After a nail-biting count on Thursday night, I had the great honour of being elected as the County Council Member for Grange and Kingsway. It was a fantastic evening, which followed 2 very hard days of campaigning, which rounded off 5 years of community activism. However, this is obviously the start of the journey, as I now have a steep learning curve to become an effective local councillor, and get on with the job of representing the residents who have put their faith in me.
Wednesday was all about walking and leaflets the rather large ward of Grange and Kingsway, and talking to as many people as possible, and then Thursday was a constant round of door knocking to encourage people to go and vote. By 9pm, there were blisters, sunburn, hunger, thirst, but a real sense that we could not have done any more, and so it was now out of our hands.
A quick shower, change of clothes, a much-needed hug from Amanda and then off to the count at Plock court. As this was my third count that I have attended as a candidate, there was something reassuring about the reasonable familiar territory. My parents had come down to support me, as well as Matt, our friend from Bristol. Once inside the Gloucester Labour “Family” were there, providing each other moral support.
Verification began, where they made sure the number of votes cast matched the number of votes received and while this was going on, Matt and Chris were sampling the data to see what my results were looking like, and really it all got summed up in a word – close! Not only was it close between myself and Dave Norman, the Conservative candidate, but UKIP had a substantial proportion of the vote as well.
Then the count began in earnest, with the votes being bundles into 25’s and put in the respective colour box and it was difficult to see just how different the boxes were. It looked very close indeed. Then they were batched into bundles of 100’s and we were able to get a real look at the result. It because clear that I had over 700 votes, Dave had over 600 votes and UKIP had over 500 votes. It looked at that point that I had won. We were then all called into a huddle with the candidates and agents to read out the final result and see if we wanted a recount. Dave conceded the result with a handshake and then we made our way to the stage for the announcement.
This is what happened
Being the first announcement in Gloucester, it really set the scene for what was to come, with Steve McHale retaining Matson and Coney Hill, Jasminder Gill keeping Barton and Tredworth and Tracy Millard taking Tuffley. That meant 2 more seats for Labour, which has all sorts of positive implications. But also because of the surge of UKIP, the Tories fell from a controlling position, and the next few days will see lots of phone calls about what sort of arrangements can be come to in order to form an administration.
I could not have achieved this without a lot of help from friends, family, Labour comrades and most importantly the residents of Grange and Kingsway and I would like to say thank you for your help and trust. However I would like to say a very personal thank you to Chris Chatterton for his great support and advice, to Matt Ashley for giving up his day and keeping me grounded, and most importantly to Amanda, who has supported me so much.
But now, the real work begins, I have been in to get my paperwork completed, had a chat with the Chief Exec, and then this morning was our first Labour Group meeting. There is a lot to do, the issues we picked up on the campaign trail need delved into, as well as working out my own priorities about what I want to achieve first 🙂
To see the full breakdown of results see Here : http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgElectionAreaResults.aspx?XXR=0&ID=78&RPID=32867983