Tuesday, 28 July 2015

It's not about me - it's about us...

I tend to take a somewhat sanguine view of what candidates like to refer to as their 'personal vote'. I am not saying personal votes don't exist, but in the overwhelming majority of seats (local and parliamentary) and in all but the most extreme circumstances, I believe a candidate's position on the ballot paper has a much bigger impact on the result than their longevity or local celebrity status. 

We have all seen hard working and long-serving councillors finishing second behind their bone idle but alphabetically advantaged running mates, and if longevity, hard work and name recognition are the bonus may believe them to be, why did Tom Tugendhat poll the highest ever vote share and the largest ever majority in Tonbridge & Malling following 40 year's loyal and diligent service by his predecessor?

Which bring me very nicely onto the reason for this post. 

Last night was the Tonbridge & Malling Executive Council, the first since the election and the first which Tom addressed as the constituency's MP. Speaking of the election, he had this to say,
'We did so well on Thursday 8 May because we worked as a team. I am under no illusion that when people went to vote, they voted for the Conservative team both nationally and locally. For whilst a couple of thousand may have known my name and what I stood for, we can be sure that every single voter knew the Conservative party's name and what it stood for. So our victory in May was nothing to do with me, and everything to do with us.'
One of the KPIs we used to measure our campaign success was 'voter retention' - or what percentage of our parliamentary vote was retained by our local government candidates being elected on the same day.  It is worth noting that the top three constituencies in Kent for voter retention were Tonbridge & Malling, Chatham & Aylesford and Tunbridge Wells, all of which achieved a retention rate of around 95%. 

Perhaps Tom Tugendhat's humble sentiments along with the words 'it's not about me - it's about us'  should be embossed on every candidate application form for the benefit of those who continue to believe their own publicity that they are more important than the party.

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