My euphoria at receiving 129 beautiful votes last Thursday remains unabated! Thank you so much! Click here to watch the Walthamstow constituency count being announced at about 6am on Friday 08 May. My thanks to Polling Station staff, the Returning Officer’s team, Electoral Services at the Council, and the Counters at Walthamstow Assembly Halls who all did an amazing job.
I didn’t celebrate with a drink in the end because after spending 9 hours at the count all I really wanted was breakfast, care of amazing musician friend, Zami. It was then home to sleep for about 24 hours on and off, before heading back out to counter the EDL (see other posts) and thank constituents for their support.
My heartfelt thanks to Andy for being my electoral agent, to Jo, El and those who joined me leafleting, and those who provided advice. I also want to thank my family and friends for offering unstinting love and encouragement.
I am especially grateful to all those who voted for me, but also to the hundreds who spoke to me at length around Walthamstow, and all those many people who listened to me enough to go and vote and exercise their democratic rights, even if it was not to vote for me. I also want to thank the many Walthamstow residents and single issue campaigners who got in touch online to discuss their views in various ways – by twitter, by email and on facebook.
And I am grateful for the willingness of party campaigners to talk about the issues and be encouraging about saving Whipps Cross Hospital, whatever their parties’ policies. I learned a huge amount from my fellow candidates and their agents, and I’d like to thank them so much for their strong debating, which I hope Walthamstow was proud of. The constituency was lucky to have eight candidates who put in so much effort and tried to overcome electoral communication difficulties with hard graft and good grace.
Those conversations are continuing to motivate me now to lend my support to existing campaigns to save Whipps Cross and campaign for a nationalised NHS, free from PFI. To those ends, overnight during the count, I was lucky enough to have some fascinating cross-party conversations about saving our hospital and I intend to follow them up.
I realise our local MPs may well be distracted for a while by internal party politics, probably without much focus on saving Whipps Cross or the NHS. For example, Stella will be campaigning to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and IDS will be sorting out his continuing role in Cabinet, applying a further £12b in welfare cuts and £13b in government spending cuts.
The effort is more urgently needed than ever, however, to bring together Waltham Forest’s MPs, other MPs in neighbouring boroughs whose constituents also use Whipps, borough council members and community groups to focus their collective attention on the issue of rescuing Whipps from Barts before Barts senior management goes ahead with the land sale and other asset stripping of our vital health facility. IDS and John Cryer have already indicated they would be willing to accept new ideas on how to help Whipps.
Thank you so much for your generosity of time and interest, and here’s to Walthamstow’s campaign to win back its fully nationalised hospital and healthcare services!