Polling Day, an apology.

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To my neighbours who couldn’t vote today, I’m sorry. 

I had every intention of voting for myself today. My partner had planned on marking an x in the box, next to my name. 

But alas, things often don’t go to plan when there is a disability involved. It’s multi layered and of little interest to most as to why, but for me it highlights the issues that led me to not be on the ballot paper today. 

Firstly, the paperwork. Paperwork is something I’m very good at, but in some circumstances more than others it takes extra planning. My disability does inhibit my ability to carry out some tasks in a timely manner, due to motivation difficulties. Added demands can really hinder this and further delay me being in a position to finish a task. So paperwork gets completed, when nose to nose against a deadline, most of the time. This was the first hurdle in my journey to the District Council. 

An added stressor of this was that, when I’m on a deadline, it doesn’t fit in with other people’s time, they’re own availability. So when signatures are required in a hurry because i got a date wrong, they are not necessarily available. Why did i get a date wrong? Because I have poor executive function when under pressure. Why didn’t i get the signatures sooner? Confidence? Anxiety? Demand avoidance? I’m not sure, but whatever it was I couldn’t manage to get enough signatures for District Council nominations in time. But i did get them for Parish. 

The next leg of my journey involves the physical act of traveling to Pershore, with my papers, having squeased in a visit to get the last signature after school had finished, 

The deadline is 4pm. Our 6 year old finishes at 3:15, we have one car and have to stick to our routine, so, between 3:15 and 4pm I’m getting last signature from a house i know not where it is or what I’m looking for, manage it better than hoped, and once signed, we hightail it across District to Pershore enroute to Council offices. 

That’s done, we’re on our way. 

The last leg, 

Well, what can i say about the Pershore traffic? We were making good time, everything was fine. But then, the new build estate traffic lights happened. 

We moved less than a few meters in 20 minutes. 

I should have walked, but unbeknownst to me, it was worse the further down the road we got, not better and, to get out the car and run a few miles on a busy road, in a highly populated area with my self doubt and absolute frustration, was unlikely. I have a really difficult time with fatigue and doing all of that under the circumstances i was faced with, it just didn’t occur to me in the moment, that i should have just run. I sat, heart-pounding in the car stuck behind a queue of immovable vehicles, listening to my son ask why were we not moving? 

Time was ticking on, 

I phoned to see how strict they were with deadline, it was strict and it was tight. 

I eventually got there at 4:10 and was too late. I even phoned up from reception with the ruffled paperwork in hand, and pleaded that on the grounds of disability reasonable adjustments that they considered taking my application, I couldn’t help the traffic , and that I couldn’t get there any sooner because of my condition. I was told that i had had 8 days. That might be true, but my disability takes longer than that sometimes. 

I was so disappointed, i was silently feeling sick all the way home, occasionally joining in a conversation with the boy, but it was just vacant chatter, a wash of noise as I couldn’t process that we had been so close, and what this meant for the next four years. 

I had let people down. 

Lots of people. All of those that need a labour representative. People that needed a voice. I let you down. 

The realisation really set in when I received the email from district saying our area didn’t have to vote. That the two areas i was potentially running in, had not been contested, and why? Because it was meant to be me contesting one of those seats, and I didn’t. Because of traffic!! 

That’s it for Harvington and that’s it for Inkberrow, for 4 whole years. 

That is a long time. 

It’s polling day today and i feel pretty low. I enjoy going to vote. I always did in my last home. I like playing my role and doing my bit, but this time, in my new village it would have been with a new route to the polling station, a new smell to the hall, a new name to put an x by, and a new purpose. That purpose is the reason i put myself out there, to represent labour, offer an alternative and to change things that matter to people. 

I’m sorry about that. 

I’ve put myself forward as Parish Councillor to be coopted in, we’ll see how that goes, and if anyone else applies. 

But as i say 4 years is a very long time to be stuck with the same people in charge of us, and well actually it’ll have been 8 years at least by the next local election. 

In my old town, we had a local election 3 out every four years, I didn’t realise the impact of not getting my shit together sooner. Until it was too late i suppose. 

But..the light at the end of this tunnel is that in two years, we have County Council elections and i will be ready. That is a job i can do. It’s a job that Worcestershire needs someone like me to do. 

It’s County that pull the strings on the things that impact our Children, Education our SEND Community, and it’s County who need to hold the District councils more accountable for bad local policies. I’m happy to take on that role. And by then, in another two years time, I’ll have both boys in school, will have unpacked all our moving boxes, no more home renovations to complete, no more paperwork to fill in for autism assessments, no more outstanding complaints on behalf of the children, they will be sorted with support they require, we will have been settled in the new house, the community longer than a few months, there will be a routine and I’ll have breathing space. There will be less to occupy my mind, battle plans complete, capacity available. 

That’ll be in two years. 

That’ll be me going full throttle in to winning County Elections. Because we still need representation, real people still need a voice.

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