A very big thank you to each and every elector who took the trouble to cast their vote for me in spite of the many siren voices desperately appealing to them, to vote the way they always did in the past.
My vote of 2,366, was 6.3% of those voting and easily exceeded the threshold of 5% needed to save my £500 deposit and I am delighted at it's return.
I would also like to place on record my thanks and eternal gratitude to all those who contributed to my campaign, from encouraging me to stand in the first place, supporting me over the last two years and helping me in a successful campaign during the last few months, space does not allow me to mention you all by name but I am sure you all know who you are.
A special thank you to my Agent, Rik Van Hegan. Without him, all my efforts and resources and those of the Rotherham Independents would not have been used to best effect, nor would we be so well placed across the Borough for the future. I know his commitment to the Independents cause in Rotherham is total and his future involvement assured, to the benefit of all who want to find a better way of running things here in Rotherham.
Set in a National context of the Independent Network, our performance was remarkable, only exceeded by three others who were backed by pre-existing mass membership campaigns with money and troops being plentiful. We came fourth nationally and one of only six in the whole country to save their deposit. Unfortunately most Independent Network candidates managed at most a few hundred votes, the lowest was 76 I believe! Esther Rantzen standing against a serial expenses offender, Labour MP Margaret Moran, managed only 4.4% vote share with a well financed campaign, complete with large numbers of volunteers behind her. In my case I funded my own campaign and because the local elections deprived me of significant human resources as the local candidates fought their own campaigns, in spite of these handicaps, we achieved an electoral result beyond any reasonable expectation when the campaign started.
The local government elections in Rotherham this year with eleven Rotherham Independent candidates was a huge success, We garnered 10,000 votes, averaging 15.3% of the vote. A magnificent result especially when the local election results are clearly skewed by the increased turnout that the General Election produced. In Rotherham a total of 12,348 votes supported our vision for a new approach to politics based on a freedom from dogma and tribalism that, I know, is at the root of many of the problems that we face daily and they have not solved in the 36 years since RMBC came into being in 1974. Enough time you would have thought? to have at least a grip of things, but they fail every time they try, why? because they don't listen to the people, no matter how loud they shout. Rotherham Independents are that voice and you will all hear much more from them in the future.
I have always made it clear that this would likely be, the last time I would contest a public election above Parish level. I have served the people of Rotherham in many capacities over more years than I care to remember and now is the time for me to gradually retire from public life and to give me the time to devote to my family and to get a chance, at last, to enjoy some of my interests that I have never had the time for, until now. I have found it all very rewarding personally, I hope that it at least helped in some small way. The promises I made during the campaign I will honour to the best of my ability during the remaining period I am on the Council.
Without the steadfast support of Jean, my wife and my family, very little would have been possible, they have been my bedrock through good times and bad. I will be eternally grateful for their love and support.
On the future, Rotherham Independents have grown from modest beginnings to be the committed group they are now. I am convinced that theirs is going to be a successful future with great possibilities as they work to gain the support of Rotherham's voters for their vision of inclusion and involvement, tolerance and above all freedom from all Party dogma, fixed policy and a maturity, not unfortunately, commonly demonstrated by either Labour and the Tories on the Borough, Town and Parish Councils of Rotherham.
Thank you once again to everyone.