Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

I was never really a 'peepull' person anyway
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As the Green Party candidate for Kensington & Chelsea, I did not have a good election. Not only do we have another four years of planet-destroying Labour policies to put up with, but I polled only 4.28 per cent, so I lost my deposit by a measly 50 votes. It's a cruel old world. I don't, however, envy those elected; being a representative of the "peepull" must be a fairly thankless task.

As the Green Party candidate for Kensington & Chelsea, I did not have a good election. Not only do we have another four years of planet-destroying Labour policies to put up with, but I polled only 4.28 per cent, so I lost my deposit by a measly 50 votes. It's a cruel old world. I don't, however, envy those elected; being a representative of the "peepull" must be a fairly thankless task.

I got a frightening insight into the horror of pubic office at my final hustings. As it was held in a church on a Sunday, and primarily attended by holy folk from the parish, I expected it to be very polite. But I had no idea how aggressive religious people can be. The candidates were confronted with a mutinous assembly asking a bewildering array of questions. An aggressive old lady in a neck brace berated the agreeable Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a nun shaking with rage issued a forceful invitation to a grim-sounding social event in September, and a group of deaf people kept screaming; "You're not in the loop!" when I forgot to speak into the microphone.

I know I'm not in the loop, but it seemed a bit cruel to remind me so forcefully. As soon as the ghastly event ended, my agent and I made a break for freedom to the Goat & Boots pub. Just as I was enjoying a desperately needed sharpener, the aggressive lady in the neck brace appeared and proceeded to harangue me about the lack of recycling facilities in her street.

I will miss our election stunts, though. The best was unveiling an ice sculpture outside the House of Commons of Tony Blair's head, and watching it melt to the delight of the press corps. Unlike the polar icecaps, however, the fellow seems to be indestructible, and has regrouped for another four years.

I will also miss the elegant Rosamund Curzon, president of the Old Chelsea Green Party, who dealt crisply with bothersome e-mails. "Thank you for writing to Mrs Stephenson. Unfortunately, Mrs Stephenson has recently changed her e-mail address in response to a number of inappropriate messages. We will pass on your comments in due course, although, as I am sure you will appreciate, she is very busy at present."

Now I suppose that I must come clean and admit that I made her up. Yes, she is my alter ego. How I shall miss her curt missives that put the fear of God into all who read them.

I shall also miss my loudspeaker, which we deployed effectively on the streets. But it's coming in really handy at home when I need to remind my boyfriend to take out the recycling bags.

Although I'm not the world's most enthusiastic canvasser, I was not as bad as a fellow-candidate, who, when asked by Anna Ford, "What are the issues on the doorstep?", replied, "I haven't a clue, the only doorstep I've been on is my own."

The count itself is always exciting. But contesting a safe seat means that there are no surprises - it's like reading a good book that you already know the ending of. Under the current electoral system, all votes are equal but some votes are more equal than others. A vote in a marginal is extremely equal, while a vote in Kensington & Chelsea is fairly pointless. Welcome to democracy! Across the country, more than 281,000 people voted Green, which would have translated into 22 seats if we had proportional representation as they do in nearly every other civilised country.

Alcohol is forbidden at the count but I smuggled in some bottles of organic champagne and set up a discreet bar in the ladies from where I dispensed drinks to thirsty chums. Obviously, I forbade my agent from entry - it was imperative that he remain sober to deal with any case of vote-rigging that would have prevented me from taking my rightful seat in Parliament.

This year, it was a muted affair with no nutty candidates to while away the long hours. Previous elections pitted me against the handsome Lord Biro, representing the No Fruit Out of Context Party. Ginger Crab was a charming redhead who strode about Chelsea wearing a large shell strapped to his back demanding rights for redheads. The Hand Party drove around in a car with a huge hand strapped to it, and the Natural Law Party gave me levitation lessons, but whether it was the champagne or the tuition that caused the sensation of flying through the air, I can't be sure.

Now that I am no longer attempting to become a public servant, my life is my own again and I can get back to the important job of greening up my flat. Entre nous, I was never a peepull person anyway. Let Sir Malcolm have four years of dealing with drains, passport problems and nuisance neighbours. Meanwhile, if my windmill application is rejected by the council, which my man with the measuring-tape tells me is likely, I shall be joining the queue of angry nuns, rabid Methodists and disaffected constituents, and asking him to take my case to the European Court of Human Rights. Strasbourg, here we come!

j.stephenson@independent.co.uk

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