as an independent. I wish more people would stand without the party banner. Good luck to her.

  8. After, I hasten to add, the Tories failed to select her. I think they might pay for that…

  9. Did Michael get the most votes because he is side kick of MP for area ??????, make your own mind up .
    For me Jo was pushed out and now i back her all the way have switched sides for a person who WILL BE THE BEST clr in the area following the sad loss of David Smart.
    What ever you do just keep the EX CLR FITCH out am sure all the local’s will remember the tactic’s used 4 years ago,all of you think back please and look to what is best ,remember that we had the very best CLR (IND)Dr Colin Jones for a number of years and now it is your chance to have at least 4 years of the same type of person to stand up for you not party just THE PEOPLE.

  10. Great to see the sunny weather bringing out all the campaign teams to the streets today.

    In passing along Western Road an incredible site caused many to get off the bus and check. It couldn’t be but in fact was. The veteran campaigner and street wise politician Nigel Furness out campaigning for the Brunswick and Adelaide Conservatives.

    Perhaps with Cllr Watkins standing as an independent, Nigel senses that the Tory Candidate might deliver in what has been Lib Dem land for years?

    Come on Nigel what do you know that we don’t?

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