The build up to the election has been a busy time really, what with campaigning and getting leaflets printed and the forms….oh my word, the forms could have a post all to themselves! Throwing in school holidays etc, it’s been a bit of a stressful Easter in the Boudica household:
You have to be proposed and seconded on your nomination forms and then get 8 other people who live in your ward to sign to say they agree with your nomination. I don’t live in my ward, I haven’t campaigned all of it yet so something as simple as getting signatures caused a lot of stress! It’s strangely quite hard saying to someone “yes I know I said I am the candidate, but I need you to sign to say I can actually stand in the election”. Thankfully I had help and advice and found lots of friendly people along the way.
Then there’s the form where you agree to be nominated, the form saying who your agent is, the form for there to be a logo on the voting form and all of a sudden there’s a lot of bits of paper to write your name on. And you’d better make sure it’s the right name and there’s no mistakes or the form will be rejected and you’ll have to get the whole lot done again.
Then you have to deliver the forms to the council before the closing date (posting them is not allowed). Then you wait. And wait and wait some more. Then you start mugging the postie every time he steps foot on the drive, as you haven’t had your confirmation through yet and it’s been a fortnight.
Then it arrives and it says that your nomination is valid. So you take pictures of it and put them on Facebook and twitter to show everyone. Then you go to the printers and collect your literature and immediately hate them – they have pictures of you all over them! You hide them in the boot of the car and get very annoyed when your husband opens the box and gives one to your mother in law to show her.
Then suddenly it all becomes very real: You are a valid nomination, you have 2599 leaflets in the boot of your car and you have just over a month to deliver them.
You still don’t know who your opposition is though. (That’s the bit I was looking forward to knowing.) You have to wait for nominations to close and the council to issue the statement of persons nominated. Which is normally posted on their website sometime after nominations close. So you start frantically checking the website every 5 minutes for several hours.
Then suddenly, there it is – The list of wards and a link for each ward…..
There’s going to be an election!……
or is there?
There was only one name on the statement. Only one person had been nominated. I didn’t have any opposition. (And contrary to the vicious rumours that Mr Boudica is spreading, that was not because I scared them off, or that I had them executed)
So I was elected unopposed. People don’t get to vote for me, they just get me as their councillor.
I’m a councillor! It took a while for that to sink in. I think that means I’m supposed to be a responsible person now, a real pillar of the community type! I’m honoured really and will do the very best that I can for the people who live in my ward. But there’s a tiny little piece of me that is a bit disappointed. Not in winning, as that has always been the aim! But in not having people voting for me, the not having to go to the count, somehow the thrill has been somewhat diminished. It’s all been a whole lot easier than I imagined. I’m not really complaining, it’s fantastic to be a councillor, as that’s what I set out to do, I just didn’t think it would be like this.
But still – yay! Go me – I won!
The other thing that is putting a damper on it, is the amount of people I’ve seen in the press and on social media complaining about councillors being elected unopposed and whining that people haven’t had a chance to have a say. Thankfully none of this has been about my ward, but it’s still annoying. Voters only get to have a say, if there are candidates to vote for. If no-one comes forward to be a candidate for their chosen party, then the winner is the one who did stand up to be counted.
I’m sorry to say, that it really is a case of “put up, or shut up”. It’s not fair to criticise those that did win just by standing, if you yourself weren’t willing to stick your head above the parapet. Parties only get candidates if people volunteer. If you really were that interested in having your say, it would have been your name on the literature.
You know what the best bit was though? When Mr Boudica told the Baby Boudica’s that mummy was a councillor and Baby Boudica The Elder ran across the room, gave me a giant hug and told me he was so proud of his mummy. Some moments are precious