Friday, 7 May 2010


The results are almost all in and the commentators busy commentating themselves to a standstill but to me there is a clear conclusion from the election. David Cameron failed to persuade people to support a Conservative government.

Now he will spin and declare that he was the winner and he will make grandiloquent statements about his right to rule but nothing will get away from the fact that he lost a 10 point poll lead, he failed convincingly to unseat an unpopular Prime Minister and his party and he failed to offer a sound programme for government. It is inherent in its very name that a Conservative government can never represent change.

Whatever we take from this enthralling election and whatever follows in coming days and weeks, we must never lose sight of this simple fact: Cameron failed in his primary task, which was to win an election for the Tories.

My prediction for the Conservatives is that they will bluster and scheme to get another election as soon as possible and the risk is that their scheming will damage our country. My question for them is whether people will want another election or whether they will simply want politicians to roll up their sleeves and talk to each other, which is after all what they are paid to do.

As for the Lib Dems, there is no question that this is a pretty bad result. It would be churlish to apportion blame because we have had a successful model which has delivered sensational results for years. My only immediate comment would be to question whether this very successful model has moved sufficiently with the times. Is 'death by leaflets' going to work into the future? I'd suggest that a conversation is needed about strategy and one which involves as wide a group as possible.

As for Nick Clegg's horrendous balancing act, which can be likened to a man on a tightrope above a nest of crocodiles, he's called this right and I have complete confidence in his ability to see us through this disappointing period. He has got us into the heart of the game and he's the right person to keep us there. Keep up the good work, Nick.

In Henley we actually did okay. We got more votes on the back of a very limited campaign and I would like to than each of the 13,466 people who voted for me. I am honoured by their support and I hope that they will stay with us in future Council and Parliamentary elections. I am confident for the future in Henley and I hope we can move forward over coming years. It was a good outcome for everyone concerned.

Finally, the fact that so many people across the country could not vote is an outrage and a scandal and a humiliating image of our country. I would like the new government to insist on a clear statement from each of the returning officers concerned about this disgrace and it would seem fair to me for the Electoral Commission to consider a second election in any seat affected where the majority for the winner was not sufficient to give a clear outcome when these lost votes are taken into account. As to the argument from local authority Chief Executives that our electoral system is 'Victorian', well it worked in 2005 and it worked in 2001 and it worked in 1997 and (continue until you get bored).

Sarah Teather was recently on TV after her marathon count and she perhaps made the best point of the whole night. Now is the time for everyone to get some sleep. Clear heads make better decisions.

With that, it's good night from a very tired candidate

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