I was hoping to have passed on the position to someone else by now but for yesterday’s General Election I was still the Welwyn Hatfield Green Party Election Agent. After casting my own vote just before 10pm I cycled over to Welwyn Garden City for the count at Campus West. This was the first election for our candidate Christianne Sayers and the whole process was quite new to her. In May 2015 our candidate was Marc Scheimann, but this year he stood in Luton where he lives and Christianne, a Hatfield Resident, stepped up to the plate.
In 2015 Anwar Miah stood as the Labour candidate and came second to Grant Shapps (the incumbent Tory) but was 12,153 votes behind, which meant that Welwyn Hatfield was considered to be a safe Tory seat. Anwar said at the time that he would not stand again but either he didn’t mean it or changed his mind, and if anyone had a chance of ousting Grant it was him.
I am opposed to almost everything Theresa May supports (fracking, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, Brexit, continued prohibition of cannabis, privatisation of the NHS, enhanced state surveillance powers, scrapping of human rights laws etc) so as far as I was concerned the fewer seats won by Tories the better. If I had thought there was a chance of Anwar beating Grant I would have voted for him but as it was I had no hesitation in giving my vote to Christianne. Anwar did as well as could be expected, picking up an extra 5,877 votes and cutting Grant’s lead to 7,369.
Unfortunately for Christianne a lot of potential Green supporters were among those who voted for Anwar and she only managed to pick up 835 votes (in line with the national Green trend). Still, she got herself known and is keen to make a serious attempt to get elected as a Green borough councillor next year.
I like Jeremy Corbyn and would have been very happy if Labour had won a majority but what with the BBC’s anti-Corbyn bias and the incessant attacks by the popular right-wing press I knew that was extremely unlikely. The best I hoped for was for the Tories to lose their majority, which is just what happened. After the Brexit and Trump dual disaster it was great for once to have something to celebrate after an election. A new hope.