Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The morning after

After going to sleep at 5am midst so much uncertainty I awoke a few hours later with the country in much the same predicament. I'm sure many of us felt a little bit flat; robbed of the excitement of waking up with a new Prime Minister and the immediate hope and excitement for the future of the country. I hope and do believe we will be able to sort out the current Hung Parliament and David Cameron will lead the country as our Prime Minister - but I will watch with keen interest as to how this unfolds over the next few days.

I had a huge range of emotions last night. Of course in many ways I am sad, I am no longer the Conservative Candidate for South Shields. My 15 month campaign is now over and so is a chapter of my life - in the same way as when you leave any post or job. We did not return South Shields' first woman or Conservative MP and David Miliband won with 18,000 votes.

We did however achieve a 6.4% swing to the Conservatives and we went into second position, with a very respectable lead over the Lib Dems with 7,876 votes (which I'll tell you I was very concerned we wouldn't do a couple of weeks ago - although in the last week I did become less worried at this prospect from reactions on the doorstep). We increased our share of votes by over 50% which I think is a great achievement and we must remember that any swing is diluted the further north you go, so in national terms a 6.4% swing is more like a 12% swing.

I am pleased by what we achieved in South Shields, but only naturally I wish we had achieved more, but only in the way I always strive to achieve more and not with any disappointment or regret. I was joined on the campaign by seasoned supporters, estranged supporters and several new supporters. I would like to thank members of the Association for all of their help and guidance in the campaign as a first time parliamentary candidate. I would also like to say a special thank you to Julie & Steve McGowan, Julie Bora, Ross Huartt, Ali Hayden and Tony Nott - who all joined the campaign and gave a great deal of their time and resource. I would like to say a huge thank you to Graham Rigg for his continuous support throughout the 15 month campaign, both in the blogosphere and in pure man hours for all of the leaflets he delivered across the West Park Ward (I saw with my own eyes last night it did translate into votes in West Park). To those estranged supporters who helped me, you know who you are and I also thank you also tremendously. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank my family, without whom my campaign would not have been possible - their guidance, inspiration and sheer work ethic not only made it shaped my whole life.

So now I guess I need to decide what I am going to do with this blog. I actually started this blog in 2006 when I ran for the Conservative Future National Executive - how long ago that now seems, although it's only four years. I will continue in my work within the Conservative Party and I look forward to working on new projects, which I plan to write about on this blog, as well as writing about South Shields. If I don't post as regularly hope you will still check in once in a while.

Many thanks for reading this blog, supporting this campaign and voting Conservative!


Blogger Shane said...

Way to Go Karen! Your Conservative friends on this side of the pond are very proud of what you achieved.

Great job!


6:02 pm  
Anonymous simon said...

Karen - nicely put, I am sure many in your constituency and your family are very proud of your effort. It does take one stone at a time to move a mountain. You have remaining only a hill.
Looking forward to meeting you here in Canada.

6:20 pm  
Blogger Karen Allen said...

Shane, Simon - from Calgary to Toronto - thanks for your kind words. Simon see you on Toronto on Thursday!

6:29 pm  
Anonymous Lizzie said...

I am gutted for you as you truly were the best candidate for South Shields. You still ran an awesome campaign though and should be proud. I guess labour just runs very deep in this town.
At least this election has shown a step in the right direction, and the times are, slowly yet surely changing.
Whatever you go on to do next, all the best! I am sure you will do great.

10:21 pm  
Anonymous Karl Arthur said...

Karen, good result in pushing up the vote the way you did. It shows that the Conservatives are on the up in the North East. It was always going to be a hard slog in one of the safest Labour seats in the country, but having said that I am sorry you didn't win I think you would have been a great MP who would have cared for the town she grew up in and not just taken it for granted as most of the Labour MP's in the past have.

Don't give up on your blog just yet, I think there may well be another election in October and in these circumstances the same candidates may well be asked to fight the seats that they have just contested as in 1974 when in the second election many of the constituencies chose the same candidate in the October election as in the February Election. Just ask Stan Smith.

Best wishes for the future I'm sure you will make it to those green benches one day.


4:16 pm  

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