See Index
3 St Helier's Road.
London E10 6BH

July 27, 1987.

Dear Bill Rose,

I write this letter to you in the hope that you will read it out at the next branch meeting. I am extremely concerned about yet another case of an individual member of the party presenting his personal viewpoint to the GMC without getting the support of any branch, section or trade union. I am in particular worried because this case is one which could have a very deleterious impact on the branch.

What has happened is that the constituency agent has made some suggestions about boundary changes we should suggest for the upcoming Boundary Commission review. This is a process which goes on all the time (I mean the Boundary Commission review) but it is not a mattter which is within the purview of the constituency agent being a matter which is equally significant to both local and national government elections. In fact it has nothing to do with the agent at all.

The suggestion made by the agent, as it affects this branch is that we should lose Livingstone and Poplar Roads and gain an extra chunk of Hainault Road. Now since Livingstone Road and Poplar Road are two of the strongest Labour roads in the borough with virtually 100% Labour support I estimate this will cost us about 200 votes (there are almost exactly 300 people living in the two roads---! counted on the electoral register---but only about 70% will ever turn out at an election). The Tories on the other hand will gain almost all the votes in Hainault Road.

You may say it looks as if even if we had 200 fewer votes and the Tories an extra 100 or so, we would still have won in 1986. Maybe. But in 1982 when it was a three party race we lost to the Tories even with Livingstone Road and Poplar Road.

The agent may be treating this branch with a certain amount of contempt but that is not to say that the idea itself is completely without merit. The Walthamstow constituency is too small and Leyton a little on the large side, at least in comparison to Walthamstow. If we do not offer to make some changes there is also the possibility that the boundary commission may impose them on us---for example they could suggest Waltham Forest South and Waltham Forest North constituencies thus reducing the number of MPs in the borough from three to two. I do not personally believe this is much of a danger since the Tories must have some hopes of hanging on to Walthamstow and keeping two Tory MPs in the borough and I do not believe they could realistically hope to win Waltham Forest South as Harry would romp home if reselected.

It is also true that 200 Labour votes could make all the difference between winning the Walthamstow constituency and losing it. If we give up these roads Walthamstow will have a much better chance of regaining the parliamentary seat than they have at present. However if we lose Forest ward in the 1990 council elections we could well lose the borough council. If Forest had gone Tory in 1986 we would now have a Tory/ Liberal council.

The issue the branch has to decide is therefore of critical importance and it is one balanced on a knife edge. Do we support the agent's suggestion or do we fight it? Whatever you decide I believe it is of critical importance that Forest branch is involved in the decision making process. Which is why I write this letter. The boundary commission has to consider representations made to it by November 1. That means it has to get to local government committee by September or October at the latest and any resolution has to go through the Leyton General Management Committee. This is therefore probably the last meeting at which this can be usefully discussed---though I suppose it is possible that we could get over all the hurdles if we put a resolution next month.

I therefore ask the branch to consider whether or not, it wants to put up a resolution on this subject. I regret that I am on holiday and can not attend this meeting. If the branch wants my view it is that if we give up these roads we will certainly lose some of the council seats we now have, if not all. However, I think there is a chance that Leyton branch could take seats away from the Alliance and compensate for the loss in Forest. I therefore believe that on balance it is best to support Walthamstow in its attempt to regain the parliamentary seat by giving them the two roads.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Brind

See my selection speech, Forest 1985
Return to index


In Leyton our share of the vote varies between 41.22% (Cann Hall) and 69.68% Cathall and averages across the Constituency 51.83% of the vote for the three main parties. With the exception of Forest ward the result is surprisingly similar to 1986. Indeed Grove Green's result is almost a mirror image of 1986.

In wards where the Liberal Democrats (LD's) have worked the Conservative vote has been squeezed even further than in 1986, except in Grove Green which was evidently the fourth priority for the LD's. The Tory vote is less than 7% in Cann Hall and less than 8% in Leyton. However where we were the only party to run a campaign the Conservatives did comparitively well, taking nearly 30% of the vote in Lea Bridge and nearly 1/4 in Leytonstone. The Conservative Party will no doubt be quite content with their share of the vote given the amount of work they have done.

The Liberal Democrats on the other hand despite picking up 30% of the vote in second place will probably be fairly frustrated by their position. Regardless of their-poor showing nationally, they must have been looking to increase their total of seats and to preside over a hung council. Their biggest triumph (Higham Hill) and their biggest disaster (Wood Street) both coming in Walthamstow.

Despite predictions about our vulnerability in Forest we were unable to prevent the LD's from winning one seat and very, very nearly two. They produced 6 Focus newsletters whilst we only produced 1 Buzz and the Election Address. Had we not been able to complete 2 canvasses we would no doubi have lost all three seats there. To win this seat back the Branch and Councillors will have to look towards Leyton and Grove Green. Providing that the Liberals work the ward, and it seems very unlikely that they won't, then we will have to at least match them for the number of newsletters put out (probably 10 per year) and expect some fastidious casework from Denise and Shameen. There is currently a vacancy on Barclay School Governors and it would be a good idea for one of them to fill this position. The Conservative vote in the ward may have sunk as far as it will go at 15% but I suspect that Simon Banks will believe that it can go lower still.

