Jon Tolley runs a record business, Banquet Records in Kingston Upon Thames. The kind of inspirational business person that towns need. He recently won a by-election to become a Lib Dem councillor. His story is a bit unusual and you can find it here.
Here’s a few extracts:
…A friend, Charlotte, made a petition to stop the cancellation of the carnival. In her absence, I addressed the council about it at a full council meeting. I still didnt get a clear answer. A wishy-washy resolution to try to try or something was passed. I was left frustrated. I vowed to run as an independent on the next by-election, almost on a one-issue thing. After a false start, a by-election came up in Grove, the part of Kingston I live and work in. It was, for me, about arts and culture, and why ?our? arts are as important as ?theirs?….
…. I?d made my point. I never really thought i could win, but i wanted to try. In the course of the campaign, people from the Lib Dems, but notably Chris, Rebecca and Liz were in touch. They seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and saw that I had a reach to, and from ,people and a different way of looking at what was going on in Kingston…
On the night of the election, i was at the count. It was a pretty close-run thing. I wanted as many votes as possible, but there came the realisation that my standing might have taken some votes away from the Lib Dems. As i stood next to one of the Lib Dem councillors i would have done anything to give 50 of my votes to the Lib Dems to make sure the Conservative party didnt get the seat. The Lib Dems held the seat by 18 votes. It was so close. I was relieved that the Tories didnt get the seat. I?d known that councillor for a good few years. Always had a respect, I know she liked me a little. She said on the night, ?How can we get you to join us??….. I never spoke to her again. That councillor was Chrissie Hitchcock….
I was shocked when i heard of Chrissie?s death. Genuinely. One of the good’uns, and special to many. I?m not gonna pretend i knew her well, but i did know her. And anyone, and i mean anyone, who knew her better than me, could only respect her, even if they disagreed with her. The turn out for her funeral was big. The ?Walk On? at it will live with me for some time. Democracy being what it is, I knew there?d be another by-election. I wouldnt run as an independent. It didnt work. I wouldnt want to hand the seat to the Tories. I?d help the Lib Dems. I met up with Liz Green for a cuppa. We talked about the potential of me running with and for them. I gave it some thought, but not loads….