Local Elections - 1977
Local elections were first contested in 1976 as the newly formed Ecology Party.
By 1977 more branches had come into being and some excellent results were achieved, including the first Ecology County Councillor - albeit returned unopposed.This report is taken from The Ecologist June 1977 issue (vol 7 no 5)
In the Cornwall County Council election Jeremy Faull was elected unopposed after his opponent in a two-way fight when the sitting member withdrew saying that he could not fault the policies on which Jeremy was standing. Elsewhere in Cornwall significant press interest was generated (local and some national) and possibly because of the local branch's strong links with both the Ecologist (based in Cornwall) and with the new Cornwall Conservation Forum some good results were obtained. Cornwall had four other candidates - John Bamford in Bodmin came fifth out of eleven candidates in a hotly contested fight for two seats in the ward. Teddy Goldsmith polled 23% in Wadebridge in a three way fight with two "independents". Dick Smythe in St.Stephens division got 35% in a two way contest with another independent, and Sally Wilmington picked up 8% in Menheniot - an area that The Ecologist described as "almost feudally committed to a local family"!
The Leeds branch in West Yorkshire fielded six candidates with the best performance coming from David Corey getting 6% in a three way fight in Garforth. Also in Leeds Steve Waldenburg stood on a joint Ecology/Liberal ticket against the big two parties and managed to avoid the squeeze on the Liberal vote that happened everywhere else. Three other Leeds wards and one in Bradford were contested with results between 2 and 4%.
West Midlands branch stood in four wards. Peter Sizer in Birmingham Sparkhill - a ward with typical inner city problems was pleased to get 2.3%. In Walsall , where the party's name was already known from the parliamentary by-election, John Duff gained 182 votes. In Sandwell Wednesbury Market, limited time for campaigning and the mood of a depressed area showing a swing to the right , probably accounted for Peter Rout's disappointing 0.6% of the vote. In Birmingham Selly Oak, Jonathan Tyler received 572 votes, only 48 short of the Liberals in a four way contest.
The London and Sussex results were both promising. Jonathan Porritt , coming in at the last moment was fifth out of seven with 298 votes. In rural Cuckmere in Sussex, Beryl Bowser, having fought as an Independent last year, gained 19% in a straight fight with a Conservative.
Finally in Essex Ben Percy-Davis achieved 1,269 votes (but failed to win a seat) in the big Hornchurch division on his 'People and Agrarian' ticket which had strong affinities with the Ecology Party. Percy-Davis was well known in the area having previously alerted the community to a potential toxic waste problem at a children's playground in 1975 and also having stood in both the 1974 general elections as a PEOPLE & Agrarian candidate.