Friday, May 07, 2010

Campaign Diary Finale: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Ok at around 2:15 this morning the final result for Linlithgow and East Falkirk was declared. In case you did not see the result here it is:

Michael Connarty Labour 25,634 49.8%
Tam Smith SNP 13,081 25.4%
Stephen Glenn Liberal Democrat 6,589 12.8%
Andrea Stephenson Conservative 6,146 11.9%

So for a final round up of events I'm splitting things into three categories.

The Good

First off there were 6,588 of my fellow constituents who voted along with me for the Liberal Democrat change in our constituency so thank you one and all.

Of them there have been a number of you who have asked about and actually joined the Liberal Democrats, so welcome. There have been many offers of help and indeed some offers today of help for the next time, yes there will be a next time, and I look forward to working with an even bigger team next time to get the message out there.

The local media has been excellent. It was nice to see and indeed talk to so many of them last night at the count. Central FM interviewed me to go on air last night as did the Herald and Post and Falkirk Herald. The local media have actually been innovative in upping their contribution to this election campaign. Central FM did their radio hustings for the four local seats that they cover. The Falkirk Herald had us answering questions from the constituents and the Herald and Post asked us for comments about the first TV Debate.

One of my favourite comments from the night was from Michael Connarty. Who said that the people from his camp who had seen us in the debates had agreed with some earlier comments I'd heard that there were two candidates worthy to be heard in the Commons, they agreed that I was the other one. His agent actually came up to me saying I was in second at one point, until he looked properly through his box counts.

On a Northern note as I mentioned in my speech last night the success of Naomi Long in becoming the first Alliance Party MP pulling off a 22.9% swing in Peter Robinson's seat to take out the DUP leader. Also back home though there wasn't a change in MP North Down has returned to an Independent. Having resigned from the Ulster Unionist over the cosying up to Cameron Lady Sylvia Herman was returned in North Down.

Also thanks for all the kind comments on the doorsteps, via email and twitter. I even won the twitter exit poll with 66.7%. It is a pity that all my Internet aware supporters have an MP who singularly fails to understand the full implications of the Digital Economy Act 2010.

The Bad

The bad included actually trying to avoid speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News on Tuesday. My friend Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting had inadvertently 'leaked' postal verification data for some seats including my own and none to subtly pointed the finger at me. I couldn't have made comment easily without breaking electoral law myself and that was the dilemma I'd found myself in on Monday night.

In the end the three seats in question were not as tight as the news indicated, it does lead one to wonder if the SNP deliberately wanted that information out there to boost their share of the votes on polling day in those locations to avoid an embarrassment on the day. The fact that the national press did comment on the thrust of Jeff's blogpost and mention the Linlithgow name in each means that there was third or even fourth hand misinformation being circulated. If so that may have had a squeeze effect on me losing 511 votes from last time, there was surprise from both Labour and Conservatives that I wasn't doing a lot better against the SNP.

There is also the sad loss of Willie Rennie in Dunfermline and West Fife, having worked hard to win that seat in the first place and been there for that joyous night last night was the antithesis. Also the failure of good friends Kevin Lang, Fred Mackintosh and Katy Gordon to take their seats, the former two managing to reduce the Labour majorities heartbreakingly in Edinburgh South from 405 to 316. Also the loss of Paul Holmes, Dr Evan Harris, Sandra Gidley, Susan Kramer, Julia Goldsworthy and Lembit Opik.

The Ugly

As I blogged the other day the SNP had issued an accusational indeed potential libelous comment from their agent about accusations of defacing their posters by the teams of the other three parties. Aggravated by the leaking of the postal verification would have been ugly enough, however, I was also told by a constituent of a incident on their doorstep when an SNP canvasser used a homophobic message to try to dissuade them from voting for me, I'm glad to report that plan backfired. The SNP accused the other parties of using gutter politics, I'm not sure if this is an isolated or widespread method they used on the doors, but it suggests that they were anything but the positive campaign they claimed.

Also on ugly I was considering posting a picture of the blisters on my feet. Some of which have been there for almost 2 weeks now but want to spare you the horror.

Again thank you for all the support during the campign and the offers of continuing support. As you may be aware we now have an hung parliament and we as Liberal Democrats have a roll in helping Parliament to move forward in the way you the people want it to. Feel free to either tweet or email your opinions on what that should be, after all the Liberal Democrats may call a special conference of members to decide and I want to know what you think about that in advance.

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