Friday, September 10, 2010

That's It - The End.

Well, the results from last night were pretty shocking and certainly a poor night for both coalition partners. Judging from the BBC, ITV and Archant reports I was certainly the story of the night. Sadly I lost my seat, by 46 votes, to Labour.

For the last week I had began to become convinced I would lose - and in case you think that is 20-20 hindsight I actually said this to Labour friends as well as my campaign team. Knocking on doors, although there were far fewer Labour voter than Tory ones, they were simply more motivated to vote. The low-turn out, the switch from LibDems to Labour, the campaign on cuts (which never mentioned where Labour would swing the axe, of course) were all factors. But as the sitting member you always look to yourself and your own personal role in the election. I have put my heart and soul into being a good ward councillor but clearly it wasn't enough.

To all those who are my friends in the community, the people who supported me in Bowthorpe and Earlham, to my colleague ward Councillors and to the hundreds who voted for me, I am personally very, very sorry.

Being a councillor has been a fantastic experience and I have got to contribute to the civil life of our City in ways that few ever get. I look back on the last 4 years with pride, but life moves on. I am lucky that I have a job I love and a young family to enjoy. I shall miss helping people in Bowthorpe and working for them (I had resisted being "emotional" until the emails and calls from residents I am helping or have helped started to come through) but I always said that I wanted more in my life than just politics.

I am sticking to that promise - starting today.


Anonymous said...

You don't need to look to yourself to find the reason for your unfortunate defeat. You need to look to David Cameron. His proposals to restrict Council Homes to 5 year tenancies was guaranteed to have a negative impact on his party in a City where there are in excess of 16,000 Council homes. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out!

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Bowthorpe I am very sorry to see you were not re-elected. I agree that it was nothing that you did - the government is a media mess and I personally believe nothing is going to get better soon. Jo Storie is such a poor candidate I cannot believe people voted for her personally - this was a victory for the tribal labour vote.

Anonymous said...

never mind

more time with the kids

much more worthwhile

Mark Senior said...

Although we have had differences of opinion over the years , I recognise that you have been a diligent hard working councillor and therefore I regret your defeat by Labour .
I do think , however , that you are wrong to attribute your defeat to LibDem voters switching to Labour . If you compare the result to that in 2008 , the LibDem vote is virtually unchanged , the Conservative vote is 400 odd down and the Labour vote also down a bit .
Clearly there was little vote switching but for whatever reason you were unable to persuade enough of your supporters to actually vote . If you can do so in the future , you can regain the seat .

Best Wishes

Antony said...

Thank you for that Mark. I am slightly puzzled why you choose to compare with 2008 which was an exceptional year for us (Brenda Ferris was an unpopular Labour councillor but one who fought hard and hence the contest became very 2 party). You can, of course, compare to 2009 which was fought on identical boundaries. The Tory vote slipped but the LD vote - bouyed by the work of Dave Thomas - has collapsed.

2 conclusions;
either LD--> Lab switchers
ex-LD stayed at home and more Lab were motivated

Either way, you are correct that turnout is the key and if Andrew Wiltshire is to hold this seat we have to motivate more Tory voters.

I am very grateful for your kind comments.

Mark Senior said...

I have long thought and said that except in unusual circumstance the bulk of the swings that occur in local elections are caused by differential turnout rather than voters switching from one party to another .
I chose 2008 to illustrate the point firstly because I think it showed the peak number of voters who would turn out for both Conservative and Labour in Bowthorpe and the number Lib Dems could expect with no campaign . As you rightly say the Lib Dems did rather better in 2009 because of a strong campaign but I surmise that most of those extra voters went back from whence they came into the stay at home camp .
Therefore FWIW , I think your option 2 of LD stay at homes and more motivated Labour voters is the correct one - they still polled fewer votes than in 2008 .

Once again , very best wishes , have a good break from politics ans return refreshed next year.

Anonymous said...

Your excuses for your defeat included that people made their votes based on national rather than local issues. I can confirm that my problem is with your contribution to the local democracy and community and not the coalition government.

You opposed unitary status, support day centre closures and offer nothing positive for people who are not like you. A good councillor represents their community and does not just protect themselves and their kin, something you have failed to do.

Take responsibility for your own actions and stop the political blame game.

