Category Archives: Campaigning

So close…

Yet so far… 

I was appointed the Conservative Candidate for Oakley Ward in January 2015. From a standing start and in only 4 months, I managed to gain 39% share of the vote against a long standing borough councillor (29 years) and former Mayoress. I also managed to reduce her share of the vote from 84% in 2011 to 41% at the election. In anyone’s book that’s a pretty impressive achievement. 

If I can achieve that, what else can I do in politics?

So I am very proud of my positive and engaging campaign, knocking on doors and connecting with people directly. I am very disappointed for the 914 people who looked to me to deliver much needed change in the Ward and I am sorry I didn’t quite make it. Everyone has been very kind by sending messages of support and congratulations. Thank you for what you have said; it means a lot to me.

On the plus side I have met some amazing people along the way and I have made many new friends. I love the villages that I have been spending so much time in and I really do care about their future.

I will always remember those 41 votes in whatever I take on next. 

But first I need to re-connect with my amazing family and do some normal things at weekends! 

The results follow;


Archived: Why do we need change in Oakley Ward?

This is the question that the vast majority of people have asked me as I have been knocking on doors throughout the last 4 months.

And the answer is simple.

After 29 years it is highly unlikely that any borough councillor will have the same levels of drive, enthusiasm and ambition as when they started their role as an elected official. Everyone I meet agrees with that view. So we need to bring in a fresh perspective to the role in 2015.

I will bring new ideas which you can read here, the ability to reset important relationships across a wide range of important stakeholders, I will bring energy and a much longer term view to the role.


I walked to the Stevington Windmill today (left), to take stock of my 4 month campaign.

I will not join every committee going; I will use my energy for the issues that matter and dedicate myself to making a positive difference to the people in the Ward and to Bedford more broadly.

Since 1986 the Council in Bedford has been ‘hung’ and you can see the result; a dilapidated and dreary town that nobody wants to visit. The lack of a majority has resulted in a lack of consistency in policy implementation and the independent councillors have swayed with the breeze, supporting this vanity project and the other. The current Mayor has served our town very poorly and we have a chance to change this but only with a Conservative majority will Bedford ever get the chance to put together a long term plan for the regeneration of the town.

As you can see from my website, I would be at the forefront of that programme if I am given the chance. And I would blog about the experience so that people know what is happening and not be left in the dark over the future of our Ward and our county town.

Yes, a Borough Councillor has responsibilities for the people of the Ward, tackling long term issues as well as those that bubble up. And the Borough Councillor should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or issue. But the role must also demonstrate leadership in the Council; the town has been allowed to drift because of a lack of vision and decisive leadership and this has to change.

We need a more inclusive Borough Councillor and I am the only candidate in Oakley Ward who has the life experience to deliver this.

So if you are reading this now and you want to see a new, fresh approach to how local politics is run in Oakley ward, then vote Ade Clewlow on Thursday and let’s make a change together.

There is so much to be done…

Archived: Campaigning to the end…

I spent 5 hours in Lincroft yesterday. I met many people and they were all surprised when I explained that it was the culmination of a 4 month campaign.
They didn’t expect to hear such commitment from a political candidate. I have been the only local candidate knocking on doors in this campaign. What does that tell you?

But that’s me; I’m a bit old school when it comes to these matters. How can I ask for someone’s vote and not put the effort in to meet them? This is what local politics is all about and I now feel a heavy burden to win this election because so many people I have met in Oakley, Pavenham and Stevington are relying on me to bring change to the Ward.

I can not have done more and there are still three days left to talk to people about what can be achieved if we make a change together on 7th May.

At the Mayoral debate I asked about the candidates’ vision for Bedford. There were signs from one or two prospective Mayors that they could offer the leadership Bedford so urgently needs. I would encourage the successful candidate to be bold and ambitious.

In these 4 months on the road I have been challenged by people in a way I had never expected. Local politics really matters to residents and they want to know what they are going to get.

That’s easy; fresh ideas, ambition, a vision for Bedford, the ability to reset relationships in the council and an unflinching commitment to the people I represent.

As a leader in the UK’s Armed Forces I have always thrown my heart and soul into my responsibilities.

As your Borough Councillor, you can expect nothing less.

Archived: This election is going to be close…

I’m writing this from the Tudor Rose cafe in Oakley, which is a great place to recharge my batteries. 

I’ve just finished meeting residents in Farsands and Burleigh Place.

It was another positive morning; the majority of people I met wanted to see a change and would vote for me. Others were naturally reserved and needed more reassurance. 

One individual clearly had a problem with the democratic process in the UK generally. He has moved onto my ‘Life’s Too Short’ list.

So if you are reading this and you live in Oakley, Pavenham or Stevington, and you support my campaign, then go out and spread the word with your friends and family. A sense of change is tangible but I still need as many votes as I can to secure a stronger voice for Oakley Ward in Bedford Borough Council.

Last night at Pavenham’s Annual Meeting I heard many examples where the blame for the lack of activity or progress over certain issues was pointed at council officials. 

It was a moment of clarity for me.

It was obvious that a link in the chain, between the Parishes and the Borough was not working. 

The need for a newly elected Borough Councillor was as clear to me last night than at any time in this campaign. 

Vote for change on 7th May.

Vote Ade Clewlow.

Archived: Local politics meets Facebook

In January this year my wife came up with the idea to set up a Facebook page for the village where we live and those villages surrounding us. I decided to add a couple more and so the community group COPS was born (covering Clapham, Oakley, Pavenham and Stevington).

We are now nearing 500 members in only 4 months. We certainly tapped into a gap in the market and a clear need for an online community for everyone.

This week someone posted a comment about the dangers facing kids on their way to school between Oakley and Clapham. This drew many responses including a direct intervention from a Borough Councillor. A promise was made to take up the issue after the election. This has got to be a brilliant example of how an online community can influence local policies.

I am a member of one or two other Facebook groups and there is a fierce determination to keep them politics-free. After making a comment I was reprimanded by people keen to keep their groups free from local political intervention even though the subjects they are discussing are directly related to local politics. It is naive to believe that life can be separated so simplistically. 

One example was disabled parking. I said that increasing the number of disabled parking spaces is a political issue; when I was berated for making this statement with cries of ‘nonsense’ I knew I would have a challenge to convince these people about the world of realpolitik. Of course, if they were a little more wise they would realise that they need to lobby councillors to make sure their views are represented properly in the Borough Council. Alienating councillors is never going to further their cause.

So how can we start to change people’s minds over this issue and begin to break down the cynicism towards politicians in general? 

It’s got to be one of the hardest and most important questions in our time.