London Election and Watermans Marina
So a long Thursday spent mainly sitting in our Ealing Road ward HQ coordinating groups of volunteers who went out door knocking or phoning people up reminding them it was polling day. Despite having a lot of enthusiastic volunteers we didn’t do half as much as we would have liked, but I suppose this is just the reality of campaigning – no matter how much you do you feel like you could have done more. At the end of the day, unusually there was no count but I went for a quick pint with colleagues at the Bulstrode pub near the civic centre.
Friday was the count up at Olympia. After getting through airport-style security there we are in one of the exhibition halls where two constituencies – South West (us) and West Central – are being counted. Quite a number of familiar faces from the civic centre manning the counting machines (first time I’ve seen these) and dealing with the ballot papers thrown up as queries. These can be anything from a funny shaped mark to voting for several candidates and our role is to watch over the people doing the checking to ensure no jiggery-pokery is going on. We get to see (anonymous) ballot papers and there are some very quirky choices being made – lots of people in a field of 12 going for Conservative first choice Labour second, or vice versa which seems slightly counter intuitive, but not half as odd as those who chose Green first, BNP second and a lot of equally strange combinations. It was a frustrating day because, whilst Sadiq was ahead from the start and it was pretty obvious he was going to win, Martin Whelton was miles ahead of Tony Arbour in the morning and the gullible amongst us were hoping for a miracle. However, once the counts for solidly Tory Richmond and Kingston started coming in his lead quickly shrivelled to nothing. Such a pity: a really genuine, bright, hard-working guy who would have done a lot for his constituents beaten by …. Tony Arbour. There is no need to say another word.
Saturday was Ward Surgery day and I was covering Clayponds Gardens. Lovely morning and as it happened not one constituent turned up (Mel tells me he had 5 at the Mission Hall J). So I concentrated on taking on some sun on Copaclayponda beach (the benches outside the community centre to be precise) and doing a bit of ad hoc litter picking.
Monday was the Labour Group AGM where we elect various roles such as Committee chairs. I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to say anything here, so I’ll keep mum – I think announcements, none very ground-breaking, will happen at the end of the month.
Tuesday I was out of town during the day catching up with friends and in the evening back for a licensing panel related to the new Premier Inn which is opening near the Hogarth roundabout in Chiswick. One or two local residents had raised concerns which the panel considered.
Wednesday was a busy day, taking my car to Capital Motors (I can’t believe there’s a better garage in London) for its MoT and various other stuff, back to Ferry Quays for an estate meeting, then in to the civic centre for a lengthy discussion about the Watermans Park boats and proposed marina. I have been quite heavily engaged with this important development in Brentford and wanted to get a complete understanding of where the council is coming from, having previously had a long discussion with representatives of some of the current occupiers.
Back to Chiswick to pick up my car (fail). Capital Motors think I am throwing good money after bad as it turns out it needs a new suspension arm as well as an eye-wateringly expensive tyre. Anyway it will have to go back in next week. The evening is Labour branch meeting at Isleworth Public Hall. Some very interesting debates, carried out in a comradely fashion. I put myself forward as a candidate for subsequent elections to be sent as a delegate to the Labour Conference, which I have never previously attended.
I have a busy day today – meeting with our organiser to conclude tidying up after the London election and making plans for the Labour In For Britain campaign which will be keeping me busy over the coming weeks. Then into the Civic, firstly to get some input from the planners on various emerging developments and then to attend the planning committee meeting where, amongst other things, the Watermans marina is on the agenda.
May 13, 2016