While we are waiting for results (which could take some time) it is a good opportunity to summarise where we have been standing for election and what the chances are.
The polls opened in the UK at 7am on Thursday, closing at 10pm the same day. Elections actually took place for both the European Parliament accross the whole country as well as for local council elections in many part of the country.
The local elections are very interesting! Not every local council holds local elections at the same time, and even when they do they don't hold them in exactly the same way.
Thursday was a good example as we saw Loz Kaye standing for local election in Ancoats & Clayton, a ward which elects three local councillors, but only one at a time - this is called electing by thirds (as opposed to full). One advantage of this is that elections take place more often, which gives PPUK far more opportunities to stand, practice election-craft, and give voters many more opportunities to learn about what we stand for.
Contrast with this the local election in Vassall ward on Thursday in which Mark Chapman stood. This was the first time PPUK had stood for local election in London, and also the first time they stood for election in a full. This meant that Parties could have up to three separate candidates on the ballot, and that there were three winners in the election.
Electing in full but with only one candidate allowed for an interesting campaign strategy. Mark asked voters to consider giving him just one of their three votes (the three votes need to be cast for different candidates, although voters do not need to use all three of their votes) to put an independent voice on the council. Mark promised to work with any and all other Parties where they had sensible policies, but to hold them to account when they made mistakes.
With Mark receiving the best ever first-time PPUK result in a local council election, in an area where it was the first ever time the electorate had been given the chance to vote Pirate, suggests that this strategy may have appealed to many voters. As it happened the clear message from voters in Vassall and across the rest of the Lambeth council was a strong vote of confidence in the national opposition party (Labour) who were also the standing ruling party of Lambeth.
Loz received 3.8% of the vote and Mark received 1.4% of the vote - coincidently both receiving exactly 129 votes. Can this suggest to us a baseline percentage of voters receiving a PPUK leaflet for the first time, versus those who've had a little more exposure? Would this suggest that the vote haul for the North West England region would be in the realm of 1.5% to 3%? Or is it impossible to extrapolate and compare in this way?
One of the most exciting aspects about the European election is that this is the very first time PPUK has contested at the European level, and we have no idea of what to expect. One of the most valuable aspects is that PPUK have given more people in the UK an opportunity to Vote Pirate than ever before and, as a result, more people are aware of us than ever before.