In Cann Hall the LD's have hit 2,000+ votes for the first time in the Borough and have taken more than 50% of the vote, and this despite a well fought and well supported campaign by Labour. The positive side of the result is that we have no doubt tied up many of their workers holding on to this seat, and prevented them from campaigning in Grove Green and Forest. (It is rumoured that in Forest the LD's had help from LD's from Islington!) It is still perfectly feasible to retake Cann Hall at the next election given 4 years of hard work and getting the names of a campaign team known to the voters.

In Leyton ward the tide is undoubtedly turning back to Labour. Through hard work by our candidates, familiarity with 'Leyton Matters' and a changing electorate we regained a seat and but for the 'London effect' and smear campaigns we could have done better still. The campaign itself in Leyton was also not helped by the size of the ward (the biggest in the constituency) and the lack of help from inside and outside the ward. Not all the target leaflets could be delivered and only 1 1/2 canvasses completed. Had there been more help we may, just may, have had a larger majority on the Council today.

Elsewhere in the Constituency we had little to be concerned about - as I stressed throughout the campaign. Only in Grove Green was there any serious opposition, but that had effectively been killed off by the hard work from the branch since 1986. I expect that some people will recognise, in hindsight, that if only we could more effectively target our resources and realise when a ward has been won, we could have done substantially better across the Council. I don't, however, wish to dwell on this point.

We have won. We have increased our majority on the Council. We have gained over 50% of the vote in Leyton and 46% in Walthamstow. And when compared with the three other London Boroughs won from the Tories in 1986: Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham, we have done really well. I was even quite surprised by Walthamstow.

The results in Leyton
Cann Hall
Grove Green
Lea Bridge

Cann Hall

See 1994 results for Cann Hall
7(Lab) Parker1500 

Total Ballot Papers = 3,903
Percentage Poll = 49.0
Electorate 7,966


Total Ballot Papers = 4,165
Percentage Poll = 53.21
Electorate 7,828

 % Change
Liberal Democrat3.22

1(SLD) Banks156514.91
2(Lab) Barnett163315.56
9 (SLD) Sullivan163015.53

Total Ballot Papers = 3,816
Percentage Poll = 45.77
Electorate 8,338

1(Con) Evans3282.78
2(Lab) Gray, D.K.183115.50
3(Lab) Gray, J177315.00
4(Con)Hemsted 2822,39
6(DCP)Sheikh58 0.49
7(LD) Sullivan1892 16.01
8(LD)Wait1810 15.32
9(LD) Worsfold183215.50
10(Lab) Wray 172314.58

Total Ballot Papers = 4,219
Percentage Poll = 50.32
Electorate 8,384

 % Change
Liberal Democrat1.91


Total Ballot Papers = 3,673
Percentage Poll = 43.94
Electorate 8,360


There is an error with the Kapur/Luker percentages.
This was in the original

Total Ballot Papers = 3,834
Percentage Poll = 46.62
Electorate 8,224

 % Change
Liberal Democrat-5.06


Total Ballot Papers = 3,673
Percentage Poll = 43.94
Electorate 8,360


There is an error with the Kapur/Luker percentages.
This was in the original

Total Ballot Papers = 3,834
Percentage Poll = 46.62
Electorate 8,224

 % Change
Liberal Democrat-5.06


See 1994 results for Cathall

Total Ballot Papers = 3,630
Percentage Poll = 44.52
Electorate 8,153


Total Ballot Papers = 3,443
Percentage Poll = 41.58
Electorate 8,280


 % Change
Liberal Democrat-14.27

Grove Green

See 1994 results for Grove Green

Total Ballot Papers = 4,191
Percentage Poll = 49.4
Electorate = 8,482


Total Ballot Papers = 4,136
Percentage Poll = 50.25
Electorate = 8,231


 % Change
Liberal Democrat-7.15


See 1994 results for Forest

Total Ballot Papers = 3,630
Percentage Poll = 44.49
Electorate 8,160

8LDTynan C155913.75
9LDTynan J148913.13

Total Ballot Papers = 4,070
Percentage Poll = 50.18
Electorate 8,110


 % Change
Liberal Democrat25.80

Lea Bridge

See 1994 results for Lea Bridge

Total Ballot Papers = 3,243
Percentage Poll = 39.94
Electorate 8,120


Total Ballot Papers = 3,670
Percentage Poll = 44.67
Electorate 8,216


 % Change
Liberal Democrat-0.31

The voting figures for the Borough as a whole and broken down into Constituencies was as follows:-
LD19,082 24.70

Lab6,276 22.14
Con 16,607 58.60
LD5,459 19.26

Lab10,539 46.23
Con6,947 30.48
LD5,309 23.29

Lab13,544 51.83
Con4,273 16.35
LD8,314 31.82

These figues are based on the top candidate of each of the three main parties in each ward, other parties are not included as they did not put up more than one candidate per ward.

It is very interesting to note that the Conservative Party barely picked up one third of the vote in Walthamstow, which must auger well for the General Election.

Across the Borough the Labour share of the vote has dropped by 3.55% since the 1986 Elections, the Tory vote has increased by 6.70% and the Liberal Democrats share of the vote has fallen by 2.12%. This swing to the Tories was seen in similar Labour held Boroughs in London like Ealing, Brent and Hammersmith, where unfortunately seats and even control of the Council was lost. Only in wards contested strongly by the Liberals did the swing fail to materialise.

