Friday 11 April 2014
Independents' Day: May 22nd
Six weeks to go. 10 signatures on each of our 2 application forms and now Harpenden Independent Partnership are Standing For The District Council. It needed caps. The alarming discovery we've made as we've been going round collecting said signatures, is the number of people who'd like to sign our forms but are scared to do so in case they get into trouble with certain members of the local Tory Party.
Seriously. First time we laughed it off. After that, we really started sucking in our breath. Das blauen Reitstiefel is alive and well. Apparently. It appalls me that in this age of so-called democracy and freedom of choice, there are people running ''scared'' of some small group of petty-minded bullies with their own agenda who want to keep Harpenden 100% Tory so they can get their own way.
Previously, this has not been a problem for them: the other 2 main political groups regard Tory domination of my town as a fait accompli and don't bother to contest it with any vigour. Harpenden is wittily referred to as ''our friends in the North''. I have tried over the years I've campaigned to get the LibDems and Labour interested. They aren't. Cannot believe their mutual short-sightedness. Nor their claim of 'no money to campaign in Harpenden'. We are self-funding and are managing. There are 8 seats on the District Council occupied by Harpenden councillors and the other parties shrug and look away? Thus the genesis of an Independent group.
Our lovely candidates are standing in two wards: East and North. North is my ward and the local incumbent, Affable Tory Bloke, is standing again. He is as his name suggests. Pleasant enough, but does little. And blends into the background so well that another councillor we know has admitted that he's sat on the same committee as ATB for ages and he still isn't sure who he is.
We now have badges and lanyards (see pic), very useful on the doorstep as Jehovah's Witnesses don't tend to wear them. Also useful when shopping in Sainsbury's for starting conversations and making ourselves known. And we are certainly getting known. I was walking to the station the other morning to catch the London train when a car drew alongside, a woman leaned out and shouted: 'I'm voting for you!' Most gratifying.
Another high point was reached when the local secretary of a mainstream political party, not standing this time round, asked for official permission to vote for us. And got it. Even more fun was had when I and my colleagues turned up to the Annual General Toryfest of our local town council fully badged and lanyarded. The list of councillors who completely blanked me was ... interesting.
So what are our chances? In one ward, East, they are pretty high. In my ward, so-so. It depends upon the weather, and if those who said they'd vote for us turn out on the day. However IF the status quo is maintained by all the other political groups, and we get just one Independent elected, we could end up holding the balance on the District Council. Which might just make those councillors who blanked me, and have spent the past six years opposing us and defying the wishes of the local community take a step back, although I'm not holding my breath.
See you at the count.