Out of Eltham?

Thamesmead and Plumstead BC
Proposed new Thamesmead and Plumstead Constituency Boundaries

Shooters Hill ward will move out of the Eltham parliamentary constituency into a new Thamesmead and Plumstead constituency if the latest Boundary Commission for England proposals are implemented. The map above shows which wards would be in the new constituency, and there is also an excellent visualisation of the changes on the Guardian web site – snippets of the old and new constituencies are included at the end of this post.

The Boundary Commission proposal aims to reduce the number of constituencies – hence the number of MPs – and balance the number of voters per consituency.  New constituencies will have populations of no fewer than 72,810 and no larger than 80,473 people, apart from Isle of Wight. The Boundary Commission also took into account:

•  special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency;
•  local government boundaries as they existed on 6 May 2010 (see paragraph 16 above);
•  boundaries of existing constituencies; and
•  any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies.

The new boundaries are different to those originally proposed, and the Boundary Commission have documented the reasons for any changes. In the Commission’s original proposals the Eltham constituency, including Shooters Hill ward, was to have been extended into Bexley, but this crossing of borough boundaries “provoked considerable opposition from local residents on both sides of the boundary” –  i.e both Greenwich and Bexley. In addition:

The Labour Party expressed strong objections, and Clive Efford MP highlighted the strength of the existing constituency boundary (reflecting not only borough boundaries but also the former division between London and Kent), the limited number of cross?borough access routes, and the division of residential areas on either side of the boundary.

The rationale behind the new Thamesmead and Plumstead constituency is based on strong local ties between different wards, even though this new constituency is split between Greenwich and Bexley. In particular the strong link between the Thamesmead and Thamesmead Moorings wards was seen to be  important. The ties between the different Plumstead wards was also a factor:

Some respondents highlighted the ties between Glyndon ward and Thamesmead. Many local residents urged us to recognise the links between Plumstead and Glyndon wards, and, to a lesser extent, Shooters Hill ward. The Royal Borough of Greenwich, among others, suggested that these three wards make up the area commonly regarded as Plumstead, and their shared interests would be best served by their being together in one constituency.

What would this mean politically? The ward-by-ward breakdown of votes in the election for London Mayor shows that the wards in the new Thamesmead and Plumstead constituency voted 56.5% for Ken with Boris on 29.7%, then Lawrence James Webb the Fresh Choice for London candidate just beating Green Jenny Jones into third place by 2 votes and Brian Paddick in sixth behind the BNP.

If you want to comment on the new proposal you have until the 10th December, and you can do it via the Boundary Commission’s web site.

Of course this is all  academic given that Nick Clegg has said that the Lib Dems won’t support the boundary changes, unless he changes his mind ….


Current Boundaries
Guardian Datastore: Proposed constituency boundary changes mapped – how would the alterations affect you? Current Boundaries
Proposed Boundaries
Guardian Datastore: Proposed constituency boundary changes mapped – how would the alterations affect you? Proposed Boundaries

How Shooters Hill Voted

Ken Livingstone won the most votes in the Shooters Hill ward in the recent mayoral election according to the breakdown by ward of the capital’s votes which has just been published by London Elects. He got 46% of the Shooters Hill vote, against Boris Johnson’s 37%,  compared to the 38% to 41% split in 2008. By my calculation this is a swing from Boris to Ken of 6%. The number of Greenwich wards with a majority for Ken also increased, as shown in the ward map below, though Ken still underperformed the Labour Party who also had most votes in Blackheath Westcombe and Middlepark & Sutcliffe in the other two ballots on 3rd May.

2012 London Mayor Election Results
2012 London Mayor Election Results

The full breakdown of votes for Mayor in Shooters Hill ward is shown in the pie chart below. The Green Party’s Jenny Jones was in third place, followed by  the Liberal’s Brian Paddick in 4th place with just 3% of the vote. The Liberals were down from nearly 9% in 2008. Siobhan Benita was just two votes behind Brian, followed by Lawrence James Webb of the  Fresh Choice for London party. The BNP slumped to last place with 2%, down from just over 5% last time. Jenny Jones got the most second preference votes in Shooters Hill, though these wouldn’t have been counted in the final count; in the system used only second preference votes for Ken and Boris were counted.

