I am regularly shouted down and berated by those who oppose, dislike or just outright despise me, people who shout ‘don’t listen, he only got 167 votes in the Council election ‘.
It’s important to place that vote in context. It was 2011 and I was relatively unknown- besides a few fantasy tales being carried by the Sunday world- and I ran in the most affluent ward in the ‘Gold coast’. It included the Millionaires of Helens Bay and Crawfordsburn with only the loyalist area of Kilcooley sandwiched inbetween. It is by far the most affluent Council ward in North Down and here I was, an anti agreement loyalist, swimming against the tide of the glory days of the peace process- when the money was flowing and all was rosy in the garden.
I ran alongside a fellow community worker- and together we took 5.1% of the vote. The vote share percentage rose considerably in the loyalist area of Kilcooley and unsurprisingly votes from Helens Bay- the area of Policemen and Judges- were close to non existent.
167 votes may sound like a good argument to throw at me to shout me down- but when you peel away the attractive & easy nature of such an argument put forward by my opponents- you will see things aren’t so simplistic under the surface.
With thirteen candidates and 7,151 votes cast – 167 for a first time candidate, who was relatively unknown, swimming against the tide of the peace process and standing in the most affluent area if the Gold Coast- isn’t quite as demeaning a total as some would like to portray.
It’s worth noting that we took a higher vote percentage than the Green Party and a UUP candidate got elected with just over 100 votes me than me.
Whether with 167 votes or 167,000, I don’t believe that changes the truth- a truth I will continue to articulate no matter how many people agree with me or not.