'They put a gun on the table and said, are you going to pull the trigger or us?'
Terry Fox is no longer the leader of Sheffield — and other takeaways from the local elections
Good evening members — and welcome to today’s special election analysis Tribune.
At this time last year I was propping my eyes open with matchsticks after being at the Sheffield local election count until 5am. But fortunately, this year’s results came through at the slightly more civilised time of Friday lunchtime. Below we’ve got some insight into today’s big story — the resignation of Labour leader Terry Fox — plus some instant election analysis from our data reporter Daniel Timms and five of our key takeaways from the votes.
Editor’s note: After just two years, The Tribune is now sustainable, and made a small profit last month. This is obviously great news, which is all down to the huge support you have given us — thank you. Now we have reached sustainability, we’d like to be more ambitious: take on bigger, more complex stories that take real time and energy to execute well. In the coming years, I’d like us to delve into bigger investigations, expose corruption and promote transparency in this city — but we’d need a bigger staff for this to be plausible. If this sounds like something you’d want to get behind, please join us today.
🗳️ There was big news in Sheffield politics today even before the results of this year’s local elections were announced. A leaked internal Labour Party report obtained by the Yorkshire Post revealed that the Sheffield party was to be put into special measures and that Terry Fox would be stepping down from his position as leader. Reasons given for the decision were his role in the street tree dispute and the Container Park fiasco, but that might not be the case (see below).
🎸 The operators of The Leadmill have revealed they are “still at risk” of eviction despite what they call their landlord the Electric Group’s “failure” to force them out when their lease ran out in March. A statement posted by the venue on social media thanked people for their support and said more details on how fans could help would be revealed next week. In the meantime, gigs are still going ahead including local heroes Def Leppard’s return on 19 May.
🎛️ Another great piece in The Guardian about Sheffield’s historic dance music scene. Bleep was a style of DIY techno which originated in the city during the late 1980s and became synonymous with Sheffield due to Warp Records. In the piece, Sheffield-based journalist Daniel Dylan Wray talks to the city’s electronic music legends such as Winston Hazel and Parrot from Jive Turkey both about their role in bleep’s rise and the sound’s unlikely links to heavy industry.
Things to do
🎨 The final weekend of Open Up, the annual festival where city artists throw open the doors of their studios to the general public, is taking place on Saturday, 6 and Sunday, 7 May. Now in its 25th year, the festival is taking place over 115 locations around the city. The studios are open from 11am-5pm both days and a full list of all the artists taking part can be found here (however, it’s important to check each artist’s availability as not all are open on both days).
👑 In case you don’t already know, King Charles III’s coronation is this Saturday, and there are lots of events in Sheffield to mark the occasion. The biggest will be the Lord Mayor’s Coronation Party at the Peace Gardens on 6 and 7 May, where a big screen will show all the proceedings from London. There will also be family films, food and street entertainment. This month’s Peddler Market will also be taking place in Neepsend on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 May.
🎹 On Saturday, 6 May at the Octagon Centre, Sheffield music legend Martyn Ware will be joined by special guests for a performance of works inspired by the relationship between humans and technology. Music For Total 3D Sonic Immersion features a unique 3D sound array which allows for different elements of the compositions to be distributed around the auditorium in a multitude of sound-streams. Tickets are £16-£24 and doors open at 7pm.
‘It’s been absolute turmoil in the Labour group for the last three weeks’
The news that Sheffield Labour leader Terry Fox has stepped down blindsided many in the city this morning. But for those in the know it came as less of a surprise. The Tribune has spoken to one Labour party insider who told us that the national party stepped in to take over Sheffield Labour’s local election campaign three weeks ago amid fears that the party was underperforming given the national polls.
“They were seeing all the canvas returns and knew what the results were going to be,” the insider told us. “They were thinking if these voters lived in Manchester or Leeds they’d vote Labour. Why are they not voting Labour in Sheffield local elections?” Looking ahead to a time after the next general election, the national party hopes to have a Labour government, a Labour council and a Labour mayor all working off the same hymn sheet, they added.
Realising something was going wrong with the local campaign, the campaign improvement board — an arm of the national party — began setting the direction and reallocating resources to target seats. However, the imposition of central control went down badly among some in the party, particularly those loyal to Fox from the city’s south east. “It’s been absolute turmoil in the Labour group for the last three weeks,” the insider added.