Politics, Economics, Religion,

Brecon By-election: the victory party, the count, the result, the rest…..

And rest…….

It’s been a whirlwind of a five weeks… I’ve learned so much, I’ve met so many fantastic people,  I’ve handed out so many cwtches, and I’ve had an absolute ball…..

 

….The campaign trail involved 5 hustings and me almost single-handedly delivering 2000 leaflets with the help of my trusty campaign mobile Ffloyd.

 

I got lost on the estates of Brecon; I’ve been shown round people’s gardens, I’ve helped pot up someones courgettes; I’ve sat with people on their front doorsteps for a chat; I’ve nearly misfooted and faceplanted the concrete on several occasions; I’ve patted a zillion dogs; my car has made people young and old smile….. and I nearly ran out of steam on the final push in Talgarth… had it not been for a couple dancing down their drive singing “Lets drink a drink a drink to Lily the Pink…” I wouldn’t have got those last 50 unsolicited posters through letter boxes.  People (on the whole) are just fantastic.

Per my ramblings, I just love the ordinarily extraodinariness of folk.

The Hustings … well, I think, based on feedback, that I did good!  Talgarth, was the first , and daunting as it was to see the carpark full to bursting the reception, great chairing by Ben Rawlence and the response after the event was so fabulous , my confidence was boosted.  that little ‘power up’ saw me through Farmer Union Wales Hustings at the Greyhound where my gut was bad and I spend the evening wondering if I might have an embarrassing accident at the top table.  I used my needs to dash regularly to the ladies as an opportunity to manage the tensions in the room…. and as they say, I think I got away with it.  Brecon was interesting , with Wales for Europe hosting the Guild Hall Hustings and all three Leave candidates (UKIP, TORY AND BREXIT), electing to not attend in favour of more positive crowds elsewhere . I loved being at The Globe in Hay, although never found the time to write a round-up, and I don’t think the chair for the night appreciated the point of me very much, at one point asking “so, do you have anything that’s not silly to say on this subject”…..obviously I obliged with some ferocity and made a damned clear and forceful point in relation to climate change.  Finally was Presteign (again I had no time to report back to you all); a huge audience of approx 250; the only hustings in Radnorshire; all six candidates in attendance and a real opportunity to get involved in a broad reaching selection of questions thanks to the fabulous chairing. I did struggle a bit because the mics and feedback were so echo-y, but, again, I think I got away with it.  Feedback was fab.  One lady asked if, should I win I would take up the post.  Obviously, said I, for the people would have spoken.  Thankfully my bluff was not called.

However we did beat UKIP, and did so on a campaign spend of £356.47!!!!

In 1990 Screaming Lord Sutch beat the SDP in the Bootle by-election and that was the end of the SDP.  Here in Brecon and Radnorshire, Lady Lily Pink has just beaten UKIP, will they meet the same demise ?

Photo Credit Ann : Seymour
Photo Credit: Tilly Twitcher

The evening of the count was quite something and is best described using images which I must credit to some really fabulous photographers, both professional (Ann Seymour, Graham Lawrence, FYI Brecon (Karen Mears, Nigel Evans); and loony (Tilly Twitcher, Minister of Fiddles, Nick the Flying Brick, Rev Backline Defrocked) …if I’ve missed anyone , I apologise

Photo Credit : Ann Seymour

 

Throughout the campaign I have felt nothing but positive vibes…. it helps not being a party of any threat to anyone.  I’ve been graciously received by the officials, press, media and candidates for which I am most grateful and humble; for I would hate for any of them to feel I was belittling or mocking them and their commitment to their role or the process.

 

My aim was purely, throughout, to engage those who were disinterested, untrusting or marginalised from the process.  I aimed to bring some light relief; highlight some shortcomings in our political systems and offer an alternative to not voting or spoiling the ballot.  I feel quite pleased that only 75 spoilt ballots were received .  Disappointing the turnout was only 59.72% (when Screaming Lord Sutch stood in the Brecon by-election of 1985 , the turnout was 79.4%)  Historically Brecon and Radnor see really high turnouts in elections but I could sense that on the whole people were sick to death of politics, elections and politicians and also damned confused.  I mean what if you were a Libdem but also pro Brexit or a Tory but pro remain…. where did that leave you at this juncture.  And I think that was reflected in the results. Lots of tactical voting with Labour losing out to Libdem with voters wanting to secure a remain candidate and Brexit stealing votes from our  Conservative (probably because of the legal case that led to the by-election in the first place.  If you add up the pro-remain votes (Libdem /Labour ) and the pro-leave its 15506 to 15974 , still a slight swing to leave in the B&R area but not so much that it wouldn’t have required a recount had that been what we were voting on.  Basically, I guessing the electorate didn’t know whether to vote to make a Brexit statement or vote as one normally would in a by-election for the party offering the best deal for the community.  In the end in my opinion, everything is still up in the air, but from the view from Westminster, they’re going into the new leadership with a majority of 1 and unlikely to get themselves a mandate for anything.  There’s almost certain to be (yet) another General Election… and so there should be, having an unelected leader is never a good negotiating position.

