Phil Taylor is a Conservative Councillor for Northfield Ward, Ealing
Ealing is called the bellwether
borough as its local election results have prefigured the national polls for
10 of 11 general elections since the borough was formed. On 4th
May the Borough’s Tories achieved a swing of over 10% from Labour to
Conservative. The Labour Group went down from 48 to 29, the Lib-Dems lost a
seat to reduce their tiny group to 3 and 20 new Tory councillors marched into
the council chamber. Our young, energetic leader, Jason Stacey rubbed his eyes
and found himself leader of the council.
As a new candidate my focus was
restricted to my ward, Northfield, around Northfield Tube station in the south
of the Borough. We had three great candidates: David Millican, Mark Reen and
myself. Last time the Labour majority was only 4.4%. We needed to pick up 100
extra votes each to get in.
Our campaign started in the autumn
with survey canvassing. We were pretty sure that people were really not in
favour of the West London Tram and fed up with the value for money offered by
the old Labour administration. We talked to 2,500 residents across three
wards. 78% did not want the Tram. 77% thought that the council was bad value
for money. We even managed to get the survey results published in one of the local papers. The then Labour leader, Leo Thomson, commented,
perhaps foolishly, on the results greatly enhancing their credibility.
We did five leaflets, the last one of which pulled together lots of headlines
from the local press that laid out how poor Ealing’s old Labour council’s
record had been over the previous 12 years.
The local environment was a big
issue for our electors and the Vote Blue, Go Green message worked for us.
Graffiti has exploded in this part of Ealing. Residents of these relatively
prosperous streets all notice that their roads, pavements, street lights and
parks do not get prioritised. Our promise to double the level of road
surfacing was very welcome on the doorstep. Education was not a huge issue.
Nobody was concerned about social services even though this is a third of
It was a feature of talking to many
old folk that they were disillusioned with politics. There was a small minority
who regretted there was no choice locally, meaning no UKIP or BNP I guess. You
got some sour-faced antis who would not give you the time of day but
canvassing was great fun with the vast majority of people happy to talk and
pleased to be visited by a candidate. The vast majority were also unimpressed
by the current council or even downright angry. Whilst many non-Tories would
not vote for us, many would rather stay at home than vote for the
old administration. The LibDems were not trying in Northfield and Labour seemed
to be either complacent or resigned.
In the end our average majority was 980 on a very good turnout of 42.8%.
The new Tory council in Ealing is
focussing on three main priorities:
- improving environmental
- tackling anti-social
- achieving value for money and low
council tax increases.
We know what our voters want and we
are delivering it. Simple.