Friday, July 11, 2008

They think it's all over! It is now!

Another long day. And another long night. The count went on and on but the night was interspersed with interviews. Finally, after a recount, all was declared. We came second (damn!) but scored 7.4% - a new Green Party by-election record apparently! Phew! And now we're having a well-earned rest! SO - THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Derek Wall on the megaphone for Shan Oakes

I have been campaigning right up to the last in the by-election. As Green Party Principal Speaker my job is to go and speak! So I have been up for a couple of days supporting Shan Oakes who is an excellent candidate.

Yesterday I went canvassing for a modest 8 hours, today on election day I have been right across the constituency with the megaphone. With Martin Deane, I have rolled up in little villages, proclaiming ‘This is your chance to make history and elect Britain’s first Green Party MP. Vote Shan Oakes. Vote Green Party. Vote for real civil liberties. Vote for real action on climate change. Vote for troops out of Iraq and Afganistan. Vote for action on a green post-petroleum economy. Vote for social equality’ etc, etc, etc.

Great fun to get into the town square at Howden and lambast the throng of Conservatives about Thatcher’s squandering of North Sea oil, of policies of waste and inequality.

‘Give Gordon Brown a shock, elect Shan Oakes first Green Party MP’.

It has been fun and hopefully got a bit of radical politics out to a lot of people even in the quiet corners of the East Riding.

So here is hoping the votes keep coming in and we really make a splash at the count tonight.

The last lap

I'm off around the polling stations, to encourage our supporters, and hope they find the right place for the X to be placed.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The eve of the vote

The number of candidates today was only outweighed by the number of media!

Just watched our Newsnight coverage. I’m happy with that. On the one hand it showed the serious side of 35 years of policy development on some of the most pressing issues facing life in the 21st century, and on the other the forces of control: while supposedly debating civil liberties, they once again refused to let Green Party representatives attend!

We also featured on Look North and Radio Humberside.

So it all happens tomorrow. We know from speaking to so many people that there is a wide variety of feelings about this vote. I think I’m getting addicted to canvassing – it’s so interesting. Will we be able to stop?!

It’s also a big help to have just one neo-liberal-market-orientated-economy-equals-growth party to fight against, rather than three. And without the ‘old’ parties rabbiting on about their latest greenwash and now civ-lib-wash that certain parties are indulging in, we’ve really got the Green message out. Rain may be another factor in tomorrow’s voting.

It’s only a pity with the limited time that we haven’t been able to reach the whole area. But if everybody that we talked to votes Green our vote will be very respectable… it’s a lottery so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Every Voter Counts

Reaching Every Voter (Clive Lord's Blog)

As a veteran of many by-election campaigns, I can say that this is among the better organized and supported. No doubt the unusual circumstances are playing a part, but at 30%, the positive response rate is higher than in any previous campaign. This probably explains why David Davis has been at pains to have as little direct contact with Shan as possible.

This strange election is riddled with unknown quantities. In the later stages media coverage has been better than in previous campaigns, and there has been reasonable local coverage.

It is difficult to assess how much difference this has made on the doorstep. Certainly many agree with my view: “Of 26 candidates, 24 have emerged specifically for the purpose of this election. One of the remaining two receives wall to wall coverage, but how much have you seen of the Green Party during its 35 years of existence?”

If we could reach every voter, we would give David Davis a shock. But my message “You have a unique opportunity to give the Green Party enough support to persuade the media that our voice should be heard at last” strikes a chord in many. Our problem is that we do need to speak to them to turn the massive latent support into votes.

Monday's Journey

Today was another whirlwind of activity: no sooner had we set up our pitch in Cottingham than we spotted BBC Look North across the road, so cameras were soon rolling, with me expounding the folly of the old parties and what the Green Party wants to do. William Hague and Liam Fox were at large around the market place: the Tories seem to think it helps to import more Tory ‘big names’ to casually stroll around the vicinity. We, on the other hand, imported the much more useful James, Mark and Dan, all aged 18 and now free of school, who had travelled for 2 hours from Harrogate by train and bus to help out with the campaign. They write:

'This by-election is in our view pivotal for the future of both the Green Party and the country, so we were eager to get involved!

‘This was our first experience of canvassing, and although it was initially daunting, we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Today we went door-to-door around Cottingham, and got a sense of anger from many over the calling of the election at public expense. In fact, the majority appeared disillusioned with the existing state of British politics.

‘It is clear that an alternative is needed. And the Green message - of power in the hands of communities - was well received by Haltemprice and Howden constituents, who have grown tired of Westminster's undemocratic grasp.'

More supporters hopped off the train at Cottingham to help with accosting the voters. Another TV interview at 1pm (More4 News) and then off to the BBC studio in Hull for a radio interview with Simon Mayo on Radio Five Live, followed by an interview with KCFM and a public meeting arranged by one of the candidates.

Our Mental Health lobbyist Colin Revel had a rather lively debate with Miss Great Britain about her health policies!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thoughts on the campaign trail

Listening to the people of Haltemprice and Howden

Everyone has heard a lot about the various candidates in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election. You might like some feedback about how people in the area are feeling. The Green Party has been doing a lot of listening on the campaign trail. We’ve met very many people on their doorsteps, in bus shelters, in the markets, in shops, on buses and trains, in car parks, in pubs, in dramatic thunderstorms, and in blazing sun. It’s a privilege to be able to discuss the big issues with voters – so that’s one advantage of the election – and most people seem happy to take a few minutes to have their say, and listen to some Green Party views too.

But, the striking message from voters is that they are fed up - not only with this by-election (which many feel has been an unnecessary waste of public money) but also with politics and politicians in general. They say there is no difference between the old parties who do not listen to the people themselves. They express feelings of anxiety and deep disappointment about the state of Britain. Several people have spoken about wanting to move abroad just to get away from this country. There is a general feeling of real anger and despair.

Almost everyone with whom we have spoken has agreed that our government has taken us wrongly into wars (for oil), that ‘defence’ spending is out of control, that our governments have encouraged the domination of giant corporations, and that the social and natural environment is being decimated as a result. People agree that profit is driving what goes on in Britain (and increasingly across the world) rather than values we can be proud of. Nearly everyone agrees that things will only get worse if we continue to be taken down the same path.

So is there any hope? Yes there is. Green Party policies boil down to real local democracy so that we can PLAN our way into an oil-free world by discussion at LOCAL level. When people have the chance to hear this idea, they are highly enthusiastic about it. They can see it is a real way forward – the only way forward - because nobody wants the alternative - a totalitarian state which controls us all from Westminster or elsewhere. It is possible to regain our freedom only if we stand up for freedom.

The Green Party wishes to debate these big issues. Unfortunately the old party representative in this by-election, David Davis, has so far avoided having that debate with us.