Well there we are then, the Newport West By-election is over (our cities fourth by-election since 1922 **) and the voters (those who turned out to vote that is) have spoken. It was an interesting by-election campaign, somewhat overshadowed by Brexit, especially in the last week. It was my first election since the passing of my much missed late father, who would, like the late Steffan Lewis, have relished a Westminster By-election in Newport.
There should be another massive thank you to my wife, my agent, my campaign team and the electors of Newport West / Mynwy for their support. And a massive thanks to the dozens of volunteers who came to help from all over Cymru / Wales - who remained in good cheer despite the hail, sleet / snow and the risk of sunburn - sometimes all within the same morning or afternoon.
|A positive endorsement...|
Any election, but, particularly a By-election campaign should give every candidate the opportunity to listen to, to talk to and to meet with many Constituents during the course of a prolonged walking tour of (in my opinion) one of Cymru / Wales's more interesting constituencies. It was very clear early, on during what was essentially a short but intense campaign ,from the doorstep that not every candidate exercised that opportunity to actually listen and talk to prospective voters.
Elections are not simply about the voters and the candidates, a whole host of people work very hard behind the scenes to make things work smoothly, including the Retuning Officers, their staff, the council staff who run the polling booths (for some hours on polling day done if then were literally in the dark and the cold) and the staff who count the votes and the other council staff and the Police who work tirelessly to make the count function flawlessly.
In Newport West constituency former candidates and the successfully elected candidate life can now begin the odd process of returning to some form of normality. For the next few weeks after returning to normal sleep patterns and a normal intake of coffee may be something of a priority, that and resisting the strange desire to knock on the doors of perfect strangers and push leaflets through complete strangers letter boxes.
Sadly there were only two hustings (mostly but not entirely attended by political hangers on), something that may reflect on the price our society in Newport has paid for an over dominance by an often unresponsive Labour Party, perceived by some voters (correctly) as being more interested in Labour Party interests than the interests of our city and our country.
Now that the sound and the fury have faded, and the hustings/ door knocking and. conversations blended into one former candidates can take stock. This is no glory in this, merely hard work, any dreams of political immortality / longevity should regularly doused with hard cold realism.
A couple of election campaigns ago having been featured on the front page of a local newspaper in relation to the campaign to Keep Abergavenny Livestock Market I had the surreal experience of going to buy some chips in a local chip shop with a friend only to find myself literally being wrapped around chips (Sic transit gloria mundi - or "Thus passes the glory of the world”.
** Newport By-elections - 1922, 1945 (March), 1956 and 2019.