Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who will lead Basildon Labour?

Some time before the local elections, Nigel Smith stepped down as the leader of the Labour group on Basildon Council. That was a bit odd, as a leader resigning when a ballot is imminent doesn't really help on polling day. Anyway, the elections are done, Labour was squeezed again, and their remaining Councillors need a new boss. Who will it be? There are a couple of people who could actually do the job, but it will be interesting to see if the winner is the one individual who is hotly tipped, but who would almost certainly be a disaster. Whoever it is, they have a number of challenges, not least to come up with a decent narrative for the Labour Party in Basildon District. I cannot figure out what they are actually for, and if I can't then I suspect much of the electorate has the same problem.

At the recent elections Labour scored 21% of the vote in Basildon, which underperforms the national share by 3 points. That is pretty bad, and does not augur at all well for the General Election and Angela Smith's seat. In fact, based on the Electoral Calculus prediction, Basildon and East Thurrock is heading Tory on an 8% swing from 2005. Two years to go though...

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