Back to the fray as we had our first Sittingbourne Lib Dem meeting since the county council elections. This time to talk tactics regarding 2010 – when 16 of Swale’s 47 council seats are up for grabs. We are defending one while the Tories are defending 11 and Labour hanging on to four. The Conservatives will be hoping to increase their current majority of nine.
One complicating factor is that these elections may be the same day as a general election which will mean a higher turnout and that voters will have national issues more in mind. On the other hand, if Mr Brown decides to cling on to the very last second, he can go the full distance and have an election in June 2010.
I shall hope to be a candidate myself but whoever wins these 16 wards will only have a year to get comfy before getting back on the pavement – as the Council will be ‘all out’ in 2001 with all 47 seats being re-elected. This is a result of a Labour government granting a Conservative council request to alter the voting timetable with the aim of severely handicapping the smaller parties – especially the Lib Dems, as we don’t have the deep pockets of our two bigger colleagues. However, having said that, the Tories did very well in the county council elections despite doing hardly any work. So maybe less is more.
Of course, of all parties, Labour and the Conservatives have the cosiest relationship - as they have, for them, the perfect political system – where they can take turns to hold unrepresentative power and keep out anyone else who wants to get involved, while we go from one economic crisis to the next. It would be interesting if we were ever to introduce democracy.