three days to go – the battle for Glaven Valley


My hopes for a tranquil run up to election day in my home village in rural Norfolk were shattered over the last weekend. I no longer receive any LibDem leaflets through my letterbox: the Labour posters in my front window act as a deterrent. However one or two friendly neighbours pass them on to keep me informed. I was therefore shaken out of my complacency when I read, in a LibDem newsletter specially produced for the occasion, the following headline: Result in Glaven Valley: Too Close to Call. As the Labour Candidate this came as a surprise to me.

Some background may assist. There are 48 District Council up for election in North Norfolk with polling on the same day as the General Election (May 7th). We in the Labour Party had decided to fight all of them though we are only likely to win a few – in our best year we held ten. My main responsibilities are to act as agent for our excellent Parliamentary Candidate, Denise Burke, but I was happy to let my name go forward as a District Council candidate on two conditions: first, that the seat I was allocated was not too far from my home (distances are vast here in North Norfolk); secondly that there was no prospect of me winning. I have no desire to attend meetings in winter evenings at the Council offices in Cromer.

There was no problem in meeting these conditions. The Glaven Valley seat fits the bill admirably. It includes my home village of Sharrington and is probably the safest Conservative seat of all 48. At the last contest in May 2011 the winning Conservative polled 500, the LibDem was in second place with 232, Labour secured 95, the Greens 84 and UKip 83.

This time round the LibDem candidate is pleasant enough young man who works in the office of the local MP. He is obviously taking the campaign seriously but has experienced some difficulties. On his leaflet he has reproduced a telephone number with the qualification that: I have had some problems with this line recently but it is now fixed. This is the first time that I have seen such statement on a candidate’s promotional literature and can only assume that it is a way of demonstrating his ability to solve problems.

His main tactic seems to be to try to squeeze my vote. Again to quote: But the Conservatives will still win if people vote of Labour or the Greens: this time the result will probably be within a few dozen votes. He may be right in his prediction, but he has no way of knowing: the area, with the exception of the small harbour town of Blakeney (pictured above), is impossible to canvass as the properties are too dispersed. I don’t blame him for his tactics; however I have to report that my soundings suggest that they are not working. I have spoken to the six people who have said they will vote for me (this figure includes myself) and they are standing firm. We shall find out what happens when the result is declared on Friday.


5 thoughts on “three days to go – the battle for Glaven Valley

  1. Martyn,

    I should warn you that we have had ‘paper candidates’ win seats in the past. In fact this was one key reason why I was to be found running round one ward on the evening the night before nominations closed to ensure that our chosen candidate in an unwinable ward was duly nominated as the alternative was to put me forward!

    All the best on Thursday.




    • True but, given the figures you quote for the last election you should be OK.

      If not, at least you constituents will have a conscientious, caring and thoughtful representative. Even though I am fighting for very different outcomes to the ones you want on Thursday, I only wish all the combatants were as considered, honest, ethical and public spirited as you.

      By the way, I suspect that, at the national level, May 7th will be just the end of the beginning rather than anyting else so there should be plenty more blogging to be done…!


  2. If I lived in your District Council Martyn you would have my vote for sure! Wishing you all the best for this election, and I hope you win, even though it will cost you some warm winter underwear to attend those meetings in Cromer 😀


  3. Martyn – best of luck for you and your candidate on Thursday. Here’s hoping you get into double figures. If you want to know what losing is like, try following the Scotland Rugby team for a couple of decades….


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