So as you’ll probably have gathered if you were paying attention on other channels, I didn’t get elected last week.
The hard work of the past year was there in all the 2nd and 3rd preferences beside my name, but unfortunately I just didn’t get enough 1st preferences to keep me in the race long enough for that to matter. No shame in losing in a tightly contested ward like Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor, but I’m still struggling with the fact that the Tory candidate did so well – well enough to get elected over sitting Labour and SNP councillors, never mind a newcomer like me!
It’s easy to shrink back in horror when you see Tory gains up and down the country, and on a personal level I definitely need to catch my breath and sort out my living situation, but I only decided to get involved in politics because I realised I didn’t want to look back and know I hadn’t done everything I could to stop the world from becoming one big bin fire. Today’s result doesn’t change that, and my fellow Greens and I can be proud that we gave ourselves over to this campaign entirely, that we did it for the right reasons, and that we had something to say that was of value to people’s lives.
We can do better in the future. We’ll have to. Things won’t get any better unless we keep at it, whether that means standing in elections or getting involved in local community campaigns or just trying to actually talk to people and work out what you can do to help them then doing it.
Nationally, I’m proud of my party for focusing on public services and local democracy instead of adding to the noise and panic of the moment. Closer to home, I know that this is only the start for Greens in East Renfrewshire and that our next campaign will be better for the massive efforts of everyone involved in this one. Finally, on a personal note, I know in my heart that this was the first time in the best part of a decade that I’ve really put myself out there for something I’ve believed in. The result is going to be raw for a while, but I know I’ll be able to look back on the effort I put in to this campaign with pride.
Shout outs to my fellow candidate Laura Stevens, who has been there for me throughout this unusually intense and surreal experience. It’s probably for the best that our messenger conversations will never be leaked to the world because there have been points where it’s all gone a bit Mean Girls, but it’s safe to say that without Laura I would have crumpled.
I’m gutted that the people of Ward 4 won’t be represented by such a shamelessly committed and intelligent candidate, but I’m sure the fact that they’ll be getting a new train station at Williamwood will see them through the hard times to come.
Much love also needs to go to my fellow manifesto superstars Jack and Ross, who were a pleasure to spend time with at stalls, leaflet runs and canvassing sessions. We may not get to Protect those Services together this time out, but thanks to your efforts on the streets and as part of the comms team the people of East Ren definitely know that we’re out there fighting for an alternative to more of the same.
Shoma, Jaana and Suze – you would all make better councillors than me, and your support has meant the world over the past few months. Unlike me, you didn’t bore the world selfless with your selfies, you just did more than anyone could have asked from you and you’ve all given me a lot to think about over the past couple of years.
Johnny Clark is like a leafletting goalkeeper, no one gets past him, and alongside Alison, Fiona and Ewan he was responsible for my warmest polling day moment. You guys are so lovely you’ll have to be careful or you’ll wake up one morning to find out I’ve moved into your house – given my current circumstances, this might happen sooner rather than later!
Corinne – your kindness in a difficult moment will not be easily forgotten and I hope you know how much it meant to me.
Jennifer – our paths didn’t cross this time but it’s always a pleasure when they do!
Lynn and the other David A – our paths crossed only briefly on this campaign but again it was pure pleasure!
Alison Murray does the best design work in Scottish politics and she suffered my neurosis well while we were working on leaflets and newsletters together. Alison, you make me look good, and if the bathroom mirror I looked in earlier tonight can be trusted that’s no easy task!
Colin and Ciaran both bring a sense of reason and clarity to our conversations that balances out my manic tendencies. You guys are so smart and funny that I can almost forgive you for the fact I scorched my eyeballs while loading canvassing results onto DORAS.
Jim Densham is a campaigning legend and without him I would have struggled to get out of bed on time never mind get on the ballot. We didn’t get over the line this time but when we do, we’ll all know the part you’ve played in getting us there and I hope you will too.
Finally, while all of my non Green pals have been more encouraging and indulgent of me than I’ve had any right to expect, Karen has been an absolute hero. She’s not just had to live with a permanently distracted bawheid of a boyfriend during a difficult period, she’s had to listen to a lot of tedious speechifying too – no small ask for someone who could be doing almost anything else with her time!
Karen, I don’t deserve you but I hope to one day.
Aaaaaand that’s enough from me for now. I’ll congratulate those fellow candidates who were successful another day, and commiserate with those who had a rough day whenever they’re up for it.
Right now I just need a rest – maybe you need some too?
All my love,