Can Andy Murray Win This Year?
Independent candidate in local election for Riverside ward
Andy Murray is well known to residents for his work in the Grove Park Group and his decision to run as a candidate in the Riverside ward is a logical extension to the work he has been doing as chairman of the GPG, he says.
But can he unseat one of the current three sitting councillors, all of whom are members of the Conservative Party which has a loyal following in the leafy residential area? The current sitting councillors are Paul Lynch, Sam Hearn and Felicity Barwood. In this election next Thursday May 22nd, there are twelve candidates in Riverside ward chasing three seats. All the main political parties are standing and UKIP have also put forward a candidate. You can read about them here.
Riverside is strongly Conservative- in May 2010 Sam Hearn topped the poll with 2,756 votes, closely followed by Felicity Barwood at 2,698, and Paul Lynch at 2,675.
It's a good deal of pressure on a candidate who has no party machine behind him and has to do all his own canvassing after his day-job. But Murray says he is up for the challenge and wouldn't have put his name forward if he hadn't received good feedback about his chances.
In the 2010 local election, there was a high turnout of 60 pc of the electorate, largely due to the fact that it took place on the same day as a general election. A lower turnout is generally expected for this election which makes forecasting any swing vote very difficult.
After the three local Conservatives were elected in 2010, the Liberal Democrats came in fourth place in Riverside ward with the three Labour candidates in fifth, sixth and seventh places. The Green Party candidate, Daniel Goldsmith, who is standing again in 2014, received 1,192 votes. You can read the results of that election here.Andy Murray will be hoping to benefit from any anti-coalition 'protest vote' as well as disaffection from voters who may have been in the Liberal Democrat camp last time due to the popularity of leader Nick Clegg. But can his track record as a hardworking local campaigner pursuade voters to break away from their traditional loyalties?
Murray believes that there is a role for a councillor who represents local residents. He has been involved in a wide range of issues on behalf of the local community, ranging from the controversial new LED street lights, to street paving, the Lionel Road development, the controversial Park Road cpz, licensing issues and Riverside's recycling and rubbish collection. He is also part of the 'Group of 15', a loose collection of local residents' associations who meet to discuss areas of mutual concern.
He says he gets right into the small details of every issue whether it is taking photographs at night to illustrate how bright the new street lights are, or visiting a local recycling area which is a hotspot for 'flytipping', taking photographs to show the Council exactly how the site looks on a daily basis. And he says he spends time pouring over documentation such as the Local Plan - the Council document which deals with development across the borough for the next fifteen years. He also attends the Chiswick Area Forum meeting.
"How many of our local councillors in Chiswick have read the Local Plan I wonder? I'd like to find out," he comments, though he stresses that he has worked in tamdem with local councillors on several issues and is not campaigning against any individuals.
Part of his work with the GPG has also focused on improving 'quality of life' for its residents, beautifying the local area by planting flowers in the old cattle trough near Chiswick rail station.
Andy has lived in Chiswick for over 20 years and is involved in St Michael's Players in his spare time when not attending meetings or at his 'day job' in north London as a marketing consultant in the music business.
"I am not affiliated to any political party, and if elected, would work together with all Councillors, regardless of party, solely on the issues, " he says.
You can read about all the candidates by clicking on this link here
May 16, 2014