Tag Archives: watford

LibLink: Dorothy Thornhill: Harry Potter and my spell as England’s longest serving woman mayor

This month, Dorothy Thornhill stepped down as Mayor of Watford after 16 years in tole. She was always very popular and left a great legacy for her successor, Peter Taylor.

She wrote for the Guardian this week about her years as Mayor, which included supporting the establishment of the Harry Potter Experience.

She looked at the advantages of towns having a directly elected Mayor:

At one level mayors have no more direct power than council leaders. But they have more soft power. You are the mayor of a place, not just the leader of a council. The mandate from the public gives you

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WATCH: Dorothy Thornhill on her 16 years as Mayor of Watford

One of this party’s finest female role models has just stepped down from her public role after 16 years of service in Watford.

Watch Dorothy Thornhill talk about her time as Mayor in this interview.

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Former Watford Green candidate joins Lib Dems, praising Mayoral candidate Peter Taylor

Former Watford parliamentary candidate for the Greens, Alex Murray, has joined the Liberal Democrats and was welcomed to the Party by Deputy Leader Jo Swinson, Party Chair Ian Stotesbury and Mayoral candidate Peter Taylor.

From the Watford Observer:

Alex Murray, who challenged for the Watford seat at the 2017 General Election, defected to the Lib Dems after witnessing the party’s work in his hometown.

He said: “I have been impressed with the record of the Liberal Democrat team locally.

“They have improved parks and open spaces and we have an excellent recycling service.

“I am pleased that their mayoral candidate, Peter Taylor, has put improving bus services and introducing a bike hire scheme at the top of his list of priorities.

“At a national level I support the party’s commitment to let the people have their say on the Brexit deal.”

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Improving Watford through arts, culture and fun

This weekend sees the start of the seventh Imagine Watford festival, consisting of free outdoor dance and theatre performances by an impressive array of British and international artistes and groups.

The festiva is part of a long-term vision of Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and Liberal Democrat councillors to use arts and culture to promote the regeneration of Watford town centre and make it a more enjoyable place to visit.

This has centred on an area of the High Street that had become primarily for the evening economy (a euphemism for bars and nightclubs). While successful enough of itself, the area had gained an unwanted reputation for late-night anti-social behaviour, while struggling to find a daytime role.

That is why Dorothy promoted the idea of a family-friendly town centre – as somewhere not just for shopping at one end and clubbing at the other, but as a place for cultural and social activity. We carried out a major environmental improvement scheme, which included creating a space where arts and community events can take place. As television retail guru Mary Portas, who grew up in Watford, commented at an event to mark the completion of the scheme:

High streets aren’t just about shopping, they’re about encouraging us to engage in where we live. We can never underestimate what the high street means to us.

Alongside that, we launched our Big Events programme of which Imagine Watford is part. It includes an urban beach and outdoor film screenings during the summer holidays, ice skating over the Christmas period. Other events, including a variety of music performances, are held at nearby Cassiobury Park, itself subject of a major lottery-funded restoration scheme, These events are enjoyed by thousands of local people, helping to create a sense of pride and wellbeing as well as offering people access new cultural experiences, and providing a chance for people from Watford’s diverse communities to come together. 

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Senior Hertfordshire Lib Dem councillors step down from leadership after 52 years of service

Two Hertfordshire Liberal Democrat council group leaders have stepped down from their leadership roles (although they remain councillors) which they have held for 30 and 22 years respectively.

In Three Rivers, Ann Shaw announced that she was stepping down after three decades in the top job as Leader of the Council, telling the Watford Observer:

It is 30 years since we took over the administration of Three Rivers District Council from the Conservatives, which is long enough for one person to be leader.

This does not mean any reduction in my commitment to TRDC and the community. In fact I need to be able to spend more time working to sort out some local problems and issues.

Ann is replaced by a familiar face, Sara Bedford.  I first knew Sara on the first Lib Dem online conferencing forum, Cix, way back in the day and I wish her well. In fact, I first heard of her when she was involved in NUS even before then. She has long experience as a councillor. She said of Ann:

Ann is going to be a difficult act to follow, but I will have my own ways of doing things. It’s a good time to become leader after the huge vote of support for the Lib Dems at the elections earlier this month.

I look forward to working with residents, local organisations, staff, and other councillors across the district, to keep Three Rivers as the top rated council in Hertfordshire, delivering quality services that are value for money.

In Watford, Iain Sharpe has stood down after 22 years as Group Leader. His successor is Peter Taylor, who I first knew when he worked for Alistair Carmichael. I am particularly grateful to him for his hard work in filthy weather at the Livingston by-election in 2005 when he came up to help. Peter told the Watford Observer:

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++Lib Dems GAIN Watford – Tories wiped out!

