‘Wasted vote’ in Horsham

IN HIS letter following the local elections, David Hide, chair of the Horsham Labour Party, stated that the results ended ‘the myth that a vote for Labour in Horsham is a wasted vote’.

Based on the number of letters published in the County Times from Labour activists over recent months it might have been reasonable to suppose that there had been a serious revival of the Labour Party in Horsham.

However, once the list of candidates was published this revival was seen to be an illusion.

Not only did the Labour Party field far fewer candidates (20) than the Liberal Democrats (34); they couldn’t even match the number of candidates put up by UKIP (22).

In some wards such as my own (Southwater) they had no candidates at all. Indeed, if every Labour candidate had won their seat they still wouldn’t have had a majority on the district council.

As it happened, no Labour candidate won their seat. In only one ward (Billingshurst) did they gain more votes than a Liberal Democrat.

David Hide himself was beaten by all three Lib Dem candidates he stood against in Horsham Park, and the increase in his vote probably helped a Conservative to be elected.

Despite their worst set of results since 1987 the Liberal Democrats still have eight seats on Horsham District Council. After what Mr Hide calls an ‘excellent set of results’ the Labour Party still has no seats on the council.

Despite Mr Hide’s attempts to persuade us otherwise it is clear from the figures that a Labour vote in Horsham is still wasted as far as practical politics is concerned and that the ‘alternative voice’ of the Labour Party will still be confined to the letters pages of the County Times and not the district council chamber.

PETER STAINTON

Liberal Democrat candidate for Southwater (2011)

Station Road, Southwater