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Monthly Archives: July 2024

Brexit Elephant Cat

Labour and the Brexit elephant

A letter to my new MP Naushabah Khan. I supported her candidacy in the General Elections, helping to split the Tory vote three ways. Even more pleasing I got a reply on her 2nd day in office. This validates my decision to stand and, of course, my strategy to ‘do no harm’ to Labour during my campaign, in spite my key difference over Brexit. Write your own letter to your MP. Feel free to use mine as a template.

Morning Naushabah,

Firstly, congratulations on your appointment – fully deserved !!

My campaign was instructive in so far as it revealed something that I already knew … just how little Rehman Chishti bothers to deal with local issues unless it was multi-faith or Saudi arms ‘consultancy’ – coughs a bit …. But turning to the positives here …

I wonder if you will reverse this lack of consultation by installing ‘citizens’ assemblies’ here in Gillingham and Rainham? I know you are much more plugged into local issues than Mr Chishti, but I detected a distinct lack of public consultation from my hundreds of miles cycling round the constituency and in cafes / bars and fb groups in recent times. There is disquiet about a number of current initiatives where local consultation would lead to better solutions.

And, of course, you will expect me to ask you to put an end to Brexit as a priority and not in 2032 as Tristan Osbourne has mentioned a few times. Nobody will know what Brexit is by then and the damage will be complete, much of it irreversible. Nigel F will exploit a slow drift towards Rejoin in 2029 anyway if he is still around. Keir need not have boxed himself in on Brexit. It would have been enough to say that Brexit isn’t working, but there we are. And slow death by a thousand sector by sector ameliorations (what I call logical incrementalism in Reboot Britain) is also not an answer. Mr S seems puzzled by the question of a business case for Brexit. I am not and will be writing one in the coming week. In common with 2019, people loaned their votes to Labour in order to remove the terrible Tories. I doubt that will happen a second time and I realise how unfair this is, given the scale of things that need improving, but that’s politics as they say ! ☹️

On a note of help, you can rely on my assistance in every way to improve the high street and other areas in which I can provide help. I’m also a skilled campaigner having received more votes than I deserved and having been told by many people that although they wished to vote for me, would I mind if they voted Labour to ‘carry the ming vase across the ice rink’. I did not mind and actively encouraged it.

You probably figured out at the hustings that I am supremely talented as a ‘critical friend’. I am presently bogged down in getting repairs made to my property due to criminal damage and knife crime by Reform UK acolytes, but once I have raised funds to pay for their criminal activities, I will be ready to assist in making Gillingham and Rainham a better place.

All the best

Peter Cook

Hard Labour

General Election fallout

I stood an independent candidate for the GE recently with a difference … standing a cat for election, on the basis that a cat could do no worse than Rishi Sunak … We had done something similar in 2019 as a joke, asking for no votes and finding that we did not come last !! The original intention was to undertake a two year campaign of events, briefings and other campaigning, but only a few thought it worthwhile, so we could not resource the longer project. I decided at the 11th hour to conduct an intensive campaign over six weeks, to see if we could disrupt the sitting Tory’s 15 000 majority and thereby assist with tactical voting by removing Rehman Chishti. I’m delighted to say that we succeeded at this level and also assisted in removing not ONE, but at least FOUR Tories from office !! Here i describe some of the highlights.

Help us pay for damage by Reform UK fans

344 votes were cast for Stan the Cat. I came 6th out of 8 candidates, beating two national parties (The Christian People’s Alliance and Social Democrat Party), both with budgets and national resources.

This was not too shabby, given that I recommended people vote for Labour rather than myself at two sets of hustings. In spite of this kamikaze mission, I gained more votes than Count Binface, who had immense national publicity, also outperforming the vast majority of independent candidates. I was constantly schooled by some independents in The Rejoin Party and more generally, that my cat campaign was wrong headed. They are now silent. Here’s one example of my many armchair advisers.

Every day over the last 6 months, we have seen adverts on facebook / You Tube etc. from Labour (and Conservative). It was not possible to compete with the £ millions used by major parties to spam people with ads, so Stan the Cat was a means of ‘punching above our weight’ in an impossible situation to cut through to 71 000 people. Although my campaign was serious (a manifesto was available and so on), I also observe that people are switched off by politics (turnout was down in my area from 70% to 56%), so I set out to conduct a campaign which was both serious on content and fun on the means of engagement. Many people who said they would vote for my cat have subsequently told me that they felt compelled to vote for Labour in the end (Labour told residents that ‘it was too close to call” and “a vote for anyone else would cause the sky to fall in” etc. All the main parties use this tactic. In the end, my prediction came to pass … Labour won comfortably with 5000 majority and my cat was no threat to their win, but I fully understand why people were frightened to make a different choice.

I did all the on the ground campaigning by myself, accepting that most people thought that resistance was pointless and potentially dangerous. The few that offered to help were not really ready to hit the ground running, some were Labour supporters who really did not get the campaign objective of ‘do no harm’ and so on. I eventually judged them to be a drain on progress, given the short time we had and decided to get on the bicycle and do the work myself, picking up advocates on route at bus stops, cafes, bars and in pop up events on the high streets and so on. This proved to be much more effective although exhausting. My original plan of building a team over two years and offering a range of community engagement events would have been much better, but most people only act when there is a burning platform i.e. the snap election.

