The Last Post (for now)

There’s no way to sugar coat this.  Our results in this week’s local elections can only be described as deeply disappointing.
While the party made gains in England (5 new councillors) and Scotland (6 new councillors), and Jenny Jones had a marvellous result coming third in the London Mayor election beating the Lib Dems for the first time, here in Wales we barely stood still.  In Swansea, despite the tremendous efforts in our target ward we failed to even come close.  Although we did manage to get within touching distance of the Lib Dems, they and we were swept aside by the tide of a resurgent Labour vote.

You can find a detailed breakdown of local results on the Swansea Council website (http://www2.swansea.gov.uk/election2012/?Lang=eng) and details of results across the UK on the BBC News website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/vote2012/council/gb.stm).

Where we go from here will no doubt be discussed in detail at local meetings in the next few weeks.

On a personal note I would like to formally and publicly record my tremendous gratitude to all those who helped with the best and highest profile campaign we have ever run locally in the Uplands Ward.  Our thanks are particularly due to the non-members who gave their time to support us – Eleanor, Juan, Rhian and Tracey; also party members Huw and Kathleen who came over from Llanelli on countless Sundays over the past three years to help with leafleting; and local party members Dorothy, Steve, Ross and Tony (White) whose support over the last week of the campaign was invaluable.

Finally, in the early hours of Friday morning I had a text from 07624807251 saying, “Swansea Greens in absolute crisis following worst polling results ever.”  This number links to a website from which people can send anonymous texts.  It’s well known and mostly used for sending hate mail in this cowardly way.

I’m pretty sure I know who sent the text.  My response it that I won’t take any lectures from someone who hasn’t lifted a finger to help our party for years and who prefers to skulk in the shadows and snipe at those who have given freely of their time, energy and money to try to make a difference in the world.

We may not have made much progress on this occasion, but it’s still better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

This blog will now be closing down and will be taken offline in the next few days – hopefully to be resurrected when the need arises.

Wednesday 2nd May (E-1)

Job done.  Final reminder cards delivered, final leaflets handed out, final doors knocked.

Street canvassing in Uplands Crescent most of the day in the nice weather, and getting a very good response.  Probably won’t get chance to do any more tomorrow due to the predicted change in the weather.  So just need to wait for the votes to roll in and write my victory speech!

Great boost to the campaign today with hundreds of students wandering around in green t-shirts (Varsity 2012).  They were quite amused when I kept thanking them for their support.

Somebody posted a copy of a Labour leaflet from 2008 through my door today, addressed to me by name.  One of the Labour candidates told me that several people have been receiving these and they’re not coming from the Labour team.  I can’t figure out the motivation, unless it’s to remind us of things the Lib Dems hadn’t done four years ago, and still haven’t done (like putting the Slip Bridge back).

Lib-Dems were skulking around the place yesterday and today, but I can’t work out what they’ve been doing apart from delivering leaflets.  Lot’s of people have been telling me that I’m the only person who’s knocked on their door this election.

Next post will be the ‘Last Post’ on this blog, sometime on Friday with the full result of the election.

 

 

 

 

Monday 30th April (E-3)

What a difference a little sunshine makes.  People are so much more friendly and open when the sun’s shining.

Perfect evening for canvassing.  The response gets better and better as we approach E-Day.  Lovely lady in Brynmill Terrace said the Green Party is the only party she would ever vote for.

First evidence of Tory activity today, with their pale blue leaflet sticking out of several doors. Lib-Dems have also been about the place today with their new issue of Focus.  But lots of people continue to tell me that I’m the only candidate who has knocked on their door for this election, and they seem to appreciate that I did.

Spent the day distributing reminders.  The gang were out and about handing out leaflets in the streets.  More of the same tomorrow.

My Speech at the Swansea Trades Council May Day Rally held in Castle Square, Swansea today

Good afternoon and thanks for being here.  It’s good to see so many people prepared to turn out on this cold and windy day.

When Ronnie invited me to speak here today he pointed out that the Conservatives and Lib-Dems were not invited.

I wasn’t sure about that approach, as part of me felt that the Lib-Dems ought to be dragged here and made to explain why they continue to serve as apologists for this viscous government with its cabinet of millionaires who are hell bent on ensuring that they and their friends can continue to make more millions and pay even less tax, while the rest of us cope with cuts in services, job losses and reduced benefits.

But we mustn’t forget that at the last General Election every UK-wide party save one went into it with a cuts agenda.

Only the Green Party argued that the cuts were totally unnecessary; that the financial crisis could be dealt with by dealing with tax avoidance, making sure the banks repaid all the money we gave them and scrapping Trident. Continue reading

Monday 23rd April (E-10)

Dodging the showers during the day.  Managed to cover a couple of blocks of flats this morning.  And the rain gave me the time to send off a press release (Green Spaces) and write a letter to the local paper (Community Action Plans).

Had to divert my attention this afternoon dealing with next door’s cat’s desire to turn our garden into a toilet.  Spent the afternoon putting up fencing and wire mesh, plus spreading lots of pebbles around to reduce the toilet potential.

Door knocking in Brynmill late afternoon and early evening.  Still getting a really good reception.  There seems to be a real appetite for change and something new.

One lady told me that canvassers are rare these days and that no one else has knocked on her door.  Perhaps the other parties are indulging in ‘electronic addiction’!

Saturday 21st April (E-12)

Job done.  Leafleting phase completed.

In the last couple of months we have hand delivered over 13,500 leaflets and over 5,000 newspapers.  That’s more than 3 items per household; so no one can complain they didn’t know we were here!

