Friday 23 May 2014

Lib Dems wiped out in Brent

The latest results tweeted by Brent Council give the following composition of the Council
@Brent_Council: 2010 election Lab 41, LD 15, Con 7, Other 0
2014 election Lab 56, Con 6, LD 1, Other 0

The only Lib Dem is new comer Helen Carr in Mapesbury who was 16 ahead of Calum Maloney for Labour. Scott Bartle the Mapesbury Green candidate won 776 votes. UKIP beat Greens in Preston but we beat them in Dudden Hill.

The result  raises the issue of scrutiny of  the new council's decisions with the lack of a credible opposition in what essentially will be a 'one party'  council.  The role of the local press will be particularly important at a time when it is under economic pressures with resulting editorial cutbacks.

In a small way the Green Party and this blog will need to play a part.


Anonymous said...

Tragic to see an historic party, with some good people in it still, destroyed in 3 short years by the vanity of a small group of parliamentary chancers.
(Have to laugh though, don't you?).

Anonymous said...

Some excellent LD ward councillors gone. And many non-excellent ones.

Anonymous said...

That is democracy for you, or at least the 'first past the post' voting system version of it. Apart from the Lib Dems being virtually wiped out on Brent Council, the most striking thing from the headline figures is:
Labour - 48% of votes = 56 seats
Conservatives - 41% of votes = 6 seats.

Well done to Alex Colas for his excellent showing as an independent in Willesden Green. Even though there will be very limited opposition to Labour in Full Council and on committees, individuals and groups interested in particular issues still need to make their voices heard. There is no guarantee that the new Executive or Senior Council Officers (particularly if there are no changes there) will actually listen, but it is in the public interest to try.

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

Would have loved to have seen that arrogant smirk wiped off Cllr. Lorber's face though he does now have ample opportunity to exhibit his faux righteous indignation for many years to come. Along with no more catspaw Ann John and pompous Powney this is almost a dream result for me. Look out for John Duffy challenging for the leadership soon!

Anonymous said...

Dear Phillip Grant,
Not sure where you received your percentages with regard to the vote but the Brent Website has updated.(

Labour 56 53%
Conservative 6 22%
Liberal Democrats 1 18%
Green Party 0 5%
UK Independence Party 0 < 1%
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 0 < 1%
Make Willesden Green 0 < 1%
Independent 0 < 1%
Turnout: 33%
Proxy votes: 151

The LibDems are suffering due to their inaction. We shall forever remember Lorber defending Rev.Clues who moved to Brighton. They took the electorate for idiots.

Anonymous said...

Wonder when Powney will change his website Banner

"Commentary on politics and local matters in Brent, including the failings of Brent Liberal Democrats, by Labour councillor James Powney"


Commentary on politics and local matters in Brent, including the failings of Labour councillor James Powney by James Powney.

A Great day.

Anonymous said...

I suppose this means the likes of Davani, Gilbert and Co get to keep their posts and back to business as usual ?

This is a very sad day for Democracy when people have swallowed the spin by Labour that, "Cuts to services including closing of 6 libraries" are due to national cuts only! While this is partly true, incompetence at local level is also a big factor.

Local people might soon begin to regret such an outcome, particularly when they realize simple things such as scrutiny and planning committee are basically comprised of the same people who vote through a decision in the first instance, rather than have an objective view that might challenge such decisions.

People might wake up to the fact of what has just happened when planning decisions start going ahead that local people do not want and can't do anything about.

EmailGate will just be buried, along with a host of other issues, such as Copland / Davies deal etc.

Anonymous said...

My commiserations to Graham Allen. I did vote for him.

However, I did also vote for Reg Colwill. I judged him on his actions as a councillor, not the party he represents.

My late father was a labour councillor but he always championed his constituents, rather than his party.

I do have concerns, as per the OP, at the labour domination in Brent. I do hope complacency doesn't set in (I've seen disturbing comments on this blogsite about how members in the council conduct themselves).