Votes for Mayor in Shooters Hill Ward
Votes for Mayor in Shooters Hill Ward

1    Siobhan Benita
2    Carlos Cortiglia – British National Party
3    Boris Johnson – The Conservative Party Candidate
4    Jenny Jones – Green Party
5    Ken Livingstone – The Labour Party Candidate
6    Brian Paddick – London Liberal Democrats
7    Lawrence James Webb – Fresh Choice for London

The breakdown of votes in the  London Member ballot is shown in the next pie chart. Labour beat the Conservatives by 47% to 22% in this vote, with the Greens in third on 9%. Interestingly UKIP were in 4th on 6%.

Votes for London-wide London Assembly member in Shooters Hill Ward
Votes for London-wide London Assembly member in Shooters Hill Ward

1    British National Party
2    Christian Peoples Alliance – Supporting Traditional Marriage
3    Conservative Party
4    English Democrats – “Putting England First!”
5    Green Party
6    Labour Party
7    London Liberal Democrats
8    National Front Putting Londoners First
9    The House Party- Homes for Londoners
10    Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
11    UK Independence Party
12    Rathy Alagaratnam
13    Ijaz Hayat

Len Duvall won an impressive 51% of the Constituency London Assembly Member vote, up from 37% in 2008, compared to Alex Wilson’s 22% for the Conservatives. Again the Greens were in third and Lib Dems in fourth. Close behind the Lib Dems’  John Russell was Paul James Oakley of Fresh Choice for London. The National Front went from nearly 9% and fourth place  in 2008 down to just 2% and last place this time, maybe partly because the BNP also entered a candidate this time who took 4% of the vote.

Votes for  Constituency London Assembly Member in Shooters Hill Ward
Votes for Constituency London Assembly Member in Shooters Hill Ward

1    Tess Culnane – National Front Putting Londoners First
2    Len Duvall – Labour Party Candidate
3    Paul James Oakley – Fresh Choice for London
4    Barbara  Raymond – Greenwich and Lewisham People Before Profit
5    John Russell – London Liberal Democrats
6    Roger Sedgley – Green Party
7    Alex Wilson – The Conservative Party Candidate
8    Roberta Woods – British National Party

Turnout figures aren’t given in the London Elects spreadsheet, but it will be lower than in 2008. This time 3102 people voted in the Shooters Hill ward, excluding postal votes which aren’t given by ward; in 2008 it was 3968 which was a 47% turn out. So Shooters Hill turnout in 2012 was probably about the London average of 38%, which means that a large majority, 62%, of the ward didn’t vote.

Of course this is all academic because Boris won the most votes across London and his second term as Mayor, but as I’ve admitted before I enjoy playing with a spreadsheet of numbers (sad or what?) and find this fascinating,  and I think it might give a little bit of insight into the area.

Shooters Hill, Gladstone and the Right to Vote

Gladstone Plaque on Eglinton Road School
Gladstone Plaque on Eglinton Road School

I wasn’t aware that the nineteenth century Liberal Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone was once the MP for Greenwich until I noticed the plaque on the side of Eglinton Road School. But he was, between the years 1868 and 1878, which included the time of the first of his four premierships. His valedictory speech to about 3000 of his constituents at the Herbert Park Roller Skating Rink, now the site of Eglinton Road School,  lasted two hours. They must have been releived that this was  much shorter than his record budget speech as Chancellor of the Exchequer which took nearly 5 hours.  The speech marked the end of Gladstone’s time as Greenwich MP;  he immediately went on to campaign for and win a seat in Midlothian.

