Monday, May 14, 2007

How one vote for Eileen Wyatt changed politics in Norwich

We had a friend round for dinner tonight and after a little discussion about the local election results it soon became clear that she may well have swung the whole poll in Norwich - and altered political history too.

You see, she did live in Thorpe Hamlet but very recently moved to Town Close. On the last day that it was legally possible to do so, she changed the electoral roll and did so in order to vote for Conservative candidate Eileen Wyatt, whom she had met and liked, despite normally being a Green Party voter.

Eileen came third and polled 620 votes - a historic high for the Tories in Town Close but a little away from winning. However, in Thorpe Hamlet the Greens lost by one vote and thus failed to become the country's first Green opposition party and thus Ramsay failed to become the first Green Leader of the Opposition.

When this dawned upon us both tonight it really made us think about the importance of a single vote in our democracy. Such tiny and insignificant acts have a huge part to play in shaping our democracy.

So as Cllr Ramsay settles back into the job of not being Leader of the Opposition, he might well curse Eileen Wyatt - a Tory candidate in another ward - who robbed him of the job he wanted!

(*** ps. I know everyone can find a case like this when it goes to a single vote - the EDP recently carried the story of a voter who was planning to vote Green but switched to the LibDems after being bombarded with Green leaflets which he thought was wasteful. But it's still good fun!)

(*** pps. My favourite random vote of the year goes to a lady whom I met when she was on Initial Teacher Training. She spent just a few hours in my company about three years ago - and rewarded the Conservative Party (in this case, Eve Collishaw) with her vote because I was kind to her.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Antony I agree, both Bowthorpe and Thorpre Hamlets results were so close, some say justice occurred in Bowthorpe whilst the opposite was the case in Thorpe.

What disappoints myself is the larger mass of electorate who chose not to vote, and then whinge later about what party represents them locally, levels of council tax, whether they have an NDR, Incinerator, Congestion Charge or a Unitary Status Authority. Would not it be great if another 20-30% of voters could have been bothered? I find it a pity for local elections, the candididates who brave the ballot box and democracy. In other countries like Iraq or Kosovo, levels are 80-90%.