Filed under: politics

Boris is PM from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth; Abingdon to Antrim.

Abingdon to Antrim
Boris Johnson is to be the next Prime Minister. I see on his facebook page that he has been in Abingdon more than once. In 2015 he said ‘Brilliant to be back in Abingdon campaigning for Nicolas Blackwood.’ Nicola was the Conservatives MP for Abingdon from 2010 to 2017.

On another facebook post I did see that Conservative MP for Aberdeen, Ross Thomson, said ‘Boris Johnson as PM will do for the whole of our country what he did for London as Mayor. From Aberdeen to Aberystwyth; Abingdon to Antrim.’

8 Comments July 23, 2019

Town Council Meeting – 26th June 2019

Town Council Meeting
A Special Meeting had been called earlier on 21st May to make some quick decisions after the election. The most noticeable decision was to change the flag flying policy and allow the rainbow flag to fly over the County Hall. It was also resolved in committee to organise an Abingdon Pride event and set aside £1,000 for that purpose.

This evening’s Town Council meeting began with prayers.

Grant cheques were presented to a number of community groups.

I asked a question about cycling safety on roads and the town bus service and got a detailed reply from Cllr Sam Bowring, the new Town Council leader. These things are being considered and they have a cycling expert to help them.

The Abingdon Carbon Cutters did a presentation about their activities. The last Town Council meeting before the election had declared a climate emergency. That was not common knowledge so Carbon Cutters asked for more publicity.

The Carbon Cutters announced Abingdon’s move towards a plastic free town (I will do a separate blog on that soon).

Once the meeting proper began we found that most of the decisions had been taken in committees …

The Town Council is to undertake an appraisal of the Albert Park area to stop inappropriate developments.

The planning committee had no objection to the creation of  a kayak and canoe storage facility on Abingdon Lock Island. The district council will now decide.

The Amenity Committee agreed to do tree surveys and possibly cut down trees, and use more suitable trees, around the River Close play area . The trees are blocking out light to some houses despite repeated pruning and this has long been an issue.

Replace the notice boards in Bath Street, Roysse Court and Market Place.

Purchase three new replacement bus shelters.

Transfer some planters to Reynolds Way in the autumn for planting in winter spring etc.
Town Council Meeting
£1,000 will be allocated for Pest Control in the closed churchyard of St Helen’s Church.

The Communication Committee agreed to start publishing the Town Crier in the autumn, something the previous Conservative led council had not done. Then do a communications review.

To move the Information Centre to the ground floor reading room in the Roysse Court offices, and look further to try to find a better place.

The Finance Committee agreed to appoint a sub-committee to consider the future of the 41 town bus which comes up for renewal in October.
Town Council Meeting
These committee papers did not take long to discuss. There then followed a 35 minute debate about whether Town Councillors should wear robes at Town Council meetings and civic events. The new leader, Sam Bowring, said there was no policy and they needed to decide. There was one new councillor in particular who had almost decided not to stand for council when she heard she would have to wear a robe. All councillors agreed robes should be worn at civic events. 8 voted to keep the gowns at Full Town Council meetings, and 6 voted against. It was a passionate debate on both sides and did show that even though the council has now 18 Lib-Dems and 1 Green, they have many voices. The leading voice to keep the gowns came from a young, new councillor. He wanted to honour the tradition and heritage of the town. While a more established councillor described it as wearing fancy dress, and another as setting councillors apart.

14 Comments June 27, 2019

European Elections 2019 in Abingdon

European Elections
Polling stations in Abingdon have been open for the second time this month. Three weeks ago they opened for the district and parish elections, and this Thursday it is the European elections, which were supposed not to happen as the UK should have left the European Union on 29th March 2019.

Abingdon is part of the South East of England and we were given the following choice of parties and Independents:
Change UK (10 candidates)
Conservative (10 candidates)
Green (10 Candidates)
Labour (10 Candidates)
Liberal Democrats (10 Candidates)
The Brexit Party (10 Candidates)
The Socialist Party of Great Britain (10 Candidates)
UK European Union Party (2 Candidates)
UKIP (10 Candidates)
Independent – Jason McMahon
Independent – David Round
Independent – Michael Jeffrey Turberville

We each had one vote.
European Elections
10 MEPs will be elected to represent the South East of the UK. MEPs are elected by proportional representation. The number of MEPs each party gets is calculated using a formula called d’Hondt after the Belgian mathematician Victor d’Hondt, who dreamed up the formula in 1878, long before the days of computers. According to Wikpedia….
After all the votes have been tallied, successive quotients are calculated for each party. The party with the largest quotient wins one seat, and its quotient is recalculated. This is repeated until the required number of seats is filled. The formula for the quotient 

quotient = V / (S + 1)

V is the total number of votes that party received, and
s is the number of seats that party has been allocated so far, initially 0 for all parties. 
European Elections
European elections do not usually enthuse people as much as national elections but on this occasion they are being treated by some people as a protest vote. In the UK there are two new parties. The Brexit Party has been created to allow people who voted Leave to show their discontent with parliament’s handling of Brexit. Change UK has been created by people in parliament to challenge the referendum result.

