The people have spoken - the bastards! Andrew Brown has lost his seat in Lewisham.
Leaving my partisan preference for Labour aside, this is still a shame. Andrew has - I think - used the internet more effectively than any other elected representative in explaining his role and seeking to connect with the people that he represents.
For the last couple of years, I've told anyone who will listen to go and look at his weblog to find out what is possible to those prepared to try.
He has usually avoided overt political sniping and has always attempted to explain the issues that he works on and to attract constructive comment. As a Councillor, Andrew hasn't courted controversy or been tempted by any populist instincts. Had he done so, maybe he could have bucked the national swing that surely defeated him yesterday.
Instead, he has provided a patient and detailed explanation of what local democracy and local government is. And he has chided me in the past for eulogising the elected representative. He has explained to me in the past that the reality is somewhat different from the ideal I have that it should simply be moulded by a quiet but articluate majority of decent local politicians.
But I've met him three or four times now. He has always shown an awareness of the debt that he owes to his political party and he has rejected gesture politics. He has always been solicitous of the needs of his local residents - and he's taken ample steps to find out who they are, what they want, and to listen to the evidence that they have provided.
He has also demonstrated a lively intellect on his blog. In short, Andrew is Exhibit A when I argue about the value of representative democracy.
I wish that there were more Councillors like Andrew. Any chance of a recount?
PS: Andrew has posted a farewell notice on his blog. Go read it.
PPS: Silver lining: Sister Bance is now Councillor Bance. So mind your manners in future.