In the process I have walked along each street in the ward at least twice, lost half a stone in weight and an inch from my waistline.  Who says politics isn’t good for you!

I was approached by an irate gentleman in Canterbury Road today, waving our leaflet and saying that it’s not very green to put all these leaflets through peoples doors.  He was obviously annoyed by the “mounds” (his word) of leaflets that he keeps getting.

I suppose he has a point in one respect.  The majority of political leaflets go straight into the bin.  At least ours are on recycled paper, and hopefully most of them will go into the recycling bin.  But there is a lot of waste.

On the other hand, how else are we to keep the electorate informed of their choices in a local election?  We use all the online means at our disposal – two blogs, a Facebook page, regional website, national website, press work (when they deign to print it).  But those only reach small numbers of people.  In local elections there are no hustings, so the only way to reach people is through their letterboxes.

Stop Press: I just received a personal e-mail from Chris Holley, Lib-Dem Leader of Swansea Council asking me to vote Lib-Dem!  What do you reckon the chances of that are?

But he has reminded me that people will be receiving their postal votes in the next few days.  So to all you postal voters out there – vote Green, you know it makes sense.

And if you don’t know how much sense it makes then see what the Greens have achieved in Brighton.

 

Friday 20th April (E-13)

Unfortunate co-incidence of Friday and 13 here, and for the second week in a row!  So far nothing untoward has occurred, unless you count bumping into my Lib-Dem opponent (Peter May) while out leafleting today.  Caught him tucking into a school cake as he walked his daughter home from school.

Once again weatherman him speak with forked tongue, and the weather has been quite nice with hardly any of the forecast showers.  Managed to get out for two sessions today when I was expecting to be kept at home by the rain.

Amidst all the dereliction and decay,life always seems to find a way. (Spotted up a disused alleyway in Bay View Crescent amidst the rubble and accumulated detritus)

 

 

Getting close to the end of the leafleting phase now.  Have to think of novel ways of engaging with the electorate in the last few days of the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 19th April (E-14)

Two weeks to go.

Thursday is litter patrol day, of course.  So spent the morning checking the streets.

Yesterday, for the second week in a row, some scallywag decided to scatter the contents of a waste bag around my street.  I managed to get most of it back in the bag.

My letter about Lib Dem spin appeared in the Evening Post today.

There was also a piece in the Evening Post about the number of green dog poo bags (with contents) found on our local beaches.  Well it’s not just the beaches folks!  I found several on the bit of scrubland in Guildhall Road North yesterday.  Like the writer of the article, it puzzles me that people would go to the trouble to pick up the poo in the first place and then dump the bag.  Environmentally it would be better to leave the poo in the long grass.  Poo takes a few days to degrade, whereas the plastic bag will hold its contents for around 25 years if left undisturbed!

Out and about with Steve, one of our candidates from Castle Ward today.  Covered King Edward Road, Bryn Road and a couple of adjoining streets.

Looks like the weather is going to be against us for the next few days.  It will probably be a case of dodging the showers.

Tuesday 17th April (E-16)

The forecast rain didn’t materialise, so got quite a lot done today with the help of Eleanor and Juan.

Eleanor is a Postgraduate Student studying for a PhD in Migration Policy.  Juan is an Electrician by trade, but is currently working in a local restaurant. They’re voting Green because they think the Green Party represents “a chance for something different”.

Couldn’t agree more.  Green thinking offers us a different kind of politics, which would replace competition with co-operation and majority rule with consensus.

I see Labour are now putting out what I assume is their main leaflet.  A glossy full colour production containing a lot of promises, including, as expected, a bid for the green vote.  Pity they haven’t quite got the link between economic growth and environmental degradation!

They claim to be offering a “fresh voice for Uplands & Brynmill”.  You can make your own mind up about that.

Working around Eaton Crescent and Bryn-y-Mor Road this afternoon.  Have now completed everything north of Sketty Road/Walter Road and the south-east part of the ward.  Just Brynmill and a few remnants in St Helen’s to go.  Hopefully get all the leaflets done this week and then concentrate on face-to-face engagement with the electorate in the last two weeks.

Monday 16th April (E-17)

My “Uplands Labour Team” called yesterday.  That’s to say a bunch of Labour students passed my house and left behind a calling card.  They probably didn’t knock because of all the Green posters plastering my windows.

The calling card has a recycling symbol on the back with the request “Please recycle”.  Looks like they’re competing for the Green vote!

Finished off Penlan Crescent this morning.  Spectacular views up there, but you have to pay for the pleasure by climbing some of the longest sets of steps in the ward.

There’s a row of big houses up on the hill, set well back from the road.  All with large south facing roofs, but not a solar panel between them.  Get with the programme guys!

Had a long chat with a gent from the Penlan Crescent Flats. Been there about 40 years and bought his flat from the Council some years ago.  He told me that in all that time he’s only ever seen two councillors up there, the most recent being Janet Thomas when she had her photo taken in front of the flats for the Lib Dems current leaflet.

After that I worked my way down Ffynone Drive and through St James Gardens/Crescent.  Probably the nicest part of the ward.  Had a quiet sit outside the Buddhist Centre for ten mins to recover from the hills.  I just love the tranquillity of that little square.

Done so well these last few days with the good weather and all the help that I spent the afternoon in the garden, planting some more peas and weeding.

Door knocking in St Helen’s Crescent and King Edward Road this evening.  Still getting a good response on the door step and more Green posters going up around the ward.