Local elections in Hillingdon – my view

The people of Hillingdon go to the ballot box in less than two weeks time to vote for their local councillors who will make up the Hillingdon council chamber for the next four years.

Four years ago I was heavily involved as the Chairman of UKIP Hillingdon and a council candidate in the Charville ward in Hayes End – we ended up as the third largest party in the Borough but with no councillors to show for it, in part due to a faulty strategy imposed on us from above to bolster the EU elections that were held on the same day and in part due to a complete mismatch of firepower on the doorstep in terms of activists and cash. Despite this, we came very close to winning in a couple of wards and affected results in others.

Fast forward to 2018 and there are no UKIP candidates standing, leaving around 18% of the total vote up for grabs. (I toyed with standing as an independent but current circumstances would have made that extremely difficult so decided against it.)  The Liberal Democrats are fielding fewer candidates (13) after their disastrous showing last time out, whilst the Greens have surprisingly managed to stand 38 candidates, up from the 22 they stood in 2014.

Labour and the Conservatives are, as usual, standing a full slate of 65 candidates across the 22 wards in the borough, with Labour claiming that they have a good chance of taking control of the council and promoting the idea through the hashtag #MarginalHillingdon.

So,as somebody who is politically homeless at present and with no UKIP candidates to vote for, I can cast my beady eye over the proceedings and with an independent outlook give my predictions for what may happen, cutting through the spin from the respective parties and candidates. Here is my take –

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Ask The Commissioner

Last week saw Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe visit Hillingdon for a Q&A session with local residents. Interested to hear what would be asked and how the Commissioner would lay out his roadmap for the borough, I attended the debate at The Civic Centre

Bernard Hogan-Howe

Crime Statistics for the Borough

Sir Bernard was introduced to the crowd by Chairman David Brough of the Hayes Town partnership and was accompanied on stage by new acting Borough Commander, Supt Colin Wingrove.

Opening with a presentation of the statistics for crime in Hillingdon, the following were presented via a projector with Sir Bernard talking us through them –

Total recorded crime in Hillingdon Aug 15/16 – 1.5% increase (Additional 330 crimes)

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Labour – Putting party politics ahead of local people

Blackland Drive 1In a recent post, I highlighted issues in the Charville ward in Hayes that had been brought to my attention by local residents. These had been relayed to the local councillors to look in to, which elicited the following response from Labour’s John Oswell

Cliff,

I did’nt realise that you lived in Charville ward and that you are a representative there, just who do you represent?, if you look carefully I think you might just find that the ward has three elected Councillors and guess what, you are not one of them.
Can I suggest that you leave Charville matters to elected ward Councillors who actually are all very active on ward issues and that is without any help from you, I might add,
Cllr. John Oswell. 

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The truth about Hillingdon Council’s ‘Financial Prudence’

Hillingdon council cabinetOur national debt recently exceeded the £1.5 trillion mark – We spend more money in interest payments on the debt annually than we do on defence. Locally, our Conservative Council constantly tell you about their outstanding financial record in much the same way as their national party do at Westminster. ‘Council tax frozen’ is one of their favourite cries, neglecting to mention that Hillingdon levies one of the highest council tax bills in London already.

Their ‘financial prudence’ claims are further tested by the write off of £2.5 million of your money in 2011 in a failed Icelandic Bank, with millions still owing from Landsbanki and Heritable.

 

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The Housing Crisis – Time to put our community first!

Homes in HayesMuch was made in the recent General Election of the impending shortage of housing in both our area and England as a whole.

In Hillingdon, we have seen an 82% increase in population since 1939 (From 159,000 to 289,000) with the GLA estimating that we will see 316,000 people resident in our borough by 2039. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the population grew by 30,000, three times the amount that was predicted.

Despite the building of new estates in Ruislip and West Drayton, with another currently underway on the old RAF site in Uxbridge, the shortfall in supply has seen prices to both buy and rent spiral to such a degree that the average age of a first time buyer is now nearly 40 and many of our children are unable to afford to leave home.

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Election 2015 – UKIP make spectacular gains

After months of exhaustive campaigning, May 7th saw the culmination of all our members hard work at the count for the General Election

Howling Laud Hope at the count

Cliff at the Hillingdon count with Howling Laud Hope of The OMRLP

UKIP in Hillingdon

For the first time, the branch fielded candidates in all three constituencies in the borough. With two safe Conservative and one safe Labour seat to contest, the objective was to grow vote share and consolidate the position we gained in last year’s local elections as the third party in Hillingdon on the limited resources available to us.