Meg Howarth said...

A total wipe-out for the LibDems in Islington, the only official opposition now being a one newly elected Green Party member - the Greens were also the second-most popular party in several wards, pushing the LibDems into fourth place.

So, as in Brent, Islington too now has effectively a one-party council - bad for democracy - making the role of campaigners and a vibrant local press increasingly important, as Martin says above, in holding the power-holders and deal-makers to account.

We don't have a Wembley Matters (WM) in Islington but we do have two excellent local newspapers: the independent Islington Tribune, sister-paper of the Camden New Journal and the West End Extra, and the Islington Gazette, sister-paper of the Brent & Kilburn Times. (Last week, the Tribune won the UK Regional Press Awards prize for its successful campaigning to save the Whittington Hospital's A&E Department from closure.)

If we didn't have the Trib, we'd have to have an 'Islington Matters', no question about that. What I'd hope, though, is that more people would publish under their own names or a pseudonym, rather than as Anonymous. The recent important WM blogs on Kensal Rise Library and the current postings on Brent's Corporate Management Team have made an invaluable contribution to democratic debate in the way Islington Tribune does through both its reporting and letters pages (usually two). But how much more powerful it's be if contributors were confident enough to speak out openly - unless a whistle-blower needs to hide her/his identity to prevent reprisals, eg serving Brent officials who want to speak to out but wish to protect their jobs. Even then, a pseudonym would be better than Anonymous - so that the arguments can be followed more easily.

With closer ties between Brent and Islington on the political agenda (see WM: 'Brent in secret discussions...'), it'll be good to see Brent residents/campaigners keeping an eye on developments here in the north-east.

Anonymous said...

There's a surprisingly defeatist tone to some reactions to these results. Voters' reactions to the national capitulation of the LibDems and voters' disdain for UKIP has resulted in votes for Labour, the party which historically gave us some degree of hope. This is a qualified and optimistic atavistic reflex. It's not at all an endorsement of the machine politics or the gutless lack of principle which Brent Council has displayed on a range of issues which this blog has opened up to wider public scrutiny over the last ew months.
Cara Davani, Christine Gilbert, Butt, Pavey and the rest have no cause for satisfaction at the results. What support they might see the results as demonstrating occurred despite these people not because of them.
The momentum which has built up on this blog over Davani, Gilbert , Davies, Copland, Ark, the libraries etc etc etc is not going to go away just because Brent voters have rejected Clegg and his crew on national issues, .
Brent Labour, like any other group in power, will respond to knowing that whatever it does, whoever it employs, whatever it says, whoever it allies itself with, whatever it fails to do and whoever it lets down, will be monitored, watched, broadcast and publicised at every turn. Only voters' vigilance will keep them (relatively) honest.
The results today are not a barrier to this but simply a reminder of what must be continued tomorrow. Nothing's changed.
Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

Powney must read Wembley Matters - He has changed his blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the corrected figures. I got my percentages from the Brent website, just before I wrote my comment yesterday afternoon. I should know better than to accept everything I read there without question!

Anonymous said...

Fiona Ledden is at it even before the election results were known.

In this weeks Brent Kilburn Times printed 22 May p32 Compulsory purchase order for land around Kilburn Regeneration Project, dated 22 May 2014.

She did not even wait to see the outcome of the Local Election, before proceeding.

Brent Council will now push ahead without any concern for local people.

Brent residents, there will probably be an outcry on many decisions in the coming years, but this is exactly what you asked for. Unfortunately by not supporting both Lib Dems, Greens and other fringe groups and individuals to hold Brent Council to account, Brent Labour can now do as they please.

Anonymous said...

Re-grouping and moving forward with a Copland Judicial Review, might restore some local justice.

The community now have to act to protect valuable community assets. Brent Council is not going to protect community assets and they will now push forward plans for Copland with almost no ability to oppose any planning application to build "Tower Blocks" on the Wembley High Rd frontage of Copland and move the school to the rear.

