Ahead of Thursday’s local elections, pollsters predict Labour is likely to win big in London. Ealing has been no exception to this rule in the last two elections.
The party saw an electoral success in 2014, when it consolidated 53 of the 69 Ealing wards, with a 41.2% turnout. The conservatives won 12, and the Liberal Democrats 4.
The last time the conservatives won Ealing was in the 2006 elections, occupying a tight majority of two. It’s worth noting, Ealing’s voting demographic is changing.
Figures show 58.7% Ealing residents were ethnically white in the 2001 census compared with 49% in the 2011 census, meaning the proportion of BME voters is rising.
Analysts suggest it would be unlikely for the Conservatives to take London without winning the BME vote, if this is true, it’s even truer of Ealing.
The 2011 census figures show that Ealing’s Asian population is 12% larger than the London average. The Simpson’s Diversity Index lists it as the third most diverse local authority, beaten only by Newham and Brent.
Its diverse population is also reflected in the candidates standing for election, other parties represented at the ballot box are the Green Party, UK Independence Party, Polska Duma (Polish Pride), Renew, Labour and Co-operative Party and British National Party.
Despite the Labour hold, central Ealing wards such as Ealing Broadway and Ealing Common have been predominantly conservative.
Though noticeably, Labour are running their youngest ever candidate in Ealing Common – Abdi Duale, a 21-year-old university student running on an anti-cuts, pro-social care platform.
Ealing Conservatives have promised a freezing of core council tax, funding social care, reinstating weekly street sweeping, free garden waste collection, a fix-up of dangerous roads, and committed to delivering 3000 affordable homes should they win on Thursday.
An additional election promise they have made is an emergency budget which they claim will stop the Labour’s alleged profligacy and waste.
Council leader, Julian Bell, hit back at these claims adding: “Inevitably after the bad winter the roads have taken a battering but we are working hard to repair all the potholes and will be investing £7m in road resurfacing over the next two years to add to the £14m we have already spent repairing our roads in the last four years.
“Unlike the opposition parties who are making un-costed promises and denying the existence of £143m of cuts to our budgets by national government we will continue to protect the most vulnerable by investing £29m in child protection and elderly care through a combination of growing our way out of austerity, using reserves, efficiency savings and minimal council tax increases. “
Abortion clinic buffer zones
Anna Veglio-White, 25, founder of Sister Supporter that successfully campaigned for the installment of London’s first abortion clinic buffer zone was impressed with the party’s most recent decision to back the buffer zone.
Ms. Veglio-White’s petition was taken to a council vote with the help of Cllr Binda Rai, and Clrr Gareth Shaw.
She said: “It could’ve been seen as risky, I know in Richmond they want a PSPA but no one wants to take the risk during elections. But in Ealing we had 3.5 signatures every hour and 3500 signatures in total a totally atypical amount for council petitions.
“So it was a good incentive for the council to take it on.”
Asked about what the big issues are for women and families in Ealing, Ms Veglio-White said the council could do more to secure maternity and care services.
She added: “Ealing Hospital is going piece by piece, there’s no longer a maternity ward – I used to go there a lot when I was younger.”
A poll revealed that 90% of residents supported the council’s campaign to save Ealing Hospital.
WHAT THEY SAID
Lib Dem Cllr Jon Ball also said cuts are a big issue in the borough, and added that his party has the independence to say it how it is.
He added: “The police station closure programme is partly the fault of the Labour mayor and partly the Conservative government. Neither other party will acknowledge that.”
Cllr Bell disputes these claims.
He said: “The local Lib Dems want people to forget that decisions they made as part of the coalition government along with the Tories have brutally cut £1bn from the Met Police budget and that they are partially responsible for police station closures in Ealing and Southall.
“We will continue to campaign against these cuts and for more police officers on our streets.
Election results will be announced at 08.00 on Friday, with ballot boxes closing at 22.00 on the Thursday.
South West Londoner will be providing live updates and all the latest news and reactions from all 11 counts across the area on May 3. Visit our website and Twitter for live coverage throughout the night.