So the votes have been counted, and despite thousands of pounds spent on promoting the middle class vanity project ‘Independents for Bristol’ – the ‘party that’s not a party’ set up by a bunch of Mayor George Ferguson’s rich chums on the grounds that the City Council isn’t stuffed with enough self-regarding toffs or laptoperati – IfB only managed to win a single seat. And that was Kingsweston, won by the all-but-in-name Lib Dem Jason Budd!
Now that Labour is the biggest party in Shitty Hall with 28 councillors, George has been making overtures to them to get them inside his fast-sinking administration. Indeed, it is of note that instead of palling up with the single successful Indy Redpants candidate and offering Budd a place in his Cabinet, George has now turned his head to attracting in some Labour faces, having pointedly said:
I very much hope we can achieve a four-party cabinet, because I think it’s in Bristol’s interests and I also think it’s in the parties’ interests.
Seeing as he already has the Lib Dems, Tories and Green Party represented in his fake ‘rainbow coalition’ Cabinet of cuts-makers, it’s a rather harsh snub for the hard-working finance directors, self-facilitating media nodes and political anoraks who so tirelessly canvassed as proxies on his behalf.
The failure of the Indy Redpants to fire the imagination of Bristolians might have something to do with their insufferably middle class smugness, and their barely credible claims to be representing a change in city politics.
Cast your mind back ten years to the only-half-serious Bristolian Party – born of an earlier version of this very scandal sheet. It put up twelve candidates across Bristol, including a couple – for comedy value – in Clifton and Clifton East, on a ticket of “reclaiming our city back from the corporate developers”.
In the four wards contested by both the Bristolian Party in 2003 and IfB in 2013, the Bristolian candidate placed higher than the IfB in all but one (Clifton, unsurprisingly). The Bristolian candidate beat the IfB candidate in votes and vote share in two wards – trouncing IfB in both Ashley and Easton. In Lawrence Hill the Bristolian candidate polled just twelve votes fewer than IfB. And in all the jointly-contested wards, the Bristolian Party faced a higher proportion of voter turn-out than the IfB.
So what does that say about the ‘success’ of Fergo’s ‘independent’ outriders of the Indy Redpants, their ability to inspire voters, or their willingness to address issues on the doorstep?
That they were roundly outperformed by a bunch of chancers united by contempt for the well-heeled political classes in Bristol that the IfB so clearly seeks to represent?
Bristolian working class heroes couldn’t even outpoll IfB in impoverished Lawrence Hill. Says it all really…
What have the events of 10 years ago got to do with anything? The fact is that Labour increased their share and Ferguson is reflecting that by trying to bring them on board. Imagine how you’d be shrieking if he disregarded their electoral gains and didn’t invite them.
The lack of success for independents shows that being independent is not enough of itself. The candidates need to offer something more. I’m sure they will be taking the lessons on board and planning for next time. They did have a significant impact on the election in terms of taking votes away from other candidates who might have expected to prevail otherwise. This can be seen from the results in Bishopston, Clifton and Horfield.
The anarchists said they were going to contest some of the wards this time round but their promises didn’t materialise. There were no Bristolian candidates. The electorate has spoken and its time for the losers, and the people without the guts to even stand for election, to stop whinging.
Get theeself a whore, Horfiled Harry, you’re taking yourself and the Bristolian far too seriously.
As for your invaluable gem of advice to phony independents that they “need to offer something more”, I have only this to say: a manifesto stating what they’re for might be a good place to start.
Agreed, although I think Ferguson managed to get himself elected without a manifesto. Maybe it’s not so much a list of promises that’s needed so much as a sense of what the candidate stands for in the broad sense, and whether we like them as a personality.
If I find the Bristolian making serious points then I shall feel free to reply in the same vein, but I won’t be taking advantage of the misfortune of any sex workers.
Being able to vote Bristolian in Clifton ten years ago was the only pleasurable voting choice ever presented to me in 30 years of local and national elections.