Elections 2009: Noises off

ProtestorAt last Friday’s election count someone came into the count and said,

“You must go outside, there’s quite a rumpus. A man’s super-glued his hands to a door.”

Duly rushed outside, camera in hand, to see a protest underway at BAM Nuttall’s offices. Apparently BAM Nuttal have a contract to build a new coal-fired power station,and protesters against coal power had targeted BAM Nuttall’s offices in Knoll Road, Camberley, opposite the Camberley Theatre.

ProtestorsThe general feeling of those watching was, who’s paying for this large police presence, and the Surrey Police helicopter buzzing around overhead. Also, with about six police vehicles and a dozen police, a popular overheard comment was,

“I didn’t know we’d got this many police in this part of Surrey.”

 

On hand for this kerfuffle was Filming the protestCamberley News‘ Mike Wright, who, while on duty covering the local election count, couldn’t believe his luck. Cripes, a major drama in Camberley. Mike took plenty of photographs, interviewed the protesters, arranged for the TV camera.  He’s here on the right in the picture, hurrying back to the camera to provide the commentary.

Elections 2009: various conversations with voters

It’s frankly surprising that a voter would collect a ballot paper and return it to the ballot box without a vote. This happened more than once at these elections.

Messages on ballot Papers: Much more entertaining than blank papers are the spoiled ballot papers, where a voter has written all over the ballot paper. Apart from those with rude words, where the counting clerks said, ‘at least he can spell’, there was the one on the European ballot paper that said,

“None of you are getting my vote, You’re all thieving ………”

What UKIP voters have said: I’ve bumped into quite a few people who voted UKIP at the European elections. They all claimed to be natural Tory voters, and all said something similar to,

“I voted to join the Common Market in the 1970’s. But, I didn’t vote for ‘ever closer union’ that has resulted. I’m not confident the Conservatives have a policy that meets my expectations on Europe.”

Interesting. Cameron hasn’t ‘sealed the deal’ on Europe for these people. 

Encountering BNP supporters: Being vilified as much as they are, coming across BNP supporters/candidates one would expect a forked tail and horns. Silly of course. They must like their own company, because no one engaged them in conversation. I wonder, is that the correct policy, to ignore them. We’re all going to have to think about them now they’ve two MEP’s. I think it’s easier to engage with them when you remember they are the fascist left, and not the fascist right.

Elections 2009: More election data

Here’s some  more election data.

Firstly, the European election result data for Surrey Heath is:

Name of Party or Individual Candidate Number of Votes
   
British National Party 885
Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship” 389
Conservative Party 9921
English Democrats 461
Jury Team 185
Liberal Democrats 3368
No2EU: Yes to Democracy 176
Pro Democracy: Libertas.eu 138
Socialist Labour Party 74
The Green Party 1942
The Labour Party 1153
The Peace Party – Non-Violence, Justice, Environment 68
The Roman Party. Ave! 46
United Kingdom First 126
United Kingdom Independence Party 4968
   
Sub total 23900
Rejected Ballots 121
Total 24021
 
Turnout 0.39

NOTE:  Labour came 5th here in  Surrey Heath, after UKIP and the Green Party. Amazing. The full voting data is available on the EU Parliament’s website, HERE.

Secondly, a summary of voting data for Surrey Heath at the County Council elections:

Conservative Party: 14,280

Liberal Democrat Party:   6,966

UKIP :  3,962

Labour Party: 1,491

Green Party: 277

Independents: 194

BNP: 113

Elections 2009: Watching votes being counted

Polling StationAfter spending most of election day keeping a record of electors entering a polling station, on Friday I was at the election count, held at the Camberley Theatre. Fool that I am, I was also at the European election count on Sunday night to watch the counting of the votes. 

In our computer and mechanised world it’s odd to watch votes being counted manually, or I should say womanly, as there were many more female counting clerks than male.

The first task is to count the number of voting slips in each polling box. [As an aside, in one company I worked for one of our product lines were metal polling boxes, boxes, now replaced, at least in Surrey Heath, with plastic ones with a zip top ... I was jointly in charge of their manufacture, and I could bore for the country on metal bashing industries of the Midlands].

Voting papers are next sorted into piles for each candidate. As an observer, my simple role was to watch the counting and make sure that papers were added to the correct pile – after all the trudging round the streets, best not have your candidate’s votes added to someone else’s pile. Voting papers are then counted into batches of 20, secured with a paper clip, and then bundled into batches of 100 votes. Again, as a watcher, you’re keen to ensure the pile of 20, is such and not containing 21 or more votes. If errors are to occur, it’s usually here.

Once in batches of 100, they are placed on table; one table for each candidate. The fun bit, is to watch the votes pile up. The phrase ‘early indications of the result’, is used to describe the first indication of the result from the appearance of the votes on the tables. These ‘early indications’ don’t always point to the final result, as individual polling stations give differing polling patterns.

There you are. Exciting, yes? Hmmmm, well, only if you’re really, really keen.

Elections 2009: Round-up and snippets

I know I’ve not blogged much lately. Electioneering, elections and being whacked from it all is the main reason. Since it’s pretty much all I’ve done recently, the next few posts are about elections.

I guess you, like me, probably didn’t receive a Labour Party European election leaflet. I found out the reason from a Labour candidate at the County Council election count. Apparently Labour wanted to save money, and targetted their euro-literature at constituencies they thought they could win.

Poor show. They are, after all, the governing party of the country. You’d have thought they’d be keen to tell us what their policies on Europe were. Apparently not.