Thursday, 5 May 2011

Election Day & Rudyard Kipling

It's early election day morning and I will soon be out on the door-steps of Cardigan delivering the faithful 'Good Morning' leaflet with supporters in the town.

Tonight, I'll be attending the count and I am now more than versed in the 'count night' etiquette. My first major election count was for the corresponding Welsh Assembly election in 2003. I've since attended every election count in Ceredigion apart from for the 2009 European elections (I wanted a rest from the count so I could stay in and watch the election results come in on TV for the first time since 2001!).

I've won a few and I've lost a few. I was there when we won the Westminster seat from Plaid Cymru in 2005 and again when we increased our 219 majority to one of 8,324 in 2010. I was obviously there when I was first elected to Ceredigion County Council with a majority of 18 in 2004 and again when I was re-elected in 2008 with 86% of the vote.

I've also been there when we've fallen short - in the 2003 and 2007 Welsh Assembly elections in particular.

Tonight, I'll be hoping to see us overturn that Welsh Assembly run as we have had a great campaign with a great candidate in Elizabeth Evans so I am genuinely hopeful for a good result.

But I've been on the winning side and the losing side enough times now to realise that when it comes to election counts, there's one man who epitomised the mindset that is required on entering the counting hall more aptly than anyone else.

As Rudyard Kipling eloguently put it in 'If',

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same"

Because at the end of the day this is just an election and win or lose, life carries on.

I felt that very profoundly yesterday when I took a break from campaigning to lead a commemorative dedication ceremony in remembrance of Lance Sgt Dave Greenhalgh who lost his life in Afghanistan during my Mayoral year in February 2010. Yesterday, the community of Cardigan, his friends and family and the British Legion dedicated a bench in his memory in Victoria Gardens, in the shadow of our Cenotaph. It was a simple and yet moving ceremony. The Legion had 4 proud standards present and after the 2 minute silence and the Kohima Epitaph, I led the civic element of the ceremony and invited Dave's friends and family to speak in his memory. At the end, both I as the then Mayor and our current Mayor Cllr Mair Morris, whose Mayoral charity for this year takes in the 'Help for Heroes' fund, officially unveiled the bench by lifting the Union Jack from it to show to all, Adrian Lewis' wonderful work in putting together this wonderful bench.

So after a moving ceremony as that which I helped lead yeaterday, it does put everything into perspective.

I will be out campaigning today to do my very best to ensure that our fantastic candidate Elizabeth Evans has the best opportunity of being returned as the new Assembly Member for Ceredigion over the next 24 hours but an event such as that which was held in Cardigan yesterday, instills in you great humility.

So having found myself at both ends of an election result, I know how it feels to win and how it feels to lose. But then there's no greater loss than the sacrifice of giving your life for your country.

So whatever the result over the next few 24 hours, it'll be the people who will have spoken and it will be their result that we supporters of all colours will have to abide by. As politicians, we like to feel that we are doing our best to move our country and our communities forward. But there are those on the battlefield who are doing the same but the result of which, can be very different.

So I will go about my duties today with a great sense of gratitude for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our tomorrow and for the very democracy in which we now ask local residents to participate.

1 comment:

  1. Well I voted and it appears to be a pretty tough time for the lib dens...