With an election coming up in a couple of days, I was particularly interested in Gladstone’s part in extending the right to vote, but his farewell speech also resonated with other current events in that it was about his passionate opposition to a war in Afghanistan, the second Anglo-Afghan War, and included the passage:

“Yes, gentlemen, the disease of an evil conscience is beyond the prac­tice of all the physicians of all the countries in the world. The penalty may linger; but, if it lingers, it only lingers to drive you on further into guilt and to make retribution, when it comes, more severe and more disas­trous. It is written in the eternal laws of the universe of God that sin shall be followed by suffering. An unjust war is a tremendous sin. The question which you have to consider is whether this war is just or unjust. So far as I am able to collect the evidence it is unjust. It fills me with the greatest alarm lest it should be proved to be grossly and totally unjust. If so, we should come under the stroke of the everlasting law that suffering shall follow sin; and the day will arrive—come it soon or come it late— when the people of England will discover that national injustice is the surest road to national downfall.”

Gladstone was also a supporter of electoral reform and the extension of the right to vote, becoming known as “the people’s William”. The changes started before Gladstone’s time  with the 1832 Reform Act which is seen as the start of the move towards universal suffrage, one of the few things I remember from school history lessons. It could be argued that Gladstone’s support for electoral reform pushed the Conservatives into passing the Second Reform Act in 1867 which enfranchised 1,500,000 men, almost doubling the electorate. All male urban householders and male lodgers paying £10 rent a year for unfurnished accommodation got the right to vote. Gladstone himself was responsible for the Ballot Act in 1872, bringing in the secret ballot for elections, and the  Third Reform Act in 1884 which gave rural men the same voting rights as those in the boroughs. Even after this some 40% of men and all women didn’t have the right to vote.

It wasn’t until 20 years after Gladstone died, in the 1918 Representation of the People Act sometimes known as the Fourth Reform Act, that the right to vote was given to all men over the age of 21, and women over the age of 30 who met  minimum property qualifications. Women finally achieved  electoral equality with men in 1928 in what was known as the Fifth Reform Act or the Equal Suffrage Act. Then in 1969 the age  at which someone could vote was lowered from 21 to 18.

So it took a long time to get the right to vote, and many people battled and were punished with  jail or worse on the way – from the Levellers and Chartists through to the Suffragettes, which is one reason why I will definitely be voting on Thursday.

Portacabin Polling Station on Donaldson Road
Portacabin Polling Station on Donaldson Road

The map below shows the location of all the polling stations in Shooters Hill, including the recently installed portacabin in Donaldson Road, though remember that you can’t go to any Polling Station in the ward – check your polling card for your station. There’s a good summary of the instructions for how to vote here, but don’t forget that we only get two preferences on the pink ballot paper for Mayor.

Finally, the Guardian have a 10 question mayor maker, which may help anyone who’s wondered what the policies in the campaign actually are.

Shooters Hill Ward Polling Stations:

  • Shrewsbury House Community Centre, Bushmoor Crescent, Shooters Hill, London, SE18 3EG
  • Portacabin Next To 1A Donaldson Road, Shooters Hill, London, SE18 3JX
  • St. Joseph’s R.C. Church Hall, Paget Rise, London, SE18 3QQ
  • Plumcroft Primary School, Nithdale Road, London, SE18 3PE
  • Slade Hall, Pendrell Street, London, SE18 2PJ
  • Timbercroft Primary School, Timbercroft Lane, London, SE18 2SG
  • Willow Dene School, Swingate Lane, London, SE18 2JD

Shooters Hill Psephology

2008 London Mayoral Elections Greenwich Ward Map
2008 London Mayor Election Results

I love playing with a spreadsheet of numbers, so I was thrilled to find one containing a ward-by-ward breakdown of the votes cast in the 2008 London Mayoral elections on the Greater London Authority website. It’s fascinating to browse through and compare the votes in different areas, but the most striking pattern to me was the comparative influence of candidate party and personality on voting, which I’ve plotted on the three Greenwich ward maps included in this post.

On the election day voters filled in three ballot papers: one for London Mayor, one for a party or individual for the London-wide London Assembly member and one for a named individual for the  Greenwich and Lewisham Constituency London Assembly Member. And as the three ward maps show, voters voted for different parties in the three different polls.

