Once again, Bostonians are preparing to be griped (shouldn’t that be gripped – Ed?) by local elections – this time to decide who we want to represent us on Lincolnshire County Council for the next four years.
The elections will be held on Thursday 2nd May, and there looks to be a wide choice of candidates.
The tendency is to assume that the Tories are cock of the rock – but their hold on Boston’s seven seats has not been as impressive as you might think.
Our map shows the seats up for grabs – so let’s take a look at who’s standing where – that we know about. We have a fairly comprehensive list of candidates, which we have gleaned from various sources.
The Tories were quick off the mark with a list of candidates in one of last week’s local “newspapers” – which comprises all the “usual suspects” from 2009 with one exception – and in other cases, we asked local parties and individuals to tell.
Almost all were very helpful, although one or two decided not to say just yet – so the list may not be entirely complete, and we apologise in advance for any omissions.
Here goes then. The map above shows all the constituencies and the current political colours of the seat holders.
1: Boston North West
The present incumbent, Andrea Jenkyns, is standing again for the Conservatives, along with Boston Borough Labour councillor Paul Goodale, Tiggs Keywood-Morris for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Boston Borough Independent councillor Carol Taylor.
Councillor Jenkyns had an interesting political ride to win the seat. At the election on 4th June 2009, she gained the seat for the Tories with 463 votes, followed by Colin Westcott, British National Party -374, Alison Austin, Boston Bypass Independents – 283, Richard Leggott, Independent – 279, Pam Kenny, Labour – 205, Paul Appleby, Liberal Democrat – 130 and Andrew Bakewell, Independent – 82.
The turnout, at 1,816, was the lowest of the seven county council Boston seats up for grabs at 27%.
However, Miss Jenkyns had to resign her seat after being told her job as a part-time music tutor for the county council-run Lincolnshire Music Service meant she was not eligible to stand.
But she was back on 15th October after a by-election with a reduced line-up and a change of candidates, when the result was: Andrea Jenkyns, - 597 David Owens, BNP – 581, Pamela Kenny, Labour – 204 and Michael Sheridan-Shinn, Liberal Democrat – 160.
The turnout that time was 1,543 an even poorer 21.3%.
2 Boston Fishtoft
Present councillor, Raymond Singleton-McGuire who is joint deputy leader of the Tory group on Boston Borough Council is standing for the Conservatives. Other candidates are: Mike Sheridan-Shinn, Labour, Lizzy Ransome, UKIP and Ossy Snell, Independent.
In 2009, the seat was another gain for the Tories. The full results were: Raymond Singleton-McGuire, 1,435, Ossy Snell, Lib Dem - 1,106, and Mick Gall, Labour – 277. The turnout was 2,818 (36%)
3 Boston Coastal
Candidates are Conservative sitting tenant and leader of Boston Borough Council Pete Bedford, plus Paul Gleeson, the Labour group leader on Boston Borough Council, and UKIP’s Felicity Ransome.
The results in 2009 were: Pete Bedford (Con) 1,142, Felicity Ransome (UKIP), Anthony Turner (BNP), 208 and Beth Gall (Labour) 202. Turnout was 36%.
4 Boston Rural
Candidates are: Michael Brookes, joint deputy leader of the Conservative group on Boston Borough Council and current county councillor for the division, Norman Hart, Labour and Jodie Sutton (UKIP.)
In 2009 the results were: Michael Brookes, Independent - 1,096, James Winder, Conservative - 1,094, Jodie Sutton UKIP – 69, and Liz Leonard, Labour – 251. Turnout was 34%.
This was an Independent gain from the Tories by just two votes – but not for long, as after a few months Councillor Brookes jumped ship and joined the Tory group at County Hall, telling Boston Eye that he had “worked closely with the Conservative Group at Boston Borough Council for the last 13 years, mostly as part of the administration,” and pointing out that after getting on to Lincolnshire County Council “I have found myself in an Independent Group including a BBI member which has formed a Shadow Cabinet as the official opposition to the Conservative Administration, who I consider are doing a good job running the council.”
5 Boston South
Candidates are: Paul Skinner for the Tories – another candidate seeking re-election, Jan Finch, Labour and Don Ransome (UKIP.)
The 2009 results were: Paul Skinner (Conservative) – 772, Richard Austin, Boston Bypass Independents - 721, Sue Ransome, UKIP – 461, and Norman Hart, Labour – 151. Turnout was 34%.
6 Boston West
Formerly Independent, this is the only seat where there is a new Tory face seeking election. Boston Borough Councillor Yvonne Gunter is standing against Labour’s Pam Kenny and UKIP’s Bob McAuley – an active member of the Boston Protest March group.
In 2009. The seat was won with 525 votes by Boston Bypass Independent Ray Newell, who later joined the Independent group. Other results were: Paul Mould, Conservative - 514, Elizabeth Ransome (UKIP) - 353, Paul Goodale, Labour - 297, and David Owens (BNP) - 233. Turnout was 34%.
Councillor Newell – who was far and away the most active Boston councillor when questions about the borough were asked at Lincolnshire County Councillor meetings, is not seeking re-election.
He told Boston Eye: “Though Boston born and bred, my wife and I intend to return to Formby, Merseyside, where we lived for nearly twenty years. Although I will not be standing for election, I will however, support the Boston Lincolnshire Independents' candidates.”
7 Boston East
Candidates are: Mike Gilbert (Conservative) who is also a Boston Borough Councillor, another Boston councillor, Paul Kenny (Labour) and Sue Ransome (UKIP.)
In 2009, the results were: Mike Gilbert - 674 … a Tory gain … Paul Kenny - 426, Gerry Clare, Boston Bypass Independents - 406, Michael Sheridan-Shinn, Liberal Democrat - 277. Turnout was 27%.
If the Tories are anticipating the same walkover that they enjoyed on Boston Borough Council in 2011, they may be disappointed.
Then, they were up against a discredited Boston Bypass Independent ruling group.
But in the County Council elections in 2009 they were seeking election against a backdrop of an electorate which has become disenchanted with the Labour Government.
Now the boot is on the other foot – with the Coalition the political naughty step and the Tories trailing Labour by a considerable margin..
Just look back to the County Council election before 2009 to see what we mean.
In 2005, the results were rather different.
Boston Coastal was held by a Tory, Boston East held by Labour, Boston Fishtoft was a Lib Dem gain from the Conservatives, Boston North West was held by Labour, Boston Rural was held by the Tories, Boston South was an Independent gain from the Conservatives, and Boston West was held by Labour.
Two Tories out of seven candidates – and it could well happen again.
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