Friday, 7 May 2010

The End of the Beginning

The count for the local elections in Manchester took place at the Town Hall this afternoon. I was allowed to take two people along with me, so I took the Libertarian Party Chairman Gregg Beaman and a sympathiser who isn't yet a party member but who had contributed to the campaign. I found it to be an enjoyable experience. Fortunately the count didn't last as long as last night's General Election counts, but I had time for a cup of coffee and a chat with the Lib Dem candidate Gerry Diamond, who comes across as being a pleasant guy even though I don't agree with his politics. The local Lib Dem godfather Damien O'Connor was also there – it happens that he and Gregg knew each other a few years ago when they were both members of UKIP, so they had a chance to catch up on old times. The Labour candidate John Flanagan was there, but he seemed a bit aloof and didn't say anything to me. No sign of the Tory that I could see. The Greens were there too, and also the BNP candidate and one of his comrades. They didn't look very comfortable – a pair of twenty-somethings in ill-fitting suits who spent most of the time propping up a wall while the rest of the room avoided them. They looked like they were getting ready for a court appearance instead of an election (I was dressed much more stylishly in my combat jacket, jeans and Prisoner tee shirt – I think it's my sense of casual elegance that makes me so attractive to women). At one point, Flanagan tried to get support for a walkout in protest at the BNP even being there, which would have been a pretty childish thing to do – whatever else is wrong with them, the BNP are a legal political party with a perfect right to attend the count.

The count was over pretty quickly, and the result was as follows:

Lib Dem 1596
Labour 2402
Libertarian 55
Green 80
bnp 400
Conservative 265

Total votes: 4798

Flanagan gave a short speech in which he thanked the people of Newton Heath for voting for him and promised to do his best to serve the people of Newton Heath - not a word about the people of Miles Platting and Collyhurst South, which are also in this ward, don't ask me why. Possibly it's because Flanagan's not too familiar with the area, being from Gorton. You'd have to ask him.

I have to admit that the result was a surprise to me. I thought Gerry Diamond would win, his team certainly put plenty of work in, but unfortunately we've got another four years of Flanagan. The number of votes that I got as the Libertarian Party candidate was a pleasant surprise. I thought I'd get maybe 30-40. If that doesn't sound a lot, consider the fact that this is the very first election campaign that the Libertarian Party has mounted in this part of the country, that I'm an inexperienced candidate, that the ward was swamped with Lib Dem and Labour propaganda and that there would have been a lot of tactical voting going on. So I'm actually quite pleased that 55 people decided that it was worthwhile voting for me and the Libertarian Party. It comes to about 1.15% of the total vote. If you're one of those voters, thank you very much. I will do my best to ensure that you have plenty of opportunities to vote Libertarian in future elections. I don't know yet if I'll be a candidate next time, but I'm sure I'll be turning up in some capacity in future campaigns, maybe acting as an agent for another candidate or even just delivering leaflets. I've got the experience now, so I'm sure I can make myself useful. And I'm convinced that Manchester deserves a credible alternative to the current false choice between Labour and the Lib Dems. The Libertarian Party aims to be that alternative.

I'd also like to thank all those who supported me, whether in person by helping deliver leaflets or by sponsoring my campaign. It's been a real pleasure to work with such a dedicated team and I fully expect to be supporting some of them when they stand as candidates themselves.


Anonymous said...

Well done for standing and getting a credible result on your first attempt. As a sympathiser I'm pleased to see LPUK starting to contest local elections.

It's the only way forward for small parties - standing again and again and slowly building a base in local communities.


Malpoet said...

Well done Stuart. Flying the flag for liberty is hard work and usually unrewarded.

You got a very creditable result.

john in cheshire said...

So, the BNP didn't do too badly,in the scheme of things.

minnieroyle said...

well done.
i think that standing in local elections is preferable to standing in general elections,as you dont need to pay a deposit to stand for council.
i think it is important now to build on this,it would be a shame if your party became one of those that only appear at election times

Anonymous said...

The LPUK election leaflet can be found on The Straight Choice :


Stuart H. said...

Think of it this way - 55 people taking a chance on a brand new party is 55 people who really thought about it instead of blindly ticking the usual box, so, say, 50 potential helpers next time around.
It's a good start, and laying down foundations for something bigger in future years.

Anonymous said...

Is anything likely to be done about voting by constituency? I'd've liked to vote for you guys, but as we don't have a candidate, I'm not allowed.

The system sucks.