I should have posted this earlier, but I’ve had a long few weeks since the election. Not only did I need to catch up on my day job, but we had to bury my grandfather — he died on 2nd May, aged 96.
But I wanted to thank all the people in Mile End and Braiswick who voted. Not just for me, but for my opponents in the other parties.
These were the results.
If you’ve been reading the Gazette over recent weeks, you’ll have read letters from Colchester politicians in different parties trying to put a positive gloss on the results in our borough.
It’s mostly sophistry. The bleak facts are that Labour’s vote didn’t increase as much as it could or should have done; the Lib Dem vote collapsed across the board; the Greens barely made an impression; the Conservative vote fell consistently across the board; and UKIP did better than even they expected.
The exceptions were candidates who led strong, local campaigns. Dave Harris did sterling work taking Abbey for Labour, and Sue Lissimore ran an exceptional campaign to retain Drury for the Conservatives by a large margin.
But if I were to try and put a positive gloss on my own result, I’d point to the Lib Dem vote collapsing by 15% while I kept the Conservative vote to a smaller 4.4% dip, keeping UKIP’s Bill Rowley in fourth place.
But I’d be nitpicking about the wrong issue. The real issue on our hands is poor turnout. Less than a quarter of people in Mile End & Highwoods bothered to vote at all.
So as I look ahead to the 2014 Borough Council elections (assuming I get selected), I think my priority is to find out what’s stopping 75% of people in my community from voting for any party.
I’ve a feeling the answer won’t be palatable. And somehow I think that politicians squabbling about the results is just one of the things that put them off.
So I’m not going to do it.
In the meantime, if you’re one of the 24.3% who did vote – whether for me, Labour, Green, Lib Dem or UKIP – thank you. And if you didn’t, please let me know why. We all need to know.