The map at the top shows which wards voted for Boris (blue, of course) and Ken (Red) – and it shows a North-South divide, with the Shooters Hill ward on the boundary and favouring Blue Boris. The second map, below, shows the votes for Labour and Conservative London-wide AMs, and a couple of wards have turned Red, including Shooters Hill but also Eltham West. The bottom ward map shows the results for the Constituency AM – Len Duval (Lab) vs Andy Jennings (Con) and Kidbrooke with Hornfair has supported Woolwich-born Len, turning from blue to red. The three maps demonstrate really well, I think, that voters don’t all just blindly vote for a particular political party, but the individual standing for election can make a big difference.

2008 London-wide Assembly Member Elections Greenwich Ward Map
2008 London-wide Assembly Member Election Results
2008 Constituency London Assembly Member Elections Greenwich Ward Map
2008 Constituency London Assembly Member Election Results

I’ve summarised the Shooters Hill ward percentages across the three ballots in the table below, and also included the 2010 local council results. The turnout for the 2008 Mayoral elections was 47% in Shooters Hill compared to 67.7%  in the 2010  local council election. A higher turnout clearly favours the Labour Party.




Mayor: Ken Livingstone vs Boris Johnson



London-wide Assembly Member



Constituency: Len Duval vs Andy Jennings



Local Council



How did  the other candidates fare in Shooters Hill ward? Well Brian Paddick came third in the Mayoral elections, and also got the most second preference votes at a shade over 30%. The LibDems’ Brian Robson came third in the Constituency AM ballot, but appallingly the LibDems were pushed into fourth place in the London-wide AM vote by the BNP. The Greens were 5th in all three ballots, with 8.24% in the London-wide AM their highest percentage.

This year’s elections take place on 3rd May; Raven on the London Masala and Chips blog has posted a clear and succcinct guide what we will need to do with the three ballot papers. One thing to remember is that we only need to indicate our first and second preferences on the Mayoral ballot paper. One of the largest reasons for spoilt papers in 2008 was giving more than two preferences. The London Elects website also has lots of information about the forthcoming election, and I’ve included a copy of their poster below.

There is still time to register to vote in the Mayoral and London Assembly election; the deadline for registration is 18th April. Full details and a handy form to register can be found on the About my vote website and also on the Greenwich Council web site.

London Elects Poster
London Elects Poster

PS Psephology – the study of elections – is derived from the Greek psephos, pebble because the Greeks used  pebbles for voting.

Tough Times

Demonstration outside Woolwich Centre about public sector pensions
Demonstration outside Woolwich Centre about public sector pensions

The well-stocked  Amnesty International Blackheath and Greenwich Book Sale gives me a feeling of reassurance that my obsession with books is not as bad as it might be. Other bibliophiles have it much worse than I do; they are already in the queue for the sale when I arrive at the Church of the Ascension about ten minutes before it opens, and they bring along suitcases and cardboard boxes to cram full of their purchases. In the last couple of sales I’ve, fortuitously, come away with books that seems appropriate to Amnesty International’s mission. At the sale a few weeks ago I bought a slim, 119-year-old, battered blue-brown covered hardback copy of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. With its yellowed, sometimes stained pages, that so clearly express such powerful ideas, I feel it is a truly beautiful object. OK, so maybe my book obsession is as bad as I suspected.

In his Introductory Mill writes of the need to protect the weaker members of the community from the “vultures” and “minor harpies” of the governing tribe or caste. Of course that should not be necessary now we elect our rulers, and we don’t have a governing caste …. or do we?

The members of the unions representing public sector workers who came out on strike last week, some of whom are pictured above demonstrating in front of the new Woolwich Centre, certainly feel under attack. As well as the proposed changes in their pension contributions and retirement age they also have to cope with the effects of a new forecast total of 710,000 public sector job losses and an extended pay freeze. Leaving aside the economics and the politics of public sector pensions, the public sector workers are undoubtedly experiencing tough times, an experience that is perhaps exacerbated by the perception that not all parts of society are experiencing their share of the toughness of the times.

