David Burbage’s weblog

Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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Posted by davidburbage on May 6, 2007

As I begin typing it’s 11.52pm. I’m only up because since election night not only has my body clock been broke but the brain cells have been buzzing with all the stuff that needs agreeing, organising and doing. I’ve spent longer on the phone these 3 days than I can remember and I still haven’t picked up my mobile voice mail (last count 18 messages waiting – apologies to anyone waiting for an answer.)

There was the unsolveable dilemma, before the election, about how much myself and colleagues gave to prepare ourselves because if we didn’t win then time spent preparing for something that didn’t happen would have been wasted (and might have better been spent trying to win!). You also don’t know how many – or which – or where – councillors will be elected.

One thing which bedevilled the last Tory administration was the Borough’s representative on the Thames Valley Police Authority. Although we held control of the Borough, we were forced to nominate a Libdem to the post. It is a very important, and remunerated, position (the only formal control the Council has over policing) and most authorities have their crime / community safety lead member as their rep – we had to send one of the Opposition!

Now I understand the success of the Tories in the Thames Valley means we should fill that extra committee seat – surely we can get it this time; & after all the former Borough (Libdem) incumbent lost his Council seat in Windsor’s Park ward.

As I was driving back from Ascot on Friday afternoon the phone rang from home to say that the BBC TV wanted to interview me in Windsor at 6.30pm. A swift change of plans and I was there just in time to do a 30 second slot which was too short to say anything meaningful but I paid tribute to all the hard work that has been done by our activists in Opposition. The results certainly speak for themselves. The thank-yous are going to be many, long and sincere; one to begin with here is to our brilliant, brilliant agent Peter Bellini. He handled the campaign extremely well and even on polling day was doing work across committee rooms all over the Borough ensuring we got our people elected. A cliché is “worked tirelessly” but in Peter’s case it was true; getting 3 or 4 hours sleep in the days leading up to the election making sure we had our plans laid effectively was just one example of his efforts. He even managed to ensure we comfortably beat the BNP in Clewer North (as he himself was a candidate in a seat we were not going to win outright, ensuring we came 2nd was very important!) – the Independents were never likely to lose their seats with only two BNP standing and us putting our bigger efforts in elsewhere.

Knowing so many of us that lost their seats in 2003, I could sympathise with the Libdems that lost. It’s tough, and much more so if you don’t expect it. But it’s very difficult to express that just after the results are declared without appearing to be rubbing it in. The great shake of democracy means that they lost some of their best along with some of the rest, and likewise with those that remain. We failed to get some great people in that worked so hard and would have made excellent community representatives whereas in our safer seats we are almost certain to retain them regardless of the personalities (adding quickly that we do have fantastic people in all our safer seats).

We are now determined to implement our manifesto – typing words into a document is easier than actually making the changes happen and work correctly. We got a flavour of that when we announced Windsor’s parking proposals. One Conservative supporter was strongly urging us to quickly revoke our proposal, prior to the election, to ditch the 10p onstreet charges because he was convinced it would lose us hundreds of votes in Windsor . . . well, we just about held our end up in Windsor!

Some ironies – we polled more votes than the Libdems in Riverside but they got 2 seats and us 1; the Independents in Riverside almost certainly cost us getting all 3 seats and meant that the established Libdems remained (who were their real foes); former Leader Jeremy Hyde stayed oh-so-late in the count to 4am to watch Hurley, his former seat, fall to our new successful trio; the current Libdem Leader chicken-ran for safety but we got that seat as well – we nearly beat Mary Rose in 2003 but we got her this time and she was in the Evening Standard, and on the BBC website with the shell shocked look.

No pictures to illustrate as I’ve been rather busy, I’m afraid! But I will be trying to continue this blog, maybe more irregularly, as the weeks and months go on. This is not valedictory.


One Response to “Round-up”

  1. Stunning result David, I was really pleased to see Park Ward go Blue!!!

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