Our guest satirist Claire Denise Udy reports on a little-known local election story.
Portsmouth Guildhall have postponed all events for another night as Gerald Vernon Jackson demands recount after recount.
Residents of Portsmouth have spoken over their dismay of the election of a councillor to the Charles Dickens ward in the last council election. Current Lib Dem councillor Margaret Foster admitted defeat after the 3rd recount to Labour’s Stephen Morgan in the early hours of Friday the 6th of May. She was promptly overruled by the leader of Lib Dem group, Gerald Vernon Jackson (GVJ), who has been demanding continuous recounts since then.
As of the morning of yesterday, the vote has been recounted more than 800 times.
GVJ, ex leader of Portsmouth City Council and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the 2015 general elections, has been surviving on one hour’s sleep a night at the back row of the upper stalls in the main auditorium of the Guildhall.
A vote counter, who wishes not to be named, spoke exclusively to Star and Crescent about the conditions she has had to endure.
“I don’t even know what numbers are anymore. We keep on getting the same result of 63 votes difference but he (GVJ) keeps shouting that it’s wrong and demands another recount. We’ve been here for two weeks and the Returning Officer is sat weeping in the corner. Why can’t the council end this madness and just give the seat to Stephen?”
Star and Crescent understand that the Portsmouth Beer Festival was relocated to Southampton Guildhall. Local residents who purchased tickets to the events are furious. Greg Smith, 48, has a ticket to Saturday’s day session and said:
“Portsmouth can’t even keep a beer festival now. It’s like that time when IKEA decided Portsmouth wasn’t good enough for them either. Even when he isn’t the council leader, Gerald still manages to ruin it for everyone. Absolute joke”.
This is not the first time such a delay to democratic decision-making has happened in Portsmouth, with many now dubbing such moves the ‘The Pompey Filibuster’.
Gerald Vernon Jackson also famously ordered the Council to keep their hands in the air for three days following the votes to cut Sure Start Centres in 2013. He wanted to make sure the majority was for the cuts. This then led to £1.2 million being cut from the budget and 16 centres being merged down to nine, with redundancies following.
We reached out to Gerald Vernon Jackson to comment, but he declined.
You can follow Claire’s adventures over at her blog, parentfeministlocalactivist.
Image by Sarah Cheverton.