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Time for some classic political spin: my unbiased election review of Confelicity

Updated: May 8, 2023

Many things are a matter of perspective and an election result is no different.


We gained 380 voters on top of the 779 we hit last year.  This calculates at a 48% increase! We also increased our vote share from 1.8% to 2.9%. Tiny numbers, yet encouraging.


We are on our own journey and our new total of 1159 represents a night of progression.


May I thank the 1159 who put their cross next to Confelicity.  Every single vote was in fact vital to us continuing as a party.  We are humbled and honoured to receive these votes and we take each one as inspiration  to keep us marching on.


I will admit, there was a moment that I thought we were not going to surpass last year's result.


For those that have never attended the count, you can physically see the votes being counted and therefore have a good idea how you are doing.


At a certain point it was not looking good. 


By around 3am when all the results were in, Kayleigh Burgess, our Shoeburyness candidate and artist who designed our emblem, announced our final figure across the wards and we’d broken the thousand mark and finished where we did.


I was relieved.


Paper candidates


The truth is most candidates in local elections are what are known as paper candidates who lend their name to the ballot, but do not expect to win and therefore do not participate in any campaigning.  For those residents who said to themselves they haven’t seen any candidates throughout the election, one of the reasons is this.


What some may not realise is that every candidate is giving up their time without financial reward.  Many have full-time jobs and are unable to commit to the time required to knock on every door in their ward.


If they are somehow fortunate enough to be elected then almost all will gladly take up their posts as councillors, but the campaigning will be minimal or non-existent.


Furthermore, each ward has its own specific political make-up. Some will lean heavily towards one of the ancient parties.  In those cases, candidates in the unfavoured parties are asked to serve as the paper they are.  For wards where the parties are close, that is where the specially selected candidates do battle proper.


For us, it isn’t quite the same.  We are an unknown entity and as a Southend party we have the potential to win every seat.  But, all of us, and like every other party locally, are volunteers and can only put in the time we are able to afford.


With this in mind, I knew what we might expect given the campaigning that was done. 


As a collective, we held a rally in Southend High Street, leafleted, social media’d, attended manifesto meetings and community meetings and so I felt we would win some votes on top of what the candidates did.  But I knew it wasn’t really enough.


I did not want to push our candidates beyond what they were willing to give, and actually I was just grateful that they were willing to give their name and credibility to the party. 


Doctors, teachers, nurses, carers, entrepreneurs, managers, fundraisers, chefs and community enterprisers, meant our line-up was very strong.  For those few residents who managed to jump onto our website and research our candidates, I have no doubt they would have been pleased with who might represent them.  However, most people cannot be expected to undertake such research and didn’t so.


So, 1159 was a fantastic result for us with almost every ward seeing an increase in the vote.


Stretching the spin


My ward of Leigh saw a 38% increase in the Confelicity vote from the previous year, and if people didn't check they may be led to believe that things really did move.


Alas, my 38% increase was in reality a horribly disappointing result because 26 votes last year playing 36 cannot possibly count as success.


There were excuses for this. 


Two parties were competing hard for the win, which left everyone else with little to take (many voters will not vote for a party they feel sure won’t win). 


My Dad ran a prominent advertising campaign in the Echo and Leigh on Sea News advising people to vote for one of the other established parties, therefore pro-actively asking people not to vote for me. If you can't get support from your own Dad what message does that send? On this note, I should clarify the reason he did this was because the 6pm to 9pm parking charges would be reversed under the Tories and they were most likely to get in. He has also been understandably, but mistakenly linked to Confelicity, and because he is a polarising figure it hasn't bode well for me.


Probably the main reason I did not do well is I did not manage to personally campaign anywhere near as much as I needed to.


As said, these are just excuses and I will need to address these issues going forward. I have a plan!


What Now?


The year has been good. 


We have had more members join. 


We managed to put together a 57 policy-strong manifesto voted unanimously by all members who attended the meetings, which was liked by those who read it.


We stood candidates in every ward. 


We have two candidates ready to stand in the General Election (myself and Jon Humphrys).


Most importantly, I saw a fire ignite in our candidates eyes on the election night and all being well, we really could slingshot past these results in 2024.  If I could point to the single most important moment in our journey so far, it is this.


I always saw this as a long-term endeavour, but there were always going to be important hurdles to surpass in order to carry on.  Increasing vote share was most certainly one of them.


No one can ever know the future, but the Southend Confelicity Party are now part of the local political landscape for the foreseeable future, and I can see that future becoming something very exciting for anyone who has been looking for a political home built on the foundations of integrity, openness, competency, real democracy and local empowerment.   


Today, I feel proud to lead the Southend Confelicity Party.

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Brian Ayling
Brian Ayling
May 06, 2023

From lttle Acorns, big Oaks grow but it takes time.

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