Friday, 9 April 2010

The Hyde Park By Election

Well its been over a month since the Hyde Park by election now so I thought I might write up my thoughts on it.

Let's put it this way: it wasn't exactly our finest hour. There was approximately a 10% swing from the Lib Dems to Labour. We went from winning the seat by 60 votes in May 2008 to losing it by almost 400.

So what went wrong? In my view it wasn't the campaign. I've been told privately by a number of people in Labour and the Tories that they thought our campaign was by far the best. This is a real credit to the by election team.

There were a number of things that were factors in the election that didn't help us.

Firstly the uncertainty over the future of City of Leeds School. Thankfully the council has now given the school more time to work with Education Leeds to come up with a plan to keep education on the site. This is great news for the community and for the school. It's a credit to Councillor Richard Harker (Lib Dem) who is the executive board member in charge of education. He has faced huge pressure from Ed Balls and his department to close down the school and has done a sterling job of standing up to them.

Secondly the uncertainty over the future of the Royal Park School building. It now seems that this issue is some way along the road to resolution now too. The council is working with the Royal Park Community Consortium to help them stay involved with the future of the school site.

Finally, the bin strike was a factor during the campaign. I very much agreed with the stance taken by the council throughout the strike but I didn't always think that the public relations side of the campaign was particularly well run. The council's case was never really put forward and I think that if it had been there may have been a different public perception of the strike.

So well done to Gerry Harper and his campaign team. I hope he will represent the people of Hyde Park and Woodhouse to the best of his ability.

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