Wishing for an incendiary campaign in Wish ward

Possibly one of the most intestine contests this May, and one that has, until the last 24 hours, been largely ignored, is the contest in Wish ward. The characters involved are fascinating and the ingredients are there for quite an incendiary campaign.

Defending the seat aree two sitting Conservative councillors, Ted Kemble and Garry Peltzer Dunn. Nice guys they may be, they are unlikely to ignite the election campaign. They had comfortable majorities at the last election, but with the re-emergence of former Conservative councillors, Mark Barnard and Jenny Barnard-Langston, who are standing as independents, sufficient Tory votes may leak to them to make this a marginal seat.

Standing for the Lib Dems is former Brunswick councillor Bob Bailey and Daniel Russell. For a number of reasons, not least the Clegg Effect, they can expect to heavily beaten. It is interesting to note that Mark and Jenny have decided not stand as Lib Dems. If my memory serves me correctly, they defected from the Tories to the Lib Dems some years back. They sure know how to back a lost cause.

Labour, which came a spectacle second after the Tories last time out, are fielding two women candidates, Anne Pissaridou and Christine Robinson, which may help the cause. They would need to make up around 700 votes which is not impossible given the changed fortunes of the the Tories and Labour.

Veteran campaigner and someone well known in the area, at least by this correspondent, is Sue Baumgardt who is the “Green Party First Choice Candidate”. Anton Simanowitz is the Green Party’s “Second Choice Candidate”.

Bringing up the rear, but very likely to beat the Lib Dems, is RichardĀ Allden of the UK Independence Party.

At one point the Tories would have considered another Hove ward, Goldsmid, as a safe seat. But an excellent campaign by Melanie Davies won a seat for Labour, and then Alex Phillips was able to take a seat for the Greens in the Goldsmid by-election in 2009. The same could happen in Wish. Labour will eat into the Tory majorities, and a strong showing by Sue Baumgardt could make this a three way marginal. One Tory should be re-elected but I wouldn’t want to call the second seat. Much depends on what resources both Labour and the Greens commit to Wish. Judging by how stretched Labour is elsewhere, and the concentration by the Greens elsewhere, the Tories could just hold on.