Well that didn’t go according to plan did it? I had a hunch the Conservatives
would be comfortably the biggest party, I even agreed with Anna Firth that the
majority could just about be absolute but obviously was not all that confident
or I would have made a trip to the bookies’ shop.
The local result is by now well known; there is no change. For me in the Erith & Thamesmead constituency the big surprise was that Teresa Pearce increased her share of the vote by 5% and the Conservatives dropped 4% even after Anna Firth put up a magnificent fight. I had expected Anna (Conservative) and Ronie Johnson (UKIP) to damage Teresa’s majority.
The established parties probably have an armoury of software tools to tell them how well their campaigns are going. Ten days ago Teresa Pearce told me in confidence that she expected Ronie Johnson to take 17% of the vote. She was absolutely correct.
Last night I watched BBC TV but soon discovered I was getting more raw result information from Twitter than Dimbleby & Co. They would analyse the high profile seats while ignoring the run of the mill constituencies.
I eventually realised that the results ticker tape was missing from the bottom of the BBC screen, I switched to Sky and there it was.
I watched until Erith & Thamesmead came up and mischievously sent a text message to councilor Danny Hackett to thank him for for providing a better results service than the BBC. Then I thought I should text congratulations to Teresa Pearce but I am not very good with mobile phones and pressed the wrong button. The phone called Danny instead. ‘End Call’ obviously doesn’t work very quickly. It ended the call but not before Danny’s phone rang. Danny called me back.
I don’t think Danny was sure whether he should be celebrating or crying. His friend Neil Coyle had brought Simon Hughes’ 30 year political career in Bermondsey to an end with help from Danny among others. On the other hand Ed Miliband had learned nothing from Danny’s hero Tony Blair who knew a thing or two about winning elections. Danny was bravely seeing Miliband’s defeat as a new beginning and an opportunity to take a different course.
Danny, gave me a masterclass in political strategy over best part of an hour. I found it very insightful and his views more than a little surprising as well as refreshing. He told me that Ed Miliband would be gone by midday or there would be trouble.
I won’t go further than that because one day Danny might be party leader and the subject of much Googling. Maybe it’s safe to mention one thing. Danny was scathing about the 20 year old politics student Mhairi Black who defeated Labour’s election strategist Douglas Alexander on behalf of the SNP. I refrained from commenting that I knew of a 20 year old politics student who swept aside a much more experienced man in some place called Lesnes Abbey. The youthful newcomer doesn’t seem to have done too badly.
Eventually Danny returned to his bottle, or whatever it was that was keeping him awake at five in the morning, and I was able to send a text message to Teresa Pearce. I would have sent one to Anna and councillor Stefano Borella but I don’t know their numbers. I am not a Labour supporter but I would have liked to see Stef kick David Evennett’s backside but sad to say the Bexleyheath & Crayford result was an almost exact mirror image of Erith & Thamesmead.