I was approached by a Pembury resident yesterday, who suggested I read this week’s Tunbridge Wells Courier. She was a little confused by their coverage of the County elections in Tunbridge Wells last week. I followed her advice and was equally confused to read the article on page 28 “Leader Defies Challenge”:
“The only resistance to the blue domination came in the form of Lib Dem David Neve in the East area. He pushed Tory Kevin Lynes to the end but eventually went down by more than 800 votes.”
In case I was experiencing some kind of post-election hallucination, I checked with other colleagues who were at the count. Strangely, none of us can recall being “pushed to the end” – the Liberal Democrat Borough ward of St James’ was counted first, giving Cllr Neve a slight lead of around two hundred votes from one area, but once the Sherwood and Pembury boxes were opened, it was all over, and some batches were yielding eighteen out of twenty to the Conservatives. When postal votes were counted, batches were regularly running at twenty out of twenty.
One of the activists told us they knew they would lose, but hoped for the sake of their candidate’s feelings it would be close. But more than trebling the 2005 majority is hardly close, and it certainly doesn’t constitute being “pushed to the end”. Despite a substantial drop in turnout as we didn’t share the day with a General Election this time, Tunbridge Wells East actually had the highest increase in Conservative votes of all six Tunbridge Wells seats.
Shall I wait for a correction next week? I won’t hold my breath…