Well done to all our candidates in the local elections in Lewisham. We gained more than 13,000 votes for our 21 council candidates, John Hamilton for Mayor and George Hallam for Lewisham East. As party agent for our ward candidates, I attended the final count for Grove Park ward at lunchtime today. The ward has been a Tory strong hold for some time and they held on to x2 seats, but lost one to Labour. The Tories came close to losing another by 3 votes!. Harold Shalet our candidate gained 171 votes, so may have had a decisive effect on the result!
We gained some impressive votes in New Cross, our target ward. Susanna obtained over 600 votes. We also gained good votes in Brockley, Lewisham Central and Ladywell, where we were able to put out a leaflet. John Hamilton improved by 1000 his vote, despite the tide of votes in favour of Labour.
As I thought, our socialist comrades in Telegraph Hill did not survive. Ian Page and Chris Flood, despite getting their highest ever vote did not make it against the Labour tide. Working people were desperate to try and stop a Tory government at all costs and voted Labour down the line. I have never seen people queuing to vote in a British election -in New Cross, people were jumping off the bus, with poll cards in their hands, frantic to make it to the polling station before it closed at 10pm. At All Staints Church Hall polling station we even had a 'lock in' after 10pm, allowing people to vote who had been waiting for over an hour.
The Greens in Lewisham were also hit hard with -but they only have themselves to blame! We repeatedly offered to enter into an arrangement with them regarding candidates in Ladywell and Brockley but they refused and were determined to put at risk the socialists in Telegraph Hill by standing a full slate and running an active campaign -gaining more than 1000 votes for their leading candidate. It is important that we come to some 'pact' or arrangement at the next election where perhaps we only stand one candidate where the other party is strong. With some work our votes in a number of wards suggest we will get a much higher vote than the Greens -Bellingham, Catford South, Sydenham for example.
Importantly however, gaining votes was not our real aim in standing in the election. What we were seeking to do was establish our party and organisation, gain members and supporters. We can build our borough party in the struggles against the cuts that we are going to face in the coming years.