Comment: will mayor prove a Thornhill in MP Harrington’s side?

Watford Observer: Watford's elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill. Watford's elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill.

The question of whether Mayor Dorothy Thornhill will run for MP next year still hovers over the mayoral race unanswered. One person who will be awaiting the resolution to that mystery more keenly than most is current MP Richard Harrington.

The Conservative’s re-election hopes could depend on a strong showing from the Liberal Democrats to prevent their vote collapsing and going to Labour in 2015.

For this to happen, the party needs a strong candidate. Someone who can galvanise the local branch and spearhead an impassioned campaign.

According to these criteria Mayor Thornhill would fit the bill better than any other candidate. Yet if she does decide to stand next year, Mr Harrington may find he gets more than he bargains for.

Firstly, the Liberal Democrats feel part of the reason they narrowly missed out in 2010 was that they concentrated too much firepower on the town’s former Labour MP Claire Ward. This afforded Mr Harrington the space to appear above the partisan fray and burnish his appeal to floating voters. As the incumbent himself this time round, the MP may find himself on the sharp end of the Liberal Democrats well-honed local campaign attack machine.

To add to this is the fact that if Mayor Thornhill does make a bid for Parliament, it will not be to act as a political makeweight for another party. Standing in 2015 would be a considerable gamble for the mayor. If she wins a fourth term as mayor in May, but then fails in a bid to be MP, she will be sitting out three years in the town hall with residents knowing she was a wantaway mayor. Not an appealing prospect, and even more incentive for her to make it to the green benches of Westminster.

If she does step into the ring next year it will be as a candidate with a formidable electoral record playing to win.

Another drawback of this scenario for Mr Harrington is it will dilute his otherwise unique selling point as an incumbent. After five years representing the town in Parliament, he will be able to point to Government funding for the Croxley Rail Link as the centrepiece of his achievements.

But if mayor Thornhill enters the race she will also be able to lay claim to credit for the rail extension and will also have an even larger portfolio of local accomplishments to parade before voters. Yes, after 10 years in power Mayor Thornhill also has considerable political baggage. But Mr Harrington won’t want to rough up a candidate he is counting on to do reasonably well.

One presumes Mr Harrington will be highlighting the positive working relationship between himself and the mayor and asking voters to keep that partnership intact by returning him to Westminster.

This strategy was hinted at when at a recent public meeting Mr Harrington compared his working relationship with Mayor Thornhill to that of David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

It was a slightly unusual comparison considering the widely-reported tensions between the Prime Minster and the Mayor of London due to the latter’s ambitions to be the next resident of 10 Downing Street.

However, if the Mayor Thornhill does decide to go for Mr Harrington’s job next year, the comparison could become more apt than initially intended.

Comments (12)

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2:12pm Fri 24 Jan 14

garston tony says...

There is no way she should be putting herself forward for another term as mayor if she then intends to stand for parliament next year.

If she should become MP (in my opinion heaven forbid) then WBC would have to go through the whole expense of having another mayoral election, and as the article states should she not succeed then she would have another 3 years in a position with all and sundry knowing she is not committed to it. Either way trying to get re elected as mayor and then standing for MP shows a severe disregard for the very people she supposedly wants to serve.

As to the success she can apparently point to much of it is nothing of her actual doing, but as she is an ardent self promoter she has never failed to try and associate her name with the decisions and good works of others. In my opinion the role of mayor let alone Dorothy Thornhill has brought little benefit to the town and has actually been a costly waste of money. But as it is a position that we are stuck with it would be nice to have a mayor who is actually interested in what is best for the town rather than what is best for their political career.

