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I certainly hope you're right.What has been noticable about these elections is that there has been almost no coverage of any of the parties stategies for local government.Perhaps a result of how local government power has been emasculated during the past 25 years.
I suspect that we will see another very low turnout next week with most of those who vote making their choice on national issues.A terrible shame in my opinion.

I am confused by this report. It says the people of Richmond have barriers to voting Tory....but the Tories took this Borough by a landslide 4 years ago. I certainly hope you not standing in a Tory ward...if you are, it spells defeat on 4 May.

I live in Richmond upon Thames as well but still get this sense the Tories might lose this time despite doing nothing really wrong (apart from maybe not cutting council tax though name me a council that has done that recently) and a lot that was good particularly in terms of recycling, road safety, the environment and allowing Twickenham Stadium to expand and put on more events.

And yet you have a Liberal administration made up of the same people who previously screwed up including the same Finance Chief who nearly bankrupted the Borough and who would undoubtedely rack up council tax to higher levels still and put more small shops out of business due to their crazy red route schemes.

One should not complain but people say the Tories need to show consistency rightly, but so do the electorate who seem perfectly prepared to be duped by the Liberals when they would see through similar stunts on behalf of ourselves and Labour.

Saying the Tories took the Borough by a landslide is slightly disingenious. Try we won a large majority of seats but were only 1% ahead of the Liberals in the popular vote. This borough also has the highest number of marginal wards of any London borough up for election according to the recent report on the London elections.

Liberal = Snobbery. Too nice to be a Tory, too scared to vote Labour. "We vote Lib Dem" sounds a lot nicer than saying "We vote Conservative" to chattering class ears. It's a little ironic, but nowadays buying the Independent on Sunday is a sign you've reached the middle classes.

The problem with local councils is that people often seem to vote in a negative way, ie. to get rid of the current council. They did that in Richmond last time, and now it could go back to the Lib Dems.

I remember in Shepway, Michael Howard's local council, how the council keeps swinging between Conservative and Lib Dem simply because people get fed up with the current administration.

Young professionals that grew up in the 80s, are who Cameron id trying to get through to, but it might not work. They hate the Tories because kids allways grow up hating the government of thier youth. The Tories may have to youth for the childdren of New Labour to come of age to see lots of votes from young professionals.

I think you have got that just about right Henry W at 18.53.

"many of the first generation wealthy professionals who live here feel they need to make amends for their personal success."

Apolegetic for taking their finger out their arse and doing something. What is wrong with these people. As if paying more tax than at any time in British history is not enough, the masochist in them isnt content until they have a bunch of socialists demeaning and deprecating them. Weirdos.

Passing Thru, they might well be "professionals", but probably not part of the wealth creating sector, hence their guilt?

I am slightly confused about this also,in the first half of the peice you were saying people were afraid to vote conservative even if they had done a good job.You were saying that despite the fact the councill had improved people were avoiding voting conservative even if they voted for us last time.You reasoning of this was because they didnt link the conservatives with the good things being done YET at the end of your peice you said that people were considering voting for us because Cameron had changed peoples opinions of our objectives and beleifs.

It's a sad state of affairs when the meaningless cop out has become the status quo for the volvo driving salariat.

When reading reports like this, it's increasingly hard to deny that Britain is becoming a rather pathetic country.

"Passing Thru, they might well be "professionals", but probably not part of the wealth creating sector, hence their guilt?"

Well, i wasnt interpreting professionals as 'east end barrow boys done good' if thats what you mean!

I was figuring they are mostly hard working families 'typically' in finance or marketing, working long hours for their lot, and having spent a few years graduating. I guess i dont understand the mentality of the chattering classes.

I've never understood why anyone should feel guilty about their good fortune in life. However, that guilt is undoubtedly what distinguishes the wealthy folk of Richmond from their counterparts in, say, Hertsmere.

Goldie, Britain is a great country.
Except at Ashes time. : )

(Hello to CH from Auckland by the way)

Hello from England!

That great British phenomenon: the guilt-ridden members of the upper middle classes. No better symptom of national decline than the readers of the "Anything But Independent". Isn't the key to these people's political behaviour that they don't want to do good? They just want to feel good about themselves. So they vote again and aagin for political parties (such as the Lib Dems) who are actively harming those at the the bottom of the pile.

Do people really feel guilty about their own wealth other than, say, when walking past a homeless person in the street selling the Big Issue, as we all do? If the people of Richmond really felt so guilty about their wealth and good fortune, would they spend their money on all the visible signs of wealth and affluence you see in south west London? Why only feel this guilt when discussing who you vote for?

Surely the problem is not with the voters themselves but with the image of the Conservatives. That's surely the reason why people don't want to admit to voting Conservative - even where they are doing a good job. To my mind the solution is not to blame the people who vote for us but to sack the public relations department.

It is also disappointing to see the number of respondents here who are happy to join in blaming others instead of accepting any form of responsibility and start addressing the problem. Is the image so unjustified?

I agree with you 'Why oh why', it is the 'image' of the Tory Party that has been so successfully assassinated by... Blair, plus his spinners, AND Prescott, and now we told because his sleaze is partly, only partly in the bedroom, that it is none of our business, and words almost tantamount to saying 'poor little paunchy, he is being so victimised', well HELLO, the pigeons have come home to roost. He was the MP who made some of the most vicious attacks on a previous government, I just hope he is getting a taste of what it feels like, but I doubt it, his sour prejudice would prevent any self-analysis.

It proves the hypocracy of humans really that many of the most anti-tory people about are those which have done the best out of conservative policies; the young married professionals. I like you blame Billy Bragg, the Smiths, Ben Elton et al.

It's interesting to re-read this today Karen. Clearly you weren't optimistic, but did you envisage that the Richmond vote would go quite as well for the Lib Dems as it did, or quite as badly for us?

(Lib Dems gained 17 seats, going from 19 to 36; Conservatives lost 16, falling from 34 to 18).

Given the general stagnation of the Lib Dem performance, why was Richmond such an exception? Were there any local issues at play? I don't see why the people you describe would vote the Lib Dems out in 2002, when we were led by IDS, and vote them back in now, when we are under Cameron.

Your comment :"disillusioned with Blair they vote LibDem and feel less guilty about having two foreign holidays a year and running two cars." reminds me of a great line from Colin Firth's character in the film "Another Country":

"He's a typical liberal - he wants an easy life and an easy conscience, and as far as I'm concerned he's got no right to either."

I think we lost control of the council in Richmond because Twickenham has a substantial Lib Dem majority in national elections (so far) and too much of a core vote strategy was used there. We had to raise council tax to sort the finances out in 2003 - particularly in Education and Social Services. Unfortunately, what we discovred wasn't properly hammered home to the electorate. Don't trust the Liberals again. It really needs to be noted that Richmond Park constituency delivered a Conservative lead even in May, and doesn't deserve to be tarnished.

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