This Thursday is Election Day, when we’ll get to decide who we want representing our neighbourhoods and in doing so, which party runs local services. For almost two years, no party has had a majority on Crawley Borough Council with very narrow majorities for the eight years before that. The reality is that in Crawley, more than almost anywhere else in the country, your vote really does affect the result.
The difference between Labour and Conservative candidates in Crawley winning a seat regularly comes down to less than 100 votes. The most famous example of this was at the 2005 General Election, where the Labour majority was cut to just 37 votes, but that is by far not the only time a handful of voters could have changed the outcome.
Just last year, had 14 voters in Three Bridges voted differently Crawley would now have a Conservative majority council running Crawley and a similar number would have changed the result back in 2018.
The last time the Conservatives took control of Crawley was in 2006, the only time in the history of the borough so far. As the results came in, the Labour and Conservative Groups were down to the same number of seats with one seat yet to be declared. In that ward, there were an exactly equal number of votes for the two parties and after a drawing of lots the Conservatives gained the council.
Can you imagine? Waking up in the next morning and knowing for a fact that if you had gone to vote or if instead of voting Green or Lib Dem you had cast a single extra vote for Labour, you could have prevented Crawley’s local Conservatives from cutting spending on local services by half?
The claim that voting doesn’t make a difference has always been a nonsense and in Crawley it’s one which can be disproven very easily. It takes just a few minutes looking at past election results and comparing the Conservatives’ time running the council with Labour’s to know how important it is to make sure you use your vote tomorrow.