Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Elections May 2012
In the London GLA Elections our vote held up well with us getting over 22,000 votes. Our total campaign expenditure in the London Elections was less than £1,000, whereas I understand the BNP (with a full Mayoral campaign and an entry in the Mayoral Booklet going to each and every elector, together with a Party Election Broadcast) spent £200,000 and got less than 2½% of the vote. UKIP, it is rumoured, has spent more than £500,000 on the London Elections yet even so failed to achieve even 5%.
I appreciate that what I am going to say now will attract criticism that my maths skills are as bad as those as Baroness Warsi, when she claimed that UKIP was simply standing in the percentage shoes of the BNP, but I cannot resist considering what we might have achieved if we had £200,000 to spend on the London elections, if for a mere £1,000 spend we got over 22,000 votes?
In the run-up to May 3rd, the BBC and various politicos and journalists were suggesting that we would lose our Mayor of Doncaster because we were unpopular there. I said that it was just a bunch of careerist ,local Labour, malcontented councillors. Doncaster's voters proved me right, by resoundingly defeating the attempt to get rid of their Mayor and so handing us a high probability of getting Peter Davies re-elected next year.
Another interesting item is that, in Wheatley Ward, Doncaster, our candidate conducted an experiment to see whether our candidates were winning votes because of their personal reputation or whether the votes were coming in because of the English Democrats’ branding.
The candidate, Roy Penketh, is well known in Doncaster, having previously been Chairman of the local Conservative branch and a long serving Conservative Councillor. He is also on various governing bodies.
Roy’s suspicion was that the 786 (23%) vote that he got last year as an English Democrat wasn’t radically affected by his relatively high personal profile, so this year he used only our general recruitment leaflet rather than a personalised leaflet - such as he had used in last year’s election (Doncaster being one of those local authorities that has elections three years out of four in multi-councillor wards).
It is interesting that the results of his experiment show that it was clearly English Democrats’ branding that was bringing in the votes. This year he again came second with 806 votes (28.25%).
Nevertheless I suspect that to achieve actual victory would require a more focussed and savvy electioneering strategy!
In the months to come therefore we English Democrats need to work harder at raising funds and increasing our brand awareness. We also need more focus upon the nuts and bolts of electioneering, but we can do this with some confidence that if we are able to get the necessary organisational, logistical and resource issues sorted out, that it will be possible for us to achieve a genuine and sustainable electoral breakthrough! I shall be focused on doing so - do join and help!