Friday, 7 May 2010


It was a very good night locally if not nationally  for the Conservative Party with them clearing the board in Northamptonshire winning all seven parliamentary seats at the general election. Well done to them. I disagree fundamentally with their politics but the voters have spoken and it would be churlish of us to deny them our congratulations and best wishes.

It was also though an interesting result for the Labour Party, defeated in all six seats but with a vote which held up very strongly. Strongly enough in fact to deny any Liberal Democrat a victory or any give them any big surge in popular support.

Finally though it was a bad night, a very bad night for those of us who either as Independents or as smaller parties tried to gatecrash the Big Party's Party.

Despite lots of good wishes and seemingly a lot of support on the ground, voters clearly returned to the traditional fold when they finally entered the Polling Station.

Having looked at the results of other Independents and small party's locally and nationally I am starting to feel slightly pleased that I held my deposit! it seems few if any others did. Even the celebrity appeal of Esther Rantzen in Luton South did little to help her have her £500 returned.

So what did we all learn? That the country is not ready, at least at a national level for radical politics? or maybe that those of us who propose change to the three party system are wrong to do so?

Or maybe that the national media and the electorate that they aimed their guns at, got exactly what they wanted?

There is no doubt that the Leaders Debates had a huge impact on the outcome of the election, probably leading to the now hung parliament which matched its self promoted prediction, but in reality it also killed off the attempts of the minor candidates to breakthrough. I hold to the view that too many of our voting public who understandably are switched off to the local and national  political scene went to the polls expecting the names of Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown to actually be on the Ballot Paper. And the focus of the national media on the "closest election in years" and their ability to choose which policy areas to cover and which not to cover (what happened to MP's expenses debate?)  no doubt also played a big part in galvanising voters to poll in favour of the LAB/LIBDEM/CON
coalition. So where was the real debate some may ask?

But were we not supposed to have been choosing our constituency MP's? not a Prime Minister or Government? And how does a Labour candidate in Northampton South who runs a non campaign (turning up just one day a week) and missing the BBC and local newspaper hustings still end up in second place in Northampton South with nearly 10,000 votes!

Over the coming days the party's in Westminster will horse trade with each other to determine who will govern, and electoral reform will be high on the agenda and shopping list of the Lib Dems, but it is not only the voting system we need to change. It is also the role that our national media are increasingly  playing in determining the very outcome. Our national Parliament shouldn't continue to be used as a political TV alternative to the "X Factor" or a " Britain's not got Political Talent" beauty contest. The role of the national newspapers, the broadcast TV and Radio media and the publication of national opinion polls without any local knowledge and or weighting thrown in should all be questioned.

I accept my defeat, it was heavy, I feel personaly for those who worked tirelessly to support my challenge, and for those who had the courage and conviction to back me and vote for an alternative to the big three, and I apologise to them here and know publicly for not being able to carry their standard and banner any higher into the battle.

But tomorrow is another day, and the local elections in May 2011 are a different animal, and I have many many miles to walk before I rest.

I would also like to thank you all for reading this blog over the last few weeks, our hits have gone through the roof, keep coming back, I have lots more tales to tell! and we have many more challenges to face and battles to be fought.


  1. Commiserations Tony,
    If you put a Red, Blue or Yellow rosette on a cart-horse, people would vote for it. The flaw of the Westminster system is people think they are voting for a government, when in fact they are voting for local representation. As you say the modern media, and people's celebrity and personality awed outlook concentrates on the 3 personalities of the big party leaders perpetuates this presidential myth.
    This is something that became apparent to me before the election when discussing with people I know giving them reasons they should consider voting independent.

    Continue to work locally for us!!


  2. You have nothing to be ashamed of Tony. You ran an honest and interesting campaign, more so than other candidates - three of whom I didn't even get leaflets from (Greens, Scrap Members Allowances and Kevin Willsher). I hope you will be standing again next time - it might be sooner than we expect.

  3. Tony,

    time to get behind the campaign for reform!


  4. Congratulations & commiserations Tony ... I too believe that the media is to blame for perpetuating the celebrity culture, two-and-a-half horse race that is our general election.

    Electoral reform is now essential.

  5. Twitterwaffle

    "Vote Varnsverry Lib Dem, get Varnsverry Lib Dem. Vote for anyone else, get a Cameron Conservative. Vote for honesty and reform this Thursday"

    Honesty and reform - very highly questionable.

    Principle - absolutely none.

    It should have read;-

    Anything for convenience and whatever suits any given situation. Vote Lib Dem and become a Cameron Conservative.

    But that suits Mr Varnsverry the Liberal Democrat candidate/loser. Anything to promote self.

  6. Commisserations Tony - despite the difference of opinions between myself and your supporters on this blog I congratulate on a hard working campaign.

    I would continue to challenge you on the question you pose as to are people ready yet for radical politics? I think people may be but they have not been offered anything that resembles radical or of any substance either from yourself or other independents. The results clearly show this.

    I think you are also misguided to think that lots of voters expect Clegg, Brown or Cameron to be on the ballot paper. They don't - and from your comments on Clyde Loakes you must see that our constitution and our political system continues to importantly distinguish the importance of parties over individuals.

