Waltham Forest is the borough that gave us Norman Tebbit and Iain Duncan Smith. Yet it has a local council composed of a Lab/Lib Dem coalition. It has three constituencies and while Chingford and Woodford Green is Conservative, the other two are Labour. While Walthamstow is a safe Labour seat, Leyton and Wanstead is Target 165.
One encouraging bit of news is that the Lib Dems appear to have imploded. The Lib Dem leader, Cllr John Macklin, Cllr Bob Bellam. a Cabinet Member and Cllr Bob Carey, the Lib Dem Chief Whip are all now standing as independents against official Lib Dem candidates. Quite extraordinary.
Last year Labour had their own bit of implosion with Lord Harris denouncing the "developing scandal" of fraudulent misspending in the Council.
The Conservatives have proposeda 2.3% cut in Council Tax for Waltham Forest – including a cut of £750,000 on propaganda spending.
This is the borough which appointed as a Cabinet Member for Children's Services someone convicted for keeping their child out of school.
This is also the Council that had to bail out its arms length housing management company with £7.6 million after mismanagement and legal bills over Decent Homes works.
The Conservative candidate for the Leyton and Wanstead constituency (which includes a couple of Conservative wards in Redbridge) is Ed Northover, who is local councillor in Waltham Forest. He points out this is also a Council which presides over "a borough strewn with dumped mattresses and illegal conversions of properties, the Council should be focusing enforcement action on the big issues" yet takes out a Fixed Penalty Notice on a woman who put up a poster about a missing cat. He is quite right. This sort of issue shows up the wider cultural problem. The Council just not being on the side of its residents.
Among the Waltham Forest wards in the Leyton and Wanstead constituency in the last elections there were 11 Labour and seven Lib Dem councillors returned. Often so ferocious would be the battles there would be split wards. then they end up getting into bed together and make a complete shambles of running the Council. Let's hope a real alternative is chosen on May 6.