Watford march action day


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Video: 3 reasons to vote for Dorothy Thornhill in Watford

The Watford campaign team have given us all a lesson in how to do video campaigning this election. First there was this introduction to Dorothy as a person, and now there are three solid policy reasons to vote for her:

Three Reasons to Vote Dorothy from Think About It Films on Vimeo.

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Campaigning in Watford

I am twenty-three years old, a politics graduate and a political activist. I am a Liberal Democrat and I have volunteered with the local party. Several issues spring to mind when I think about the Liberal Democrats: equality, civil liberties, pro-Europe and of course working towards a stronger and fairer economy.

Whilst studying Politics at university, I was really happy to say I was from a marginal constituency because I felt like it made the general election a little more exciting as opposed to other constituencies.

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Lord Clement-Jones writes…Out and about on the doorstep

Tim Clement-Jones in WatfordFar be it from me (or at their peril anyone else!) to ignore an injunction from our General Election Chair Paddy Ashdown, so my New Year’s resolution has been to commit every Friday up to the start of the campaign proper to campaigning in a target or held seat. All the polling data shows that we have good prospects in a number of target seats.

There was an excellent response and name recognition for Sandy Walkington on my first Friday in St Albans, a constituency I helped in when he first fought it thirty years ago, and with a terrific local team. Last Friday I was with Dorothy Thornhill’s team (see pic) in both ends of the Watford constituency (it takes in part of Three Rivers) and it was great to see, and campaign alongside, really committed councillors and activists.

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Ashcroft’s poll of Lib Dem battleground seats: incumbency is alive and well but 2015 will be a survival election for the party

Tory peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has published his latest set of constituency findings. He polled some of the key Lib Dem / Tory and Lib Dem / Labour battlegrounds in the summer – he’s now followed that up by looking at a further 22 seats. Of these, 2 are Lib Dem targets, 15 the party is defending against the Tories, and 5 against Labour. You can see the full results here .

Here are the headline findings:

  • Of the 20 Lib Dem-held seats polled, the Lib Dems would retain just 6.
  • The Tories would gain 7 and Labour would gain 4. The other 2 would be a tie (though actually a further 5 are statistical ties within the margin of error).
  • The Lib Dems would win neither of their two targets.
  • Posted in Polls | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 37 Comments

    Ladbrokes: “Five seats the Lib Dems might GAIN in 2015”

    Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderYes, you read the headline right. Ladbrokes’ The Political Bookie blog this week featured five seats where, based on the betting, they reckon the Lib Dems might confound expectations…

    1. Montgomeryshire. Conservative majority 1,184
    “Some are expecting a turnaround with a new candidate.” Her name is Jane Dodds, selected a year ago.

    2. Watford. Conservative majority 1,425
    “In Lord Ashcroft’s constituency specific polling, they were just 5 points behind the Tories.” It is also the top Lib Dem target from the Tories not yet to …

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    Mayor Dorothy announces she’ll go for fourth term in Watford

    June 2011 Watford, UK Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy ThornhillGood news in Watford, where Dorothy Thornhill, who in 2002 became the first directly-elected Lib Dem mayor in the country, has announced she will run for a fourth term of office:

    I am really pleased to announce that I am going to stand again as the mayoral candidate for the Watford Liberal Democrats in the 2014 mayoral elections.

    Last night we held our official party meeting at St Luke’s Church, at which I was unanimously reselected. The turnout was great,

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    Watford’s last Conservative Councillor moves to Liberal Democrats because of Conservatives’ “right wing drift”

    From the Watford Observer:

    Watford’s Conservative party has been extinguished at borough level after the last Tory councillor has defected to the ruling Liberal Democrat group.

    Steve Johnson, who had been the leader of the Conservatives onWatford Borough Council until recently, announced this morning he was crossing the floor due to the national Tory party’s “right wing drift”.

    In a statement the Leggatts representative said: “I have become increasingly disappointed by the right-wing drift of Conservative party rhetoric, particularly its attitude to welfare issues. I feel my views are more in tune with the Liberal Democrat part of the coalition, in

    Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

    Ride the wave! Two chances to celebrate…

    Want to celebrate the fantastic result in Eastleigh?

    Why not join a working celebration at Regional Action Days in either Watford or Lewes, tomorrow, Saturday 2nd March.  There’ll be good company, free food and invigorating campaigning.

    Normally, the local teams for these Regional Action Days need at least a few days notice. However, normal promotion hasn’t been possible this time round, so for these events we’d welcome last minute registrations.

    But please do register, even if it’s in the early hours of Saturday morning, here for Lewes and herefor Watford.

