I know the election was over two months ago now, but something has been on my mind. Before I begin, and for those who do not know, I was beaten into 2nd place by just 18 votes!
It was a defeat, but what a glorious defeat. Actually, the margin made me extremely happy and filled me with hope that it might motivate the winner to up his game and do more for Brislington in the next year. If this happens, then Brislington is the real winner.
Click to enlarge the photo:
The Bristol Elections
Normally, after a council election, the dust settles and our councillors go back to being as good or bad as they would normally be, and then two years later the other half of the the council is elected. However, this time, the entire council will be up for election in May 2016. Added to this, we will also be able to vote for the new City of Bristol Mayor and for the new Police Crime Commissioner in Avon and Somerset. With all these elections at once, some people are dubbing it, “The Bristol Elections.”
I am glad that we can have this election in 2016 when there are no national issues such as the NHS, austerity or border controls to distort the voting. This election is going to be about our city alone – the challenges it faces, the opportunities, transport problems, infrastructure, and the areas of deprivation, the real issues that effect you and those elected to do what they can to help make your life better.
We could squabble between us as vicious and negatively as it has been, but what we really need is something like putting together the England Team. We want them to put rivalries aside for the good of the city and the victory that can be had. Maybe Bristol could step forward next May and set a better example of how politics should be done? We might even show Westminster a thing or two while doing it.
This brings me to the purpose of this blog post, what have I learnt from this experience and how will I use it for next year? The main two things that I have felt and seen in this election, are the positive and negative sides of politics.
Yes, positive politics does exist, but first, some of the negatives…
The Body Anti-Politic
Before we talk about negative politicians (local politics should be about individuals and not parties), we should address the broader, negative view of politics in general.
While I was helping Theodora Clarke, the Conservative candidate for Bristol East, we met a lot of people. They held a wide range of views, but one man in particular embodied pure negative political nihilism. He decided to use his size and strength to push the female students helping Theo around. As soon as I appeared, he turned his aggression on me and challenged me to a fight, right there and then.
This man was not anti-Conservative (though I’ve had my fair share of them), he was anti-politics in general. I stood there and listened to him while he spouted cross party slander using the usual clichés – “the 1% this”, “the tax avoiding backers that” and so on. He ranted on for quite a while!
He is a product of hate, but who is at fault for creating people like him?
A New Generation of Leaders
This brings me to another story, this time about the night of the election itself. The count was a late one and most of the people there, those not doing the counting, were candidates, representatives and helpers of all persuasions waiting to see how their people did.
At one stage, I found myself talking to a Conservative student, two Labour people I’d never met before, Abdul Malik of the Liberal Democrats, an opponent in my election called Simon Rogers, and two UKippers. We got on well and spent the night firing across ideas about Bristol, talking about the election, and about our lives in general.
However, behind us, were two people from the older generation who will remain nameless. While we were trying to be positive, the old dinosaurs were stuck in tribal mode, slinging insults at a distance, using Thatcher as a swear word and the usual bullshit. It actually brought all of us talking closer, even those from the same party, because these two represented the old politics of negativity, insults and division, we all had one thing in common, we all disliked politicians like them!
Sure, we all have politicians and people in general we dislike or have had bad experiences with, but maybe this represents the end of the old and the rising of a new generation? It has nothing to do with one party replacing another, but has everything to do with new, forward looking, positive people of all backgrounds and ideologies coming together, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong is that is exactly how it should be, different perspectives making others consider all the angles, not separate and oppose everything just because someone else came up with it
My Promise to Stay Positive
So here is my promise to you, and more so to myself – my politics will be a negative free zone and if I manage to win or not, I will stay positive, laws of attraction and all that!
If I were to win by running their kind of campaign, one filled with me telling people how awful my opponents and their parties are, then negativity is all I will have to talk about, and no-one likes a whinger (enough could be said with that alone)
I would rather show and prove my way forward to let people make up their own minds
As Sir John major said to me ~ Stand for what you believe in, don’t stand for what you are against
How great would that be? if people had the difficult choice between two people they liked, instead of one they disliked more than the other?
I am here to compete, and in politics its about being a better person. I’ll leave the sabotage to those who want to win at any cost, because lets face it, the reason to want to sabotage is fear, why else would they focus their efforts in tripping me up? so if I have opponents and they fear me, all I would have to do is win their respect, which means I will only need to concentrate on one thing . . . earning it!
- I promise not to waste my time speaking ill of my opponents.
- I promise to keep positive about Bristol and work with my colleagues on the council.
- I promise to use my efforts to find answers for problems, and not problems for answers
- I promise that I want to set the best example
I cross both my fingers for good luck!
So in the future, not too many years from now, when older, wiser and hopefully be the type of man I want to be, I can answer true and honest . . . . why I should be Mayor of Bristol.