Yesterday was a mixed bag of emotions.
Emily Smith and I were elected to the Vale of White Horse District Council, for Botley & Sunningwell. We had a few hundred votes over the candidate in third place, and I thank you most sincerely for your support, whether it was helping to deliver or on polling day, or voting for me.
But we lost many experienced and dedicated councillors, who have served so well. That’s painful in a couple of ways: friends and family who were wrenched out of their seats, for whatever reason, are a great loss personally; and we lost many people with expertise on subjects where we needed them: planning policy, Green Belt, leadership, and the long view of history in the Vale council. All members of the Vale Scrutiny Committee lost their seats, except me. We lost our Leader and our Chairman. Those of us who remain to form our new Lib Dem Group, will meet soon to prioritise and see where we can best have influence.
In Botley, we did better than elsewhere. Emily Smith and I are elected for Botley & Sunningwell. Dudley Hoddinott and Judy Roberts are elected for Cumnor. Bob Johnston is elected for Kennington and Radley; Bob has been involved in planning for years, so that knowledge is saved. Then there are Margaret Crick and Helen Pighills from Abingdon, Catherine Webber from Marcham, and Jenny Hannaby from Wantage. Emily Smith bucked the national trend in taking her seat from the Tories.
I’m going to take a break for a couple of days. And then Council work begins on Monday.
Here’s what I wrote last night just before going to bed (I posted it on Facebook):
I’m very pleased to have kept my seat in the Vale of White Horse. Alas, the Lib Dems are now only 9 of the 38 councillors, so a small group, and we will have to pick our battles. We lost many hard working, compassionate and committed councillors. Our friends and colleagues.
The win by the conservatives throughout the land surprised just about everyone. But we Lib Dems support the ideals of democracy, and so here we are.
I’m a Liberal Democrat and proud of the party, the people in it, and all we’ve accomplished.
Now, here in the Vale, we will move on with the plans for development that the Tories have put forward, including in West Way Botley, the Oxford Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I’m disappointed, and admittedly do not understand why we’ve voted for this.
I’ll stand up for Botley & Sunningwell and work to get the best we can for all of us.
Thank you from my heart for all your kindness, enthusiasm, and support.