Monday, 9 May 2011


I could say that:

"it is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat"

But that would be neither magnanimous nor would it cover the horrible feeling that defeat still brings no matter how difficult I knew the fight to be

I could instead wrap myself up in my election win averages, i.e. played 9 - won 6 - lost 3, but again that wouldn't be totally accurate as you need to split the elections pre and post transfer! i.e. played 5 for the Labour Party won 4 - lost 1 and played 4 as an Independent and Won 2 - Lost 2

I could continue with the Roosevelt theme as above and say to my detractors and those who talk a good election but never fight one that:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat"
But brave words and emotive quotations won't change a single vote in my favour; the election will still be lost and the Borough Council chamber still inaccessible to me for four years.

Perhaps its best then to just say well done to the victors? After all I was really genuinely pleased to see my good friend Aziz Rahman and his wife elected to the Council Aziz having topped the poll and his wife winning very unexpectedly in Trinity against Andrew Simpson, and other Labour victory's for friends like Gareth Eales were also very pleasing. Comments from others that I should now "Come home to Labour" or at take the Labour whip on the County are perhaps best left alone before the Region finds out about them and ex communicates more members.

So in a way all of the above comments and quotes to a degree have some truth to them but it still leaves me asking myself so many more questions than I have answers for as to where do we go from here?

For the record I can now say what I thought would happen and the predictions I made to those closest to me.

I predicted a strong Labour recovery, I had them down for 13 seats and they got 15. I also believed privately that if their swing was big enough then it would do for us in Castle Ward and that they would take the 3 seats (although of course I hoped we would hang on) I predicted along with everyone else a collapse in the Lib Dem vote, but no where near the size it was I had them down to around the 9-10 mark with the Tories gaining but not enough to form an administration, but I was wrong on that one. A lot of the Lib Dem candidates I thought would go, went but not always to the victors I had in mind, and I also of course hoped and wished for the record number of Independent candidates to be elected or do well and to a point they did do well if not get elected. They all campaigned and polled well but came up short when it turned into total votes at the count.

Without a doubt one of the biggest disappointments for me were the very high number of "Block Votes" where 3 votes were recorded for the Labour/ Lib Dem/Tory in Castle Ward, because myself and Malcolm could never feature in them we found ourselves several hundred behind before we had a chance to catch up on the split votes, and even then Party loyalty cancelled a lot of gains out. It is soul destroying having put so much effort in to sometimes be left wondering if votes are still just cast en masse without a thought to the candidates standing. With less than 30%v bothering in the first place it is even more difficult to get past any three party loyalty ticket

Another crazy caper which must have cost the Lib Dem's dearly across the town was the massive effort they put into Castle Ward even though they finished 5th there in 2009. We now have it on good authority that this was an agreed tactic to make sure they got rid of myself and Malcolm for being thorns in their side over the last 4 years. I should grateful for the compliment, but I can't help but think it cost both vote for me and Malcolm in Castle Ward but also probably cost the Lib Dem's a couple of seats they could have saved elsewhere (i.e. Trinity?) if they had used their resources more wisely.

Will the public ever embrace Indeopendents in large enough numbers to make wins regular? Can you only really be succesful as an Independent by not being Independent and forming a new group of "Local Community Activists" under a single banner? Who knows, I would as always value your thoughts.

Anyway on to the election awards. My award for the most unscrupulous campaigning goes to the Lib Dem candidates in Castle Ward who sent an unforgivable letter out to council tenants on the eve of Poll without a Party logo on "official" looking paper signed by Cllr Jane Hollis warning tenants that unless they voted for the three Lib Dem candidates then the Tory's where going to sell off their council homes! One elderly disabled man was in tears when we visited him that night convinced that only a vote for the Lib Dem's would keep him in his home. It was full of the old "Its a two horse race here" this time they told residents the two horse race was between the Lib Dem's and The Tories who finished 5th and 3rd in Castle Ward respectively in 2009

My award for the most pointless and puerile comments came from Les Marriot who fought the Semilong seat for Labour against the Independent candidate Steven Richards. So despite me not even standing for election there he still managed to vent his pipe by attacking me as "Cllr Independent" saying I was only good at making a noise and getting myself in the press and then he attacked me again by informing the voters of Semilong that "Unlike Cllr Independent" he "won't be swanning off down to London" We can only think that was referring to the time that I was one of his parties MP's at Westminster? But what a strange comment.

