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Sunday, 8 May 2016

So Close, But We Live To Fight Another Day

I finally made it home from the local election count on Friday morning at 5.30 am and managed about an hour and a half of sleep before getting up for work. I'm getting too old for this, yet I'm surprised how much I still managed to function on Friday, especially given that this was the most tense, frustrating and intensely disappointing election count that I've been to so far since I returned to being politically active in 2012.  Yet Colchester Green Party did achieve its best ever local election result. Overall we achieved over 9% across Colchester, however in Castle Ward I came within 21 votes of gaining a seat on Colchester Borough Council. As you can see below, with 21 more votes I would have beaten both Bill Frame and Daniel Ellis and taken the third place seat, it was that close at the top.

CASTLE - Conservative/Liberal Democrat

NICK Barlow (Lib Dem) 881
DARIUS Laws (Con) 854
DANIEL Ellis (Con) 801
BILL Frame (Lib Dem) 792
BARRY Gilheany (Lab) 452
MARK Goacher (Green) 781
CHARLES Ham (Green) 451
JO Hayes (Lib Dem) 769
AMANDA Kirke (Green) 511
KATE Martin (Con) 759
ISOBEL Merry (Lab) 484
JORDAN Newell (Lab) 427

I wish to thank everyone who voted for me and for all the Green Party candidates on Thursday. Especially I want to thank all those people out there who voted primarily for other parties, but gave us their third vote because they wanted to see a fresh voice on the council. I'm very sorry that you didn't get that fresh voice however we came close and will keep campaigning on the issues which we highlighted in the campaign. Colchester will now need a Green voice more than ever in the years ahead. We will keep pressing for more investment in our town centre, for better air quality, for more infrastructure investment and for the protection of our countryside and green spaces.

What the election result highlights more than anything is the futility of tactical voting. I was told on the doorstep by a number of people that they were reluctant to vote for me even though they preferred the Green Party message because I was less likely to win than the Lib Dems. Well I beat one of the Lib Dem candidates, came within 12 votes of beating another and I also beat one of the Conservatives and came within 21 votes of beating another. Therefore if I'd just had 21 of those tactical votes I would have won the seat. Greens can win in Castle Ward, its as simple as that.

I was surprised and disappointed on election night that the defeated Lib Dem candidates chose to make a series of rude comments to one of my fellow candidates, accusing us of causing their defeat. I understand that Bill Frame went on BBC Essex on Friday morning to spout the same line. I found this highly ungracious and it just reveals them to be bad losers. It is a flawed analysis, given that I won a significant number of third votes from Conservative voters, not just Lib Dem and Labour voters. Furthermore the Lib Dem candidates lost due to their own failings, because they failed to inspire, because they supported the wrong policies, such as the ridiculous "garden settlements" debacle and above all because they let us all down so badly in 2010. We don't have to take the accusation that we "let in Tories" from a party that enthusiastically joined a Conservative government for five years and backed every policy. They should take a good hard look at themselves before blaming others.

The Green Party will continue to campaign hard for a better Colchester  and for cleaner and greener policies.


  1. Sad but the Lib Dems are right. I would rather have Lib Dem Councillors than Tories. I lost my Favorite local Councillor Jo, who was the Greenest one on the Council. She did a lot for me. Plus I don't fancy great big blocks of flats in the town centre just because the greens refuse to build anywhere else. Just look at Brighton, it was a mess.

    1. The Lib Dems lost because their policies were unattractive and because they had no fresh ideas for Colchester. Just because the Tories could be even worse is no reason to vote for a party who are letting us down. And I'd take issue with your assertion that Lib Dem former councillors are 'green', they most certainly are not.

  2. Sad the greens deluded themselves into thinking they are a positive choice. Look at the state of Brighton under the greens. How would the greens fulfill the housing obligations? You oppose garden settlements so what is the alternative? Magic the housing crisis away?

    1. Unlike the Lib Dems, the Green Party do not support the pricing of the poor out of London and into areas such as Tendring and Colchester. Unlike the Lib Dems we support rent capping and tighter regulation of private landlords to make renting a viable alternative to buying, which is the only way to reduce house prices. Unlike the Lib Dems, we believe that an average rent of £450 in Colchester just for a single room is too high. Also, unlike the current Lib Dem led council, we would ensure that we have a register of brownfield sites in the borough (they don't).

    2. As for Brighton, what you call "a mess" I call a vibrant and city by the sea that has some excellent small shops and businesses in 'the lanes', a thriving cultural scene and a positive attitude towards diversity. If Colchester became more like Brighton I certainly wouldn't be complaining.

  3. Probably due to control being lost by them, and losing over half the green seats. Shame to see it become a testing ground for crazy new ideas.

    When the greens arrive here in the real world and offer viable alternatives, I may consider voting for them. The 'one line' of environmental issues doesn't wash with me. Interesting to think the Greens have been called the UKIP of the left. Until 1.) I see proper answers, not pie in the sky 'build on the small, limited amount of Colchester's brownfield sites because they'll last forever and it's all a big conspiracy anyway' and 2.) Greens move away from Corbyn in the left they cannot gain my support.

    1. Odd that you use the phrase "one line of environmental issues' when the environment is only one relatively small section of our local manifesto. Given that we took a large amount of third votes from Conservative voters, I hardly think we are seen as the same as Mr Corbyn.