    I don't think that for one minute did 9,000+ people vote for Clyde - they voted Labour and for what it stands for and for what it has done in our town.

    What I do believe is that someone like yourself standing on an 'independent - vote for me' ticket will always hit a ceiling of something like maximum 2,000 'personal' votes.

    The difference to the extra 20,000 votes you got in 1997 was, like or not, the simple fact that you had 'Labour' next to your name on the voting paper.

    The only alternative is a Martin Bell (anti Tory sleaze) or Richard Taylor (NHS issue in his constituency) who both got into Parliament as 'Independents' but in reality were part of a bigger picture that allowed people to give them their vote.

    The good news for you Tony is at local elections that personal vote can, and obviously does get people like yourself elected.

    My encouragement to you is to keep up your hard work for Castle Ward which you do well.

    Recognise that Parliamentary politics is something completely different that requires something completely different in the campaign. The proof? well look back 24 hours and the results on Thursday night.

    ps - call the attack dogs of Varnsverry. He never was and never will be a threat in national elections.

    pps - how great was it to see Simpsons face. I heard him on BBC Northampton saying the Fib Dem vote was still on the way up. Poor misguided fool.

  7. and should it be that way?

    and do you not contridict yourself by saying that

    "our political system continues to importantly distinguish the importance of parties over individuals."

    and then saying later down "Varnsverry. He never was and never will be a threat in national elections."

    If people vote by party then if the vote had been against the Tories then Clyde Loakes or Paul Varnsverry would have been representing Northampton South for the next 4 years!!

    And that scares me!

  8. should it be that way?

    my view is yes - and that was backed less then 72 hours ago by millions of people across the UK and pertinantly, the people who voted in Northampton South (except 5-6% who voted Independent)

    The only way I feel that people would change if is there was a radical alternative of substance which there has not been in Northampton South.

    Apologies if I didnt make myself clear of Varnverry. My whole point is your colleagues attacking him blog after blog for a number of days leading upto the election was totally misguided - yes criticise his Lib Dem policies but he, as an individual will never be a threat.

    The horse trading of insults that includes something along the lines of Cllr V has blanks in his CV, Binley is a whatever, Clydie Loakes is never here etc is interesting for the 1-2% of political (me included I'm afarid) anoraks in N'pton South but for the other 98% they just dont care - how do I know? Look at the results from 72 hours ago.

    I don't think N'pton South will ever vote for a Lib Dem MP. That would have happended this time if it ever was going to be.

    It might scare you Tony but again my friend, I am afraid you are in the minority by a long way. There is a danger that you have ran your campaign, people voted with their, well, they voted not to back it.

    If it had been close I would be open to further persuasion but as it is, again 72 hours after people casted their votes, you seem to holding tight to your position?

  9. It would not surprise me or any other unfortunately described "attack dogs" (who incidentally never took instruction, orders, bribes or any other inducement or indeed bone from Tony Clarke) if in the course of the next 18 months/2 years, we might see Mr Varnsverry trying to change sides to the Tories. I refuse to use the word 'allegiance', as that characteristic could never be associated with Mr Varnsverry.

    Mr Binley will probably be nearing dotage (bless him) and Mr V will see an opportunity to promote self once again.

    I saw this blog as an opportunity to promote a hard working decent and honest local politician who was in my opinion the best candidate to carry out the wishes of the community without the constraints of the 'whipping' system.

    Only the truth was told where Mr Varnsverry is concerned. His 7000 + plus votes came only because he happened to be attached to a party. If he were to run as an Independent (which would never happen - cowards like packs) his vote would struggle to reach 500.

  10. The people of Northampton once voted several times for an Independent radical who spoke clearly for the shoemakers of the town.Those dangerous,well read political miscreants who were in the forefront of every revolutionary struggle in the 19c.Bradlaugh over the years has been traduced by Liberals who claim him as their own-he never was,he was a radical!
    So we move on -there is I believe a genuine radical tradition,although enfeebled by years of pragmatic politics-the broad church of the Labour Party now knows no bounds-unless of course you happen to be a socialist-in which case!!
    Whatever brand of centralist dishonesty becomes a government next week one thing is for sure-the people of Britain,ordinary working class families will pay dearly.
    There needs to be an urgent coming together of those progressive forces, Northampton Independent Voice,SOS,the Green Party, and those individual local campaigns on single issues to resist the destruction of what small gains we have already made.
    To those still in the Labour Party-even the minimum wage this is still piss-poor is threatened-and what will your doughty parliamentarians do?
    Squabble about who sits on the opposition front bench!
    The memory of Clay Cross once again resonates!

  11. Anonymous - it really is very personal for you isn't it with Mr V.

    Point taken about inducements etc; although you do seem to protest your innocence too much.

    Glad you are with me on the the merits and the reasoning of party versus personality.

    I am with you 100% that Mr V only got his votes cos of his Lib Dem tag. Its the same with Binley, Loakes, Clark (UKIP), Vara (01), Morris (97), Clarke (97, 01, 05) in all the previous General Elections in NS.