Should there also not be a limit to the number of times one individual can put themselves forward for mayor?
There is no way she should be putting herself forward for another term as mayor if she then intends to stand for parliament next year. If she should become MP (in my opinion heaven forbid) then WBC would have to go through the whole expense of having another mayoral election, and as the article states should she not succeed then she would have another 3 years in a position with all and sundry knowing she is not committed to it. Either way trying to get re elected as mayor and then standing for MP shows a severe disregard for the very people she supposedly wants to serve. As to the success she can apparently point to much of it is nothing of her actual doing, but as she is an ardent self promoter she has never failed to try and associate her name with the decisions and good works of others. In my opinion the role of mayor let alone Dorothy Thornhill has brought little benefit to the town and has actually been a costly waste of money. But as it is a position that we are stuck with it would be nice to have a mayor who is actually interested in what is best for the town rather than what is best for their political career. Should there also not be a limit to the number of times one individual can put themselves forward for mayor? garston tony
  • Score: 11

3:13pm Fri 24 Jan 14

oxheypaul says...

Well said, Garson tony.

It's an absolute nonsense that we have an elected, paid-for mayor in a town of this size.
Well said, Garson tony. It's an absolute nonsense that we have an elected, paid-for mayor in a town of this size. oxheypaul
  • Score: 6

4:12pm Fri 24 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

As I recall Dotty won in 2010, lesson is Local elections and MP election are different No?
As I recall Dotty won in 2010, lesson is Local elections and MP election are different No? dontknowynot
  • Score: 0

4:32pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Cuetip says...

Watford is really melting pot of how the different political parties in UK plc have looked after the different people of this country and the jury is still out.

Unfortunately, far too many still vote tribally and are influenced by those who make the biggest promises and tell the biggest lies.

Perhaps in the end, the one with the biggest pocket will win which says a lot about how UK plc works.
Watford is really melting pot of how the different political parties in UK plc have looked after the different people of this country and the jury is still out. Unfortunately, far too many still vote tribally and are influenced by those who make the biggest promises and tell the biggest lies. Perhaps in the end, the one with the biggest pocket will win which says a lot about how UK plc works. Cuetip
  • Score: 3

6:28pm Fri 24 Jan 14

phil mitchel says...

Don't vote for someone who won't give a commitment to a full term.
Don't vote for someone who won't give a commitment to a full term. phil mitchel
  • Score: 0

11:11pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Andrew1963 says...

It's barely 14 months to the general election campaign and the Liberal Democrats do not have a candidate. Of course Thornhill will run, but I doubt she would win a general election, because the next. General election will not a positive one for the Lib Dems. If she wanted to be an MP she should have stood in2010.
It's barely 14 months to the general election campaign and the Liberal Democrats do not have a candidate. Of course Thornhill will run, but I doubt she would win a general election, because the next. General election will not a positive one for the Lib Dems. If she wanted to be an MP she should have stood in2010. Andrew1963
  • Score: -1

12:13pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Harry Caine says...

As Cuetip rightly states "Unfortunately, far too many still vote tribally and are influenced by those who make the biggest promises and tell the biggest lies".

Strong rumour has it that the outcome of the 2010 election was determined by promises made by Rich Harrington and Tristan Garel-Jones and a planning application for change of use of a building in Harwoods Road.

Furthermore, Cuetip is also one the money with "Perhaps in the end, the one with the biggest pocket will win which says a lot about how UK plc works." With £360 odd thousand dumped into Rich Harrington's war chest in the run-up to the 2010 election (Source: The Electoral Reform Society) this surely had an additional effect on the outcome.

Particularly the funds coming in from "The Watford Business Forum" (registered address: 7 The Vale, London SW3 6AG)

SW3 that's Chelsea isn't it? Houses in this street sell for anything up to £7million a go

So pray tell us Rich, why is an outfit called the "Watford Business Forum" based in a street in Chelsea where property costs so much?

2015 should be very interesting.