Either we as a community start responding and re-organize, or we simply let these things happen relatively un-opposed ?

After seeing how the community destroyed Brent Lib-Dems, not really sure what the community wants anymore ?

Possibly to his downfall, Paul Lorber and his Lib-Dems mainly ran the campaign on the library closure platform, rather than focus on other local issues such as Copland etc

It would be interesting to find out what others think with possible Blog exclusively dedicated to a community re-group and exploring how as a community, we can activate out collective voice, without actually having elected representatives in Brent Council and without being affiliated to a particular political party.

Anonymous said...


Your analysis was almost correct

Labour 56 seats (53% share overall vote, but translates to holding 89% of Council seats)
Conservative 6 seats (22% share overall vote, but translating to only 9.5% Council seats)
Liberal Democrats 1 (18% share overall vote, but translating to only 1.5% Council seats)
Green Party 0 5%
UK Independence Party 0 < 1%
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 0 < 1%
Make Willesden Green 0 < 1%
Independent 0 < 1%

The above figures show that Lib Dem vote held up OK, but did not translate into actual seats, probably partly due to some Lib Dems not actually coming out to vote, but also push from Labour to get voters out to Vote as a few people commented there were packs of Labour supporters going door to door getting people out to Vote.

Interestingly Councillor Pavey did not perform particularly well given his prominent position responsible for Education and came in 3rd in Barnhill with previous un-elected candidate Sarah-Louise Lyndsey Marquis being Labour's top performer in Barnhill.

Dan Filson might therefore be a better choice for Education.

Anonymous said...

Toby, you forgot to declare your intention to stand next time!

Anonymous said...

I would disagree with the above comment on two points.

Firstly the libdems had at their disposal an incredible level of resources. During the campaign they received support from Party president Tim Farron and wider libdem activists from far and wide to go door knocking. They also dragged Sarah Teather out from the twilight hours of her forced retirement to join them. libdems also had the most leaflets than any other political party which suggests something else occured.

Secondly I would argue that people realised that the LibDems no longer provided the alternative they previously claimed. They failed to capitalise on their time in position and instead allowed mailaise and disillusionment to set in. This laziness really cost them as it was their hardworking councillors that lost out. It was not difficult to poke holes in policies of the labour executive as the research that formed the foundation was often shakey. Even Barry Gardiner recognises this yet libdems failed to provide the scrutiny and do the work required. From this it is clear that islington will do better with their 1 green than Brent did with libDems in multiple figures. Greens have proven up and down the country how well they can perform despite small numbers in every layer of government up and down the country. This is why they were recognised as the true alternative and beat libdems in 16 different wards. The libdem vote nosedived for this reason and it was out of knowledge and evaluation of their record as opposed to 'not being dragged out the door'.

The libdems claimed that they did better work in the community than they did in the council chamber so only time will tell.

From Scott Bartle

Unknown said...

Thanks for suggesting and thought I was not encouraged to post anymore, although hope from time to time my posts will be accepted as new blog of Sudbury Town.

Despite my last minute campaign efforts I was pleased with the votes I received in Sudbury, although admit exceedingly difficult to gain traction as an independent against party machines. Most people do seem to vote for a party rather than individual candidates.

I might consider an opportunity to reinvigorate the Lib Dems after 2015, when it is likely they will also suffer nationally.

Sadly I would have to say after voting for Lib Dems in 2010, I empathize with people as to why Brent voters might have stayed at home.

For now, I will have to focus on my Masters and hopefully progress to PhD, but thanks for the suggestion and will definitely consider for the future.

Toby Chambers

Anonymous said...

Oh God, what have I done!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this comment, Mike, and for being willing to put your name to it. (I realise that current employees of Brent Council who may wish to comment will wish to remain anonymous, but could at least note that they are a Council employee).

