Cranham is an ultra safe Residents Association (RA) seat and following the tragic death of Clarence Barrett a by-election was called. Former councillor Linda van den Hende was the RA candidate and she triumphed. With 2421 votes she was 2109 votes more than the second placed Green candidate. Turn-out was a respectable 35.7%.
This appears entirely uninteresting. However if the Cranham RAs were a vibrant campaigning group there’d be no problem getting a candidate. Indeed eager candidates from the RA membership should have been looking forward to representing Cranham. This wasn’t the case. Linda retired from the council in 2018 after 12 years. She’d rounded off her ‘final’ year by being mayor and so that was that. So what could have happened to Cranham RAs that brought Linda out of retirement?
The RAs have become a clique. The RAs in Cranham, Upminster, Harold Wood, and Rainham are the Establishment. Three Harold Wood councillors decided to vote with the Conservatives. Why? Michael Deon Burton committed political suicide by becoming Conservative immediately after the 2018 election. All four are elderly and have no idea why they’re RAs apart from the joy of being a councillor.
The problem with cliques is that without new blood they wither and die. Linda’s triumph should be a warning to the RAs. Nothing is for ever in politics. Don’t forget the remote second place candidate was a member of the Green Party.