Will Mammon win again?
As Cuetip rightly states "Unfortunately, far too many still vote tribally and are influenced by those who make the biggest promises and tell the biggest lies". Strong rumour has it that the outcome of the 2010 election was determined by promises made by Rich Harrington and Tristan Garel-Jones and a planning application for change of use of a building in Harwoods Road. Furthermore, Cuetip is also one the money with "Perhaps in the end, the one with the biggest pocket will win which says a lot about how UK plc works." With £360 odd thousand dumped into Rich Harrington's war chest in the run-up to the 2010 election (Source: The Electoral Reform Society) this surely had an additional effect on the outcome. Particularly the funds coming in from "The Watford Business Forum" (registered address: 7 The Vale, London SW3 6AG) SW3 that's Chelsea isn't it? Houses in this street sell for anything up to £7million a go So pray tell us Rich, why is an outfit called the "Watford Business Forum" based in a street in Chelsea where property costs so much? 2015 should be very interesting. Will Mammon win again? Harry Caine
  • Score: 2

3:55pm Sun 26 Jan 14

MJ1 says...

The problem for the Liberal Democrats is that if they leave it until the final year to select a different parliamentary candidate the electorate will correctly take that as a signal from Dorothy Thornhill that she does not believe they can win the seat. So far from keeping her options open, Thornhill has boxed herself in by announcing that she will run for Mayor but saying nothing about the parliamentay seat. This will also damage her reputation in the run up to the mayoral election as voters will ask why should people vote for someone who has already decided they will be hoping to switch jobs in a year's time. So the Libeal Democrats have got themselves into a right old mess.
The Tories are also in a fix as they are now having to rely on the pizza menu delivery firms to get their leaflets out as their local party has collapsed and they have no councillors left in Watford. They have no capacity to canvas for votes on the doorstep and you can be sure that Richard Harrington will be using his vast war chest of money to employ bright young things to knock on doors without the first clue of how to answer a political question.
So if you fancy a bet you could do no worse that to put money on Labour to come from a good third to first in 2015.
The problem for the Liberal Democrats is that if they leave it until the final year to select a different parliamentary candidate the electorate will correctly take that as a signal from Dorothy Thornhill that she does not believe they can win the seat. So far from keeping her options open, Thornhill has boxed herself in by announcing that she will run for Mayor but saying nothing about the parliamentay seat. This will also damage her reputation in the run up to the mayoral election as voters will ask why should people vote for someone who has already decided they will be hoping to switch jobs in a year's time. So the Libeal Democrats have got themselves into a right old mess. The Tories are also in a fix as they are now having to rely on the pizza menu delivery firms to get their leaflets out as their local party has collapsed and they have no councillors left in Watford. They have no capacity to canvas for votes on the doorstep and you can be sure that Richard Harrington will be using his vast war chest of money to employ bright young things to knock on doors without the first clue of how to answer a political question. So if you fancy a bet you could do no worse that to put money on Labour to come from a good third to first in 2015. MJ1
  • Score: -3

11:04am Mon 27 Jan 14

Paul Gadd says...

The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....
The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO.... Paul Gadd
  • Score: 0

11:42am Mon 27 Jan 14

garston tony says...

Paul Gadd wrote:
The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....
Please, why would anyone want to vote for labour when they either caused, encouraged or allowed to happen the events that led to the current dire economic situation this country has gone through?

I occassionally get to listen to PMQ's on a Wednesday if i'm in the car at the time and its painful to hear Milliband try and score political points about some issue or other only to be crushed by the simple response that he and the Labour party either caused the problem in the first place or did nothing about it in the 13 years they were in charge. What a clueless mob they are.

And if anyone actually thinks things would be better now if Labour were still in power then they are living in cloud cuckoo land and lord help us all if that deluded group get their way at the next elections.

The Tory's are far from perfect but they, along with the Lib Dems, are the lesser evil and its idiotic to blame them for having to fight the fires that Labour started
[quote][p][bold]Paul Gadd[/bold] wrote: The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....[/p][/quote]Please, why would anyone want to vote for labour when they either caused, encouraged or allowed to happen the events that led to the current dire economic situation this country has gone through? I occassionally get to listen to PMQ's on a Wednesday if i'm in the car at the time and its painful to hear Milliband try and score political points about some issue or other only to be crushed by the simple response that he and the Labour party either caused the problem in the first place or did nothing about it in the 13 years they were in charge. What a clueless mob they are. And if anyone actually thinks things would be better now if Labour were still in power then they are living in cloud cuckoo land and lord help us all if that deluded group get their way at the next elections. The Tory's are far from perfect but they, along with the Lib Dems, are the lesser evil and its idiotic to blame them for having to fight the fires that Labour started garston tony
  • Score: -1