Another group feeling under attack at the moment are disabled people and those unable to work due to medical conditions. The way in which the current Work Capability Assessments are being carried out has led some vulnerable, psychologically fragile claimants to despair , depression and thoughts of suicide.  Private Eye recently reported claims that these assessments had been cited as factors at 16 suicide inquests; these include Scottish writer and poet Paul Reekie.  Amidst reports that staff at Atos, the company contracted to carry out the assessments, have expressed very disparaging opinions about disabled claimants, the campaign group Black Triangle have called for a boycott of the Paralympic Games because of Atos’ involvement. I’m amazed that there hasn’t been more of an outcry about this failure to protect some of the weaker members of the community. Vultures and minor harpies indeed!

The FareShare Million Meal Appeal leaflet which was handed out to Sainsburys' shoppers on 26th November
FareShare Million Meal Appeal leaflet

The generosity of people in Woolwich, Greenwich and across the country in supporting the FareShare 1 Million Meal Appeal provides a cheering and striking contrast to these attitudes.  FareShare is a charity that is working to relieve food poverty. This is mainly achieved by redistributing quality food that food retailers are unable to sell and would otherwise throw away. The food is distributed through a network of some 700 organisations in the UK, such as church groups, hostels, women’s refuges  and school breakfast clubs. It  feeds about 35,500 people a day, up 20% from 29,000 last year, rescuing 3,600 tonnes of surplus food in the process.

The 1 Million Meal Appeal, a collaboration with Sainsburys, aimed to collect 1 million meals worth of food items that FareShare do not usually get because it is long shelf-life, such as rice, pasta and tinned food. They recruited hundreds of volunteers to hand out a shopping list of such items, shown above, at Sainsburys’ stores across the country and ask shoppers to donate. When I went in to the Sainsburys in Greenwich to do our weekly shop at around lunch time last week the volunteers’ sign said that shoppers had already donated 5 shopping trolleys full of food, and there was another full trolley on the way out. Across the country shoppers gave enough food for 600,000 meals, which was matched by Sainsburys to make 1.2 million meals in total. FareShare will provide food for about 250,000 Christmas lunches and dinners, so this is good timing.

Tough times, for sure. What would John Stuart Mill have thought about it? I think that one of his other books, Utilitarianism, puts him firmly on the side of the 99%.

Turning Blue?


Old and New Boundaries and the colour of their voting majority, taken from the guardian datablog

The political map of Shooters Hill has just been redrawn by the Boundary Commission as part of their proposal to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

Having previously been part of the Woolwich West constituency from 1918-1983, and the Eltham constituency ever since, Shooters Hill could now, if the commission’s scheme is accepted, find itself part of a larger Eltham constituency that takes in two wards from the Bexley Borough: Blackfen and Lamorbey and Falconwood and Welling. This is highly likely to shift the local turnout in favour of Tory candidates in a seat that currently needs only the 25th smallest amount of swing to turn red into blue.

In a response that acknowledges the new boundaries help Tories in a seat that Labour last won with a slim majority of 1,663, Clive Efford has commented that he will continue to campaign in this area as he has since the 1994 election.

For further reading, see the Kidbrooke Kite who picked up this story earlier, and 853 for the bigger picture in the local area.

Who would be our AV MP

Today is the last day before the referendum on electoral reform, and although it looks like we’re stuck with the old ways (according to the pollsters), I did wonder how the politics in our constituency would now look if we’d voted using AV in the previous ballot.

I took the votes from the 2010 general election, and then began a process of wild speculation as to second preferences, based entirely on vague notions of the political spectrum: I assumed that right wing second preferences would gradually come in from the extremes towards the Tories (IND→ED→BNP→UKIP→CON); Green Party supporters would do likewise for Labour, and Lib-Dem second preferences would split 50-50 each way for the biggest two parties. Although this is mostly pie-in-the-sky thinking, the Green Party’s Shooters Hill candidate for the council election got more votes than their Parliamentary candidate; and since both elections happened on the same day, this suggests that Shooters Hill voters went for Green in the locals and possibly Labour in the nationals.