The stark truth however is that the election result was a bad one for Independents and yet they all fought very hard and they deserved far more recognition than they got in the local media. Those who we printed material for Graham Walker, Steven Richards and Derek Jones mad sterling efforts in their first ever campaigns and I hope they wont lose too much heart at the results. Malcolm Mildren and his partner Maureen were both a rock for me in Castle Ward and as well as being very grateful for their support I would also thank them for their humour, we really did have a fun time!

I would of course also thank John and Marie Dickie, John for being our agent and Marie for putting up with John I would also single out Ann and the gang in Spring Boroughs Peter Witt in Cyril Street and Terry and many others for helping out with deliveries. I also of course thank my family for putting up with me.

Those last two paragraphs should of course have been said as part of a small speech at the count. But candidates, even winning candidates were denied the opportunity to do so in what was a very lack lustre count. No one at the count could really hear what was happening and it was also incredibly difficult to see what was happening and how the votes were accumulating. Gone it seems are the days when the rolls of 50 votes were put in a rack so you could actually see who was winning!

In fact having waited until the next day for the vote to be begin it was all a bit of an anti climax, and as a candidate I felt I was just in the way really, and perhaps that's where we are all headed elected or not? Perhaps the Council will do away with elections and Cllrs and just set up sounding boards to provide an opinion of the management boards intentions? perhaps being a Cllr or not or being elected or not is now immaterial? but if it is then I would like to know why it stings so much not be part of it.

So now you have it, my election ramble for you to digest and add to, and once again unlike other sites censorship will only be applied to either the vulgar and unfair.

I come near to a conclusion by sending my sincere congratulations to the victors Aziz Rahman, Winston Strachan and Danielle Stone. Good luck to you all in representing the people of Castle Ward on the Borough Council, I will of course be monitoring your progress from my position of County Cllr for Castle Ward, but I offer you cooperation in the best interests of the people we both serve and hope we can all bring some credit back to a Local Government system bruised by the electoral over ambition and administrative arrogance of the Liberal Democrats over the last four years.

I also offer congratulations to David Palethorpe and his Tory Group, I shall enjoy watching from the sidelines as another Tony newly elected to the Council in the administrations fold continues to promote the record of Independent thought and action in the Town Hall that I hope myself and Malcolm were reknown for.....

My last act this morning in the Town Hall was set my Council email to "Out of Office" It read "

Sorry but I am out of office!! At least until the next election in 2015. Can I thank all those 740 brave souls who voted for an independent candidate on May 5th 2011 and apologise to you that I was not successful in holding my seat. If you need to reach me on a personal basis my email address is or I am still in action over the road at County Hall as the Independent County Cllr for Castle Ward


  1. Tony
    Sorry that you lost your seat, the swing to the Tories was more than most people expected.
    I'm not sure the "new" Tony will be permitted by his team masters to follow an independent line, although they do have a big enough majority to allow some flexibility.

  2. Voters seem to vote on a party ticket, not for individuals.
    The problem that "Independents" need to overcome is that they don't have a clear identity, unless they are a charismatic local personality with a huge personal following.
    But generally the turnout seems to have been higher than previously, so thats good.
    Chin up, keep batting.