12:22pm Mon 27 Jan 14

MJ1 says...

garston tony wrote:
Paul Gadd wrote:
The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....
Please, why would anyone want to vote for labour when they either caused, encouraged or allowed to happen the events that led to the current dire economic situation this country has gone through?

I occassionally get to listen to PMQ's on a Wednesday if i'm in the car at the time and its painful to hear Milliband try and score political points about some issue or other only to be crushed by the simple response that he and the Labour party either caused the problem in the first place or did nothing about it in the 13 years they were in charge. What a clueless mob they are.

And if anyone actually thinks things would be better now if Labour were still in power then they are living in cloud cuckoo land and lord help us all if that deluded group get their way at the next elections.

The Tory's are far from perfect but they, along with the Lib Dems, are the lesser evil and its idiotic to blame them for having to fight the fires that Labour started
Let's be clear, the deficit was caused by the banking crisis in the USA in 2007 when their banks counted all the bad debt they had because of corrupt and irresponsible lending. This triggeed an economic crisis that affected most countries including the UK. It is widely recognise that if it had not been for Gordon Brown's leadership[ at the world economic summit in London in 2008 then the recession would have become an apocalyptic depression. Sadly its taken nearly 6 years for the UK to begin to see economic growth again because the Tories cut too much and too fast. Germany and the USA for example have been out of recession for 3 years by using reflationary policies. The people who have suiffered are not the rich but ordinary working peopl;e who have had their living standards slashed and their pay now worth 7% less than 6 years ago. Labour looks after the many not the few rich 2% at the top.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paul Gadd[/bold] wrote: The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....[/p][/quote]Please, why would anyone want to vote for labour when they either caused, encouraged or allowed to happen the events that led to the current dire economic situation this country has gone through? I occassionally get to listen to PMQ's on a Wednesday if i'm in the car at the time and its painful to hear Milliband try and score political points about some issue or other only to be crushed by the simple response that he and the Labour party either caused the problem in the first place or did nothing about it in the 13 years they were in charge. What a clueless mob they are. And if anyone actually thinks things would be better now if Labour were still in power then they are living in cloud cuckoo land and lord help us all if that deluded group get their way at the next elections. The Tory's are far from perfect but they, along with the Lib Dems, are the lesser evil and its idiotic to blame them for having to fight the fires that Labour started[/p][/quote]Let's be clear, the deficit was caused by the banking crisis in the USA in 2007 when their banks counted all the bad debt they had because of corrupt and irresponsible lending. This triggeed an economic crisis that affected most countries including the UK. It is widely recognise that if it had not been for Gordon Brown's leadership[ at the world economic summit in London in 2008 then the recession would have become an apocalyptic depression. Sadly its taken nearly 6 years for the UK to begin to see economic growth again because the Tories cut too much and too fast. Germany and the USA for example have been out of recession for 3 years by using reflationary policies. The people who have suiffered are not the rich but ordinary working peopl;e who have had their living standards slashed and their pay now worth 7% less than 6 years ago. Labour looks after the many not the few rich 2% at the top. MJ1
  • Score: -1

2:46pm Thu 30 Jan 14

garston tony says...

