When the list of candidates came out for the local elections in May many people were surprised to see an addition to the expected roster for the Beacon and Bents Ward. Top of the list is “Olive June Elsom”, standing as an “Independent”. Olive doesn’t live in the ward, she resides in the Cleadon Park Ward with her husband George, who as it happens is also a “real Independent” councillor for their residing ward. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with standing in a ward where you don’t live, but what is strange is that Beacon and Bents already has an “Independent” candidate, and a very high profile one at that. In March Robin Coombes (Independent – South Tyneside Alliance) decided not to stand against George Elsom’s colleague Terry Haram in the Whiteleas Ward as he did not wish to split the vote and allow Labour to take the seat by default.
I wonder why George has not adopted such a conciliatory approach. I wonder why his wife did not stand in the Ward where they live and George already sits. The situation is even more difficult to understand when you take into account an email sent by George on the 26th March to an unnamed source on the issue of another “Independent” (not linked to the Alliance) who was standing against his “real Independent” candidate in Cleadon Park.
“I certainly wouldn’t put someone up against your candidate so cannot see why you should want to put up one against mine. The only beneficiary to a split vote will be labour.”
The argument is good enough for Cleadon Park, but not Beacon and Bents.