The ABeeC Campaign in the Spring of 2002 was, by design, a single issue party – in campaigning for improved leisure and recreational facilities in the Borough of Hounslow and that a new community stadium for Brentford FC should be at the heart of that provision.The ABeeC Manifesto can still be read.
ABeeC breathed much needed colour and energy into the notoriously dusty world of local politics. This was highlighted by the ABeeC Bus Tour around the Borough on the Saturday before the polling day and an army of supporters who campaigned vigorously in numbers and enthusiasm that the traditional parties could only dream of.
ABeeC fielded 14 Candidates in wards across the Borough – with no more than one candidate standing in each ward. The tactic being that as each voter would be entitled to three votes at the elections – and whilst they may have strong reasons for voting for one of the traditional larger parties, they could at least show their support for Brentford FC by casting one of their three votes for the ABeeC candidate.
The candidates, and their wards, were:
- Paul Brownscombe = Cranford
- Lionel Girling = Hanworth
- John Anderson = Hanworth Park
- Mark Hannah = Bedfont
- Phil Marchant = Hounslow West
- Jon Bishop = Hounslow South
- Peter Gilham = Hounslow Central
- Joanne Sewell = Heston West
- Sacha Syed = Heston East
- Neil Durman = Feltham West
- John Pain = Osterley & Spring Grove
- Luke Kirton = Brentford
- Andrew Wainwright = Turnham Green
- David Merritt = Chiswick Riverside
There are two ways of means of judging the success of an election result. The first and most obvious way is through the immediacy of the ballot box – does the candidate attract the support of the voting public? However there is a subtler means, and that is through the effectiveness of a campaign. By both counts ABeeC was successful.
Politicians of all persuasions were forced to sit up and take notice of the effectiveness, and the colour, of the ABeeC Campaign and the support received by the public during the campaign.
All of the candidates performed credibly in the elections, in some places polling higher than representatives of the established parties.
There was however one stunning success when Luke Kirton, standing in the Club’s home ward – after all the drama of two recounts – saw ABeeC Luke Kirton elected announced with the same enthusiasm as a late winning goal at Griffin Park.
Read the full ABeeC election results.
Here are examples of the press coverage the ABeeC campaign garnered.
The Guardian, 11 August 2002
“When Brentford take the field against Stoke City in the Second Division play-off final in Cardiff today there will be no place in the starting line-up for Luke Kirton, but the 31-year-old despatch worker potentially wields a greater influence on their future than any of Steve Coppell’s players. Kirton was elected to Hounslow council in west London last week as a member of the pro-Brentford ABeeC Party, and his manifesto commitment is to tackle the planning log jam blighting the club.”
Hounslow Chronicle, 9 May 2002
“ABeeC, made up of Brentford FC supporters fighting the stadium’s move from the borough exceeded their wildest expectations by winning a seat in the town’s ward. Jubiliant scenes accompanied cheers for the successful candidate Luke Kirton as the last of the night’s results in Hounslow Civic Centre, in Lampton Road at 3.30am.”
Brentford, Chiswick & Isleworth Times, 10 May 2002
“The ABeeC win was a shock for Labour, who possibly didn’t see the independent campaign as much of a threat. Afterwards, the two successful Labour candidates in Brentford, Cllr Ruth Cadbury and Patrick Edwards, said they were ‘devastated’ that fellow candidate Seema Malhotra was not elected.”