For the record Leyton's most popular Councillor is Evie Edworthy with 2,274 votes, replacing John Walsh now lying in second place. However John still holds onto the highest personal share of the vote with 24.06% - nearly a quarter of the votes cast in Cathall, now that's not bad. On this scale of popularity Dave Lee is lying second with 23.24%. At the other end of the scale Shameen Mahmood has the smallest majority of 3! and that after 9 (or was it 8) recounts. Shameen also defends the smallest succesful share of the vote at 13.77%.

It is worth looking at the recommendations made by the Agent and Organiser following the 1986 elections to note whether they have been followed up and achieved and to appraise what bearing they may have had on our organisation and these results.

Dave Barnes and Peter Fanning divided their recommendations into 3 sections
- Developing branches
- Co-ordinating activiies between branches
- "How can we beat the Liberals?"

On developing Branches they summarised that 'most campaigning and electoral organisation occurs at a branch level. Most Party members relate to their local branch and not to the Constituency or Borough. Only the activists 'do things' at a constituency level and only the 'super activists' at a Borough level'. I would contend that this premise still holds true today. Dave and Peter then made the following recommendations: -

1) Branches to have fixed meeting days and times each month
this now happens

2) Each Branch Secretary to provide a schedule of branch meetings for 1986 to June's E.C.

3) Branches to reduce the time spent during meetings on routine business e.g. minutes can be sent out with branch notices, correspondence can be passed around and not read out.

4) Branch notices to be sent out to members 1 week in advance of meetings.
All the above observations are basic common sense, I would be surprised if any branches don't carry these out by now.

5) Branch 'tasks' to be shared as much as possible, e.g. members should hold only 1 office at branch and CLP at a time.

6) CLP Executive to work with branches to provide support, advice etc. CLP Organiser to support Leyton and Agent to support Cann Hall.
I don't recall that this last recommendation was ever put into practise.

In their second section on Co-ordinating activities they wrote 'Human and some financial resources are raised and developed in the branches. The CLP or Borough CAN only co-ordinate branch activity. The benefits of improved inter branch activity would be: -

* shared knowledge and experience
*pooling and sharing of resources
* co-ordinated CLP strategy
* understanding of problems and a consensus on how to deal with them

It is recommended that branches appoint organisers and ensure that they attend CLP Organisers meetings so that the CLP organisation can be constructed and in place for the coming General Election'

Following this, branches did appoint Organisers and a CLP Organisers committee met - infrequently at first, but regularly since 1988. However this did not by itself solve all our problems. The branches most capable of undertaking their own activity were the mainstays of the CLP Organisers Committee. By and large where branches needed help they did not send anyone to Organisers Committees. Also the CLP Organisers Committee has failed to succesfully organise any constituency campaigns.

It is still the case.that members, including activists, consider themselves first and foremost to be members of their branch. We may be deluding ourselves that it could be any different. However we have to contest elections throughout the whole Constituency and indeed throughout the Borough. It is essential that our organisation is equal to the task throughout the Constituency. We started upon these elections with next to no organisation in Forest branch, despite being aware that it was a Liberal Democrat target seat. More seriously, we have had to finance this election on a shoestring budget because so few branches have paid their election levy to the Constituency Party. There is clearly an imbalance between a healthy branch loyalty and responsibility to the Constituency and Borough Parties. We need to draw on the lessons we have learnt to iron out these different.loyalties. But more of this later.

The 1986 Agent and Organiser's final question was 'How can we beat the Liberals?' Their specific recommendations were: -

1) Newsletters are produced at least every 3 months. Branches Should discuss and agree a schedule for production.

2) Branch surgeries should be started so that a record of case work can be built up.

3) Branches should take up campaigns on local issues, some of which will arise naturally out of casework.

4) Branches should consider adopting candidates well before the next Borough Elections so that names can be advertised and campaigning teams built up.

5) There needs to be good liaison between the Councillors and wards like Cann Hall so that issues can be taken up quickly.

6) Harry Cohen's surgery on the 3rd Friday of each month should be moved to a venue in the East of the Constituency.

7) There needs to be some form of artwork on a Borough basis that each Branch can use in its newsletters.

Looking at these recommendations 4 years later it is interesting to note the mixed success we have had in meeting them. Let's deal with them one at a time.

1) Leyton and Grove Green branches producing monthly newsletters, Leytonstone, Cann Hall and Cathall producing sporadic newsletters. Lea Bridge recently restarted to produce 'Street Talk'. Forest unable to produce a newsletter. The recommendation needs to be reaffirmed but the frequency which is required in wards with Liberal activity is more like one per month.

2) This was attempted several times in both Leyton and Cann Hall with limited success.

3) There has been recent improvement in this area in most branches. Good local campaigns on Housing, roads and transport particularly. We still need to improve our response to local issues and to work together as a Constituency or group of branches.

4) Not a great deal could effectively be done about adopting candidates early as we are in the hands of the LGC. Candidates cannot be selected too early in case they don't stay about until the election is held. However we do need to continue to look at this and make any suitable recommendation to the LGC. It didn't appear to do any harm in Grove Green where the names of the Councillors who all retired were replaced in the newsletters by the new candidates.

5) Good idea!

6) This was implemented by Harry, who now holds the surgery at Greater London House.

