Sadly we didn’t win in Southfields today, but we increased Labour’s vote by 18 points.
Our campaigning alongside our excellent candidate, Josh Kaile proves that Labour are a real threat to the complacent Tories in Wandsworth, and that the Liberal Democrats are no longer seen as a viable alternative.
Southfields result: con 1841, lab 1511, ld 220, grn 100, ukip 40, ind 38
By Josh Kaile
This week’s newspapers were among the worst reviews of a Budget I’ve ever seen. Across the board – including the most loyal Conservative papers like the Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail – there is unqualified dismay at the way the Tories have singled out pensioners to fund a 5p cut in Income Tax for those earning more than £150,000 a year.
Whatever your view of the effectiveness of the 50p – now 45p – Income Tax rate, we can surely all agree that cutting a tax that affects a tiny proportion of the very richest shouldn’t come at the expense of pensioners and those on anything like average incomes who don’t claim benefits, trying to survive on frozen incomes while prices rise, can’t we?
Well, all of us that is except for Conservative cabinet ministers – many of whom are going to benefit personally from the cut in the 50p rate.
These are the wrong priorities. But they’re not confined to the Conservative Government. Our Conservative council behaves like this too. It’s why they allow developers to stack up massive blocks of flats while trying to avoid providing any affordable homes for local people. Their 42 storey twin towers on the Ram Brewery site for example would have contained ZERO affordable homes. It’s why council tax is low yet council rents paid by the poorest are the highest – yes, that’s the HIGHEST – in London. Charges for services like Meals on Wheels, Home Helps, Disabled equipment are also sky high.
Nationally and locally, here in Wandsworth, Conservatives are making choices to subsidise the wealthiest at the expense of the least affluent. You may not mind that. But I’m Labour because those sort of values bother me. It’s not fair and it’s not right.
If you share my values, and want to reject the Conservative way, please vote for me next Thursday, 29th March. Your vote will get you’ll a councillor presenting the alternative to the Conservative way of squeezing those on low and middle incomes in order to give handouts to what even the Conservative and Lib Dem government call “tycoons”.
By Josh Kaile
Wandsworth has a reputation as a safe Conservative borough: after all, there are 46 Conservative councillors out of 60 right now.
So there’s not much point in voting, right – nothing’s going to change?
Last June there was a by-election in another part of Wandsworth: Thamesfield ward, one of the very safest Conservative seats in the borough – caused by another councillor resigning.We in Labour stood another local candidate, and ran a campaign similar to the one we’re doing in Southfields: talking about local issues and the less-than-impressive record the council has once you get beyond the level of council tax.
What happened? A 13.5% swing away from the Conservatives to us. That, incidentally, has not come close to being repeated in any other council by-election anywhere in the country since; it can’t be dismissed. As veteran election night presenter Peter Snow would say: “just for fun” – this is what our council would look like on a 13.5% swing:
And just for information, on that sort of swing, two of those new Labour councillors would proudly be representing Southfields. So you see, your vote really can make a difference. It really can bring change to Wandsworth. Conservative dominance of Wandsworth is founded upon two edificies: first low council tax; second a divided opposition.
One of those – low council tax – is simply not an issue in this by-election. Council Tax will not change whoever you vote for on Thursday 29th March. The second of those factors – the splintered, divided opposition – only you can remedy. If Southfields voters continue to waste support on candidates who can’t win, the only outcome will be yet another Tory victory. But if everyone keen on change, who wants a bit of choice in our elected representatives votes for me, then we can do it.
Southfields has been Conservative in council elections ever since 1976. For probably the first time since, there’s a genuine chance to change that. Please lend me your vote this time round.
By Josh Kaile – Labour’s Candidate In Southfields
I had the pleasure of introducing former London Mayor and this year’s Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone to residents in Sudbury House
and Albon House yesterday evening. Here he is meeting Mr Amoah outside his flat.
Ken’s election takes place exactly five weeks after the Southfields by-election and it’s really important that Labour supporters go to the trouble to vote in both elections. Many of the issues Ken has placed at the top of his agenda: the huge increases in fares under Boris Johnson, the loss of police and the lack of affordable housing while the Tory council piles up luxury apartment blocks all around us are critical issues to Southfields and Wandsworth.
Ken’s visit is the latest example of how seriously we in Labour take this by-election, in stark contrast to the Conservatives. After all, it’s only because they are so disdainful of local residents that they couldn’t be bothered to find a local resident to stand for them; instead parachuting in a Tooting resident who’s far more interested in climbing the greasy pole than standing up for Southfields.
You get absolutely nothing from sending a 47th Conservative to the town hall but as Ken and I saw yesterday, the parts of Southfields and Wandsworth the council shamefully neglects urgently need an alternative. I will be that alternative.
By Josh Kaile, Labour’s Candidate In Southfields
For the last three years or so, the dominant over-development threat to our area has been the plan to build two 42-storey towers on the Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth Town. For comparison, the tallest tower block anywhere in our area is just across the road from the site – Sudbury House above Southside shopping centre, which is 28 storeys. So the Ram Brewery plans would have added towers one third taller than the tallest we have right now.
We all know how visible and from how far away the Southside towers are: just imagine for an instant the impact the Ram skyscrapers will have on an area which is characterised by low-rise, human scale development.
The Ram Brewery plans were stopped in their tracks when the then Labour Government ordered a public inquiry into them. But they haven’t gone away: they’re just dormant; indeed in only a matter or weeks or months the developers – hand-in-glove with the Conservative Council – will bring back a new application and yet again expect it to be rubber-stamped.
Read more here:
Josh Kaile is Labour’s candidate in the Southfields & Wandsworth by-election on 29th March.
Living in Trentham Street, Josh is the only local candidate.
Find out about Josh:
Councillors, including GLA Candidate Leonie Cooper and volunteers knocked on close to 1,000 doors today for the Southfields by-election.
Find out about our candidate: