Trying though I honestly am to get a real life, I have to admit that I still find myself dissecting last week's local election results and looking for pointers to where the borough might be heading when "real" voting conditions are restored in 2014.
One interesting number that keeps coming back to me is 8816. This is the minimum number of voters who opted for independent candidates in preference to any of the established parties. This figure was reached by taking the highest independent vote in each ward in which non-aligned candidates were standing. In practice of course, because not everybody votes in blocs, it is likely that at least 10,000 voters in Hounslow placed at least one cross beside the name of an independent candidate. I would venture that is the most ever.
Then there was a minimum of 8336 voters who supported Green Party candidates. And if we want to think outside the "big two" as opposed to the "big three", there is the small matter of at least 11,824 voters backing the Liberal Democrats in spite of the fact that they were not contesting every ward.
As "third forces" go, the support of 30,000 - 35,000 voters in the London Borough of Hounslow is not a bad base to be starting from. But of course it should not just be assumed that every Green voter would have supported ICG candidates in the absence of a Green, nor that every ICG voter would have opted for a Lib Dem, and so on. If we are to think in terms of a third power in Hounslow politics to challenge the sterile hegemony of the tired old parties (and I should stress it is no more than a thought at the moment, I still believe the new administration should be given an opportunity to prove itself), we must explore what unites those of us who choose to think outside the establishment box and who consciously take the more difficult path towards realising our aspirations.
This is something I intend to research over the coming months, if only to keep a promise to those caring souls in my community whose new-found freedoms were so prematurely dashed, at least for the time being, by the "Gumby" vote herded out last week by the media circus that was the general election.
For the benefit of younger voters (and councillors) who are too young to remember the Gumbies, the following amusing little clip pertains: