Our President Colin Bex and Secretary-General David Robins were in Bristol at the weekend to help our candidate for the Eastville Ward, Nick Xylas, with his campaign there. All three are shown hereat an impromptu stall set up in Eastville Park.
Nick unexpectedly had the chance to move to a new flat that same weekend, leaving him, equally unexpectedly, to rely on others to do much of the leafleting. Fortunately, Nick had the process well-organised, with lists of addresses prepared for each polling district. A surprising number of addresses were not on the electoral register at all, which may be down simply to folk moving house or possibly to the recent changeover to individual rather than household registration, which may have cost the unwary their right to vote this time round. As we keep saying, the Victorians thought through electoral law very carefully and it’s suffered heavily from ignorant meddling over the past two decades, postal vote fraud on an industrial scale being the worst consequence revealed so far. And what else is currently kept under wraps? No wonder some question what, in the absence of real reform, is the point in voting.
Bad weather didn’t help us and it now seems highly unlikely that full coverage of the ward will be achieved ahead of polling day tomorrow. The best we can hope for is that by targeting key locations within the ward we do our bit to ensure that news will pass around by word of mouth or electronic media. Nick takes the long-term view that 2016 is primarily about learning how best to do a local election campaign, with the idea already in mind that 2020 and the run-up to it offer the opportunity to do the thing really well. One suggestion is a regular ward newsletter – the Eastville Wyvern perhaps?
This is the first time that voters at a local election anywhere have had a Wessex Regionalist on the ballot paper, so we as much as they can make our mark. Nick is the first WR candidate to contest a seat wholly located in historic Gloucestershire (the Wansdyke Parliamentary constituency, contested in 1983, included some Gloucestershire wards but was predominantly in Somerset). With this election therefore we can claim to have raised our standard in every one of our eight historic shires. And – who knows? – we may yet be pleasantly surprised when the results are declared on Sunday.