When I first announced that I was a candidate for non-Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London in September 2017 the election day was a full nine months away and I drew a parallel to a baby’s gestation period saying that although I’d never been pregnant I guessed I was still at the “I can’t quite believe it” stage.
Now the election is one day away, I find myself once more at the “I can’t quite believe it” stage having experienced many emotions along the way.
There are around 23,000 Liverymen who belong to the 100-plus Livery Companies of the City of London. Those who have been a Liveryman since before May 2017 are all entitled to vote. There is no postal or proxy voting. They have to vote in person (although only 1500 of them can be accommodated in the Guildhall), and voting is by a show of hands.
This year’s election is contested and there are 4 candidates for 2 positions. One candidate is an Alderman and it is traditional that the Alderman “automatically” becomes the Aldermanic Sheriff, although the candidate is still part of the election process.
I am one of three candidates competing for the non-Aldermanic Sheriff role. The last time there was a contested election was 2011 so there has been much interest.
In order to make counting the votes (hands held in the air) easier, all candidates have been allocated an election “colour”. I was delighted to be given “orange” and immediately adopted the mobile phone slogan “the future’s bright, the future’s orange”.
Suddenly, orange was everywhere. As fashionistas might say, orange does indeed seem to be the “new black”. I had no difficulty in finding a variety of images to support my very active twitter campaign in which I linked #orange #future #bright with #diversity and #inclusion. I even created a Campaign Pin (small orange silk rose) which I encouraged my supporters to wear.
I’ve been lucky to get some good press coverage in City Matters as the issue of diversity and inclusion suddenly became a big topic in the City when the candidates for Alderman in one of the up-coming Ward Elections were branded “pale, stale, male”.
At 12noon tomorrow the proceedings will began with much pomp and circumstance with candidates each giving a 4 minute presentation before Liverymen are invited to vote.
Because voting is by show of hands, there’s always the possibility of inaccurate counting, so unless there are clear winners, a Poll (standard ballot paper) will be called for Monday 9 July and Liverymen will be invited to cast their vote, again in person, between 8am and 6pm.
I’ll be posting a copy of my presentation and giving the election result on Tuesday.
Wish me luck – and if any Liverymen are reading this, please vote #GwenForSheriff and do please pop in to my campaign HQ, The Bottlescrue, Foster Lane (nearest tube St Paul’s) which will be open from 9.30am to meet other supporters, have a cuppa coffee and collect your Campaign Pin.
You do not need a special pass to gain entry to Guildhall, but best to bring Photo ID with you. You will need to be seated by 11.45am.
Anyone can stand in Guildhall Yard and watch the Lord Mayor and other officials arrive – it will be busy from 10am onwards.
View the video of the 2011 Election (password protected: Election (cap E)).