Filed under: politics

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

Politics may be a farce but the next choice is yours

Abingdon 100 years ago
Some of you may have read in the Observer this morning about the people of the idyllic market town of Abingdon saying ‘politics is now a farce’.

Parliament has failed to deliver the 52% Leave vote because David Cameron did not define what Leave meant before the referendum. Politicians have failed to agree a Leave deal that the EU agrees with since.

There are local elections on Thursday, and the Observer observes that Abingdon people are affected by this national disillusionment with politics. People slam their doors against canvassers saying ‘I cannot take any more politics!’

The choice is yours on Thursday if you choose to vote. Some of your local politicians have done a good job locally irrespective of their national party. New people are standing at the local election as well. It is for you to judge. At the very local level we should try to vote for the best people. I hope you end up with an excellent Town and District Council – one that can take Abingdon forward.

24 Comments April 28, 2019

Empty state of Old Abbey House brought to mind by blue plastic sheets

Empty state of Old Abbey House
The empty state of Old Abbey House has been brought to mind by the blue plastic sheets that have appeared on the porch roof. It has been empty since Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council and the Citizens Advice moved out of the building in May 2014, and was boarded up in October 2018 to stop vandalism.

During this time the property department at the Vale of White Horse District Council has been outsourced and brought back in house again, and that probably resulted in a lack of continuity in the people dealing with Old Abbey House. Reading the minutes of the VWHDC Joint Scrutiny Committee on 7th March 2019 I read ‘The property management and facilities management services were brought back in house as it became clear that it was not possible for the contracts to deliver the anticipated level of savings. Since bringing the services back in house, they had been co-located in one property team.’ 

So things should get better from now once the ‘one property team’ gets established.

It was suggested in the Abingdon annual parish meeting that providers of social housing will be contacted to see if they can use Old Abbey House. This is in line with previous announcements by the district council. The district council has said inbetween whiles ‘Working with Oxfordshire County Council and other partners, the district council is conducting a ‘one public estate’ review to look at how we can use Old Abbey House alongside other key public buildings and sites in the town.’

In their current newsletter the Friends of Abingdon say ‘The Friends are aware of several people who have contacted the District Council in the last 2-3 years with serious proposals to take on Old Abbey House for various purposes, all involving some degree of public use. It is disappointing that officers and councillors have declined to engage with them.’ 

It would be good if such options could be reconsidered by the incoming council after the election, and the new ‘one property team’.

8 Comments March 28, 2019

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