Azara Blog: Cambridge remains a Lib Dem town, but Arbury votes for Labour

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Date published: 2008/05/02

The Cambridge News says:

Cambridge has two new parties in the council chamber after a night of surprises in the local government elections.

The Green Party made history by winning its first-ever seat, ousting a Labour councillor of more than 20 years' standing, John Durrant, in Abbey ward.

And after two years with no representation on the council at all, the Conservatives are back. They too won a seat from Labour, in Coleridge.

Former mayor John Hipkin, who split from the Lib Dems after a big row last year, is back on the council as an independent. He won the Castle seat.

The Lib Dems remain the ruling party by a big margin. They still have 28 seats - the same as their tally before yesterday's election. But Labour has dropped from 13 to 11.

The Tories barely won in Coleridge, by 14 votes. The election of a Green candidate is pretty remarkable, although she will have no power and make no difference (the Lib Dems don't have to listen to anybody, not even the non-elite in their own party, never mind anyone else).

Against the tide of the country and the city, the people of Arbury voted in a Labour candidate, Mike Todd-Jones, over the sitting Lib Dem incumbent, Rhodri James, by a mere 33 votes. Last time around Todd-Jones lost to another Lib Dem councillor by only 12 votes. Further, between the last and this election, the Tories actually went down in Arbury, from 504 to 468. And the Greens also went down, from 211 to 187. There was a new party contesting the election this time around, the so-called English Democrats, but they only got 161 votes (presumably mostly from the Tories).

Why Arbury is swimming against the tide is a mystery. It's not as if the Lib Dems have done or have not done anything to particularly irritate the citizens of Arbury. The Lib Dems did not take Arbury for granted, since they easily distributed many more leaflets than all the other parties combined. (But the most expensive leaflet distributed was a two-page glossy one from the English Democrats, who must have some sugar daddy backing them.) Of course the Lib Dems patronise Arbury. In particular, they seem to think that everyone in Arbury lives in social housing. But all the political parties patronise Arbury.

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