Our actual Green vote in the General Election was disappointing - but not entirely unexpected – some 1,500 people who voted Green last time chose to shift their vote somewhere else - most likely to David Drew.
Photos: Taken at the count on Thursday night
Sadly in Stroud this ended up with what many consider the worst of both worlds – the Tories still won and we have a lower Green vote from which to build in future elections. This has left us with a significant challenge ahead to build the level of vote we need to challenge the power of the big parties and to make a transition to a sustainable and just future. However the situation may well be very different in the future if we get some form of proportional representation - let's not forget last year Greens polled 20% in the County elections across the whole District - and this time in local elections 22% in the seats we stood.
Photo: Candidates Martin and Dennis
The actual vote was Conservative (Neil Carmichael) 23,679; Labour (David Drew) 22,380; Lib Dem (Dennis Andrewartha) 8026; Green (Martin Whiteside) 1,542; UKIP 1,301; Independent 116.
For me it is important that people in the Stroud area have the opportunity to vote for something radically different from what the three big parties have to offer, and I know that if many people had not had the opportunity to vote Green, they would not have voted at all.
Photo: UKIP talking to Independent candidate (former BNP and at 91, the oldest candidate in the country)
It is vital to have a strong Green vote to show there is a clear voice from the Stroud area for a different sort of politics with clear values of more equality, social justice and action, not words, on climate change. It also points clearly to the absurdity of our electoral system with our new MP elected by just 30% of the Stroud electorate. We need a better system fast. Green votes help us change the system.
Photo: David Drew as the count looked close
David Drew will indeed be missed for his energy in local politics and as Dennis Andrewartha asked in his speech on election night - will Carmichael be a Knapman or a Drew - Knapman was well known for his poor attendance at the House of Commons and his seeming lack of interest in the District - he went on to leave the Tories to go to UKIP and become their leader then hand that over to Farage - I remember he was in the press for hiring Polish workers for long hours in cramped conditions - so much for his pride in British workers....
See some of the discussion before the election about whether Greens should support Drew in the comments section here.
Carmichael, fox hunting and turbines
Indeed Neil Carmichael (pictured at count left) has alot to follow - his comments over fox hunting have also caused some concerns - he has said to the press that he has not made his mind up on fox hunting - indeed saying that a free vote is the right way to go as that is democratic - what nonsense! Where is the democracy in that? How can the public have a say if we don't know how he will vote? Furthermore it seems Neil Carmichael has written to some residents saying he will work 'tirelessly' to overturn the ban on hunting. I hope we will get some clarification on this!
The other controversial story last week was that Carmichael had agreed to four 125m-high turbines on land on his farm in the North East. He was criticised for agreeing to those turbines but refusing to give support to proposals by Stroud-energy firm Ecotricity for eight 120m-high turbines at Berkeley Vale, Stinchcombe. Mr Carmichael's argument is that the Stinchcombe turbines are near an Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Lastly these three papers on election day court my eye - The Sun rooting for Cameron, The Mirror for Labour and The Star- well who would have known it was election day!!