Friday, 15 October 2010

Thursday 14th October 10 Hull Road Ward By-Election

I was up early and ready to go and stand in a polling station. But, I didn't actually get out til after 9, and they'd been open since 7am...  So, I went to vote, walked down with my friend Debbie, and then I stayed there and did the 'door smiler' role, not taking numbers as the Green Party isn't targeting this ward and therefore isn't trying to get every last Green supporter out.  But Labour and Lib Dem were working really hard, door knocking and there was even a leaflet saying 'today's the day, please get out and vote'. I popped in on the Tang Hall Lane polling station to thank the staff there, as it's a quite boring day and I think they do a great job... and as it's a thankless task, I like to buck the trend.

I came home for an early lunch and then loaded the trailer with a job-lot of squashed soya milk cartons and went to see Ginnie who was at the polling station at St Nicks.  They had been very quiet, apparently just 7 voters in over 2 hours.  It was obvious there would be a low turnout.

I cycled on to Hazel Court- there's a back way out of St Nicks which I use to go to and from James St occasionally, and I put my cartons in the recycling container with minimal hassle... one of the chaps there said I could use the 'pedestrians' recycling bins down at the entrance, but I told him that bikes were now allowed up at the top as Yorwaste had seen sense and realised that even car drivers walked around at the top, so cyclists weren't a special case re 'Health and Safety', and the 'no cyclists' sign had been removed.  I told him I really wanted to use the top, like any other normal person in a vehicle.

Then I went on into town.  I put in a Fiddlesticks cheque and had one made out for the  City of York Council for Council Tax.  Went to the bank and got cash out, to make up the balance for the Council.  I was able to pay it all in at 9 St Leonard's and I met my old friend Trish who was doing something similar.  We're now paid up til next spring.  From here I went to the station to buy some train tickets for a gig in Bristol I've been invited to do, in November.

And then home, via the Abundance raised bed, where there were three black sacks of annual plants which had been weeded out.  Unfortunately, some of the perennials and biennial plants had been moved, not sure why, and were looking very sorry for themselves.  Biennials should be left where they have grown in their first year, as disturbing the roots at this time of year means they won't thrive next year, and there's a good chance they will die over winter.  I picked up a box of compostables at Country Fresh and two sacks at Freshways.

I than had an hour or so at home before I was due to go to Vanbrugh College and speak at the 'Activist Cafe' event.  York Rotters had been invited but said they couldn't go, so I said I'd do it instead.  I was due on at 5pm.  I explained about the situation of my having been instrumental in starting York Rotters but currently unable to represent them in front of groups of people, so I was talking to them as just John the Composter, but that this gave me more freedom to mention compost toilets and how to compost cooked food on an ordinary compost heap, subjects completely banned as a York Rotter.  So the talk went well and there were some good questions at the end.  I overshot my 30 minute slot by nearly 10 minutes, but they were fired up to start a campaign to persuade the University to start composting the food waste from the canteens and residential blocks.

I came home via a new logpile and had tea, a baked sweet potato and a thin nutloaf thing Gill had created.  I'd found two Parasol musrooms in the woods on Windmill Lane, and I fried these in olive oil on the woodstove, and they were a good flavoured garnish on the nutloaf...  At 9pm I set out for the count at Archbishop Holgates School, popping in to say thank you to the bored polling station staff there.  Soon after 10pm the ballot boxes arrived and my agent Andy Chase, and two election buddies (not sure that this is their official title!) Ginnie and Andy D'Agorne arrived, and the count got underway.

It was in three sections.  First the number of ballots cast were counted.  1468 out of a total possible of 7992, meaning a rubbish turnout of 18.3%.  Shame on the voters of Hull Road Ward for so much apathy.

Then the ballot papers were sorted into the different candidates voted for.  It was absolutely clear that the Labour chap, Mick Hoban, was going to win.  I went to chat with him and it turned out he works for the Forestry Commission and seemed like a really nice guy.  He said he had admired my logpiles and we chatted about assorted wildlife, and pollarding and coppicing, and a potential project he had thought about quite near here.  My guess is that we'll meet again and talk trees some more. 

Finally, the ballots for each candidate were counted into piles of 50.  I was relieved to see I'd got more than the racist BNP.  There were 3 spoilt ballots which all candidates had to agree were not filled in properly.  The results were as follows:

BNP 42 votes, 2.9%
Green 84 votes 5.7%
Dim Leb 183 votes 12.5%
Tory 296 votes 20.1%
Labour 860 votes 58.6%

So, as expected, the Greens were behind the 3 main parties and ahead of the fascists.  I was pleased with this.

I came home at 11.30 and had a bottle of perry as a little celebration.  I sent out an email to the Green Party to thank those who had helped, and documeted the day.

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