Today was the local election count in Crawley. Finally all that walking up and down knocking on doors and delivering leaflets was over, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms I found myself doing a lot more walking.
I had a feeling it would be a good day. It was Friday and there was a long bank holiday weekend ahead, which is always good. On top of that, I got paid early because of the bank holiday.
I took a bus up to Broadfield Barton and had a bit of a fry-up in the cafe there. When my 2 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 bacon, tomato and toast turned up I saw that one of the eggs was a double-yolker. This really was shaping up to be a good day.
Aftter breakfast I burned off a few of the calories by walking down to K2 via Broadfield park, where I had enough time to sit on the bench by the lake for a while, looking at the Times crossword. A family of geese came out to say hello and everything was well.
From there it was over to the count which took, as it always does, forever. From the Labour perpective it could not have gone better. We held on to all the seats we were defending and gained all four of our target seats. We only needed to win three of them to get control of the council, so getting all four was a real boost.
The implications of this are huge. Most immediately it means Peter Lamb is now one of the youngest council leaders in the country with a big job to do. It also bodes well for Chris Oxlade’s chances next year.
As far as the council is concerned the significance is that we now have all the seats in Broadfield, West Green and Ifield, which were previously split wards. We now have to concentrate on getting the other two Southgate seats back over the next two years which are held by the only UKIP councillor and one of the less likeable Tories.
At the count the UKIP crowd were very bouyant and optimistic, until they realised they were not going to win anything and all disappeared. The TV news crews and press were all there because of the real chance of the council changing hands, and the Labour people were optimistic but not daring to show it.
Of course, the real reason I went along this year was to see a little bit of payback after all the years of cockiness from the Tories, and it was rather fun to see Henry Smith trying to put a brave face on it. The Tories were trying to be pleased about winning in Pound Hill, Maidenbower and Furnace Green, which is what everybody (except UKIP) expected anyway.
Once the result was assured, I slipped off before the announcements and speeches. Another Fastway back home so I could get changed and head out for yet another long walk, taking the dogs up to Tilgate forest.
A real day to remember. For years to come I shall bore the children and grandchildren by re-telling the story of how I got a double-yolker in the cafe at Broadfield. They won’t be interested in the politics, but fried eggs they can appreciate.