Friday, May 05, 2006

Thank you everyone

Well, I didn't win in Acocks Green.

To be fair, I was facing one of the biggest majorities in the City - over 2000 votes, so a victory would have been a truly remarkable reversal of fortune, but what happened was nearly as good.

I know that every politician always finds the positive spin on virtually any result, but tonight's was actually an excellent result for Labour in Acocks Green. Not quite reduced to a marginal seat, but a huge step in the right direction.

2004 2006
Lib Dem 3463 2607 -856
Labour 1289 1632 +343
BNP 892 927 + 35
Tory 624 630 + 6
Green 581 261 -320

Majority 2174 975 -1199

Despite a bad few weeks for Labour and what was forecast to be another meltdown of Labour's vote, we slashed the Liberal Democrat majority by more than half. We fought an excellent campaign, based on local issues and the public responded.

A few thanks are in order. Firstly, the staff - the people manning the polling stations did their usual sterling job - two people have to stay there for fifteen hours from 7am to 10pm with only the occasional ten minute break. I wandered round the stations during the day to say hello and thank them for their work. Thanks are also due to the returning officer and the counting staff, who were quick and efficient and to the police, for ensuring a complete lack of skullduggery in Acocks Green. To be honest, that was never an issue in the ward - I know that the candidates in this ward are all honest and decent and there is a surprising amount of trust amongst us.

I'll also thank the other candidates - the campaign was fought on political issues and not personal ones. This may surprise some people, but I've never seen the point in being unnecessarily nasty about opponents. We'll disagree, criticise and throw political punches, but we're civil and informally, quite friendly - something that I hope will continue. I hope that we all have the interests of the ward at heart.

I must thank my agent and fellow campaigner - Marcus has been a loyal friend and co-conspirator for a number of years and over a number of battles. We will win one, I promise! The sore feet will be worthwhile. Thanks are also due to our MP, Roger Godsiff, who has been a supporter, friend and advisor.

I have to praise my fellow party members and workers. I can honestly say that we have never had so many people willing to come and work for us - to the point where we were able to get our last leaflet out to around 5000 homes in a single day. I shall thank all of you personally, but you know who you are. My wife and family deserve sympathy and my thanks for all that they have had to cope with over the past few months.

Finally, thanks to the electorate in Acocks Green. We may not have done it this time, but the tide is turning. We are showing up the weaknesses of the Liberal Democrats and pointing out their failures, while offering a positive alternative for the future. We've shown the BNP a clean pair of heels again, proving that the electorate in Acocks Green prefer parties based on unity and equality, not injustice and prejudice. We've had a better response to our leaflets than at any time in my five years in the ward and it has shown that there is so much to do - those of you still waiting for responses will get them and I will return all phone calls as well (I've tried everyone, but not got through to all).

Labour is back as a real force in Acocks Green. Remember, the 2007 elections are just a year away and the fight goes on. We can and will have a Labour councillor in Acocks Green again. The people need us.

Thank you all again.