7) The Organiser tried to get agreement for this in 1988 but branches seem very reluctant to give up their autonomy - even where they were not producing any newsletters! A couple of branches did express an interest and it is still worth pursuing. More imagination is required in the production of newsletters. Even if we cannot get the idea of a Constituency newsletter off of the ground we could investigate some of the following -

* A CLP 'page' to go on the back or front of branch newsletters.
* Newsletters being produced jointly by two or more branches
* More localised newsletters aimed at particular estates or streets.
* Advertising from local shops etc to help pay printing costs.

I hope that both my comments and those of my former colleagues can start off a healthy discussion about how we can move forward. Our immediate attention has to be turned to getting ready for the General Election next year or the year after. However we also need to be setting about improving our organisation now for the 1994 Local Elections which could prove to be the toughest for some time.

Steve Woodhouse

Political Organiser (retiring)

10th May 1990

Return to index
See my lealet for the 1990 election, Valley Ward.

After nine counts (probably a local record), the returning officer declared that Forest had two Labour councillors and one Liberal. Denise topped the poll.

The count was a very messy business. Shameem eventually won by just three votes but at one stage a bundle of 37 Liberal votes was counted as 50, giving the Liberals a 10 vote majority! "We are not infallible,"said Jim Chambers, borough director of finance and one of the senior officers responsible for checking the large bundles.

During the election campaign, I read the report I wrote after the 1986 election. How depressingly familiar it was. We made most of the same mistakes, we had the same problems getting the members activated, we even canvassed about the same numbers of people and got about the same number of promises.

This may be a lesson for those who believe that Thatcher is not just suffering from mid term blues, but is in fact headed towards certain election defeat in 1992. This was not the experience after the 1986 council election.

In the event we managed to lose one of the three council seats even though canvassing appeared to indicate we were heading for a victory. What happened was that the Tories, or those who are not really committed to any party, but are anti Labour, turned out to vote Liberal. The size of the Liberal vote staggered me. I knew they were going to come second. I knew it from about the first or second week of the campaign. But I believed that Forest being basically a Tory branch (the Tories have won far more council seats in Forest over the years, than has any other party) the Liberals could not squeeze the Tory vote out of existence.

And this was certainly not a bad election for the Tories. The Tories did staggeringly well in their heartlands. In Chingford Green, a place where the Tories always have very substantial majorities, no less than 58.9l%. of the electorate turned out (mostly to vote Tory) and the top Tory got 3,195 votes. These are quite astounding results for a local government election.

Overall throughout waltham Forest, the Tories got 36.41% of the votes cast for major parties (not including the DCP, Greens and the rest). This compares to 30.4% in 1986. To boost the Tory vote by one fifth in a year when the Government is controlled by the Conservatives and is suffering from mid term blues, is simply amazing. The Tory strategy of minimal profile plus a single message (vote Tory and get 75 pounds off your poll tax) was undoubtedly very effective. But the general expectation that Labour was about to win a landslide election victory also helped the Tories, Stories on tv and in the newspapers about the possibillity that the Tories might lose strongholds like Barnet evidently persuaded some committed Tories that it was vital to go out and vote.

The Liberals, did spectacularly well in Higham Hill and in Forest. In Higham Hill , Bob Wheatley demonstrated that a high profile councillor who appears to speak the same language as the local electorate and who seems to REALLY CARE can achieve miracles. In 1986 the Liberals came a poor third getting only 22% of the vote. After the by election Wheatley determined that he would hold on to the seat and worked like mad to win local acceptance. The result (the Liberals got 58% this time) shows that if anything he overdid it. Wheatley's brand of anti estabablishment, working class Liberalism can be an extremely potent force, even though it is easy to underestimate the man when you actually meet him. Fortunately,the Liberals don't have many like him.

But generally, apart from Forest, the Liberals did not do so well. They lost two seats in wood Street. They failed to consolidate their position in Leyton (probably due to an extremely effective Labour campaign) and got only two out of three seats there, the same result as in 1986. Taking the borough as a whole their share of the vote was 24.4% compared to 27.38% in 1986, though the Liberal vote did go up from 17,733 in 1986 to 18,192 this time,. They did worst in Chingford and best in Leyton. And they gained most of their votes in Leyton here in Forest, where it is fairly clear they only achieved success by convincing the Tory voters that the Tories had no chance and to defeat Labour they had to vote Liberal.

The Liberals also have to start worrying about the Greens. There are now some wards in the borough where the Greens are better placed to play the game of squeezing the second party vote. In Lloyd Park the Greens got 11.63% of the vote, in Hale End they got 11.22% (considerably more than one of the Liberals) in Hoe Street Jean Lambert (a prominent national figure) got 13.23% trouncing the Liberals and in St James Street a Green got 15.26%, compared to the average Liberal vote of 10.22%.However, the Greens only put up a single candidate in each ward so it is difficult to assess what would happen if they fielded a full number of candidates.

Overall Labour got 29,217 of the votes for the three major parties compared to 27,334 in 1986-- a creditable result. But because the Tories turned out in huge numbers in their heartlands, the Labour percentage diminished from 42.21% in 1986 to 39.19% this time (only votes for major parties considered).

In the Chingford wards, the Tory vote went up from 49.58% to 59,37%--- and 5,000 more people voted Tory this time than in 1986!

In Forest, the Liberals had to convince the electorate that it was time for Labour to go and convince the Tories (and some other mysterious people who are mostly non voters but are ferociously anti Labour) that it was worth their while to come out and vote Liberal. This they did by delivering five copies of Focus (one each weekend of the campaign) and canvassing just about every house in the ward. This level of canvassing was a significant achievement because Liberal canvassing is slow and thorough. They spend time on the doorstep convincing electors they ought to vote Liberal. Unfortunately they sometimes appear to confuse the electors. For example, at the beginning of the campaign I was told that the Liberals had been saying that Labour was not fielding any candidates and the only way to vote against the Tories was to vote Liberal!

Something like 20 electors had proxy votes arranged for them by the Liberals. These electors include some we had previously canvassed as Tory voters. I do not believe we should attempt to beat the Liberals at this game. Arranging for a vote to be cast by a party member seems to be putting undue pressure on an elector, in my view. Electors should have the right to change their minds. Postal votes should always be offered before proxy votes. (It might be useful to go round to these households and attempt to persude them to switch to postal votes between now and the next election).

On the weekend before the election, the Liberals delivered the usual IT'S A TWO HORSE RACE Focus. We haven't seen this before in Forest but the Liberals use this leaflet everywhere they target.

The leaflet was supported by a second leaflet which appeared in letterboxes all over the branch. On Monday and Tuesday (April 30 and April 31) a leaflet titled THE ENEMY WITHIN was delivered to most homes in the branch. This was a strange leaflet because it was poorly produced (though professionally printed) and had a number of spelling errors. One distribution team (seen by Olaf Liunberg) consisted of two men in their 50s, one stout and bearded (a red beard?) the other thin, medium height, with a droopy moustache.. The method of distribution was similar to that used by professional delivery teams. One leaflet per letterbox and if possible leave the leaflet in the letterbox. Experienced political leafletters do not leaflet this way because houses contain more than one flat sometimes and leaflets left in letterboxes may be removed. When questioned they seemed to hint that they were being paid. Branch member Stephen West, who spoke to the one with the droopy moustace, said he appeared to be the sort of person who delivered leaflets for wages.

In another branch a prominent member of the Ratepayers Action Group was seen delivering THE ENEMY WITHIN.. Paul Redcliffe apparently followed her to her home after she had been delivering it! Well done Paul.

It is also alleged that a number of electors (not in Forest branch) were rung by an anonymous person and told that either they vote Labour or their house would be burnt down. One of the victims included a Labour candidate in Lea Bridge.

John Clark who is press officer for Pennant Football Club and prints the club's programmes at West Essex Litho, is a drinking pal of John James. The ENEMY WITHIN leaflet features an extensive cutting from the John James column. James and Clark are often seen drinking together at the Pennant club.

Fortunately, we found a strange copy of THE ENEMY WITHIN. This provided evidence to link the publication to West Essex Litho. West Essex Litho also printed some of the Forest Liberal campaign leaflets this election.

A second more innocuous and less widely circulated leaflet was also distributed. A red poster attacking Labour in a fairly rabid way, was also flyposted across the borough during the week of the election.

Vote today was put out by Dr Chughtai, Bev & Colin Wess, Harry Cohen, Alison Lyon, Paul Dowling, Paul Devaney & Dave Barnes. Even so we did not achieve my target of putting all out by 8 am...... but let's face it with the Liberals putting a leaflet (GOOD MORNING) through every door that night, it wasn't desperately important to get to everybody.

Colin Wess went on HA first thing (8am) after delivering half of HA (Bev did the other half). Then he was relieved by Dorothy Punshon (who did her usual long stint on the polling station despite the fact that she is not as young as she once was). I delivered half of HB then went on the polling station. Dr Chugtai relieved me at 8.30. Denise Liunberg, Cat Allen, Hannah Liunberg, Olaf Liunberg, Shameem Mahmood, Cath Duthie, Carole Vincent and Paul Devaney also spent time at the polling stations.

Everyone said that the 6 o clock knock up (the main knock up in H and HB) was very effective. Paul Dowling knocked up as did Geoff Darvell, Paul Devaney, Dr Chughtai, Mike Vidler, George Huey, Olaf Liunberg, Clare Brind & Paul Dogan. We stopped collecting numbers from HB and H at 6 which seemed to be the right time. Colin Wess continued car calls until after 7pm. In fact, using the phone line (advertised on the VOTE TODAY material) we actually picked up a car call after 6.30pm.. The phone line was very useful. A lot of people called (about half a dozen) to ask where their polling station was. It was good public relations to be able to tell them. Next time we should print the number in bigger letters,

The computer (used for the first time this election) was a very mixed blessing. I do not know if ELPACK, the software we were using, had massive problems or if there was something wrong with my computer. Everyone who has used ELPACK for any length of time says that it has significant problems. Dave Barnes, who used it on the day, had no problems at all but neither did I the first day I used it. The problems appear to be progressive.

Anyway, apart from the learning difficulties and the bugs, ELPACK seemed to offer enormous possibilities. It was, for example, simplicity itself to produce labels to put an envelopes to go to the nurses at Whipps. We could have produced labels for the whole branch in about an afternoon. The computer can also do some very interesting things. It can target particular groups (for example males with Urdu type names). It is then possible to produce canvass cards, even knock up lists of male-? Urdu type names. If the computer had the information it would be possible to produce the same sorts of lists or labels for council house dwellers, pensioners etc etc.. It could even cross refer information. Council house dwellers who vote Liberal could be one category.

