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A Spectacular Result for the Green/Libdem Partnership

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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.

VoteGreen#2019

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Thanks Once Again

I didn’t think I’d be here writing a second thank you post so soon after the last one. In fact I didn’t really expect to be doing this all again. For someone who isn’t a natural politician, I thought in 2015 that once in a lifetime was enough.

But we did it all again and I have to say I enjoyed most of it as much as I did last time.

I will admit though that the come-down from this campaign has been much harder given that I failed to build on the vote achieved last time. In fact it was reduced, mainly by virtue of people believing they were voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

I do have to say, as I said numerous times during the campaign, Labour had no hopes of winning in this constituency. The Labour candidate is also no supporter of Corbyn. In fact I support him more than he does!

So those previously loyal Green voters who switched this time to Labour really did nothing to help towards a Labour victory in Westminster and have arguably done some damage to the Greens.

The number of votes cast in a general election does count for each party. Not just in electoral terms but also in terms of how much government money is given to that party to continue to be part of the democratic process, something known as ‘short money’. We also have the deposits in each constituency, which at £500 a time is money that a party like the Greens, who don’t have large corporate backers, can ill afford to lose.

Over the whole country the Green vote fell by roughly 50% and that was certainly the case in Banbury. As a result there may well be a lot less chances to vote Green next time we have an election, especially if that’s any time soon. Much of the funds generated in this election will go towards leaflets, deposits and other expenses. The reduction in ‘short money’ will be something of a blow too.

So your vote and your support for the Greens really matters, whether we win or not. Labour won’t face the loss of their deposits and, with hundreds of MP in Parliament and now hundreds of thousands of members, they won’t be short of funds either.

Please remember that next time you think about abandoning the party you say you otherwise support. We’re only here because of that support, and when it’s removed we quickly lose the ability to give you the choice to vote Green in the future.

Every one of those 1250 people who took the trouble to support a party they truly believe in and give me their precious vote yesterday has my personal thanks.

I am of course disappointed that there weren’t more, especially as there were over twice that number just two years ago when our policies were just are relevant as they are now.

The dash to Labour was perhaps understandable in the context of Jeremy Corbyn’s popular appeal, but in a constituency like Banbury and vote for any of the progressive parties would have sent a message of hope and defiance just as effectively as one for Labour.

Sadly, in solidly safe seats like Banbury it’s very unlikely that one party will ever loosen the stranglehold being applied by The Conservatives, so we have to work together as the Greens have done in other constituencies.

Whilst I congratulate Sean for achieving an impressive increase on his vote share, he was still some 12000 votes away from a win. All the time Labour and the Conservatives continue to reject the electoral reform proposed by Greens and the Libdems we’re very unlikely to see individual votes changing the outcome of elections like these.

I’m very pleased on a national level to see The Conservatives on ever more shaky ground and I hope all the other opposition parties in Westminster will work together to thwart what will probably be a severe and extreme right coalition between the Tories and the DUP. I think we see now that this election was less about the good of the country and more about Theresa May clinging on to power at any cost.

As always, it was truly depressing to see the Conservative vote increase in number in a constituency that should be acutely aware of the damage they are likely to wreak on public services, the NHS and in particular the Horton Hospital which is now very likely to be completely downgraded or closed if the Conservatives maintain power.

Thanks to everyone who worked on my campaign and to the other candidates for a clean and well fought fight. I hope going forward, progressive parties in Banbury may work more closely together to achieve real social change and electoral reform, that way we can ensure every voice and every vote counts in the future.