2010 General Election Results
Name Party Votes % +/-
Clive Efford Labour 17,416 41.5 -0.7
David Gold Conservative 15,753 37.5 +2.9
Steven Toole Liberal Democrat 5,299 12.6 -4.7
Roberta Woods British National Party 1,745 4.2 +1.6
Ray Adams UK Independence Party 1,011 2.4 -0.4
Arthur Hayles Green 419 1.0 +1.0
Mike Tibby English Democrats 217 0.5 +0.5
Andrew Graham Independent 104 0.2 +0.2
Majority 1,663 4.0
Turnout 41,964 67.0 +8.6

Well, based on rather crude apportioning of second preferences on a spectrum, and considering that Clive Efford didn’t get more than 50% of the overall vote in the first count, Andrew Graham (IND) dropped out of the competition at the end of round one. Part of his manifesto included bringing back capital punishment, so his second-preference votes got thrown in with the far right, and they went to Roberta Woods in round two, mainly as I’m not entirely sure what the English Democrats were campaigning for, only realising that they existed when I got to the voting booth. This reallocation didn’t make any difference to the overall picture, so Mike Tibby (ED) dropped out, and as before (according to an arbitrary political spectrum), his votes went to Roberta Woods, although she still wasn’t getting anywhere nearer to a 50% share of the vote. In round three the Green party votes went to Clive Efford (LAB), taking him up to a 42.4% share… again not enough for a win. And so to round four, at which point UKIP fell out of the running, and their votes went to David Gold (CON), taking him up by 2.5% to 40%. On to round five… here all the right wingers’ votes went to David Gold, and he nudged ahead of Clive Efford by just over two percent, but still not by enough to become our MP. At this point the Lib-Dems dropped out of the competition, leaving only two parties in the final round. I gave LAB and CON half each of the Lib-Dem votes, and because the CONs had previously benefited from more second hand support from right-wing voting, David Gold ended up as the 2010 (AV) general election winner!

Overall then, this (imaginary) vote count went right to final round, and was incredibly close in the end – I’m not sure that splitting Lib-Dem second preferences down the middle was a very realistic move. Equally, BNP support often comes from disgruntled Labour supporters having a protest, so giving their secondary support to the Tories may also have been a bad idea…

Since this whole trifle has been based on wild speculation about voting behaviours in Eltham, it would be a mistake to really make anything of it really. However, this being a marginal seat, it could be the case that voters who don’t initially support Labour or Tory candidates might get more of a say.

The Chop-o-Gram

Greenwich Council have been releasing some more cuts information. So far £21430000 have been proposed (based on an anticipated cut of £65000000 pending the arrival of central instructions) and partly scrutinised by some of the local blogs (853 and phantom and itm).

The sheer scale of the cuts in relation to normality (i.e. ignorance) makes them difficult to understand, but I recently watched the joy of stats, and noted the billion-pound-o-gram with interest. I thought a chop-o-gram might help to bring a bit of perspective to bear on this rather unfathomable hatchet job. After scraping data from the newsshopper cuts analysis, here are a few attempts to show the enormity of what’s being done to Greenwich.

Chop-O-Gram #1
Here I plot the newshopper selection of £5633000 worth of cuts/hikes, this acknowledges upfront that 14 posts will go. Hopefully that doesn’t equate to 14 people, but to be honest, all this talk about numbers comes down to people’s livelihoods in the end, the human cost. Whether the private sector chiefs (sainsburys, m&s, next etc) prime the recovery by re-employing the newly unemployed, which they indicate they can thanks to national insurance cuts remains to be seen. Hierarchically speaking, the parking permits stand out most; drivers can get very angry, so we’ll have to see how they respond, actually charging for parking at oxleas could help to maintain the gym…

Chop-O-Gram #2
This chop-o-gram factors in the £15797000 of currently proposed cuts the newshopper didn’t detail:

Chop-O-Gram #3
This chop-o-gram factors in the £43570000 of as yet unallocated cuts.


