The results from Thursday’s election suggest that Labour, locally, hasn’t moved in the past twelve months. One good councillor, with a strong personal vote (in Wrightington) stood down, and we gained another good councillor with a strong personal vote in Bickerstaffe.
To move forward in West Lancs, we need to see a bigger swing than 0.38%. Given that Skelmersdale North was a 30% swing back to Labour (from an independent) that wipes out that tiny increase.
It took a long time for the local party to get over losing control in 2002. Indeed, I think that some haven’t still got over it, and we’re still struggling with that.
I believe that it is for the Labour group to vocalise the dissatisfaction across West Lancs about how the Tories are running the Council. Their incompetence implementing changes to the recycling. Their Aughton-centric view of the world, and their arrogant assumption that what they do is “excellent”.
Labour in West Lancs has to reach out: be a voice, and fight for those who are let down by this council; for all those who deserve better.
Tories in West Lancs will be delighted with the result from last Thursday. Immediately after the election (about 3am on Friday morning), I wrote that we hadn’t reached rock bottom. In a more optimistic view after a couple of sleeps, I’m hoping that we hit it last year – and that this year just represents us bumping along the bottom.
Things should start to improve for Labour, but it will requre a positive shift in how the Labour group is perceived, or for people to realise the arrogance and increasing nastiness of the governing Tory council. Or perhaps both.
Personally, I think that only a Labour controlled council will deliver for all residents of West Lancs. I will do what I can within the group to build a strong effective team, and will continue to work hard in Moorside ward.
If we continue as we have over the past year, things could get worse. We could lose seats in Up Holland, and perhaps in Skelmersdale. However, I am certain that Maggie Skilling is a well known, well liked councillor in Up Holland and we won’t have the same problems that we had this year. Cynthia Dereli is a brilliant councillor in Burscough, and I’m sure that the people in her ward recognise that.
I am, generally, optimistic. Labour has the more positive view of West Lancs and what it can be. Cameron’s Tories prefer to keep us in the dark, providing second rate services and refusing to allow scrutiny. It is for our local Labour leaders to step up and take on the local Conservatives and I hope that it will happen over the next twelve months. Otherwise, we’re in opposition until at least 2012.