    As far as we can, the teams want to …

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    Labour struggle to understand election results

    The Watford Labour Party has published a members’ newsletter and placed a copy online. In the report of May’s local elections it reads:

    In the Mayoral election, Nigel Bell came a close second.
    Which is strange. Because in the vote for Watford’s elected mayor, won for the third time by Lib Dem Dorothy Thornhill, Labour’s candidate Nigel Bell didn’t come second, close or otherwise. He came third.

    In the first ballot of the AV election, the votes were:

    • Nigel Bell (Labour) 10,029
    • Steve Johnson (Conservative) 10,403
    • Alex Macgregor Mason (Green) 2,173
    • Dorothy Thornhill (LibDem) 19,153

    After the votes in this AV election were transferred, …

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    Conservative candidate steps down after foul-mouthed tirade

    On Monday Lib Dem Voice brought you the story of potty-mouthed Conservative candidate Chris Hawes and his foul language aimed at Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

    Yesterday Chris Hawes decided to step down as the Conservative’s council candidate for the Leavesden ward of Three Rivers District Council, which in the Lib Dem target constituency of Watford. Watford Conservatives’ representaive Peter Ganney emailed the Watford Lib Dems constituency chair, saying: “Chris is embarrassed by what he wrote and has apologised for using such rude words. He has chosen to withdraw his candidature for Three Rivers District Council, Leavesden Ward”.

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    Election Appeal: Help elect Sal Brinton in Watford – DONATE to her campaign TODAY

    Liberal Democrat Voice is running a special appeal to raise funds for five of the party’s very best general elections candidates – all of whom have a real chance of winning but need your help NOW to ensure they do win.

    Click here to make a donation TODAY.

    Today we’re highlighting the campaign of Sal Brinton, Lib Dem candidate for Watford …

    Watford nearly proved to be one of the shocks of the 2005 General Election, as Sal Brinton took the Lib Dems from a distant third place to a very close second. Just 1,148 votes separate Sal from Labour Minister and

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    Sara Bedford on the Watford play areas ‘Flat Earth News’ day

    I reported here on LDV this afternoon on the serious mis-reporting of Watford Borough Council’s children’s adventure playgrounds policy, indulged by Iain Dale and some newspapers.

    For all the media attempts to stir-up some cliched ‘political correctness gone mad’ controversy, it’s clear that Lib Dem Mayor Dorothy Thornhill has acted sensibly and straightforwardly throughout. I hope all those who have copy ‘n’ pasted the mythologised story without first verifying their sources will now ensure they amend their articles to reflect the facts.

    One person who does know what she’s talking about – both as a near-by councillor, and as …

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

    Watford’s liberal Lib Dem Mayor – what Iain Dale didn’t report

    Tory blogger Iain Dale should perhaps have paused before clicking ‘publish’ on his latest – highly inaccurate – post, How Very Illiberal of a LibDem Mayor. Those few seconds’ hesitation would have been sufficient for him to do a quick Google and find out what he was about to write was nonsense.

    In his article, Iain recycled a Metro report to allege that Watford Borough Council (run by elected Lib Dem mayor Dorothy Thornhill) has “barred from public playgrounds in parks. Instead, they are forced to wait outside the railings whilst council-employed “play facilitators” assist the children.”

    Iain describes the …

    Posted in Local government | Also tagged , and | 36 Comments

    When should a politician say sorry?

    Damian McBride’s indefensibly puerile emails seeking to smear senior Tories (and Nadine Dorries) have left David Cameron understandably livid:

    David Cameron is demanding a personal apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown over e-mails sent by an adviser discussing smearing the Tories. The Tory leader is “absolutely furious” and is calling on Mr Brown to give a guarantee that such messages will not be sent again, a spokeswoman said.

    Many will argue – no matter which party they support – that this is the very least Mr Brown should do. It does not matter that he is not personally …

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    • User AvatarAndy Hinton 25th May - 2:45am
      I'm a little confused by theakes and David Evans's comments. Would they rather we just didn't have well written policy? I'm as interested in us...
    • User AvatarJoeB 25th May - 1:25am
      Peter, The UK had similar oil reserves in the North Sea to that of Norway in the 1970s. Norway invested their windfall. In 1974, Oslo...
    • User AvatarMichael BG 25th May - 1:03am
      @ Peter Martin While our position has not always been clear, it is that there should be a referendum on accepting the deal or staying...
    • User Avatarpaul holmes 24th May - 11:40pm
      Mick, do your arguments on the effect of AWS stand up to scrutiny? Jo Swinson was selected to fight and win her Target seat in...
    • User AvatarPeter Martin 24th May - 11:24pm
      "They want another referendum, on the proposed deal with the EU." If we vote to reject it then what? We leave with no deal? You...
    • User AvatarRob Parsons 24th May - 11:11pm
      I think the shortest answer to that, Little Jackie, is read Jo's book. The evidence is there in every way from statistical to anecdotal.