Harley beats Lib Dems, loses to Labour

The Candidate for City & Hunslet campaigning with the Candidate for Kirkstall.Thanks to a friend, I was talked into standing as a councillor for the Ward of City & Hunslet in the Metropolitan Borough of Leeds. I realised at first that the Conservative Party had polled behind the BNP in 2007, but it wasn’t until my name was on the nomination papers that I was informed that we had polled behind RESPECT as well! Being behind the Labour councillor and the Liberal Democrats was naturally to be expected. I could live with that (barely).

So, it was with trepidation that I put on my tailored suit and my Indian-made shoes on Friday morning to attend the count. The night before had of course been election day, and of course I got absolutely wankered. In fact, I’d only woken up because I received a phone call from someone who was already on their way to Leeds Town Hall. Hungover like a fox, I made my way to the City & Hunslet count after much prodding from my Election Agent. I entered the room while Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn was lurking around, hardly an auspicious beginning.

As a candidate, I had to observe the dismissing of spoiled ballots. Unfortunately it seemed that a number of defaced votes would have been Conservative! There were two which I loved though. There was one person who in the voting booth had meticulously torn around the edges of the box with my name and party on, put an “X” next to it and then put it in the box! I lost a vote due to someone’s over-eagerness to screw the other parties.

But best of all was the person who turned his ballot paper into a tract, at the top writing a not so brief dissertation as to why they weren’t voting and then putting a pithy stereotype next to the name of each party. To wit, the best were;

*”The Conservative Party”; Big Business,
*”The Green party”; Big Green Business.

I’m happy to say the Green Party candidate and I had a laugh over that one. But the best news came with the result. I had noticed that the box of my returns was getting rather large, and considering that last time the Conservative Party had come fifth out of seven candidates, this time I was looking like I might get third or fourth. And then the man in charge of the count asked the candidates to assemble at the head of the table. The tallies were announced; Labour with 1697, Conservatives with 538, Lib Dems with 488…I had come second, naturally thrashing the BNP and the Respect-candidate-in-disguise!!
Gentlemanly (as if this were hard burden for me to bear), I instantly shook the hand of the Labour winner, who by some strange coincidence was next to me, then skipped ebulliently off…

I can only thank the 14.78 per cent of the good voters of City & Hunslet who voted for me. Obviously the majority felt that voting for Elizabeth Nash, the Labour candidate, was the right choice to make, and I can only agree with them. However, I trust that in two years time a strong conservative candidate can be found to take on the Labour machine and bring out the best of the people of South Leeds.


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