Antony said...

Last Anon - if you can back up those statement, I will respond. If not it will show you up rather ... but then as you are anon nobody will know!

Antony said...

It is also interesting that that was the same argument that was used by Labour - that somehow I am not the same as the people I used to represent. Odd. I wonder what you think my background is.

Anonymous said...

You will be sorely missed here in Bowthorpe - we always knew that any issue would be followed to the end and not always to the pleasure of the officers at City Hall! The fun has gone out of local politics with your departure. Enjoy time with your girls and all the very best for the future.

Anonymous said...

I hope this signals the fight back against the cuts from cameron and clegg.

Those two will be an absolute disaster for the country, and I don't think people have totally taken this on yet. It is the most vulnerable in society who will be most affected (see today's Guardian).

So come on all labour voters, ex-labour voters, left leaning, community minded people of Britain, please start voicing your concerns. We cannot let this happen without at least giving it our best shot to stop it.

Cameron and Clegg will devastate our society. This defeat in Bowthorpe for actually quite a decent chap is hopefully the start of the fight back by the fair and progressive people of this country.

Sorry for the rant Antony, hope you will publish it! And genuine good wishes for the future for you and your family. You could even come and join the progressive alliance??!

Anonymous said...

I am not a Tory supporter, but I have always found your blog very interesting and you have no doubt worked very hard to resurrect the Conservative Party in Norwich South. That certainly deserves recognition and the respect that is due. Good luck for the future -

Comrade said...

Head held high,

Carry on blogging,

You might find that taking a step back for a bit might be beneficial - things can look different from the outside.

For all candidates who didn't win I hope there is a good autumn as the elections kind of sodded up the summer.

Malbrook Man said...

As a resident of the ward - unlike some who have posted on here - I am genuinely sorry to see you go. I am only one third Tory (I voted for you personally but not the other years) and fear we have made a massive mistake.

I admire those who put themselves forward for election. Bowthorpe people will regret not having you as a our champion in City Hall.

Andrew Wiltshire said...

For me personally, I am very sorry to see you go.

You have been a great Councillor and champion at City Hall for people in Bowthorpe and a tremendous mentor for those in your own group. You will be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

"I always said that I wanted more in my life than just politics.

I am sticking to that promise - starting today."

Are we to take that to mean that you will not be seeking re-selection as Conservative PPC for Norwich South?

Deckard said...

I just would like to say how much you will be missed. I am not in your ward but you have stuck by your principles and acted accordingly. For that we are all thankful.

However politics is politics and nothing stays the same.

What are your plans for the future? Will you be back as a candidate for the Conservative Party in Bowthorpe?

Antony said...

Non - if you get a log-in and say who you are I will tell you my plans for the future.

Deckard - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Antony, I get it. I see that when an announcement comes you'll only be telling people you know rather than the entire electorate, which I'm sure contains a fair amount of anonymous people too...

Who knows, CCHQ may well beat you to it...

Antony said...

Wrong - have already spoken to CCHQ about it ...

Deckard said...

Do you believe your election campaign displayed any defects?

What issues do you think made people change their mind?

I found this election to be one of the national issues to do with public spending, the county issues such as the lights switch off and one of local issues such as housing and spending.

I for one found it hard to justify why lights should be switched off in an urban area when there is no evidence it will have any impact on crime, and felt the Conservative team in Norwich should have pushed for that position. However I do accept the fact that these by elections were not going to change the position of the County Council and Cabinet Member Adrian Gunsonn.
Therefore I felt I had more in common with the other parties on the issue of lights than the Conservatives but had to put it on the side.

Deckard said...

I do also believe the local elections should have been about local issues and Labour executive's record in office. However I felt Norwich Conservatives underestimated the feeling some had towards the new Coalition government and this was at detriment to the Norwich Tories overall performance on election night.

One thing that strikes me is the level of political apathy the citizens of Norwich displayed. I for one found it increasingly more difficult to encourage people to vote. They lacked interest, and the political parties lack resolve in dealing with political apathy.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you why you lost in most areas, because the Tories didn't make any effort as far as I have seen to tell people what they want to do about the problems in Norwich. As a result people draw the conclusion that some parties have given up on Norwich problem's areas. Maybe something to think about for the future.