Through the Looking Glass
The General Election May 7th Cambridge Guildhall
The dust has settled on the May 2015 General Election, and the many months, weeks, days and hours of preparation the PPCs (so called Prospective Parliamentary Candidates) and the Electoral Services Team at Cambridge City Council made have receded into the pages of the political history books and may well have been forgotten if it were not for our "Through the Looking Glass" audio documentary collaborators.
At the beginning of January 2015 Boni Sones Productions teamed up with other collaborators and from March 31st until May 8th 2015, we recorded broadcast quality interviews with the "worker bees" of politics as they made preparations for the General Election on Thursday May 7 th 2015. Our documentary and publication is called: "Through the Looking Glass".
Our purpose was to capture important procedural and political moments in the campaign as they happened, from the moment the Queen's Writ arrived at the Guildhall on March 31st the day after Parliament was dissolved until the actual General Election results was declared in the early hours of Friday May 8th.
We looked at both the traditional ways of campaigning, door knocking, leafleting and the blitzing of areas through to the modern use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, which electoral law still has to catch up with.
Cambridge City Council supported the documentary and kindly gave access to its staff for interviews at a very busy time as did the Cambridge Evening News.
We thank all the candidates and their teams of workers: Conservative, The Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Rebooting Democracy and UKIP. They were: Chamali Fernando, Rupert Read, Daniel Zeichner, Julian Huppert, Keith Garrett, and Patrick O'Flynn.
We would also like to thank the Cambridge Evening News for its cooperation with us, particularly its reporters Chris Elliott and John Vale.
Our gratitude goes to the City Council and Antoinette Jackson the CEO and Acting Returning Officer and Vicky Breading and her team in Electoral Services.
These interviews will be deposited with the History of Parliament Trust. Dr Paul Seaward, Director of the Trust said:
"As the organisation compiling a history of parliamentary and electoral politics in the United Kingdom from the middle ages to the (near) present day, we've been keen to see Boni's project flourish as it's something we would like to see being done more broadly across the country. We'll be holding on to Boni's recordings to add to our own archive of material on politics and elections. I'm delighted that they are so full a record of an exciting election, and perhaps may form a basis for other projects that we could get going across the country."
The newly elected Labour MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner appears to "Like" our work. After listening he told us: "I've only just had a chance to look at all this properly - it is fantastic, well done! It is an amazing record, and brings it all back - vividly! It is just brilliant."
The Liberal Democrat ward Councillor for Newnham has also tuned into our content and likes our reporting. "Thanks for the email - I have had a listen - the interviews sound great! It is a fantastic project to do." Regards, Cllr Rod Cantrill, Ward Councillor Newnham, Cambridge City Council.
Rob Hammond, former CEO Cambridge City Council has also had a good 'listen'! "Well done on putting all this together - what a lot of hard work. The audio certainly brings the election to life and illuminates the human side of what to many will seem a very bureaucratic process.
"I thought Antoinette gave a very clear and measured response given the pressure she will have been under on the night. I don't envy Elizabeth Rigby doing breakfast TV and tweeting at 7 in the morning, and it was salutary to listen to Chris say that, for the first time, there would not be a physical local newspaper the CEN hot off the press. Your prompting but relaxed interviewing style comes through very well in all the interviews just right."
Dedication: This Eight part documentary is dedicated to my friends Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Green Party), and Ann Stockford (Labour Party). Both were well known political campaigners in Cambridge. They may support different parties but each supported and participated in democracy and befriended me. My respect goes to the candidates of all the political parties and their teams of supporters.
You can listen to our recordings in these eight sections:
You can read the Electoral Services Teams Tweets of the results.
Below we give you some of the Tweets as they happened:
- At 6:52 on the morning of the 8th council staff tweeted: "Cambridge has elected a new Member of Parliament, @DanielZeichner". Then a little later, another Tweet read: "Labour's Daniel Zeichner won 36 per cent of the vote - 1 per cent more than LD Julian Huppert, see the full results". Then later on May 8th they returned to say: "Bright eyed and busy tailed, we're back at the Guildhall for today's local election count."
- You can look at the actual General Election result on the City Council's own website
- The evening paper The Cambridge Evening News also has a full page of results
- And the CEN's seasoned reporters gave regular Twitter updates throughout the campaign
- John Vale Tweeted at 5:49 am to say: "Daniel Zeichner has won Cambridge for Labour."
- At 6:15 am Julian Huppert, the losing candidate and previous MP Tweeted to say: "Thanks to all whose who supported me - it was very close, but not quite enough. Congratulations to @danielzeichner and good luck."
- And then at 6:24 Daniel Zeichner himself said: "It is a huge privilege to represent the people of Cambridge. I will always strive for the best for this progressive & tolerant city."
It ended six weeks of campaigning - Our "Through the Looking Glass Team" documentary begins on March 31st at Cambridge Guildhall with the delivery of the General Election 2015 Writ signed by Queen Elizabeth II.