Targeting allows the party to use its workers effectively, we have some members who could be motivated to go and see some groups, but who might not want to do ordinary canvassing Canvassing is widely regarded as boring and old fashioned People don't like doing it. But ELPACK can make it easier for those who are prepared to do canvassing to do some. This is because in the past canvass cards had to be regarded as gold dust. They were unique. If they were lost it would be a disaster. Canvass cards generated by the computer can be produced half a dozen times over (if necessary). Canvass cards can be given to members and so long as they can be trusted to throw them away (they may contain sensitive information) it does not really matter what they do with them. This makes it possible to allocate roads to members who say they are prepared to canvass. It means we don't have to tell them to come to a committee room for canvassing sessions.

Canvass cards and knock up sheets produced by the computer also look more professional than the equivalents used since the Reading bye-election. And some branch members have expertise in using computers. It may be that they are prepared to put their computer expertise at the disposal of the party.

That said, running a computerised committee room is not the same as running an old fashioned Reading style committee room. Reading pads are both quicker and more flexible than the computer.

The computer is also incapable of coping with more than two or three polling districts (probably). As a result two computers are needed to run an election in one ward and computers aren't cheap.

Major problems with the nurses at Whipps. We delivered Buzz via Amy Colville and addressed envelopes to every nurse in the residential home, putting them in their pigeon holes at the nursing home. According to Sarron Demmon, a member , they didn't get either of these. She says they didn't even get their polling cards. All they did get was a second letter we addressed to everyone with the TODAY IS POLLING DAY leaflet in it. This was the only missive we put in the nursing home while the night staff were on duty. Perhaps the day wardens are not so sympathetic. It would be nice to solve this problem.

Only something like half the nurses are on the electoral register. This is partly because they move on quickly and don't have time to get on the register. But I believe that some may be trying to avoid their poll tax--- as indeed people are doing elsewhere--- by staying off the register. We must run a registration campaign in Whipps Cross in October.

Tremendous support was provided by members from outside the branch. Without Peter Nickals (a member from Redbridge) I feel certain we would have lost this election,. Pete got the canvassing going. His canvassing was amazing, he simply flew down roads. Fred Rason (from Chingford, but a former branch member) also did a lot of leafleting. Harry Cohen MP and Evie Edworthy (a councillor from Leytonstone) both canvassed.

Canvassing was also done by Paul Devaney, George Huey, Shafiq, 0laf Liunberg, Sue Waters, Paul Hughes, Linda Boot and candidates---- notably Denise. Denise was a positive powerhouse during the campaign. She undoubtedly deserved her place at the top of the poll. Mike Pettit helped run a committee room with Dave Barnes.

Donations were received from Derek Chandler, Arnold Verall (5), Prof Wilf Hodges, Denise Liunberg, Joan McKenna, George Huey and Paul Dogan. Several members also paid their membership.

More than 20 potential members were picked up during the election campaign--though something like half of these are people who used to belong but have lapsed for one reason or another. On the election day itself I picked up a member on the polling station (a first for me).

The election revealed that a large number of members we have not seen for a long time, would actually like to belong to the party but have just not managed to connect with someone seeking their membership subscriptions. This is a pity because the poster war can be won simply by taking a poster round to every member and begging them to put them up right at the beginning of the campaign. Most members will do this. Members are also a useful source of revenue.

I suggest that in future we organise a subscriptions collection round a I will write to members who have not paid telling them that the membership secretary is to come round on a certain evening to collect their subscriptions-- unless they write to say they are unable to pay, or send a cheque. I will provide a printed address label to make it easy to reply. Members who fail to take advantage of any of these possibilities will have to be removed from the mailing list.

Many branch members did an extensive amount of leafleting notably the Aghbhinmuas, Paul Devaney, Dave Barnes, Liz Davey, Paul Dogan, Mike Pettit, Colin & Bev Wess as well as John Butler.

And after the election campaign one branch member wrote to me to say that he had never before lived in an area where the Labour Party had won an election. "It feels good," he said.

Jo Brind

TOTALS---Note all totals are average electors (not votes)
electors have either three or two votes depending on ward.

Percentages only take into account votes obtained by three main parties.

See Forest result.

Return to index
Forest 1992 election
We had a new register (so relatively few people had moved and therefore a high turnout was possible). It was a beautiful sunny day all day (the Natural Law Party had obviously brought the sunshine) over most of the country. It was the middle of a depression. Major has as much charisma as a boiled fish. And still we didn't win!!!!

OK modify that a little. Major has almost as much charisma as a boiled fish and of course we did win in Leyton.
The result1992
Harry Cohen20,334
Christine Smith (Con)8,850
Jonathan Fryer (LD)8,180
Louis de Pina (Lib)561
Khalid Pervey (Green)412
Richard Archer (NLP)256
Harry Cohen16.536
Simon Banks (Lib)11,895
D N Gilmartin (Con)11,692
Harry Cohen16,504
Wally Neilson-Hansen (Con)11,988
Bryan Magee (SDP/All)9,448

Firstly a ward profile.

HB is by far the smallest polling district in the constituency. Four of the other wards, with similar electorates to our own, have only three polling districts.

There is no evidence to suggest that the poll tax is reducing the number of the people on the register. But when canvassing one keeps meeting people who say they are not on the register to avoid the poll tax. What seems to be happening is that fewer people are returning their electoral registration forms but the council officers keep putting the existing names down anyway. This register Seems to be very inaccurate and this is probably because the council have put down tha names of people who have moved in hauseholds where the form has not been returned.