The turnout for the local election was a fantastic 80.4% 67.7% (oh dear I just checked and the turnout figure appears to have been revised), almost double that of four years ago. The most interesting thing to come out of this is that decent voter turnout here appears to be very good for labour, and very bad for the tories, with a 7 point swing to labour (I’m not exactly sure if i calculated it right, but here goes):

lab = sum(total lab vote 2010/total vote 2010)-sum(total lab vote 2006/total vote 2006) = 5% positive
con = sum(total con vote 2010/total vote 2010)-sum(total con vote 2006/total vote 2006) = 9% negative
diff/2 = 7%

On the fringes, the greens got more votes (4%) than the bnp (3%) too, another reversal of national behaviour, so overall, and considering the extremely high turnout, it looks like the residents of Shooters Hill present a fairly socially progressive political outlook compared to the country as a whole.

The lib dem share went down by 3%, which leads me to speculate that the downturn in con/lib fortunes is probably not for want of trying (the tories look to have spent a small fortune on glossy leaflets) but rather the mobilisation of the left. Certainly it is possible that some of the green/liberal vote went to labour, although it’s curious to note that the local green got more votes than their parliamentary candidate for eltham, who only got 419 votes, losing his deposit… Considering that, it looks like shooters hill greens probably did vote tactically nationally but possibly not locally…

I haven’t really given much thought to the national election, but now that clive efford has successfully staved of the tories in their target seat #68 (based on the 68th smallest amount of swing needed – 4.1%), i’m looking forward to seeing what happens with his proposals for green flag paths and signs (and gym!) in eaglesfield park. simon emmett, who was very gracious in defeat, has announced that he will be watching labour in the proposed regeneration of swingate lane shops and in the opposition to the tetra mast (but not the other masts?) – i.e. can the emergency services have it moved somewhere else?

2010 Council Election for Shooters Hill Ward (turnout 80.4% 67.7%)
Name Party Results
Phillip Jonathan BECKER Green Party 659
Mo BURGESS Conservative 1,881
Richard John CHANDLER Conservative 1,628
Simon EMMETT Conservative 1,777
Edward OTTERY Liberal Democrats 1,210
Harry Drummond POTTER Liberal Democrats 939
Jagir Kaur SEKHON Labour 2,917ELECTED
Barry Ian TAYLOR Labour 3,093ELECTED
Danny Lee THORPE Labour 2,788ELECTED
Steven Thomas TOOLE Liberal Democrats 1,009
Eddie Herbert WHITE British National Party 513

For comparison, here’s the details from last time:

2006 Council Election for Shooters Hill Ward (turnout 42%)
Name Party Results
Linda Susan Cunningham Conservative 1409
Sylvia Gladys Derrick-Reeve Liberal Democrat 796
Elizabeth Patricia Drury Conservative 1393
Denise Hyland Labour 1527ELECTED
John Kelly Labour 1589ELECTED
Edward Ottery Liberal Democrats 736
Simon Lester Tee Conservative 1326
Danny Thorpe Labour 1540ELECTED
Michael Westcombe Liberal Democrats 660

Party People

Shooters Hill is a marginal voting area (with the red-blue margin being less than 200 votes in the last council elections – see table below), and the so-called chicken run has been a feature of politics in this area for a while; Tory Bottomley fled to the relative safety of Worthing in 1997, and now Labour Hyland has been accused of performing a similar stunt by shifting to the labour stronghold of Abbey Wood for this year’s council elections on May the 7th. Just goes to show that being a party animal is a job just like any other.

