Sunday 20 May 2007

So what's next...

Well, it's been a busy time since the elections.

The Council runs a good induction training programme. So far, I've been to two general induction sessions, at which new councillors were given an overview of the context in which the Council works, and procedures in Council meetings. The staff are also busy setting us up with IT facilities.

The Liberal Democrats have had two meetings to allocate Lead Councillor, Committee, and External Body appointments. They'll be formalised in the Annual Meeting of the Council on Wednesday 23 May - the meeting (like most formal Council meetings) is open to the public. We've also had a social (thanks to Cllr Steve Saunders), so that councillors can get to know each other socially - that may seem like a trivial jolly to some, but it's better to get to know each other socially, before we get into political debates! Oh, and there was the Lewes Constituency Party meeting, too!

I've also attended a few other meetings in that time. Transition Town Lewes, have had a useful meeting to review our purpose. We're pleased with progress so far, and were glad to have a chance to step back from the daily business in order to discuss more strategic stuff. We've also met a good bunch of people who are going to start up "Transition Groups" - essentially special interest groups who will look at different aspects of our Energy Descent Plan.

Finally, I also attended the AGM of Nevill Residents Association - it was good to get a chance to meet others on the estate who are actively interested in life here. We had a talk by a local Fire Officer, appointed a new management committee, and talked about Landport Bottom (the countryside surrounding the estate), parking(!), travellers, the accounts (healthy), and the new wheelchair accessible roundabout on the playground at Nevill Green.

So, that's 10 meetings in 16 days. Next week, we've another Lib-Dem group meeting on Monday, a photo-session and full Council on Wednesday, and a coach tour of the District on Friday.

[edited to refer correctly to Nevill Resident's Association. Thanks, John!]

Sunday 6 May 2007

I'm in!

Well, the count is complete, and I'm elected!

The turnout was really good in this ward, so if you voted at all (and especially if you voted for me), thank you!

The count was an interesting experience. Watching the ballot papers being opened and counted, it was obvious that Ruth O'Keeffe and Ann de Vecchi would be elected. Early on, it looked like the Tories were a bit behind Doug Taylor and I, but it was really hard to tell with eleven candidates and three votes on each paper.

People were voting for all sorts of unlikely combinations - Tory, Labour and Lib-dem? Lib-dem and UKIP? Lib-dem and Seagulls? Well, I suppose that last was a single-issue protest. Anyway, that made it really hard to guess who'd get the third seat. At one point, I had a tally of 59-58 in favour of Doug, and was wishing I'd not voted for him. Sorry Doug, but you know how it is!

In the end, after a couple of hundred votes were counted, it became more comfortable, and I was able to start thinking about trying to analyse voting patterns. Again, hard because of the pepper-pot voting. Finally, count complete, we were able to think about celebrating with a bottle of Breaky-Bottom, and Sussex strawberries.

Thursday 3 May 2007

It's all over... the counting.

Well, all the leafleting, canvassing, telling, data entry, knocking up and finger crossing is done. And, I'm knackered. The count is tomorrow, and I've no idea whether to look forward to the result at all. The cross party voting in this ward makes it very difficult to predict the outcome.

I'm enormously grateful to all the effort that people have put in to get my colleagues and myself elected. And, having witnessed the hard work that the council officials have put in to opening postal votes (with a new system adding extra work), I'm very grateful to them, too. I know that I've only seen the tip of the iceburg there!