‘enough to strip wall paper’- From the Phil Bateman Archives


Having a peek at the Councillor Phil Bateman Archives. I noticed that some 38 year ago I stood for elections in Wolverhampton for the first time.

labour_roseBack in May of 1979 I was selected to be the Labour Party candidate in Park Ward. It was the first time I had been selected to stand for The Labour Party.

I remember how proud I was of being chosen for The Wolverhampton South West Constituencies – Park Ward. It was my first ever election as a candidate, and I was so proud to be selected to run for Labour! I remember that it was a real live wire campaign. I fell foul of my Agent and was put in my place with some strong words, when I became a little carried away with myself. My Agent was Lesley Leader, she stood no messing and the pep talk she gave me was enough to ‘strip wall paper’. It was an error I never repeated though.  One of the other great mistakes I made, was a little bit more comical.

It was on election day itself. I thought I was the bee’s knees! I got a friend to write in Gugerati’ ‘Vote Phil Bateman Labour’. I then strapped it onto the loud speakers on the top of my car. All was well until about 4.30pm when a taxi driver stopped me in Whitmore Reans. He said “Hey Mate! your driving my people mad trying to read your election sign – Its upside down!”

Park Ward was a great campaign for me, I was recovering from testicular cancer. I felt that the disease had doomed me. Every time I had a twinge or my back started to ache the thought ran through me that it was returning. I threw myself into the campaign.

When the election finally came to an end I had finished second.

Not the best result in Wolverhampton! Not a win that I had hoped and dreamed that I could pull off. But nevertheless it was a decent result. The Labour Party  finished second with a good result  of 1963 votes, If I recall correctly anything over 1,000 votes at that time for Labour was deemed a successful campaign. Sitting Conservative Councillor Muriel Hodson retained her seat, with a vote of 3209. Labour holds the seat of Park Ward today. Its changed its boundary’s a bit since when I stood. But Park Ward will always be in my thoughts because it was my very first active campaign as a Labour Candidate.

I remember being told that as our votes came out of the Ballot Box Tory War Horse Muriel was looking a little anxious. It was a big result because it was a big turn out. That election  was on General Election Day and the turnout was 71.92% in Park Ward.

The General Election produced the following result for the Constituency –

Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Nicholas William Budgen 26,587 52.5 +8.3
Labour Ivan Geffen 15,827 31.2 −1.8
Liberal Joseph Wernick 6,939 13.7 −5.8
National Front June Lees 912 1.8 −1.5
Anti-Common Market John Deary 401 0.8
Majority 10,760 21.2
Turnout 50,666 76.6 +2.9

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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