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Ansdell Bye-Election Due

Ansdell By-election DueFollowing the untimely death of David Eaves, a by-election has been called in Ansdell.

It will take place on 2nd August 2018.

We heard that the Fylde Conservative group didn't plan to call a by-election themselves, but the triggering of an election only takes two electors of the ward to call for an election after a vacancy has been announced (and Fylde had announced the vacancy).

We also heard that on the Friday before David Eave's Funeral on the Monday, members of the Fylde Conservative group had met as St Margaret's Church Hall to consider and select a candidate for Ansdell in case a by-election was called. We heard one name mentioned in that regard  but won't embarrass the unsuccessful candidate .

We also heard that Labour were preparing their troops in readiness for a by-election as well.

We don't  just recall there being a by-election here before, so we've only the full Borough Council results to go on, and these are often not representative of a by-election, but the actual results were:

 2015 Borough Council Elections:  ANSDELL WARD- FBC   3 seats 

1,379AITKEN, Benjamin Ian Conservative.
1,337REDCLIFFE, Richard Verran. Conservative.
1,282EAVES, David Russell Conservative.
727COUGHLAN, Jerry. Independent
613SHERWOOD, Marjorie Janet. Labour
Electorate 3502. Ballots Issued 2447,  Spoilt /Rejected 17.   Turnout 69.7

But it's clearly pretty strongly Conservative, and even with the lower turnout that's common in by-elections, they must start as favourites again.

There are only two candidates this time so it's a straight binary choice between Conservative and Labour.

 CHRIS DIXON: CONSERVATIVE

Formerly a reporter with the Gazette and later the Express where he was News Editor. Currently works for Mark Menzies MP and in that regard is following in a tradition of former Gazette reporters moving into political positions including the Fielding brothers, Joe Robinson and Elizabeth Broughton (and probably others).

Chris Dixon Conservative LeafletWe knew him from his former incarnation at the newspapers and found him to be straight and honest in his dealings with us and a very capable writer.

His leaflet is (as you would expect from someone with a communications background) very professional.

It is personally addressed and signed, strong on family, and stresses his local connections- lots of happy smiling pictures of him with prominent local people - at the bus stops, at the train station, outside Ansdell Library and so on.

In terms of issues of importance, his leaflet mentions fixing potholes; getting smaller buses back in Ansdell centre,  protecting and increasing use of the Ansdell Institute; and wanting Woodlands Road shopping centre to remain vibrant,.

He also mentions the value of the village notice board and wants to crate one on Facebook. He also says he is a member of the 'Friends of Lytham Library and Institute' but also says he supports the Ansdell Library Friends.

He makes special note of the railway bridge in Ansdell which is now classed as 'weak,' and he says it would be better to have sympathetic repairs to allow the HGV's using it improperly now (by ignoring the weight limit) rather than have it closed permanently in the future.

He also makes special mention of Ansdell in Bloom which he credits with good works at Ansdell Station.

As we said, very polished and professional.

One thing we would have added was a special mention for the Butcher's shop on the approach to the railway bridge at Ansdell. Without doubt it makes and sells the best pork pies in the whole of Lancashire!

 GARETH NASH: LABOUR

We don't know Mr Nash personally, but his leaflet is equally professional and this one is exceptionally clean and clear in its style. Both use party colours Gareth Nash Labourwith well co-ordinated supporting graphics.

Under the strapline of 'Fed up paying more for less? Vote for a fresh voice for Ansdell'' he too stresses his local and family credentials.

The leaflet says he is part of a small cooperative business involved with saving local services, like shops and pubs, from closure.

And has helped raise money so that communities can create energy from wind and water turbines.

The five main issues he wants to help with for Ansdell are:

  • Potholes - and claims credit to the Ansdell Labour team for reporting the surface of Ansdell bridge and securing remedial works;
  • A more creative approach to paying for local services.
  • Local schools - where he opposed disinvestment
  • The environment where he says fracking will ruin the landscape and industrialise our beautiful countryside. He wants to challenge what he calls backward energy policies and push for renewable alternatives.
  • North vs South where, since 2102 he says the north is falling and the south is rising and it doesn't have to be like that.

He concludes with his strapline to vote for a fresh voice for Ansdell and be part of a fairer future.


 OUR OWN TAKE

These both appear to be professionals in the prime of their lives. Both have polished and professional leaflets and no doubt a team of activists out on the ground to deliver them and canvass on their behalf.

Some conservative MPs (notably Peter Bone MP) have recently spoken about activists in their area being reluctant to get out and help with canvassing (and some even 'downing tools') after the extremely disappointing Government proposals on Brexit.

He said activists in his area felt betrayed because they believe (as do we) that these proposals deny the spirit of the public referendum vote - because it  will not restore our status as a wholly independent nation state outside the EU's sphere of influence and control. 

Whether the disaffection and reduction in support he noted will be felt by Conservative activists in Fylde's by-election is unclear, but we suspect it may not have that much of an effect locally

There is however, one striking difference we can see between the leaflets. The Conservative leaflet majors very heavily on the man - and very much less on the party (which is set in a much smaller typeface), and the other is very strong on the Labour party (and some aspects of national policy) and thus appears a little less dominant on the individual (look at the mastheads).

So it's now up to the good electors of Ansdell to decide who they want.

Dated:  13 July 2018

 

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