With a Gazette headline like “Council Chief Faces Fight For His Ward” you know you’re in for an interesting article. The news centres on former Labour Party chairman Geraldine White, who has decided to stand as an independent candidate in the Fellgate and Hedworth Ward against Council leader Paul Waggot. Two years ago, the ward elected Steve Harrison who stood on the Independent roster, followed the next year by George Waddle, also of a similar political persuasion. If Geraldine wins the election, the Independents will have not only gained control of the Ward, but with the additional kudos of a substantial political scalp. So what are the chances? To be honest, very good. Poor old Paul is not having a good time at the moment: missing ballot boxes, Gypsies Green etc etc etc. There is also the additional residual problem of the Fellgate green belt development, the discontent over this planning issue leading to the initial election of campaigner Harrison. Success in this Ward will be a massive blow for the Labour Party elite which have controlled this Borough for to long.
Taking the opportunity to look ahead to next years elections, what are the Independent’s chances of further gains? The extremely good chances of taking Fellgate and Hedworth could be added to by Boldon Colliery, Whitburn and Marsden and almost certainly Beacon and Bents, where the ballot scrutiny will be on high alert. The one thing you can’t accuse the Independent’s off is not being organised and you can guarantee that they will hit these wards hard on local issues.
To be honest, the elections can’t come quick enough for me!