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.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


And the very  last one!!! An A5 eve of poll delivered to as much as the Constituency as we could in the last two days of the election. John asked for a meerkat on the leaflets and I gave in!! Hope you have enjoyed our printed material, we have tried to be different and entertain as well as inform. Tony

THIRD LEAFLET (royal mail delivery)

This has finaly reached all areas today! It is an A3 delivered by the Royal Mail between Tuesday 20th April and today 5th May. My own volunteer leafleters were slightly quicker. And to think I am a CWU member!

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Not since Roy Hattersley was "empty chaired" by the "Have I got news for You" TV show and replaced with a tub of lard has the  Labour Party managed such an embarrassing no show as was witnessed on Friday in Northampton when Clyde "I am up for the fight" Loakes failed to show up for two hustings meetings in the same day. In fact of all the hustings that took place in the campaign he managed to attend only one, which was held on one of the "Tuesdays" (he had previously sent a  letter to local Labour campaigners informing them that he would only be in town once a week during the election) which he kindly donated to the campaign. But to miss what was Northampton's "Super Friday" of the campaign was completely unforgivable.

First of all he missed the opportunity to share a 40 minute live on air question time on local BBC radio Northampton at lunchtime, leaving the Tory and Lib Dem candidates hogging the microphone for themselves (some of us lesser mortals in the eyes of the BBC only got to participate in the last 20 minutes of the programme and some only got a pre recorded message!) I tried unsuccesfully to point out to the BBC that I was running in second place in the overall campaign and would gladly fill the empty chair, but the BBC's finest in a higher place had deemed this not the way the BBC does things!!

Then later in the evening he was more visibly "empty chaired" at the local newspaper the 'Chronicle and Echo's BIG DEBATE' when the 100+ audience looked on aghast as the chair and assistant editor Richard Edmondson read out a one line email from the hapless Loakes which simply said "I will not be able to attend the debate"

What in the name of Nye Bevan is going on in the Labour Party!!! After my expulsion they promised members that they would revitalise the local party, and their show piece candidate was to bring "drive and enthusiasm" to local campaigning!

It was an own goal of massive proportions, in fact it was a hatrick of own goals if you add the two no shows on Friday to his earlier "paper candidate" gaffe when he told the press he was only in the contest for the experience.  What experience he has got from only visiting the contest one day a week for a few hours, and missing key debates is anyone guess, but if the Labour Party had any decency it would apologise to the electorate now and take action against the candidate.

When I entered this contest as an Independent I always expected to sway a number of Labour voters to my cause, but Clyde has done more than I could ever have done to boost those numbers, it was clear to me today on the streets of Far Cotton that even Labour's faithful have now given up on their man.

And what a good debate he missed, I admit I had a bit of the devil in me on Friday night and felt sparky throughout the event, but I was humbled by the Chrons verdict on Saturday which said

"The night's biggest winner with the audience was undoubtedly Tony Clarke - the former Labour diehard turned Independent campaigner. Clarke has set out his campaign on the premise of representing the people of Northampton rather than a political party's chief whip. He is a local man who says he knows what local people want and you instinctively believe him when he says he will try to do his best for the town"

The newspaper carried out a snap poll at the end of the night and  was pleased again that the majority of the audience thought I had "performed the best overall" and with the comments given to the Chron from those attending

"Tony Clarke was the only one who didn't say anything negative about the other candidates" Dee Mamera, New Duston

"It's opened my eyes and I'll probably look at somebody else now, like the Independents to see what they can do for Northampton. I liked Tony Clarke. I didn't know anything about him before, but from his performance, I would say he was the best." Simon Glassman St James

But what did they think to Clyde's no show? I guess we will only truly know on Thursday, but if any Labour voters out there want to know where they should now place their vote on polling day to prevent a Tory winning the seat, then I hope they will consider supporting my campaign for Parliament.

For a start I promise I will turn up!




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