This Thursday (14th August) there is a by-election in the Knight’s Hill ward of the London Borough of Lambeth. Whilst the Pirate Party are not standing a candidate in this by-election we would encourage anyone who is eligible to cast their vote and make their voice heard. Sources close to Lambeth Council indicate that they are anticipating a somewhat derisory turnout of less than 20% – that’s less than 1 in 5 people choosing to cast a vote. We believe that when participation in democracy is as low as that, it does nothing to encourage politicians to actually listen to people and instead enables them to legitimately ignore the wishes of the majority.
This somewhat callous disregard for voters and the democratic process is shown further in the reason for the by-election in the first place. Following the Borough-wide elections in May one of the successfully elected Labour councillors for Knight’s Hill – Sonia Winifred – was discovered to be ineligible as a councillor due to her being a teaching assistant and thus employed by the Council.
Given this shows an inability by both the candidate and her agent to successfully read and complete the nomination forms it is somewhat shocking that Lambeth Labour are treating this as merely a minor inconvenience and showing very little contrition about the surrounding circumstances.
As Winifred herself states I have now left my post as a teaching assistant and it is my intention to seek re-election.
As Lambeth Council have stated, the cost of a by-election is estimated at £15k – but to Lambeth Labour it is merely a ‘silly mistake’ and there has been no indication by the Labour party of repaying Lambeth Council for their own mistake. Given that attitude, you have to wonder what other ‘silly mistakes’ Lambeth Labour are making that we are not aware of, and at what cost to the Lambeth taxpayer.
The Pirate Party in London is trying to be an active voice in local government in order to hold our elected officials to account. If you want to help us, then please get in touch as we need volunteers and campaigners to help us make your voice heard.
For the full list of candidates see the Statement of Persons Nominated on the Lambeth Council website.
UPDATE – Result
As expected, Sonia Winifred and Lambeth Labour won the by-election with 61% of the vote on a turnout of just 19.5%. For full details see the Brixton Buzz article.