Friday, September 30, 2011

How Bishop's Castle was won

The ALDC explains the efforts behind Charlotte Barnes's victory last night:
Bishops Castle is a geographically large rural division on the Welsh border of Shropshire Unitary authority. Newton and Welshpool in Montgomeryshire are closer than either Shrewsbury or Ludlow. 
We won it 20 years ago after the hard graft of Peter Philips whose resignation caused the by-election. Peter suffered a pulmonary embolism on election day so a resignation for health reasons was always likely. He put it off to complete some major political projects dear to his heart, the local BioMass project and saving his local school. Once they were achieved he stood down. 
Bishops Castle was lucky that we had such a good candidate to replace Peter. Charlotte Barnes is a businesswomen, local campaigner, a local Parish Councillor and a parent governor at Bishop's Castle Primary School. Sometimes by-elections struggle to get help in, not this one. Help came from Herefordshire, Montgomeryshire as well as from across the county. Even Tim Farron and Vince Cable found time to help. The glorious weather on polling day may have helped. 
We delivered four leaflets in the three months before the election was called and then out shone all the other parties in quality, variety, content and volume of literature. Every house was canvassed by the candidate and or the outgoing councillor twice and in some cases three times. 
We relentlessly squeezed Labour (standing their first candidate since 1985 -“ what do you do with the numbers?” she asked our tellers!) and the Greens. Despite the massive turn out for by-election 51%, we got the green vote down from 186 to 74. 
Key again in this was posters – and not just window bills but stake-boards and even super-boards. In the current climate it’s even more important to give voters the clear message from posters that we can win.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for this stimulating piece. However, just in case anyone should get the wrong impression, I think you should make it clear that Peter Phillips is a prominent supporter of local opinion in OPPOSING the Bishops Castle Biomass project and all the environmental and amenity hazards it threatens.

Michael Dawes said...

This is a very good result for Charlotte and I have no doubt that the biomass proposal, and Peter's record has played a major part in determining the outcome of this election. Peter will obviously be greatly missed. However Charlotte now faces the same obstacle that confronted Peter, a Tory administration at Shrewsbury that takes not a blind bit of notice of the people of Bishop's Castle. Their arrogance is breath taking.

Michael Dawes said...

I should have added that Charlottes Tory opponent Georgie Ellis was also opposed to the biomass scheme and worked hard during the campaign of opposition while she was a member of South Shropshire District Council. She polled around 550 votes against Charlottes 825ish. The labour candidate and the green polled about 150 between them. It is clear that the votes were cast where there was clear opposition to the dreadfully inefficient, subsidy grabbing monstosity that officialdom wishes to inflict on the town.