No dirty tricks - the way to win an election

SIMON Burton (Letters, May 18) really ought to go to SpecSavers if he is unable to recognise his party as ‘the nasty one’. There is plenty of evidence to justify bestowing this title on his local party.

In February 2010 in Fenstanton he went to the presiding officer at the polling station and complained that I was canvassing on the doorstep. I was not doing anything of the sort. A St Ives district councillor, who obviously wanted me to leave, put him up to it. Later that day Mrs [Jonathan] Djanogly, among others, was accosting voters as they approached the polling station. As far as I can tell this tactic proved counter-productive.

The eve of poll leaflet put out in May by the Conservatives compared the town council attendance record of Jonathan Salt (admittedly not very good) with that of Cllr John Davies at the district council. That is hardly a proper comparison. Cllr Davies had been chairman for two years and was paid a significant amount of money for carrying out his duties. Town councillors are unpaid.

Another leaflet showed a bar chart that unfavourably compared the percentage increase in Council Tax of St Ives Town Council with that of HDC and the county council. Conservative-controlled Huntingdon Town Council had a similar percentage increase to St Ives but that was omitted. Everyone knows that both district and county are cancelling services and that in some cases the town council has had to take these on. Furthermore, they both received a bonus from the Government for not increasing Council Tax.

Earlier this year residents of Houghton presented a petition to HDC against the ribbon development along the A1123. Only two councillors, neither of them Conservative, voted in favour of the petition. However, as soon as Cllr Davies found out while canvassing that the proposed development and the increased traffic congestion that it would bring was an issue with St Ives south residents, he went to the press about it, even though he must have known that it was far too late to stop things.

In the last five years I have fought five elections in St Ives and Fenstanton. This year was the first time that I have not been on the receiving end of dirty tricks, so at the polling station I thanked my opponent.

He remarked that several had been suggested but he had come down firmly against such tactics.

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He is a long time resident of Fenstanton. He campaigned strongly with good support and his leaflets carried a positive message.

Despite my work in Fenstanton over three years he won convincingly. That, Mr Burton, is the way to do it!


Cedar Road

St Ives