The UK should still leave the European Union (EU) on 31st October 2019. If the UK and EU ratify the withdrawal agreement before then, it would be earlier. So these elected MEPs could be in post for a very short time. But parliament has not managed to agree the withdrawal yet so it could be longer.
European Elections
Polling has finished and we will know the results on Sunday.

8 Comments May 23, 2019

Congratulations and Commiserations on Election Results

Congratulations and Commiserations
The Lib-Dems won 18 and the Greens won one of the Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council seats. The orange diamond with the slogan ‘Liberal Democrats – Winning Here’ came true today. They were a long way ahead of the other parties. Conservative voter turnout was about half the level of 4 years ago due to national politics, and the Lib-Dem voter turnout was similar to, and possibly up on, 4 years ago.

Commiserations to the Conservative Mayor elect David Pope who lost his position. Other high profile Conservatives losses include:  Mike Badcock (Council Leader); Alice Badcock (organiser of Fun and Music in the Park, and Chair of Amenities); Sandy Lovatt (former Council Leader); Monica Lovatt (Chair of the Vale), Dennis Garrett (who led the Guildhall revamp), Vicky Jenkins (a councillor who got things done on her local patch and who chaired the Community Services Committee).

Congratulations to the new council who will be taking Abingdon forward for the next four years – especially to Cheryl Briggs who becomes Abingdon’s first ever Green Party Town Councillor.

Thank you to everybody who voted for me as an Independent, and helped me in campaign. We were just 14 votes short and so nearly did it.

12 Comments May 3, 2019

Tales of Tellers and Vale District Councillors for Abingdon

At Polling Stations, some party supporters were Telling (taking voter card numbers) so the party could tell which of their supporters had voted, and did not need a door knock, email, or whatever methods the parties use to remind people to vote.
At Preston Road there was a Lib-Dem and Conservative. The Conservative has lived all his 71 years in the Caldecott area of Abingdon, having been born in Saxton Road. He is a Morris Dancer and was standing for Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council for the first time. The Lib-Dem was a former leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council.

At the St John Ambulance Station there was also a Lib-Dem and Conservative, but there was not room to sit down and talk there.
At Trinity Church there was just Jeanette, a Lib-Dem. One duty of the teller is holding the voter’s dog. She was holding one very large  and friendly dog and she almost got pulled into the polling station.
At Bridges Close there was a Lib-Dem and a lot of beautiful plants.
The polling station is in the hall of the Jephson Flats where you need to ‘Beware the Elderly’. I did not see any brolly wielding elderly threatening the voters.
Telling was difficult at the Guildhall where there were two entrances. People could easily go in through the Abbey Cinema entrance and avoid the foyer where the tellers sat.

(Update) The Lib Dems gained control of the Vale of White Horse District Council which they lost eight years ago in 2011.

In terms of Abingdon Wards:

Abingdon Peachcroft
Mike Pighills - Liberal Democrat
Max Thompson – Liberal Democrat
Not Elected
Vicky Jenkins – Conservative Party
Simon Hutton – Conservative Party
George Ryall

Abingdon Caldecott
Samantha Bowring – Liberal Democrat
Neil Fawcett – Liberal Democrat
Not Elected
Alice Badcock – Conservative Party
Mike Badcock – Conservative Party
Jon Bounds – Labour Party

Abingdon Fitzharris
Eric De La Harpe – Liberal Democrat
Robert James Maddison – Liberal Democrat
Not Elected
Monica Lovatt – Conservative Party
Christopher Palmer – Conservative Party

Abingdon Abbey Northcourt
Helen Pighills – Liberal Democrat
Cheryl Briggs – The Green Party
Not Elected
Katie Finch- Conservative Party
Dennis Garrett -Conservative Party

Abingdon Dunmore
Margaret Crick – Liberal Democrat
Andy Foulsham – Liberal Democrat
Not Elected
Sandy Lovatt- Conservative Party
David Pope – Conservative Party
Paul Burton – Labour Party

The majority for the Lib-Dems over Conservatives looks so large that it is very likely that they will have a large Lib-Dem majority in the town council when those votes are counted later today.

15 Comments May 2, 2019

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