27/05/2014 Leave a comment
Early last Thursday morning I was out delivering election material to encourage residents to go and vote in the European elections. Then I had family duties taking my mum to Addenbrookes. After that it was back to Lakenheath and a quick stop to pick up a colleague who would join me for the rest of the day and then looking in on the village polling stations to thank the staff for their efforts. Before heading off to Great Yarmouth to help with the Get out the Vote (GOTV) in the Euro and ‘by thirds’ Borough elections taking place.
On the way there I took the smallest of detours (a mile off the A11) to see if the rumours of the what must be the best polling station in the country at East Harling were true, the best because it was situated in the English Whiskey Distillery Company’s shop and café, something about being able to vote and have a whiskey tasting struck me as very civilised.
I did not partake but did have a quick look around the wonderful Malt Whiskey shop before back on the road to Great Yarmouth and a chance to meet up with Brandon Lewis MP and Richard Bacon MP for South Norfolk as they did the final part of the days campaigning and as we did the ‘knock up’ I got their reflections on how the campaign had gone.
Once it got dark we stopped knocking on doors and after a quick bite to eat, not a ‘bit to eat’ as I miss-spelt in my final tweet of poll day, it was home to watch the results trickle in from the District and Borough elections taking place. It is of course not the same as it used to be when counts were always immediately after the polls have closed, with the majority now being counted on the Friday morning, but you still got a sense of the voting patterns.
Sunday evening was spent at Newmarket Leisure Centre as the votes for European elections in the St. Edmundsbury and Forest Heath Council areas were counted and it was clear from the numbers that UKIP were having a very good set of elections but we Conservatives still polled large numbers of votes. Just before Midnight as I sat at home watching yet another election analysis show, it was declared that we had three seats, UKIP have three and Labour scrapped in with one. Essentially for the Conservatives it mean no change as that was the number at the last election, and I was really pleased to see Vicky Ford, Geoffrey Van Orden and David Campbell-Bannerman on the platform as the Eastern Region vote was declared. It was of course as shame we did not get more because I know the hard work the four others on our slate put into the campaign.
Over the bank holiday weekend, lots of column inches have been written and hours of TV commentary produced but all in all what emerges is that people are concerned about immigration and migration and that the complex case for European membership on renegotiated terms is clearly a long way from convincing people that we should stay in. Interestingly across Europe and particularly in France there seems to be a push back against the eurocrats vision of a federal Europe.
Of course for there to be that very debate, the Conservatives must win the General Election next year as a vote for UKIP then will simply see Ed Miliband’s in No. 10 Downing Street and the very thing ‘in or out’ people want to vote on in 2017 will not happen. For the Conservatives in the next year beyond convincing voters that in Councils across the country we actually cost residents less than Labour does, at the national level we need to convince them to vote Conservative.