Here in Gateshead, for the 2nd time in less than a year, we are facing a by-election in the Dunston and Teams ward, the BNP's top target in the North East. They are not having too good a time of it however. Their candidate from the last 2 local elections and last year's by-election has thrown in the towel.
He has been replaced in the ward by their candidate who stood in the neighbouring Lib Dem held Dunston Hill and Whickham East ward where she got a derisory 5% in May. Indeed, she was even beaten by the Conservatives (though only by 5 votes). Given that there is a tendency for the Conservatives to come 4th behind the BNP in Gateshead, this result was therefore quite an achievement.
Also making an appearance in this by-election as the Labour candidate is a certain Mr Gary Haley. This person was the self-styled champion of Whickham South and Sunniside from 2002-4 when he fought my ward. He spectacularly performed an amazing demolition job on his party's vote in 2004 when he ran a shrill and hysterical campaign against the Lib Dems, blaming us for just about every disaster that has ever afflicted the planet. His reward was a collapse in his vote from 1800 to just 900.
2 years later Mr Haley re-appeared as the self-styled champion of Dunston Hill and Whickham East, another Lib Dem held ward which was created mainly from a safe Labour ward in 2004. It counted as a gain for us in that year though the majority was marginal. Mr Haley's actions and claims in the ward have been outstandingly successful in helping us to increase our majority in the ward in 2006 and 2007. In 2004 our majority was 130. This year it was 520.
So Mr Haley is making his 6th attempt to get on the council, this time as the Labour by-election candidate for Dunston and Teams. In May Labour won the ward with 55%. He is therefore the front runner.
Clearly Labour are struggling to find quality candidates who have an interest in the community to which they aspire to represent.
I delivered our leaflet this morning in part of the ward. Front page included a photo of Mr Haley conceding defeat at the count for Dunston Hill and Whickham East in May. It was taken from the video I filmed of the declaration. It was the same video Mr Haley sought to have removed from my blog. It's still there for everyone to enjoy!