IAN HART: Opposition will make Tories ‘up their game’

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

Last week’s election may prove to be a groundbreaking one that will have ramifications in the town for years to come.

The poll certainly produced results the like never seen before in local politics.

Ultimately, for me, it was tinged with disappointment. Yet again a poor turnout – basically at least six out of every ten eligible voters didn’t bother – but also the inevitable electoral collateral damage saw Diane Guest lose her seat in Heene ward.

This was genuinely a shock result. There was a time in Heene when legend said you could put a chimpanzee up for election with a blue rosette and it would still win, and despite Diane’s vote going up she still lost out to the Labour candidate.

Politics aside, in my opinion this is a real loss to the town. Diane was a hardworking councillor who put her heart and soul into everything she did. Pardon the pun, but her labours were bearing fruit – just have a look at the ongoing work at Teville Gate.

Unfortunately, a low turnout and a galvanised local Labour Party combined to see Diane lose her seat, but I’m sure she’ll be back, as this town desperately needs elected officials of her ilk. I was also sad to see our only Green councillor, James Doyle, lose his seat.

On the flip side, and something I have touched on previously in this column, three additional Labour gains, in Selden, Central and Broadwater, brings the party’s council chamber number to five. This is also good for the town, especially the victory for the evergreen Jim Deen, who after years of campaigning was finally victorious.

A huge local majority for the Tories with only a small opposition is not healthy for Worthing.

The collective Labour bench, backed up by the four other non-Tory councillors, will ruffle a few feathers, question ongoing policy and ultimately make the Tory ruling group ‘up their game’. That will only benefit everyone in this town, even ones who didn’t bother to vote.

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