Seriously, what is wrong with these people? What has happened to good manners and good grace? Win or lose, act with dignity. I must congratulate John Hart, Sury Khatri and Brian Schama on their victory in Mill Hill. I must also commend their good manners in how they dealt with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm bitterly disappointed. There were many issues with the way the election was staged in Barnet which were awful and need to be sorted out. I will be writing to Nick Walkley - CEO of Barnet to demand a meeting to discuss these. Not because they affected my result in any way at all, I accept that with good grace, but because they were wrong and they need to be sorted out. This isn't a throw my toys out of the pram rant. I will leave that to others.I just want to make sure that next time, the good people of Mill Hill, who want to vote can do so in a timely and efficient manner. Even more importantly, the way the count was conducted was a disgrace. This was done in a marquee with no effective heating. The staff, many of whom had only light clothing, as they expected to work in an office environment, were absolutely frozen. They would have been well within their rights to have walked off the job. I congratulate them for sticking with it and I would suggest that Barnet pay them a bonus for the harsh conditions. When people work in extreme conditions, they make mistakes. As I say, I don't believe this affected my vote, but it doesn't make for a good election. Nick Walkley, the CEO seems like a reasonable chap, so I am sure he'll be keen to ensure that next time things are better. We are likely to face another general election soon, so it cannot wait.
On to the vote in Mill Hill. I personally take full responsibility for my defeat in Mill Hill. I was a new boy to the process and as such I took a back seat in the campaign planning and acted as a foot soldier. I believe that we had a good team in Jeremy, Kim and myself, with Wayne as our agent. I believe we had the best proposition for the people of Mill Hill and if they didn't buy it, that was because I didn't sell it properly. I finished bottom out of the three Lib Dems in Mill Hill, by a hundred or so votes. Someone said to me that I actually had a personal vote of 4-500. Thanks guys for that. I do appreciate it (please note that this is a personal view. My running mate Kim has asked me to state that she believes that it was not an issue with the campaign. She is of the opinion that the huge turnout for the election, with people voting on national issues was the reason for the result. I in no way imply any criticism of the team or the campaign in my comments).
One issue which can't and shouldn't be skirted around was the issue that many people in Mill Hill told me completely put them off voting for the Lib Dems. I was told time and time on the doorstep that people would definately have voted for me, but they couldn't possibly vote for a party which had Baroness Tonge as a member. I believe that she is the reason the Lib Dems lost this election in Mill Hill. I'd never even heard of her when I joined the Lib Dems last year. I know all about her now. I knew we needed to clearly and plainly state our position (ie the Mill Hill Lib Dems) on her rantings and blatherings. I believe we should have put out at least three leaflets during the course of the election to voters likely to be put off by her, completely disassociating ourselves from her comments. Until such time as we do, we will suffer. I don't believe that anyone in a position of seniority should be allowed to remain a member of the party if they make such inflammatory and ill judged statements. We would throw out someone who said such things about any other ethnic minority, so why do we tolerate it? What would I have said "I completely disassociate myself from this woman and If I am elected I will have a platform within the party from which to get firm action taken to remove the party whip". I will still seek to persue this outcome, but as I was rejected at the elections, I have no platform at all within the organisation. I am merely a failed candidate.
I went out for a beer then a curry in Mill Hill last night. People were devastated that Jeremy Davies lost. He has been an excellent local councillor. One woman said "Tell Jeremy I am so sad he lost" I said "Thanks, I'll tell him, did you vote for us?" She replied, rather shamefacedly "Oh no, I usually do but this time I voted for the Conservatives, because I wanted to get rid of Gordon Brown". I asked "Did you vote for us at the local elections?" She replied "No I voted Conservative there as well". I asked "Oh have we done something?". She replied "No, I just did, I thought you'd all get in anyway, I'm really sorry". You can't really draw too many conclusions from a single conversation, but I felt deeply sad at this.
One final word. When the result was announced (for those of you who've never been to the count, the candidates are told before they are publicly announced) the Mayor of Barnet, Brian Coleman made his way to the front. As the result was announced he cheered and gesticulated wildly and announced "I've beaten Tichborne again". As ever this statement was complete B*ll*cks. Coleman didn't stand in Mill Hill. He didn't campaign there. I never mentioned him once in the campaign leaflets or on this blog. The guys who beat me are the opposite of Coleman. They have a bit of class. John Hart gave me his opinion of Coleman a few weeks ago and asked me not to put it in the blog. I won't but it made me smile. Oh and dearest Mayorykins, just remember not only did you not beat me in Mill Hill (you had nothing to do with the result), you lost at the Standards board as well. You will get your chance one day and you will lose again, but as to when and where? That's a secret for now