Monday, 21 May 2007

The Count

Friday, May 4th: after standing for Council several times before, at last I've been elected! The Count, delayed until Friday morning, threw up a few surprises: notably the election of Peter Freitag as a Lib Dem Councillor, 30 years after he last served on Darlington Borough Council, and the abject failure of the Conservative Party to win enough seats to take power from Labour.

Peter Freitag, with nearly fifty years service to the Liberal Party and its successors, was elected along with two sitting Labour Councillors to represent Park East ward - the ward (with slightly different boundaries) which he represented for 6 years back in the Seventies. Peter wasn't even watching his count - none of us were. It was a Conservative Councillor who told me he'd been elected. Sensing a wind-up, I went to check for myself - then rushed round to tell Peter. He was genuinely shocked, but absolutely delighted. Having held national, regional and local Party posts, with a wealth of experience, Peter will be a great asset to the Liberal Democrat Group.

The Conservatives were expecting to win enough seats to remove the Labour Party's overall majority. They'd already been talking about the allocation of seats in the Cabinet. Yet their campaign was weak; their literature poor. They offered no coherent or impelling message - and they worked in a haphazard and untargetted way. Getting new councillors elected in Cockerton East, Harrowgate Hill and Pierremont - yet failing to win all the seats in any of these wards - cost them the victory they were expecting.

Here are some photos from our election campaign

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