    72 hours ago shows us lots of things but in particular anyone standing as in independent in NS struggles to get the votes.

    Whoever they are.

  12. Just missed John Dickies blog as I posted my last entry.

    John - I am with you on this issue. The Liberals have always tried to claim Bradlaugh as their own. He was a radical but sadly nowhere near matched locally since (even by the great Richard Church)

    I would not disagree that a coming together of the great forces of NIV, SOS, Fitzy, Green etc would stregthen their position but as with all my previous comments, it needs a truly radical agenda (which I am still yet to see here and which needs to be so much more than just neighbourhood politics rhetoric) which stands for something more than just 'non party politics'

    It also needs a leader who stands head and shoulders above the current system and there is no one around of that ilk.

    We learnt that 72 hours ago.

  13. just a statement of fact, I have, never have had any attack dogs of any sort. I despise negative campaigning.

    This blog however was the only outlet promoted by any of the candidates which allowed free speech from all sides.

    I pointed out on a number of occasions that if posts were offensive or if candidates found them offensive and informed me then I would take them off.

    This of course includes all the posts from IndepenDENSE which are there for all to see.

    One question though after all that free speech, just where were you coming from IndepenDENSE? what was your agenda and how did you vote?

    Only curious thats all.

  14. Tony - I commend you for keeping the blog open to all and, apart from one time when all the entries seemed to dissapear, you have allowed all to have their views aired. No others did this.

    I hope you don't find any of my entries offensive. I have just spoken my mind. I also accept your view of disliking negative campaigning but would point out that some of your entries criticising Cllr Loakes do border on the negative?

    No agenda from me Tony. I am and always have been a Labour voter. I have used my 'name' on this blog to express my view on indepdency (which I have welcomed being allowed to be published) but have not used my real name, similar to may others who both support and oppose you, to avoid it becoming a battle of personalities.

    Having read through the blogs on this site over the election campaign, I and obviously voters in N'pton South am dissapointed only at the lack of persuasion we have experienced to support the cause of NIV etc.

    As ever though, and despite the polls closing and the people deciding convincingly, I am always open to be convinced.

  15. Indy,
    Please read my comments a little more carefully.I do not include all the great and the good from the independent world-I'm very careful to talk about those with a radical agenda, that is something more than community politics-on that basis every 'Focus' purveyor could claim a radical tag.
    Whatever emerges there will be awesome cuts in public services, and it will require something more than the rhetoric of the Labour Party.
    It will require trade unions,such as are left to act in solidarity one with another,it will require activists within the Labour Party to break with the tradition of electoral politics ,after all the national leadership are only interested in the membership at election time,and it will require collective action to be mobilised time and time again.
    That is not to say however that all I want is direct action and a demo culture.
    Organisationally we need to build blocks of radical activists on local authorities to agitate against the cuts mentality and give backbone to others,the radical core of the Labour Party and even the few remaining social democrats in the Lib-Dems who are not afraid to put principle before expediency!
    A Lib-Dem with the courage even of Labouchere would be a welcome change.

  16. IndepenDENSE

    On a personal level Mr Varnsverry is completely insignificant in my life, however it may seem to you but I truly despise insincere people who use others.

    The motives and intentions for political participation by Mr Varnsverry fall wholeheartedly into the hollow, artificial and self serving category. If ever there was an individual who fully exploits his position, the above named is he. This belief is held by a growing number of Northampton people and every opportunity I get to highlight the feigned sincerity will be taken with both hands.

    My reasons for not using my name would be largely along the same line as yours but if push came to shove I would not be backward in coming forward, - as it were.

    Again, one has to commend Tony Clarke for allowing us the space to have discourse - he was and is the only candidate to have done so. I thank him for that and wish him well in his future endeavours.

    I don't intend to make anymore comment but I will go on my merry little way and along that road I shall try to help others where I can without feeling need for self gratification, reward or plaudits

  17. Starting with your original post, there are 7 seats in the shire county now.

    Perhaps the resilience of the Labour vote was the hard work put in by Anjona, Winston and the others for the years since 2005 and only interrupted by recent events.

  18. Thanks for the amend Dave, even I had forgot that one, and you have worked hard as well but I don't buy that the work of a few was the reason nearly 10,000 people voted for a candidate who couldn't be bothered to fight the seat and let the party down at every turn and public meeting.

    It was the effect of 4 weeks blanket coverage and brainwashing by the media as to there only being three partys in the race and the lack of any focus on the local representative role of our candidates and would be MP's

  19. Just for the record ~ to Anonymous who said about Mr Varnsverry switching to the Tories in the next 18 months/2 years... I can assure him (take that to be a good or bad thing) that Paul is NOT the type of guy who'd chop and change parties like that.

    Like him or not, he is a Liberal through and through, and the chance of him changing parties is as likely as Northampton South actually getting a decent Labour PPC... (they DID have one; and there ARE ones there... just not paper ones!!!)

    The one who is more likely to change parties as often as he changes underwear is Councillor Meredith!




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