At about this time last year I met up with a married couple living in Selly Oak who were deciding how to vote in the upcoming council elections. They had no particular party loyalties, but were resolved to make their vote count. This how the May election panned out.
Paul Billingham British National Party 328
David Radcliffe Liberal Democrat 2503
Peter Tinsley The Green Party 554
David Williams The Labour Party 1616
Barbara Wood The Conservatives 1042
The tale of what happened in the run-up to this election was rather amusing. The wife got a knock on the door from the Labour candidate. She does a cycle commute to Birmingham every morning and told him that she felt that the quality of lighting on the routes were appalling. He was simply apologetic. Then she found out that he was the councillor responsible for promoting good urban design. As she is an architect who does lots of urban design (especially in Manchester) this was another red rag. He was unable to tell her who his favourite architect was and was generally uninformed about architecture. After half an hour of humiliation, the poor chap left safe in the knowledge no vote had been secured.
The husband received a visit from cycling councillor Dave Radcliffe. The doorstep performance was somewhat shambolic and simply failed to connect. If that's what he's like on the doorstep, why would I give him my vote was the verdict? Zero out of two to the door-knockers. The irony is that it's perfectly possible that if the councillors had swapped, Dave the cycling councillor would have secured the wife's vote and the old Labour man might have persuaded the husband that he was a decent bloke. The couple have now moved to a solidly Tory area, but they mentioned to me that they are irritated with the tone of one of the local councillor's letters to the public. No pleasing some is there?