Walking ahead of my parents, sister and girlfriend towards the Town Hall on the night of the count, was a very odd feeling. A degree in politics, seven years as a school governor, six as a magistrate, had sold my stable family businesses, hours of walking, and thousands upon thousands of leaflets, committing to this direction, was all for a decision that was now completely past any control and in the hands of others. Anyone who has stood in an election will be very familiar with this feeling whether the seats are safe or not. There is always the niggling ‘what if it was not enough’. I thought of Schrodingers cat.
We were met with friendly faces all wearing blue rosettes, exchanged pleasantries with those from some colours, blankly ignored others wearing certain colours, while we were all taking samples from the all important boxes. I am as ever and will always be so grateful for the strength and support of my other ward Councillors Ken and David- who I at times forgot was also standing for reelection!- their reassurance, calm and composure. Other friends with their words of support and concern helped immensely. Agent Alex Hall’s directing gave us all something to do and with the data slowly coming in, the picture becoming more and more clearer, we all began to relax.
Come Friday morning we resumed the count. Armed with Alex’s complied numbers we knew roughly that the seats were all ours. While taking a moment outside the main hall, I saw the one of the other candidates being interviewed by the Sutton Local. “We believe the results are too close to call and are confident of a good result, hopefully we will see the first UKIP Councillor in Sutton..’ he caught my eye before telling the interviewer he would rather continue away from where people would overhear. I smiled and offered to leave the hallway. Catching the interviewer after I offered “it really isn’t going to be that close” “How do you know?” He asked. “I’m the other candidate”.
The initial candidates’ announcement was a very special moment. The returning officer gathered all the candidates and their agents in a corner and slowly read out the results. David and I beamed at each other and shook hands with each other and then everyone else. I hugged my family, Ken, others came over, others smiled and nodded from across the room, the whole association it felt came together to share this moment of collective achievement and happiness for us all. The counting staff looked on from their seats at the five of us hugging, smiling, relieved. David’s wife Kay shed a few tears, my dad had something in his eye. I realised how much they had been working for this moment too, how much it meant to them, their own anxieties and their sense of pride in what we had all sacrificed being worth it.