There was an election round England and Wales yesterday. Mostly it was for a new position: Police Commissioner, which was so uninspiring that one polling station in Newport, Wales, had a turnout of exactly zero.
In Bristol, we had something else: a Mayoral Election -one decided by a first choice/second choice voting system. The three main parties, some of the "troublemaker parties" -greens, Respect. And some independents, including one who lives in a van near stokes croft.
The results are in, and today we have something new in the city: an Independent Mayor.
I've met George Ferguson a couple of times -he's done a lot of the city, and, as they say , could "organise a piss-up in a brewery" -as he owns one of the local brewerys.
This could show a profound change: the locals would rather have someone in charge who wasn't beholden to a party line coming from London, who stated clearly that he'd be appointing his cabinet (from the existing councillors?) on merit, not just from the subset of those from a single party.
There are some other factors at play: a large proportion of voters from Liberal Democrat strongholds appear to have gone for George Ferguson -and those areas had the highest turnout. My own ward was at the 20% turnout -and when I dropped round to leave our two postal vote envelopers they were pleasantly surprised. As an attempt to raise awareness and interest in elections, it's failed.
It'll be interesting to see how having an independent works out. Patronage has always been one of the ways a political party achieves loyalty, and I wonder how many people in the council will be working for him, rather than against him.
In the meantime -I shall head down to the Canteen, Stokes Croft, and have one of his beers there.