Gale's View - 10th May 2015
First, my thanks to the forty-nine per cent of those voting in the general Election who have chosen to send me back to parliament to represent North Thanet for an eighth time. When we offer ourselves for election we can only stand upon our records and our promises for the future and while it is only the second time that I have been returned with slightly less than half of the votes cast in total it is gratifying and humbling to have apparently earned the trust of so many people.
I said before the election that I did not wish to be re-elected with the support of those who either deliberately or accidentally share the views of extremists and those of us who find the arguments of the hard right repugnant can, I think, take some comfort that in both of the Thanet parliamentary seats the electorate has chosen the voice of moderation and reason in preference to radical populism and grandstanding.
It was certainly an interesting forty-eight hours: in the teeth of an adverse bureaucracy those charged with the duty of delivering a result laboured long into the night and dawn to produce, after more than eleven hours of toil, our results. In the main the whole process was conducted with good humour and courtesy and the only sour note was struck, for me, by the petulance of the UKIP candidate for South Thanet. Having had to wait for his second place to speak, he not only failed to thank even those who had worked so hard but , having delivered his suicide note, scuttled off into the media night surrounded by wholly unnecessary “bodyguards” without doing those who followed after him the courtesy of waiting to hear what they had to say. It was then left to young Will Scobie, South Thanet`s Labour candidate speaking in third place, to restore a sense of dignity to the proceedings. I will make a note to add to the list of reasons why I personally dislike Mr. Farage the charges of cowardice and the inability to lose with grace.
Moving swiftly and seamlessly from the parliamentary count in Margate Winter Gardens to Canterbury`s Westgate Hall I watched the return of a Conservative administration while, as an eagle-eyed KM photographer recorded, trying not wholly successfully to stay awake after getting on for thirty-six hours without sleep! We lost, sadly, the services of Peter Vickery Jones in west Bay but have gained some talented new blood in Heron, Herne and Broomfield, Reculver and Beltinge which bodes well for the hearing of The Bay`s voice in City Hall.
Back at Westminster our new colleague Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet), Julian Brazier and I all know that we have long hours of work ahead if, as contributors to a Conservative Government with a slender majority, we are to deliver on our manifesto pledges. I feel on safe ground in speaking for all of us in saying that we recognise the duty with which we have been charged and the aspirations of those who have sent us to Westminster. We will do our utmost to justify your continued confidence.