Emigrations such as these free up a bit of elbow room in the local scene, and furthermore, Labour Kelly looks set to stand down, creating even more room for maneuver. Councillor Kelly’s departure is a shame as he’s on record as considering local (as opposed to bridge builder’s) interests during the latest river crossing fiasco. Judging by the figures, he was also the most popular candidate at the last election, a possible indicator that he was actually the local choice? That’s two situations vacant then, the third is currently held by councillor Danny Thorpe, who probably will stand again, but presumably with less support now as he spent around a year of his term in oz. Apparently he had offered to step down, however this did not happen…at least he’s sticking around to fight. Since his return I spotted him in his role as envoi to climate camp, although according to the council press release, it appears the most significant thing to come out of that was confirmation that the camp was actually being held in the borough of Lewisham, who’s kite field must have been good for all those wind turbines! That authority does have a few green councillors though, so they were probably quite pleased, certainly more than mayor bullock anyway, who was very grumpy about it. I’ve only seen Sir Steve once; after Millwall got to the FA cup final in 2004 they had a big party in Lewisham, and at one point he attempted to address the crowd, but was drowned out with calls of “who are ya! who are ya!”

So, with two current councillors leaving, the local tories have sensed their chance, and are raising their game; for instance local tory Maureen contributed to the push for a pedestrian “refuge island” beside woodlands farm – which shows that they are about more than just attacking labour all the time. Another game raising approach has been for tory hopeful Emmett to publish an eponymous website. Actually it’s quite a busy site and certainly contains more material than that of his superior, the parlimentary candidate Dave Gold, who previously tried to get elected in Brighton. An experienced blogger Emmett has a history of writing on national issues, and his preference for this topic led charlton average to express frustration as to why Emmett doesn’t narrow down the 2:1 ratio of national to local stories on his site. That was in May 2009, so I decided to take another look to see if there’s been any change.


Emmett’s Posts

The plot illustrates increments over time of posts tagged either gordon brown (a favourite subject of Emmett’s) or shooters hill since the beginning of his blog last February. Broadly speaking dynamics in brown related material seem to follow the twists and turns of media coverage in general; there’s a steady flow of brown copy through from feb to may, followed by a flurry of activity in june, incidentally on both brown and the hill – which shows some synchronisation between the two themes. Things then go rather quiet, roughly around the time of the summer recess in parliament, and the holidays in general, so that’s probably nothing to worry about, except that there was actually loads going on locally at the time. From the start of july to the end of november 3 posts about the hill are counted, which is a slightly surprising finding as we had the architectural digs and lily pond events at eaglesfield park, the open day at shrewsbury park, the neighbourhood watch party, the shelving of the river crossing, and a whole series of events at the farm: key moments in the life of the local community that went completely unreported. The start of the conference season sees a steep increase in posts about brown, with no concurrent increase in local affairs, unlike the june spike, this suggests, if anything, a step away from local coverage.

Local coverage on the blog does not seem have to have improved since charlton average scrutinised it. It’s fair to say that as well as running for council, local tories probably do help the parliamentary campaign, so attacks on the incumbent leader are presumably part of the grand plan, but hopefully there’s still time for the candidates to show more interest in the area they want to work for!

Difficulties with this analysis
This plot does not illustrate activity across all tags, it only contrasts on two things, my favourite topic (the hill) at the local level, and the blogger’s favourite topic at the national level (the pm). In recent times his coverage of greenwich council issues has started to shape up a bit better in comparison to rants about gordon brown, so i could look at that as well. For example, various local issues have been discussed such as greenwich time (which is in big trouble at the moment) and thames clipper, so perhaps it is now getting more into local affairs. The other thing to say is that although he misses out a lot of important happenings on the hill, he is at least the only candidate providing potential voters with a public showing of his position via regular posts and tweets.

Shooters Hill Ward (turnout 42%):

2006 Council Election
Name Party Results
Linda Susan Cunningham Conservative 1409
Sylvia Gladys Derrick-Reeve Liberal Democrat 796
Elizabeth Patricia Drury (commonly known as Liz) Conservative 1393
Denise Hyland Labour 1527ELECTED
John Kelly Labour 1589ELECTED
Edward Ottery Liberal Democrats 736
Simon Lester Tee Conservative 1326
Danny Thorpe Labour 1540ELECTED
Michael Westcombe Liberal Democrats 660