MJ1 wrote:
garston tony wrote:
Paul Gadd wrote: The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....
Please, why would anyone want to vote for labour when they either caused, encouraged or allowed to happen the events that led to the current dire economic situation this country has gone through? I occassionally get to listen to PMQ's on a Wednesday if i'm in the car at the time and its painful to hear Milliband try and score political points about some issue or other only to be crushed by the simple response that he and the Labour party either caused the problem in the first place or did nothing about it in the 13 years they were in charge. What a clueless mob they are. And if anyone actually thinks things would be better now if Labour were still in power then they are living in cloud cuckoo land and lord help us all if that deluded group get their way at the next elections. The Tory's are far from perfect but they, along with the Lib Dems, are the lesser evil and its idiotic to blame them for having to fight the fires that Labour started
Let's be clear, the deficit was caused by the banking crisis in the USA in 2007 when their banks counted all the bad debt they had because of corrupt and irresponsible lending. This triggeed an economic crisis that affected most countries including the UK. It is widely recognise that if it had not been for Gordon Brown's leadership
Hahahaha, and who changed the UK rules so that the banks in this country could jump in to assist the US banks in their dodgy practises and therefore be positioned to take a huge fall when it all went belly up. Oh yes, Gordon Brown

A saviour he is not, but thanks for the laugh!

Germany faired well because they did precisely what the Labour government did not, in good times they rationalised, modernised, cut spending, got efficient etc whilst in the UK Labour decided to go on a spending spree bloating the public sector, increasing debt and the deficit so when the rug got pulled out from under the economy the UK fell apart whilst Germany were able to ride it out thanks to their prior planning.

As to Labour looking after the poor, I heard this week that good old Tony Blair has made £70millions since he quit as PM. Stop kidding yourself, Labour are only interested in saying and doing what they think they need to say and do to win votes. They dont actually care about this country and since they have been in opposition they have been a shower of cow turd
[quote][p][bold]MJ1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paul Gadd[/bold] wrote: The poor, disabled, students and annoyed middle class will want to vote for a Labour MP........if any of them are still alive after the many Tory cuts doing the rounds IMHO....[/p][/quote]Please, why would anyone want to vote for labour when they either caused, encouraged or allowed to happen the events that led to the current dire economic situation this country has gone through? I occassionally get to listen to PMQ's on a Wednesday if i'm in the car at the time and its painful to hear Milliband try and score political points about some issue or other only to be crushed by the simple response that he and the Labour party either caused the problem in the first place or did nothing about it in the 13 years they were in charge. What a clueless mob they are. And if anyone actually thinks things would be better now if Labour were still in power then they are living in cloud cuckoo land and lord help us all if that deluded group get their way at the next elections. The Tory's are far from perfect but they, along with the Lib Dems, are the lesser evil and its idiotic to blame them for having to fight the fires that Labour started[/p][/quote]Let's be clear, the deficit was caused by the banking crisis in the USA in 2007 when their banks counted all the bad debt they had because of corrupt and irresponsible lending. This triggeed an economic crisis that affected most countries including the UK. It is widely recognise that if it had not been for Gordon Brown's leadership[ at the world economic summit in London in 2008 then the recession would have become an apocalyptic depression. Sadly its taken nearly 6 years for the UK to begin to see economic growth again because the Tories cut too much and too fast. Germany and the USA for example have been out of recession for 3 years by using reflationary policies. The people who have suiffered are not the rich but ordinary working peopl;e who have had their living standards slashed and their pay now worth 7% less than 6 years ago. Labour looks after the many not the few rich 2% at the top.[/p][/quote]Hahahaha, and who changed the UK rules so that the banks in this country could jump in to assist the US banks in their dodgy practises and therefore be positioned to take a huge fall when it all went belly up. Oh yes, Gordon Brown A saviour he is not, but thanks for the laugh! Germany faired well because they did precisely what the Labour government did not, in good times they rationalised, modernised, cut spending, got efficient etc whilst in the UK Labour decided to go on a spending spree bloating the public sector, increasing debt and the deficit so when the rug got pulled out from under the economy the UK fell apart whilst Germany were able to ride it out thanks to their prior planning. As to Labour looking after the poor, I heard this week that good old Tony Blair has made £70millions since he quit as PM. Stop kidding yourself, Labour are only interested in saying and doing what they think they need to say and do to win votes. They dont actually care about this country and since they have been in opposition they have been a shower of cow turd garston tony
  • Score: 1

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