Pensioners or people with names like Mabel who are probably pensioners.
People with Asian type names.

HB the area with the highest concentration of people with Asian names, probably has more pensioners than the other areas. This is because the computer does not pick up penioners with Asian names..


It was very positive out there. People wanted Labour to win. But one or two made sure they checked to see that this was a General rather than a local election. I suspect they may be anxious to vote against Labour at local level.

There is no doubt that we will have a hard job to get any councillors elected in 1994. We have to work hard from now on to do this. If we don't the Liberals will definitely win all three places. If we do they might still win all three places.


We got off to a slow start. At first we had no leaflet distribution system. This had to be created during the campaign. Few members appeared willing to canvass. Quite why I don't know.

But we did manage to create a few postal votes. I now feel confident about this system (mostly thanks to help from Liz Davey) Please, please, please let me know of any Labour supporter who might need a postal vote in a future election. Now is the time to do it. When an election is called it is hard to remember all the things that need be done and postal votes have to be in during the first few days of a campaign.

Canvassing was done by Paul Devaney (several times), Bill Rose (not a branch member any more), Jo Schneider, Alaistair Dick, Harry & Ellen Cohen (several times), Val Buxton, Denise Liunberg, Sue Toole, Kabal Dhillon, Richard Shannon, Derek Chandlar, Evie Edworthy (from Ell branch), Pat Hayes, (also E11), David Pope (Ell), Julie Smith (Ell) and 3 others from Leytonstone & Julie.

In addition to standard canvasing we went special canvassing on Sundays. It was Ramadam for most of the campaign, which meant that Sunset was an unfortunate time to canvass Muslims. Targetted canvassing on Sundays seemed a good idea. In general it worked well (with two sessions at 11am and 2pm).

Leafletters included Linda Boot, Dave Barnes (who did much if not all the printing for the constituency), Sue Waters, Paul Hughes, Jonathan Bloe, Dorothy Punshon, Kitchener Cowan, Colin & Bev Wess, Arnold Verrall, Mike Pettit, Sue Harvey, Derek Chandler, Liz Davey (not a party member), Mavis Darvell, Sue Harvey (not a party member), Bill Rose, Sarah Bailey and George Huey.There were two major leaflets distributed during the campaign, one about Harry (which was very good) and one supplied by NUPE about the Health Service. We also delivered a pre campaign Commons Sense. The delivery of Commons Sense was, to say the least, erratic.

In addition to the general leaflets we also had some special subject leaflets (pensioners, housing, the environment, the poll tax, women-- street violence) These came in useful during Saturday sessions at-the Bakers Arms with Harry Cohen. People are almost always pleaded to see Harry and it seamed quite useful to spend an hour distributing these leaflets with Harry.


Most members put up posters at the beginning of the campaign. For a while I thoupht we were going to win the poster campaign hands down. But gradually Liberal posters started appearing and in some places there is no doubt they had the advantage. Overall, however, we had twice as many as they did. The trouble was the Liberal posters were more striking than ours. They are smaller (to get in small windows) and brighter. The Tories only had six posters up (one in Abbotts Park Road, Peterborogh Road, James Rd and three in Colchester Road).


Lots of people wanted to help. Strangely masny of them didn't want to join the Labour Party-- perhaps a £15 membership fee is pricing us out. Whipps Cross Ambulance Station was also sympathetic. They were given one of the leaflets explaining what was happening during the campaign and posters


Bumped into several people from Somalia (all in Colchester Road). What language do they speak there? I tried Parle Vous Francais? but that didn't work.

We handsd out leaflets in Greek and Turkish. Some of the Greeks said they spoke a little Greek and might be able to read it. I did find one woman who told me she spoke no English and when I handed her the Greek seemed quite interested.


Lots of offers of help. Linda Boot, Derek Chandler, Chris Leonard, who will get to a polling station at 7am. Mike Pettit will have the day off. Colin Wess (when he's not looking after the children). Paul Devaney.


Liberals give keys to house in Essex Rd Tynan where they have a computer to party workers,, One Lib didn't even recognise Jonathan Fryer. Tynan had his car and van broken into in days before the election. In Walthamstow a committee room flooded when pipes broke. Liberal drafted in from E17 says Tories have done no work there. He did not have a Lib poster up. His parents are Tories.

Tynan's eldest daughter has joined the police force. On the grapevine heard that Lib canvassing had put Labour 6% ahead of them. They didn't put out an eve of poll leaflet, they seem to have given up.

The police were extremely active,. The high profile could have been caused by worries about tha IRA, or could it have been Alan Tobias the new Returning Officer goadinq them into action? Tobias certainly does seem to have an odd attitude to the job This year for the first time ever we were not allowed to wear the word Labour or carry a rose, or any other party insignia.

Finally heard the one about the polling station clerk who got thumped?

He was just trying to stop an elector taking his ballot paper home. I guess it was his ballot paper and he wanted to keep it. Waltham Forest Magistrates Court will unravel the story.

Jo Brind

See Index
1990 Borough Election Report

This was not a good election for the Labour Party. Labour was lucky to hold on to its majority in Waltham Forest Council. Considering the election was held at a time when Labour was doing exceedingly well in the opinion polls, Waltham Forest must now be considered a marginal council.