At the same time, I helped The Lib Dems to win in Epsom through recruitment of volunteers and putting down a vicious attack on Helen Maguire, Lib Dem candidate by Gina Miller, leader of the so-called True and Fair party.

Our anti-Tory leaflets also helped to remove the truly odious Kelly Tolhurst and Nathan Gamester in Rochester / Strood and Chatham / Aylesford, through local distribution to network contacts. Others took small orders of 1000 / 2000 to target Tory strongholds and marginals. As my mum used to say “Every little helps, said the old woman pissing into the sea”.

I also helped to recruit 14 candidates for the Climate Party and coached them on various matters from campaigning to hustings and social media. They have made a small but vital footprint in the sand for future generations.

Given that Deform UK got 8000 votes from 41 000 in my area, I consider my 344 as being really good. Not content with stumbloing into the ballot box, some Deform UK acolytes conducted a knife attack on my bicycle tyres and ran keys down my car. As a result I have a bill of at least £500 to put these things right. I suspect the car incident was down to our familiar local Brexitear Ken, as it was close to his house and he did say in his last communication that “doubtless we’ll meet again”, but, of course, Kent Police do not wish to investigate an ex-Met Policeman who left under mysterious circumstances … If you can help by supporting the repairs please donate via PayPal or Go Fund Me. I asked one of the Reform UK party people who I know from musical jam sessions if he could deal with the miscreant, but, of course, he dodged the question as they always do …

Deform UK also staged a series of online attacks. Read the comments on this video.

The comments from gammon are comedy gold if a little wearing …

I also faced endless online criticism from some people across UK who voted to Remain in the EU, who said that I would split the vote and allow the Tories to win. In fact, I did the exact opposite. I knew exactly what I was doing in my area but the armchair critics thought they knew best. Rather than looking at the campaign objectives and the detail, they continued to operate from a visceral sense of panic and doom. In that sense, these people are united with Brexiteers in their inability to see things objectively. I will be detaching from the Rejoin movement gradually, as this election experience has demonstrated that (a) we are lost (b) when some leadership is shown it is rejected in favour of the status quo and (c) Starmer remains the leader of a Brexit party at the time of writing. Mealy mouthed accommodations by Starmer on Brexit are not enough. They will not solve the raft of economic, social, environmental and political problems we face as a country going forward. Yes, we won the battle against the Tories but lost the war against Brexit. Here’s the film I made on Starmer which I did not promote at the time to respect my ‘do no harm’ promise to the Labour candidate. It remains prescient.

I was Gina Miller’s Campaign Manager for several months this year, eventually offering to resign after I realised that she preferred media attention over local campaigning and took her advice from Isabel Oakeshott and Richard Tice. I tried to persuade her of the need to rebalance from media appearances on “Talk Shit TV” with five viewere to the hard work of local campaigning. One of my greatest regrets is that I failed in this attempt. She sacked me to save face from my resignation proposal, stating a host of trivia as the reasons. You may say that I’m bitter. I’m not overall as it was a privilege to have the offer from someone I admired greatly. I do however remain cross about a sum of £5000 + that is owed due to a broken promise over a bonus (I worked for free initially based on referrals). When Mrs Miller reneged on the promise of referrals, we moved to a financial arrangement. She lost three campaign managers over a few months. To lose one is unfortunate, to lose three, careless … I suppose the big lesson here is that it’s sometimes a mistake to meet your heroes.

In the end, Gina Miller, a woman with £46 million and a supposed international brand, got 845 votes, versus a man with a bicycle and a cat 🐈 I’ll take this as a win !!! Miaow !!

ITV and the local media channel KMTV refused the carry any coverage of my contributions to the Hustings, despite being told by several candidates and members of the public that they were by far the best contributions to the debate. KMTV ‘forgot’ to invite me and other independent candidates to the Hustings whilst stating on their website that ALL candidates had been invited. I suspect that the main parties were aware of this ‘omission’ but did nothing about it. So much for democracy.

Had I conducted a long range campaign, I believe it could have been transformational … leaflets hit the doorsteps around 10 days before the election, not everyone got them as I became aware that some people got three copies from the Royal Mail and others none and so on. A member of staff told me that some Royal Mail people throw the leaflets away if they don’t agree with them …

On the upside, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and discussing the issues they face in the area as well as the big ticket items currently being ignored by Starmer. I’m minded to start some citizens assemblies to ensure that he hears from the people of Medway.

Overall I am minded to think that further campaigning to end Brexit is pointless. We still lack leadership, strategy, structure and collaboration mechanisms and the major movements who people listen to are polluted by Labour. Brexit is a cross party issue. I am 8 years older than when I begun this etc. The Remoaners are still far to accommodating in their expectations of politicians and lack the skills and drive that gave Nigel Farage his victory.

Some wonderful people supported me online over the six weeks and I’m very grateful to them, especially David Hennessey, Julian Foster, June Austin, Greg Newman, James Rowland, Helga Perry, and many more, too numerous to mention. Here’s a small selection of the online activity.

Help us pay for Reform’s attacks