Local election result…


Well, the results are in, and as expected, I failed to make the grade.  Indeed, I was the bottom of the pile.  However, it wasn’t all bad news, and given it was entirely an experiment, there are some conclusions that can perhaps be drawn.

My campaigning was limited to two sources:

  1. the 150 word summary statement provided to the Electoral Commission.  As said, my biggest mistake was omitting to put any links to the website.  I note that the winning candidates of at least three of the six wards had either a website or Facebook page, so clearly this mechanism for getting much more information across increases your opportunities remarkably!
  2. I made a request to my Facebook friends who either live within the Ward, or within the wider Council area who might know someone who lives in the Ward.  This did have my links, and I asked my friends to share (if they wanted to, of course).  A few of them did, but not massive numbers.  Of course Facebook rewards those who join in, so spending a few weeks commenting on the posts of those who live locally would probably have helped ensure I was prominent on their Facebook page when I posted.  Who knows if some people never even saw it!

Now at least two candidates in my ward (including the winner) had produced and distributed leaflets (the winners being a six page special) which I decided not to do.  It would be interesting to compare electoral expenditure and relate this to success…

Anyway, despite a rather subdued campaign effort on my behalf, I still managed to get over 10% of the votes in a five way competition (though lets face it, it was easily last place!), but with the winner gaining just 26% of the votes cast.  In actual numbers 320 people voted for me, compared to 770 for the winner.  So it’s not hard to see that it wouldn’t necessarily take a lot of campaigning to get over the line.  But I have sent the winner my congratulations, and I hope he does the job that he set out to do.

So, all in all, a highly interesting little exercise, with a number of lessons learned along the way.  The internet is without doubt going to be the means of communication to a wider audience, allowing greater reach without significant expenditure of traditional promotion, and might go a significant way to turn our democracy away from the situation where financial backing can translate directly into political power, to one where we return to the people having that ability through having better scrutiny of the candidates.

 


About Steve Laing

Political observer, free thinker and problem solver, Steve contends that the current democratic processes have neither kept up to date with globalisation nor modern business practices, resulting in increasing dissatisfaction with modern politics. However, new technology could be used to not only reconfigure our system, but give the electorate even greater representation than was previously the case. For more background information on Steve, please check his LinkedIn profile.

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