ELECTION fatigue and an unwanted distraction, or the most public admission that they have no chance of winning? The Greens, who in recent years have rarely allowed a local election to pass without a candidate on the ballot paper, have decided not to contest the upcoming council by-election in Gospel Oak on November 9.
Whoever wins will have to face another public vote next May, of course, due to the late, late nature of Theo Blackwell’s resignation in the four year election cycle. While Labour lost their grip on Gospel Oak in 2006 to the Tories, they swiftly won it back in 2010 and it’s been pretty much plain sailing ever since and their candidate Jenny Mulholland, who popped up in the public seats at last night’s housing scrutiny meeting trying to get a chance to speak, is the odds-on favourite.
Councillor Marcus Boyland ran away with a by-election contest in the same ward in May, albeit after a slightly surprising, OTT, all-out doorstep campaign by the ruling party. The Greens were back in fourth, nearly 1,200 votes behind.
“This is the third election the people of Gospel Oak have been subjected to this year, and so there’s inevitably going to be some voter fatigue,” the party says in a statement. “With the winning candidate in this by-election only due to be in post for six months before we have to do it all again, we think it’s best to concentrate our campaigning resources to support Sian Berry’s important work on green issues, and then making more breakthroughs next May.” So there you go.
UKIP, who got only 75 votes in May, are also not bothering this time.