The General Election result in Mansfield signals a seismic shift for the district.
For too long we have been reflecting on the past and whilst we should be rightly proud of its mining heritage we have spent too long dwelling on past glories. The shift away from the area’s traditional base began in 2002 with the election of an Independent mayor that brought to an end decades of a Labour controlled council and in the subsequent years we have seen four Independent administrations, the latest being led by Mayor Coun Kate Allsop who was elected in May 2015.
The really good news about Alan Meale’s defeat is that we now have an MP who has said he will work with the Independent mayor which should, if Ben Bradley keeps his word, bring more tangible benefits to the district. The recent county council result where four Independent forum candidates from Mansfield were elected has also meant that they are in a position to influence the Conservative-controlled administration, again to the benefit of the district. Evidence of that leverage is also starting to show itself.
Sadly, from Sid Pepper’s standpoint it seems those who voted for his UKIP candidacy in 2015 deserted him for the Tories.
The local numbers suggest an almost total switch away from UKIP to the Tories. He at least sought to highlight the suggested poor performance of Alan Meale in Westminster and by getting 11,800 votes in 2015 clearly put in everyone’s mind that Meale could be defeated. And so it proved. Sid Pepper deserves credit for the part he has played in this historic decision.
What is very significant from the election result is that Mansfield and district continues to change. There are clearly more positive things going on and local people are expressing that they have more aspiration than they have been given credit for previously by our former Labour MP.
Mansfield and district is changing. It’s looking forward to a brighter future led by local people who care. And maybe now we will have an MP who will play his part in taking us forward.