  3. Tony
    As I finish reading your latest blog I am touched by your dignity and poise. Standing as an independent against the three main parties is always going to be a tough job. One which I feel you have done with great conviction and purpose.
    Alas I felt that all the independent candidates were always going to struggle in this election. As we have seen from the ballot box it looks like people were voting more about the disappointing display of the Lib Dems in the so called coalition government then on local issues. It seems to me that all the Labour voters who traded Labour for Lib Dem in the previous election simply came back to Labour at the expense of the Lib Dems.
    As to your comments about whether the public could ever embrace Independents in large enough numbers to make a change, all I can say to that is I believe regardless of how futile it looks to win against the big three, there must always be people like yourself who stand up and offer a different choice, another way forward. Without Independent Candidates I think we might as well all dress in brown and start bleating like sheep. With the Main three looking more and more like each other these days I urge all Independent Candidates to rise from the ashes like the phoenix and look to the future.
    I see also from your blog that you like to use quotations from some of the great world leaders and thinkers in our history. We can learn so much from what we see in the past and I hope that when the dust settles you too will be able to look back on this day and see a new way forward.
    Now for just a bit of fun I am going to offer you some quotes from a woman whose very name may make you go running and screaming from your computer, but somehow with the conservatives winning Northampton it seems only fitting that we should use these quotes to look to the future and plan for the revolution.

    “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
    Margaret Thatcher

    And my personal favourite and one I feel Tony you can use in the coming years as you plan your comeback

    “I'm extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end. “
    Margaret Thatcher

    Tony I know there are a lot of residents who would like to say thank you for being an excellent Borough councillor and a thorn in the side of the establishment.

    Thank you.

  4. One of the Indys was daft enough to run with a slogan "better to light a candle than curse the darkness", and maybe a little more illumination and a good deal less mudslinging might have helped your cause.
    In times of trouble people run to the rock, they don't like shifting sands, so set out your policies and beliefs simply and clearly, and then, like Honi, draw a circle round them and stand within that circle.

  5. Castle Ward Mafia10 May 2011 at 10:27

    Hard lines Tony - always a good time to learn lessons though. From the hottest fires comes the strongest steel and all that.

    While it feels a little out of place reading an FDR quote on a failed local candidates blog good for you coming out and sharing your thoughts.

    I am interested in who was asking you to 'come home to Labour'? The only other thing I would pick you up on is that the predictions you shared with your family are not the same ones you shared on this blog (you said in an earlier blog that you believed the Independents would hold the swing of power)

    As a resident of Castle Ward I was impressed by the approach of Strachan and Aziz on the doorstep more than the numerous leaflets that came through the door (only saw two Lib Dem ones but that was two too much)

    Independent success in the future? Who knows? My view is that if this is to happen we need more than a ranting marker trader, a trade union rep threatening to go to prison and candidates who have not done the rounds of the political parties before settling for independents.

  6. The three Castle Ward Councillors worked hard and deserved to win. I think Labour will now take the County seat also. I think you should go back into the tent tony.

  7. Why would Labour want Mr Clarke back 'in the tent'?

    I would put my mortgage on them at HQ doing all they can not to have Tony back.

  8. My friend,
    Politically I may not always agree with you, and sometimes I have had to question what I have seen; but then that is not different with anyone in politics...

    Having said that, you always struck me as an honest; hard working; loyal councillor who had the best interests of those you worked for.

    If what John/Maureen said is true, which I shall tell you later; then I am shocked beyond belief and will certainly rethink everything.

    Thank you, as always; for putting our friendship first.


  9. Good to hear from you Tony.

    Putting all the romanticism aside (Miss A Nobody made fill up) is their an elected role for Indepedents in the future or will the downward curve from 2010 continue?

  10. IndepenDENSE, I hope you aren't going to get me into any trouble here!

    Have to slightly agree with your question, I am really not sure now just what will happen locally... I mean even I thought the Lib Dems would lose, but not by that many!

    I think Tony can (and does) make a good opposition councillor, but with things the way they are nationally; people like Tony might not be as effective as they usually are.

    But hey what do I know?




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