They always said that a sunny day is good for the Labour turnout but I fear that hasn’t helped in the Hambleden Valley ward of Wycombe District, Bucks, where we had a by-election today.
We walked over the common to Northend village hall, near the top of the Chilterns, to cast our vote for Julian Grigg.
As we approached the polling station, we saw the poll clerks hurry inside, leaving the sunny bench where they were engaged with newspapers and embroidery. They had plenty of time for a chat and seemed to be looking forward to 15 quiet hours on Northend Common.
I doubt they saw many people. Although the turnout in our ward is good, 51 per cent at the last election in 2011, the electorate is only about 2030 split between six polling-stations. Last time the Tory, the late Roger Emmett (whose untimely death led to today’s by-election) got 80 per cent of the vote against the Liberal Democrat; there was no Labour candidate. This time we have three candidates: Julian Grigg (Labour), Brian Mapletoft (UKIP) and Roger Metcalfe (Conservative).
The Turville polling-station used to be in the church, but that was rightly decided to be inappropriate.
As there is no other public building in the village, except for the school which is in use, the polling-station was moved nearly three miles up the hill to the hamlet of Northend. This is less convenient for many people who now have to drive, or get a lift, to cast their vote.
Although the outcome is predictable, I always get pleasure from putting my X in the box. And Northend Common is a lovely spot, especially on a sunny day.
The results have been published here. The Conservative won of course, with 70 per cent of the vote, UKIP got 18 per cent and Labour 12 per cent, from an electorate of 2015 and total votes of 542.