Friday, 7 May 2010

A very disappointing result

The result for the St Austell and Newquay Constituency was announced in the very early hours of this morning, at about 6.10am. The seat was won by the Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Gilbert, while I polled a total of 2,007 votes (4.2% of those cast). I came fourth, ahead of the UKIP and BNP candidates.

I polled well throughout the Parish of St Enoder, which I represent on Cornwall Council, as well as St Dennis, no doubt due to my ongoing work against the proposed incinerator.

Since then, I have had a little sleep. I spent the afternoon out with my wife and I am now in a position to comment on the result.

The laws of political spin instruct me to point out that my result is the best General Election result achieved by an MK candidate, as we have never before polled over two thousand votes in such a contest.

But to be brutally honest, I am extremely disappointed with the result. I was pretty gutted last night.

I fought a very positive campaign, focussing on a range of important political issues and my track record as a local councillor and a campaigner for Cornwall. Obviously, I did not expect to win. But during the campaign, the feedback was truly excellent and even my opponents commented on the number of people who were planning to vote for MK. There was also a widespread expectation among my opponents and political commentators that MK could achieve a very creditable third place.

Sadly, this was not to be. My vote was squeezed by a concerted “MK vote is a wasted vote” campaign by the Lib Dems and I can only speculate that the focus on the three main party leaders and the race to be Prime Minister also lead many people to revert to their traditional voting patterns at the last minute.

It is clear that MK votes were squeezed throughout Cornwall, which shows we still have a major credibility issue with voters in parliamentary elections. Many people vote for MK candidates in local elections, but fail to support us in General Elections because they believe we cannot win.

This is an issue of strategy that we will need to address as a Party in the coming weeks and months as we look to continue our campaigns for a better deal for Cornwall.

At this point, I would like to thank everyone who helped with the campaign and the 2,007 people who backed me with their votes. I am most grateful for your support.


AngieW said...

We were also disappointed by the result. I think ultimately most people thought their vote would be wasted if they did not go for Lib Dem or Tory. Another comment I heard was that if you were to win, we would lose a brilliant councillor!

MawKernewek said...

Thanks for standing. An MK vote is not a wasted vote.

Here's what I had to say (before the election):

I'm no longer convinced that the Liberal Democrats are as progressive as many people believe them to be. They may have spoken out against tuition fees, civil liberties issues, Trident and the war in Iraq but I perceive them to have drifted rightwards in the last few years. They could very well end up propping up a Conservative administration. What the Liberal Democrats will do in the event of a hung parliament will depend on their assessment of what's best for the Liberal Democrats politically, not the will of the electorate.

However I have some differences with Labour from a libertarian standpoint, freedom of speech particularly and a number of other issues.

I would like to see a Mebyon Kernow MP (or six!), since only they would be guaranteed to speak up for Cornwall in Parliament first and foremost, rather than having their eye on potential coalition deals.

Also, although I don't agree with all their policies, it would be great to have one or two Green MPs since the environment is a bigger issue than it has been in this election campaign.

Since we cannot know what coalition deals will be worked out, I would suggest you vote for whoever matches your personal views, irrespective of whether that party has a realistic chance of forming a government.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dick,

Please try not to take the election result to much to heart.

Yes achieving 2000+ votes is disappointing-but it is an important step on what could be a fruitful journey.

I am a NZ Maori living in Cornwall and can draw direct comparisons between my people's struggle for political independence and self governance to that of Mebyon Kernow and indeed the Cornish people themselves.

I believe that over the next 20 years Mebyon Kernow will become a force for Cornwall.

Our people used the legislation available to gain representation within Parliament and at the same time due to great leadership sought to development of Educational programmes that become compulsory in all schools as well as on the ground activities which promoted real change to our society.

I would like to offer my support for the future and at the very least my best wishes.

Thomas Kohi

Anonymous said...

The biggest problems facing Cornwall at the moment are national - uncontrolled imigration, the economy, Afghanistan, loss of power to Europe etc.

If MK is to seek representation at Westminster, it will need to speak up on such national issues or just hope they go away. Otherwise it will be punished, as it has been.

Politics is such a harsh business....

MawKernewek said...

We'll have to wait until the coalition talks finish then see where the dust settles. If we do get a Tory-LibDem coalition, then Cornish voters will be left wondering who they can vote for that isn't one way or another the Tories.

Loic said...

It was a fantastic result given the 'squeeze' from what appears to be a tactical vote. Try not to sound too disappointed as many helped you and are willing to help you again.

eyanharve said...

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- St Austell

Charlotte Evans said...

In response to Andy Phillips:
The biggest problem facing Cornwall is that we do not have the political agency to tackle important issues on our own terms and from a more informed Cornish perspective; MK offers this at its core.
With regard the notion of wasted votes:
Your vote is never wasted if you used it to back who you genuinly wanted to win!
Dick, and all MK candidates! You can be sure that people who voted for you really did support you! The westminster parties can not be so sure if their voters merely hated them least!