Time to move on…. not because I don’t want to keep on doing what I am doing but because it is impossible to do so, for many reasons:
1) The slicing of my ward in two removes 60% of the people who voted for me at the last election into the Copeland Ward. The Copeland Ward includes Donaghadee and Millisle and part of Ards…. That is real DUP country and they don’t know me from Adam. I got about 20 transfer votes from DUP last time.
2) The Bangor Ward contains about 40% of the people who voted for me at the last election. This also now includes large chunks of areas which are places where I am not known and these too where strong DUP areas last time.
Not Enough Resourses
3) In the last two elections I scrapped in, by a tiny margin, and I ran an excellent campaign and spent a fortune of good leaflets and posters and wore my wee feet off walking around the constituency. I had great help but no where near the numbers that the Parties had.
Political Election – Not Local Matters
4) This election will be about Sinn Fein. The DUP & Sinn Fein will do everything they can to make it an election about Northern Ireland issues and not about local issues. It will be a ‘them against us’ election. Stop Sinn Fein from getting the majority of Councils… etc.
Lack Of Interest In Community – by Large Chunk of Community
5) When I first ran Bangor was very different. A lot of people paid attention to the Council elections now few care about them and the majority of people only vote for their Councillors because they are voting for The Assembly at the same time…. and that is just the way the Parties want it.
Less Councillors Per Ward
6) My ward has 7 Councillors and I squeezed in last. The Wards will now have only 5 or 6 Councillors.
Higher First Preference Vote Needed
7) The number of people in the new wards has increased. Which means that a much higher first preference vote will be needed to get to the second stage. It also means that I would need a much larger team of people just to cover the ward at election time and a much bigger budget.
Big Time Financial Gamble
8) If I run and do not get elected I loose the severance pay. Which may total around £14,000.
Large Voter Turnout – Bad for Independents
9) The next election will be a big election. MLA’s, Councillors and MP’s will be getting elected. That means a big turnout and big turnouts mean that many people vote who pay no attention at all to local politics. Big elections and big turnouts are very bad for Independents. On a ‘Council only’ election Independents do well because most people who come out, specifically to vote at Council Elections, are much better informed of what is going on in their Borough. Those same informed people still come out to vote at larger elections but are swamped by the low-information voters and this dilutes the Independent vote.
10) I have NOT ruled out running for an MLA seat.