The Conservatives did exceptionally well, getting their supporters out in their heartlands and also looking very dangerous in Wood Street where they came a poor third in 1986, High Street and Lloyd Park. In Wood Street the Tories might have won seats from Labour if the DCP and Greens had stood. Both minority parties stood in 1986 when the Liberals won two seats and Labour only one.

I believe that the poll tax was, on the whole, a negative issue for Labour. The Tories main leaflet simply said vote Tory and get £75 off! This kind of argument, which the Tories are bound to peddle with increasing audacity in future elections, is very powerful and requires a sophisticated answer. At the last election Labour did not demonstrate that it was capable of giving this answer.

The Liberals did not have a wonderful time of it. They had victories in Higham Hill and Forest but in St James Street and Leytonstone, for example, the Liberals are now firmly in fourth place behind Labour, the Conservatives and the Greens.

They did consolidate their position in Cann Hall where they got more than 50% of the vote and to a certain extent in Leyton ward. And given the Liberal showing in the opinion polls at the time the overall result must have been very satisfying for them.

The Liberals disaster happened in Wood Street where in 1986 they won two seats and would probably have won three if it had not been for the personal vote of Bill Anstey (who topped the poll). In 1990 the Liberals came third with only 29.5% of the vote and the Conservatives came second.

But the Liberals did better in Wood Street than Labour did in Chapel End, the so called grade A marginal. Considering the relative positions of Labour and the Liberals in the opinion polls at the time. Labour's showing in Chapel End was appalling.

The Liberals achieved a comfortable majority and the Tories easily beat the Labour candidates, whereas in 1986 the Tory and Labour candidates had been neck and neck. It is hard to explain this result. Labour got a higher proportion of the votes in Hatch Lane, Valley and Hale End.

One possible interpretation is that the Liberal councillors worked harder in Cann Hall, Chapel End and Leyton ward than in Wood Street. Certainly hard work has to be the reason for the Liberal victory in Higham Hill.

In 1986 the top Liberal candidate got 422 votes to Joe Levy's 942 votes for Labour. Bob Wheatley, who won the Higham Hill by election got 1,571 votes in 1990 and the top Labour candidate only got 677 votes. Wheatley has tripled the Liberal vote simply because he has convinced the people of Higham Hill that he CARES. He has a personal relationship with many of the electors. He may not achieve much (if anything) but the anger he expresses towards the council fits well with the feeling of powerlessness many people have in this largely traditional working class area.

Forest was in some senses a Liberal failure. They put a lot of money into the campaign. Five professionally printed leaflets were distributed to every house. Every door was knocked on by canvassers. But the end result was only one Liberal councillor.

Yet Labour did not do well either. Labour's share of the vote was down from 53.6% in 1986 to 39.3%. This was partly because the turn out was up (from 44.5% in 1986 to 50.2%) as a result of people going out to vote Liberal who do not usually bother to vote in local elections at all. Even so it has to be admitted that Labour's vote was down about 200. This probably reflected the fact that Labour's campaign was worse than in 1986 and that the councillors did not nurse the ward as well as some Liberals would have done.

Forest and Higham Hill are reminders that the Liberals are capable of winning almost any seat if they target it and have a fair wind. I can think of two or three wards where they could achieve miracles.

Turn outs in general were amazingly high. More than 82,000 people voted in 1990 compared to just under 73,000 in 1986. In Chingford Green, for example, where the Tories were defending a pretty big majority, nearly 59% of the electorate came out and voted and gave the Tories an enormous majority. Not many more people vote in a General Election! The only ward in the entire borough where the turnout declined was the Labour stronghold of Cathall. Cathall, I predict, is going to be a problem in the future.

The Greens achieved good results in all areas of the borough. Green candidates tended to get twice as much (sometimes three times as much) as Greens did in 1986. But it was not easy to discern why Greens stood where they did. Their organisation seems to be very poor. In Forest, for example, only one leaflet was distributed and this only in a few roads! Yet the party got a respectable 7.3% of the vote. In Leytonstone the Green beat the Liberals and got 13.8% of the vote. In Hale End the Green split the Liberals and got 11.2% of the vote. The Liberal vote here (incidentally) seemed to indicate that the Liberals face substantial problems when they put up candidates with Asian names. The Liberal called Hashmi only got 235 votes while the Liberal called Bird got nearly twice as many, 440.

In general, the Greens did not seem to live up to the promise of the European election. Organisation is probably more critical in a local election than in a European (or even Parliamentary) election!

The DCP had far fewer candidates than in 1986 and their best result was High Street where they got 2.03% of the vote. The Communists only put up two candidates yet got 2.69% of the vote in Cathall.

There was only one independent, who stood in Chingford Green and got 32 votes (0.6% of the vote).
Jo Brind

(totals/turnouts differ because not everyone uses maximum votes)
1990 19901986 1986
29,702TOTAL 23,600TOTAL 
32INDY0.11%15DCP 0.06%
1990 19901986 1986
26,792TOTAL 24,008TOTAL 
58DCP0.22%263DCP 1.09%
1990 19901986 1986
23,772TOTAL 19,343TOTAL 
245DCP1.03%525DCP 2.72%

1990 19901986 1986
80,234TOTAL 66,951TOTAL 
303DCP0.38%803DCP 1.20%
All figures are based on electors, not votes cast...this is because some wards have two councillors, some three and I have divided the vote by two or three depending on the ward. Where parties have only had one candidate (eg Greens) I have included the total vote for the candidate

Jo Brind