Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Comment: Fight is on to be mayor - not that anyone would know
Political parties in Watford should start announcing their candidates for next year’s mayoral elections in the coming weeks.
Anyone in doubt as to how influential this contest is to the town just needs to take a stroll down High Street.
The hoardings surrounding the pavements torn-up as part of the £4million makeover of the town centre display starkly that this is a political office with the power, literally, to change Watford.
Yet I have remarked before about the noticeable lack of appetite among the town’s opposition parties for the oncoming contest.
And over the summer there has been no detectable upsurge in enthusiasm.
The root of this apathy lies in the size of the task of attempting to topple the office’s current three-term incumbent, mayor Dorothy Thornhill, who looks set to be confirmed as the Liberal Democrat nominee to fight for her fourth term.
Even though the 2010 mayoral election was the closest run, with the result being pushed to count of second preference votes, Watford’s Labour and Conservative parties have been far more preoccupied with their efforts ahead of the 2015 General Election.
Thus the political runes currently point to the coming campaign emerging as a drab, lacklustre affair.
Over in the Labour camp Vicarage councillor and deputy group leader, Jagtar Singh Dhindsa, looks odds-on to be the party’s mayoral challenger.
If he does secure the nomination it will at least ensure the contest is entertaining.
Seasoned watchers of Watford politics will know this is easily the most watchable match-up in the town hall.
Councillor Dhindsa is the mayor’s bête noir and exchanges between the two have taken on an almost Tom and Jerry quality over the years.
Although their altercations in the council chamber have ranged over a multitude of issues, the format rarely deviates.
The trigger tends to be Mayor Thornhill lauding or defending some action or other of the council.
This will prompt Councillor Dhindsa into an attack (usually with a dash of his trademark hyperbole), which will, in turn, provoke the mayor to launch into a tirade about how much worse things were under the council’s previous Labour administration.
It will be fascinating to see how this political grudge evolves once elevated to the heights of a mayoral race.
Conservatives are still yet to get their mayoral bid off the ground.
Since the last mayoral elections a cocktail of lost elections, forced ejections and defections has eradicated the rump of Conservative councillors left in Watford.
Richard Harrington now stands as the only elected Tory remaining in the town. Yet although the number of Conservative foot soldiers has been depleted, the association’s finances are in rude health.
This paper has previously revealed Mr Harrington is regularly pulling large donations and banked more the £80,000 between his 2010 election victory and 2012.
One would presume this war chest is primarily being stocked for his re-election bid in 2015.
But the Conservatives can surely spare enough wonga to run a well-funded bid to take the top job at town hall.
Meanwhile smaller Watford parties, such as the Greens and UKIP, are also yet to select candidates.
However, with the opposition party hierarchies showing little stomach for the mayoral fight, the personalities of the candidates they select will have a greater impact shaping what kind of race 2014 will be.
Comments are closed on this article.