Sunday, June 13, 2004

It is Sunday afternoon and I think I have only just recovered from the exploits of the local elections – just in time to go the European count at St. Andrews Hall!

Everything has gone like clockwork – from the eve of poll leaflet drop, where we managed to cover the whole ward – to the polling day organisation! We had polling stations covered with tellers (which, apparently, gave our Labour opponents a little bit of a shock!) and a fantastic knock up team. It couldn’t have gone any better. This was the most clockwork campaign I think we’ve ever done and I am so proud of what we have achieved.

In the end, and after a re-count, I was beaten by 14 votes. The media tried to play this up, but for the Conservatives in Norwich South it is the best result we’ve had since 1990.

Just remember, this is (or was!) Labour’s safest seat in Norwich. Last year we were third, with 603 votes and 650 behind Labour. Now we almost take the seat with 1,386 votes and only 14 behind Labour. Labour may have hung on in Bowthorpe but if that 11% swing were repeated across the City, Mr Clarke would be looking for alternative employment (hint, Charlie, don’t go for teaching).

This campaign showed us that we can win in Norwich. I am the Conservatives who can take on, and beat, Charles Clarke.

As for our “friends” the Lib Dems, it was an utterly humiliating night. Not only did they crash and burn in both Bowthorpe and Catton Grove (which senior Tory Eve Collishaw won from Labour), but also they lost seats to Labour in Lakenham and University and to the Greens in Wensum and Nelson. Norwich is a multi-coloured state! I look forward to seeing how the LibDems try to claw back this dreadful result. It is clear that the people of Norwich don’t like being taken for granted, they don’t like arrogance and they don’t like the LibDems.

Just one final thought before I go off for the Euro count. How will the now infamous LibDem graph portray this result? They were down c.10% on last year whilst we went up c.5%. Interesting times ahead!

Thank you for voting Conservative in Norwich.

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