Oakwood has in recent years been considered a ‘safe’ conservative seat, so much so that as Oakwood residents we have rarely received much campaign mail through our door in the lead up to elections. I can only assume that the other parties don’t feel a need to waste money on publicity material for a ward they don’t feel they can win.
My feeling has always been that if they can’t be bothered to try and win my vote then they won’t get it and I plump for Conservative.
How people actually vote is another matter entirely and the only way to see how safe Oakwood might actually be is by looking at the statistics for polling day in years gone by…
2012 – 2824 votes cast
Conservative 1348 (47.7%) Frank Harwood elected Oakwood Councillor
Labour 1084 (38.4%)
UKIP 276 (9.8%)
Lib Dem 116 (4.1%)
2013 – No election
2014 – 3155 votes cast of 10112 registered voters (31.2% turnout)
Conservative 1568 (49.7%) Mick Barker elected Oakwood Councillor
Labour 697 (22.1%)
UKIP 643 (20.4%)
Independent 151 (4.8%)
Lib Dem 96 (3%)
2015 General election year – 6554 votes cast of 10109 registered voters (65.1% turnout)
Conservative 3345 (51%) Robin Wood elected Oakwood Councillor
Labour 1672 (25.5%)
UKIP 1197 (18.3%)
Lib Dem 340 (5.2%)
From this it appears that Oakwood is a safe seat, with Conservatives winning twice as many votes, in the last two elections years, as their closest rivals Labour. However, the political climate has changed over the last few years both nationally and locally. The Conservative government that was elected in last year’s General Election has pushed forward with austerity measures which are impacting on the most vulnerable members of our society but also on the moral of our teachers and doctors on whom we all rely for the education of our children and our health care.
Labour, I feel, are still suffering from the massive debt we were left with from the era of Blair and Brown and as much as I like, and can relate to, the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was voted in as an outsider – someone who wanted to stand for change – I don’t really feel he can be the next Prime Minister. They are also making a bit of a hash on a local level. 29 councillors in our 51 member local government – the Assembly Rooms is yet to reopen, there are no operational swimming facilities in the city, voluntary sector grants have been cut and services like Citizen’s Advice Bureau are no more, we have to pay extra for brown bin collections and there are questions over their budgets and expenditure (to list a few).
Considering all of this, my eyes are drawn to the result of 2012, when Frank Harwood (the candidate for Oakwood this year) was elected in Oakwood. How safe does that seat look to you?