Another election fought and another campaign behind us n Cherwell
It was very solid result for the Greens in Kidlington East with a convincing second place well above Labour and a tripling of our 2016 vote. Moreover a spectacular win for my electoral partner, Libdem candidate Alaric Rose in Kidlington West who nearly doubled the Libdem vote and completely wiped the floor with the Conservatives!
It would have been great to have won my seat as well, but with such a short campaign it was hard to get the message out to enough people. Ultimately it was a total validation for both of us of our decision to work together for the common good.
Slightly galling that the Carmen Griffiths kept her seat as I understand she was hardly seen on the campaign trail. She wasn’t at the count, didn’t make an appearance on polling day (to my knowledge) and instead sat back and let local Tory cult figures like Maurice Billington do all the campaigning for her.
Judging by her attendance record at council meetings this seems to be a pattern of behaviour for a pretty lacklustre councillor. I think many of the voters in the ward didn’t actually know which blue candidate they were voting for and seemed oblivious to the fact that there were more dedicated candidates on offer who would much more effectively represent them in Cherwell.
Perhaps when Carmen and her remaining Tory colleagues fail to turn up at other key planning meetings and the green belt is concreted over, bringing with it traffic chaos, pollution, and the collapse of local infrastructure, all those that trooped into the polling station to dutifully put a cross in the Tory box, regardless of the candidate, will realise their mistake. It might be a bit late then though.
One other stark reality from the results is that if Labour had endorsed me (as we suggested) and we had endorsed them in one of the North Oxfordshire wards (as we offered) we would both have easily won our seats, meaning a new Labour, Green and Libdem seat on the council and 3 Tory losses instead of 1. Just imagine what sort of message that would have sent out! Especially on important and urgent local issues like the building on green belt in the area.
Labour really need to wake up to the reality of fractured left politics in this country and work with other parties like the Greens and the Libdems. We need to stop living in the past and embrace the future. There’s more that unites us than divides us and if we’re going to stop yet another Conservative government in 2022 we must start building alliances. If anyone from Labour wants to talk, I’m all ears.
In the meantime I intend to go on being a thorn in the side of Cherwell’s complacent Tory leadership and will be working closely with Alaric as part of our pre-election co-operative agreement. I may not be able to vote on council matters, but I can certainly speak up in the council chamber and outside in the media. I’ll be fighting hard on local green belt and conservation issues and keeping a wary eye on the attendance record of my Tory opponent. The Greens will be fighting the elections in the ward once again next year and I hope that will again be in partnership with the Liberal Democrats.
Finally a big thank you to everyone who voted for me and to the dedicated people who helped us pull together such a professional campaign in such a short time. the Greens made historic gains across the country yesterday and I think it’s a credit to all our members that we can do this stuff on such a small budgets and with small teams. Just think what we could do in government!
Stay tuned and follow this website/blog for updates on what I and the Green Party will be doing between now and the next elections.