Richmond Park residents have demanded a second by-election over concerns that voters didn’t know what they were voting for, as well as for a number of other reasons.
A leap in the dark
38 year-old Richmond Park resident Emma Harding feels that the people have made the wrong decision and is worried by uncertainty:
“We knew what it was like to have Zac Goldsmith as MP, but we haven’t a clue what Sarah Olney will be like. Voting for Olney was a leap in the dark. There’s going to be a lot of uncertainty now that was totally avoidable.”
Harding acknowledged that there had been problems with Zac Goldsmith, but was adamant that these could have been overcome:
“OK Zac wasn’t great. There were lots of things that were wrong with him and he had stubbornly refused to change. Nevertheless, we should have carried on working to reform him.”
“A reformed Zac Goldsmith would have best served the interests of Richmond Park and the rest of the South East.”
Harding was clear on the need for a second by-election:
“I voted Goldsmith. We need another by-election so more people can vote for him too.”
People don’t understand their own interests
Meanwhile, 30-year old Richard Smith said that the vote suggested that the people of Richmond Park were ignorant and not to be trusted in such important matters:
“To be perfectly frank, the people around here are a bit thick. They all read newspapers and they believe everything they read. In some of those newspapers some people said they should vote Zac, so they thought they should.
“They’re too easily led.”
“What they need are experts. Richmond people can’t be expected to know what’s good for Richmond people! You need experts to tell them what’s good for them.”
A reasonable compromise
Smith felt that there needed to be a compromise:
“If you look at the ballot paper, there was no option that said ‘get rid of Zac’. People voted for Sarah Olney, they didn’t vote to get rid of Zac.”
“So what we need to do is have a compromise: we get Sarah, but we also keep Zac.”
John Major intervenes
Such has been the furore about the by-election that the conversation is now taking place at the national level.
This morning, former Tory Prime Minister John Major waded into the debate to express his anger at having discovered that the candidate with the most votes had won the by-election.
“We can’t have this – it’s the tyranny of the majority!”
“It’s unacceptable in a civilised country.”
“We demand a tyranny of the minority!”
Most people didn’t vote for Olney
Meanwhile, other people who felt there should be a tyranny of the majority were quick to point out that Olney hadn’t secured a majority of the vote. This was one of the concerns of 28-year old Charlotte Joy:
“If you look at the vote, she [Olney] only got 49.7%. When you take the low turnout into account, you find that just 25% of people voted for her. That isn’t a mandate! Who are you kidding?”
“They stole our future”
Meanwhile, 21-year old student Hannah Ingram was very upset because she had lost and she wasn’t used to losing. She and fellow losers that weren’t used to losing had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in solidarity for Zac Goldsmith and to protest against the ignorance, prejudice and old people that had made them lose:
“If you look at the vote, it was dominated by old people. They basically made the decision.”
“Old people are going to kick the bucket soon, whereas we young people have long lives ahead of us.”
“Do you see that 10 year old over there? A 90-year old man had more of a say in his life than he has. I think that’s a disgrace. The old people are stealing our future and it has to stop!”
“The only acceptable solution is for the government to institute a rule whereby people’s votes are weighted by how much longer they’re probably going to live.”
“Only then will young people be able to decide.”
Many of those protesting against the result feel that the wishes of the 45% are being unjustly ignored in favour of those of the people on the winning side.
Such concerns are particularly acute in areas that didn’t vote for Olney.
A divided constituency
Nicholas Pike of Victoria Street is very angry because his street voted Zac Goldsmith, and no one seems to be making special arrangements for it:
“62% of people on my street voted for Zac Goldsmith. My street did not vote for Sarah Olney.”
“Richmond Park cannot be allowed to frustrate the democratic will of the people of Victoria Street.”
“Therefore, we will be conducting independent talks with Zac Goldsmith to see if we can have a special arrangement with him whereby he continues to govern us after we’ve declared independence from Richmond Park.”
“Let me be clear: we’re going to put the interests of the people of Victoria Street first, even if that does end up meaning divorcing ourselves from Richmond Park.”
“But don’t worry, we will still be able to keep the red post box.”