 

Anyway, I offered myself as the None of the Above candidate and secured 334 (92 more than UKIP) and 1% of the total , and in the process I and my gang of Loony Tunes made many people smile…..thats more than good enough for me… and more importantly, I believe it would have been more than good enough for our Founder, David Screaming Lord Sutch; and our current leader and co-founder, Alan Howling Laud Hope was more than pleased.

So for me, until the next time, its back on the meds, back in my box and back to the usual state of abnormality.

Thanks must go to :

LOONIES (official or otherwise)

Tilly Twitcher, for being my right hand woman and top cheerleader throughout.  She helped with some leaflets, didn’t miss a hustings, took some absolutely fantastic photos and made the most awesome pink cakes on more than one occasion.

Paul Hazell for living without Tilly Twitcher for the entire period whilst she supported me on the campaign.  For his friendship and ability to make me look gorgeous in photographs

The Rt Hon Flora Bunda – who despite being a devout Libdem, offered loony support and friendship at several hustings and I know would have been at more had grandmummying duties not got in the way

Viscount Gaffer for being my Electoral Agent, chauffeur and husband 

The Rev Backline Defrocked and the Minister of Fiddles who never wane in their energy levels, pulling off a last-minute party on the arrival in LW of our leader Alan Hope simply because somebody misread the website and rang up expecting one…. an extra party is always a welcome one.

Jo Oddie for being an amazing friend, delivering leaflets , and offering her premises windows for advertising the Think Pink Campaign

Lindsay and Catherine Ketteringham for managing Loony H/Q at Neuadd Arms Hotel and hosting alan and all the Loony shenanigans throughout the campaign 

 

 

 

 

 


The Lord Drummers Daughter for helping orchestrate the pimp my politician photo shoot

Chinners for the badges and for taking out his practice voting booth despite being in a completely different part of the UK – there’s a loony with a proper point !

Alan Hope for being the longest-serving party leader in British Politics and joining the campaign trail on the last few days complete with loud hailer

Other Loonies : Helen Swindonbac, RU Seerius, Nick the Flying Brick for donations and travelling all the way from Derbyshire to guide and be counting agents; also Hugo Shovit all the other loonies who have posted, shared, commented and rallied on social media

Carlie Ann Griffiths for the pink fluffy skirt and bow and the little pink shoulder bag, all handmade

Jason and Lottie, just for being them and wanting to come to the Count

Dill Tirabad for my only heckle “get a life”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICIALS : everyone involved at county hall, particularly deputy Returning officer Sandra Matthews for her patience and answering all my questions and queries

Victory Party at the Barley Mow in Builth complete with pink cake

The staff of the Barley Mow pub in Builth Wells for hosting our Victory Party prior to the count and all their customers who entered into our spirit of things

All the security folk at the Count

 

 

 

HUSTINGS ORGANISERS

Louise Elston Reeves and William Powell of Talgath Matters and all the pupils and people from Ysgol y Mynydd Du who helped

Kath Shaw, Farmers Union Wales and the staff of The Greyhound in Builth

Peter Gilbey, Wales for Europe and the Guild Hall for coming to the rescue after the original venue flooded

Finola O’Sullivan, The Globe at Hay

Cllr Beverley Baynham and the team at John Beddoes School

PRESS AND MEDIA

Ruth Molowski – Wales On-line /Western Mail Journalist

Nige & Karin of FYI Brecon

Peter Gillibrand – Broadcast Journalist

Graham M Lawrence Photographer London News Press

Ann Seymore Photography

Margaret Keenan  – BBC Wales Cymru Producer

Eleanor Gruffydd-Jones – BBC Camera-woman (Sunday Politics)

Oli Dugmore – Joe TV How to join the Loony Party

Ariane Brunwell – journalist Brecon and Radnor Express

CANDIDATES: 

Jane Dodds, Des Parkinson, Tomos Davies, Liz Phillips and even Chris Davies for their gracious reception and positive feedback

 

 

 

 

 

PLUS

Eliza of Happy Soles Reflexology and Massage and Cheryl of Angelis Holistics for caring for my body and mind

AND….

Everyone who tweeted , texted, messaged, facebook shared, gave me a cwtch, donated money to cover costs, waved, smiled or spoke to me in the streets and generally showed an interest in what was going on 

I apologise to anyone I may have missed, it is not intentional and it does not mean I value your contribution any less, merely that I am a forgetful numpty.

Much love to you all

Photo Credit : Ann Seymour

In the meantime, congratulations to Jane Dodds AS/MP

 

 

(3) Comments

  1. Cheryl says:

    Great blog Bernie. Girl did good 😁👏👍. Thanks for the mention, you are always welcome.
    💖

    1. Berni Benton says:

      thanks Cheryl… good luck with your venue – i’ll be back for some treatment no doubt x

  2. Wow! What a whirlwind campaign–you should be so proud that you brought so much awareness-and fun–to the process!

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