The night seemed to confirm that we had indeed succeeded as comparison between now and 2010 shows (Below) –

Hayes & Harlington

CD leaflet image jpeg

2015 candidate – Cliff Dixon

3rd place – 5,388 votes (12%)

2010 candidate – No UKIP candidate

Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner

Harefield Pub meeting Feb 15 Gerard2015 candidate – Gerard Barry

3rd place – 5,598 votes (10.9%)

2010 candidate – Jason Pontey – 4th place – 1351 votes (2.7%)

 

Uxbridge & South Ruislip

Jack Duffin profile high res2015 candidate – Jack Duffin

3rd place – 6,346 votes (14.2%)

2010 Candidate – Mark Wadsworth – 5th place – 1234 votes (2.7%)

 

So, as can be seen, the growth in support has been spectacular and we retained all of our deposits on the night. With a small band of volunteers and limited finances, double digit percentages were recorded in the face of vastly superior firepower from the old establishment parties and this augurs well for future campaigns with our membership growing at a rapid rate.

In terms of UKIP across London, all of our constituencies in Hillingdon ranked in the top 20 results on the night

UKIP Nationally

UKIP battle bus Chafford 2

Mirroring what we saw in Hillingdon, the national picture saw a massive surge in support for UKIP. The first past the post electoral system was the only negative, with UKIP returning just one MP (Douglas Carswell in Clacton).

However, our vote share rose by 9.5% over 2010 to 12.6% and the number of votes cast for us (3,881,129) was only exceeded by The Conservatives and Labour. We also saw a massive 120 second place finishes across the country which again bodes well for future campaigns.

To put this in to perspective, Plaid Cymru only received 181,694 votes (0.6%) yet now have 3 MP’s at Westminster – Indeed, the SNP and Liberal Democrats number of votes combined was less than that of UKIP and they returned 56 and 8 MP’s respectively!

These results have seen a clamour on social media over the last 24 hours from all quarters demanding electoral change – Once again, as on the EU and uncontrolled immigration, UKIP is driving the political agenda.

Campaign highlights

CD Thurrock March 2015

From a personal perspective, there were a number of fond memories I will take from this campaign.

Speaking in front of hundreds of people at an anti third runway rally in Westminster whilst sharing a stage with high ranking members of other political parties, trade unionists and environmental campaigners will stay with me for a long time. Likewise, I made many friends in Thurrock during my regular forays to the constituency to support Tim Aker MEP in a seat he came agonisingly close to winning (The branch made spectacular gains in the local elections there held on the same day, with 7 seats falling to UKIP)

The St George’s Day public meeting in West Drayton with Peter Whittle was extremely enjoyable, whilst the radio debate I did with the Lib-Dem candidate on Hayes FM two days before the election was fun.

cliffpearl

However, the highlight to me was the Stop Heathrow Expansion demonstration and the re-opening of The Great Barn in Harmondsworth. It was my privilege to meet a World War 2 veteran by the name of Tommy and help him to and from a tree planting at the end of the event to mark where the boundary of a new northern runway would be.

Tommy lives in the Villages and is suffering with his health, but made the journey to attend in spite of that because he wants to live out his life in the house that he shares with his wife. Inspirational people like Tommy make me realise that we must win the fight against the runway, both for the last of his generation of heroes and the new generations that will follow them.

 

The Road ahead

With so much support now building in Hillingdon, we move on to the Mayoral and Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections next year.

A similar result would see us gain two seats on the assembly via the fairer PR voting system, but with momentum behind us and a growing membership there is no reason why we could not see more. The political landscape is changing and it is UKIP driving that change.

Stick with us for the journey ahead and let’s make Hillingdon and England a better place together

Gerard Barry & Jack Duffin

 

Hillingdon People Magazine – Town hall Pravda?

Below is a letter I submitted to The Gazette regarding a story that has been running about the local council magazine. Because I am now running as a candidate in the Charville by-election, it cannot be published because of rules around campaigning so I reproduce here as an example of the council waste that I will be campaigning to address

Hillingdon people mag Ickenham

 

I read with interest the ongoing story in the Gazette regarding the council’s Hillingdon People magazine (Council set to defy magazine warning, 15/10/2104)
Prior to this year’s local elections, we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the council concerning the cost to local taxpayers of the publication, and were advised that excluding staff working on the magazine as part of their wider functions (Who are therefore still being paid by Hillingdon residents on top) it came to £92,517 in the financial year 2012-2013.
This year it is likely to be considerably more as special ward editions were also printed and distributed just before the election expenses period kicked in.
So, what are we getting for our money?
In the July/August edition, there were 20 mentions of Conservative councillors highlighted in bold across the 35 pages telling us all what a good job they are doing, compared to just eight for community leaders and members of the public. There were no mentions for any of the opposition councillors who represent the remainder of the borough or update of the work they are doing in their wards.
It would appear that Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, could have been thinking of Hillingdon when he coined the term ‘Town Hall Pravda’. Interesting too that when the Conservatives took control of the council all those years ago, they did so on a policy of scrapping the paper – In power, they have expanded it.
UKIP policy in Hillingdon is to do away with this unnecessary waste of taxpayers money.
The information could be put out via increased interaction and co-operation with local press and on line news services, plus on a ward basis we would encourage councillors to communicate more with their constituents via ward bulletins paid for out of their not ungenerous allowances
Hillingdon Civic Centre 2