Friday, May 04, 2007

Five more blips in Liverpool

Link to the Echo coverage of the election by clicking the title of the blog - then come back!

Just a little bit of an edit here to give you the flavour

"The party won Yewtree, Belle Vale, Speke Garston and Warbreck from the ruling Liberal Democrats, and in perhaps the biggest result of the night, took cabinet member Richard Marbrow’s seat in Kensington."

And they were all women as I promised!

There are now 17 women in the Labour Group, out of a total of 35, that makes as near to 50% as you can get really, a truly wonderful result.

I now have to tread the careful line between crowing and humility. A tough one really. I can feel a bit of the former coming on...

First things first, the K&F result. This was an amazing result, not because Wendy won, which was wonderful and extremely well deserved and I was, if anything, even more thrilled than her, but because of the detail of it.

For one thing it was a count of extreme highs and lows.

Although I arrived in good time at 10.15pm as per the invitation, the verification of the postal vote had already happened. We didnt know at that point how many PVs had been cast or how we had done, although generally I would not expect Labour to do as well as the LibDems in PV terms.

The first two boxes were interesting, one was overwhelmingly supporting us, the other was a bit more favouring them, although not by much, but it was a small vote anyway. Whereas the first was a big vote. I felt good about both. The third box was one where we did badly last year but this year we did much better, although were still behind them.

At this point Councillor Invisible left the count and was not seen again (until this morning, only that is a different story). Presumably he thought the game was up and having been so deeply unpleasant to so many people so often he didnt want to stay and face the music when the result was announced.

I didnt know he had left, he wasnt at our table but for all I knew he thought it was in the bag (having seen the PVs which I had not) and had gone off to stand at a different table. It was only later that a friend, out on the front having a cigarette at the time told me he had seen him leave.

The rest of the boxes were either even or us a bit ahead, apart from one where we did not do particularly well. When I totalled up everything we had seen, we were 50 votes ahead. But we had not seen the PVs and I thought they must have gone against us by at least that many. I thought it would probably go to a recount or at worst we would have lost. Then we learnt there were 700 PVs cast, it sounded like a disaster to me.

I was miserable but we had a job to do so we stayed monitoring the rest of the process.

At the end they finally started piling up the ballots at the end of the table. For about 10 minutes the tables were showing the LibDems ahead by about 400 votes. It was a terrible ten minutes. Wendy had to leave the table and go and see how other counts were doing as the tension was almost too much. I knew just how she felt. I couldn't even comfort her with faint hope because I did not have any.

All I could see on the table still left to count and pile up were LibDem votes.

Then the presiding officer came forward and suddenly he started to pile up votes at our end. We went from 1200 to them and 800 to us, to neck and neck. Two piles of 1200.

I didnt know how to feel, I was numb, all around me were party workers of both parties, chewing their nails and staring at the table. We were all breathless.

Then in an amazing about turn he found a partial bundle of about 40 and put it on our pile.

My heart soared, could this be it?

Then the officers counting went away into a huddle for what felt like 100 years and came back and said that their totals for each candidate did not match the total votes polled. The majority was 38 and the miscount was 12 and she did not feel able to let this go. She was going to order a recount. We held our nerve, even if all 12 votes went to them we would still have won.

They took all the bands off and counted every vote again.

One of the LibDem piles of 50 turned out to have only 35 votes in it. Another bundle of theirs contained one of our vote. We had gone up by a further 16 votes.

I might have the maths fractionally wrong here but who cares

The presiding officer was ready to declare.

RM was his own agent and having left the count already he was not there to call for a second recount. But not to worry Cllr Doran called for one anyway, despite our protests. The returning officer was called, the chief returning officer was called, the leaders all arrived along with hordes of party workers and there was bit of a melee.

Labour kept stressing that Cllr Doran was just a bit part player in the proceedings and had no authority but in the end the Chief Presiding Officer agreed to check that the bundles added up to the result which took about 10 seconds. They did. Wendy had won, by a sliver.

The turnout was 34% according to the presiding officer although the council website puts it at 30% I understand. We were on 24% last year which shows what a battle we had on our hands!

The rest as they say is history...

5 comments:

Paul Brighouse said...

Lou

Have been following your campaign - well done to Wendy & all the team there!

Paul Brighouse

Labour's Loudmouth said...

Brilliant result, there wasn't a single dry eye among us when they finally declared it!

Finding the Labour votes in the Lib Dem piles was a great feeling. It was like panning in the California gold rush.

I'm looking forward to the K&F team sending Doran packing next year!

Louise Baldock said...

Paul - thanks mate, lovely to have your support

Labour Loudmouth - hugs, thanks for all your work this year

Kennylad said...

As another unlamentad but rather successful female politician once said, "Rejoice! Rejoice!".

Bit in a much happier circumstance this time.

How typical of McCavity not to be there!

Well done to all, believe me, Kensington and Fairfield residents are the winners here, brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I have to admitt it was terribly intense, but that's why I love elections. I have to say I was on the losing side on that table and calling Richard, Councillor, invisible is incredibly harsh as he worked very hard for that ward, but the passion that each team showed was a great testament to the politics of Liverpool.

See you next year.