The local political scene in St Albans is competitive, with a District Council hanging on to a thin Tory majority, and the minority split between Labour and the Lib Dems. We also have two Green Councillors, and UKIP are fielding a candidate in every Ward. There is everything to play for as we move into the General and District Council elections.
Before moving here in mid-2013 with my young family, I’d been involved in Labour party politics for a number of years, working on the SERA Exec, and as an active member in Hackney Central. I found that in Hackney, being a Labour-dominated Borough meant that there were very few chances to run for Council seats. Incumbents were keen to stay in place, and nominations were ultra-competitive.
In St Albans it was a different story. I took on leafleting duties and joining in canvassing, and then applied to run as a candidate for the 2015 elections.
After two rounds of selection panels I was chosen to run in the town centre ward, which I was really thrilled about. It’s going to be a tight decision between all the parties. The incumbent is a Green, and I think a total vote of around 700 will be enough to win.
I’ve found the locals in St Albans to be engaged politically and happy enough to chat on the doorstep. The main local issues seem to be transport (rail, buses, car parking), local development and affordable housing (St Alban’s is very expensive) .
The biggest challenge is engaging volunteers and activists, although this is picking up the closer we get to the 7 May. We could do more with our local website to tell volunteers how they can get involved. We are working on all this and hopefully will get a good result in the election. All in all its been a great experience, and win or lose I’ve enjoyed the experience of being a candidate and learned a huge amount.
Alex Veitch is Labour Candidate for St Peter’s Ward, St Albans, and a former SERA Executive Committee member
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Labour: Coast & Country.