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.