I agree that we do need to keep up the momentum, and continue to bring these allegations, and other matters of concern, to the attention of our Councillors, including the new Labour intake once their official email addresses are available on the Brent website. By sending them a "link" to a relevant blog on "Wembley Matters" it will introduce them to an important source of local information and comment which they may not have been aware of before.

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

A shame the Green Party did not get a higher vote. I went through all the Parties' websites and was disappointed that only the Greens had any sort of intelligent strategy to deal with Brent's severe housing problems. Hopefully, Labour will make that a top priority over the next few years.

Anonymous said...

I doubt it. As they sell all the gold and silver to to highest bidder

Anonymous said...

I am sure all Councillors are aware of this blog.

Although they choose to ignore issues.

Anonymous said...

Tower blocks for Queensbury Pub now there is no opposition ?

Before you know it, there will be tower blocks everywhere in the next couple of years and there is not much we can all do.

Although developing a Neighbourhood plan and submitting an application for any assets of community value would be a first start.

This might include submitting applications to protect community assets such as sports grounds, open spaces, parks and gardens, allotments, community halls, local pubs etc

It is more than likely that rather than cutting costs internally, from senior managers etc in Brent Council, the new administration will push ahead with selling community assets to make up budget shortfalls.

You can now guess why Ben Spinks is preparing a communications team to combat community resistance, when people realize what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Lib Dems call for Clegg to step down

Big fears from Lib Dems in 2015, given bloody noses in Local Elections.

Obviously why Sarah Teather step down, as she realized Lib Dems had lost huge amounts of support and it would be unlikely she would have been re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Martin posted a very good "blog" about proposed changes to Brent's communications team last January, and I followed it up with this letter which was published in the Brent & Kilburn Times:

I have read that, despite having to make further cuts in its spending for the year ahead, Brent Council will actually be spending more on Public Relations. This news was not publicised by the Council itself, but was given in an online "blog". It appears that the former Head of Communications has been made redundant, and will be replaced by a new Head of Media and External Relations, who will be paid more (up to £70k) and have a staff of 11 officers rather than 9.

According to the job description, a key role for the new Head of Media is to advise the Executive and Senior Management Team 'on how we seek to present, promote and position Brent'. He or she must ensure that all staff 'maximise opportunities to promote Brent and the Council to local residents and businesses, regional and national stakeholders.' One of the ways this will be done, as suggested by a PR consultant hired by Brent last year, is to train all employees to act as spokespeople for the Council, by "getting out there" and telling people what a good job it is doing.

To me, a good Council is one that does not spend its time and money telling people how good it is, but actually works with local people so that everyone can see how well it is doing. This will sometimes mean having to admit that things have gone wrong, learning from mistakes and making sure they are not repeated. Being honest with local people, and having open and frank discussions with us about real issues that affect our daily lives, will earn more respect for Brent Council than trying to "spin" a positive story as part of a 'reputation management' exercise.

I would rather have a Council where Senior Officers see that communication includes listening to local people, and taking note of the sensible things that they often say; where people with views that don't match those of Council Officers can have their ideas properly considered before policies are decided, rather than being treated as "the enemy" and ignored; where the views of front-line staff are also taken into account, so that they can feel proud of the service they actually deliver to local people, rather than being trained to "talk a good service" by Brent's new Media Officers.

As part of good communication, I will be copying this letter to my local Councillors, to the Leader of Brent Council and to its Chief Executive, so that they are aware of my views. If your readers also have views on this matter, I would suggest that they do the same. Hopefully, if we read that things in Brent have changed for the better, it will be because someone has taken notice, and not just another piece of PR "spin".

Philip Grant.

P.S. (May 2014) It does not seem that any notice has been taken, yet, but that does not mean that we ordinary people of Brent should not keep speaking out. The more who do, the more chance there is that notice will be taken.

Anonymous said...

Brent Council will become even more silent on issues it does not want to talk about.

But be very vocal on others.

Sad state of affairs.