On the 5th of May the good folk of Guildford will go to the polls. They will be voting to elect 48 councillors across 22 wards. These 48 men and women good and true will form Guildford Borough Council. At the moment the Tories have overall control of the council with 27 seats to the Lib Dems' 21. This means that a Lib Dem gain of four seats will leave us back in control of the council eight years after the tories took it from us. (Of course, if we only took three seats off of the tories then both parties would have the same number of seats - and that would be a very interesting council.)
In those eight years they have chalked up quite a record. They've closed centres for the elderly, scrapped the Shuttlebus which elderly people used to get into the town centre, scrapped wardens and on-site meals at Drayston Court, built only a few dozen affordable homes for the 4,000 people on the housing waiting list, taken £10 million from the housing budget to spend on a £26 million entertainment venue which they are giving away to a private company which will be paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to run it and which will charge local groups £3,000 to use it. Oh yes, and they've done the same with the Spectrum leisure centre - yet another building, built with local ratepayers' money, which will now be given away to a private company who will get paid using our council tax for the privilege of making a profit from it.
Quite frankly the Conservatives deserve to lose Guildford council. Most of the tories locally are a rotten bunch - in my own humble opinion of course, and I'm sure - despite such incidences as a Conservative council candidate claiming that a Lib Dem councillor was a paedophile and publishing his photo and home address on the internet (for full details see Bloggerheads) - that deep down they're all perfectly nice people with the best interests of Guildfordians at heart.
Now, I doubt it's much of a secret that at the moment we Lib Dems are campaigning to hold all of our seats. It's also not much of a secret that we've been putting a lot of effort into two wards in the north eastern quarter of Guildford (hint: one of them features the close involvement of yours trinity.. Overall our situation there is not what it could be In Holy Trinity we have one councillor versus two conservative councillors but we used to have three Lib Dem councillors there so it'd be nice if we could retake them this time. In Merrow and Christchurch we don't have any councillors at the moment but we've got a strong local team and there's no reason we shouldn't be able to oust at least some of the Conservative councillors in Christchurch or Merrow.
The canvass data is looking good in certain places at the moment but the overall picture we're getting is that this contest could go either way. So there really is all to play for and I'm sure that the good residents of Guildford will be heartily sick of the face of the Tory and Lib Dem candidates before election day. Sorry about that.