Hackney Elections 4 May 2006
Labour had an amazing victory in Hackney's council elections on 4 May - Jules Pipe re-elected as Mayor and 44 Labour councillors elected vs. 9 Tories, 3 Lib Dems and 1 Green.
This is my take on what happened:
· Small increase in turnout despite the move away from 100% postal voting. Turnout particularly up in hotly contested wards.
· Incumbency boost/reward for council performance over last four years for both Mayor and Labour council candidates offset large adverse national swing.
· Swing to Labour in 8 of 19 wards incl. 4 of 8 priority wards.
· Labour vote increased in % terms in 7 wards and raw numerical terms in 13 wards (and by over 50% for Mayor), partly because of increased turnout.
· Mayor got a small personal bonus vote of about 500 above that for Labour ward candidates
· Large number of LD candidates helped Labour retain seats by splitting opposition vote in marginal wards – a reverse of Hackney tradition of anti-Labour pacts.
· Labour’s vote is even more economically spread than in 2002 – fewer votes wasted piled up in ultra-safe wards.
· The geographical pattern that the further south and east you go in the borough the better the Labour vote was reinforced.
· Second time in a row that Hackney South has returned a full slate of Labour Councillors.
· Hackney North position continues to be fragile as demographic trends such as the gentrification of Stoke Newington damage Labour and the Iraq effect has more resonance than in the South.
· Lots of split ticket voting, particularly where there were high profile individual opposition candidates.
· Labour targeting strategy correctly anticipated the key marginals and our organisation was agile enough for people to be moved on polling day – hence all except 1 seat retained.
· Tory vote increased in line with national trend but they over-concentrated on Queensbridge rather than De Beauvoir and Hoxton where they have had councillors in the past. Tory efforts in Leabridge seemed to be predicated on getting Muslim community support which did not happen.
· In their Stamford Hill wards the Tory strategy was just to counter any Labour feints so their vote drooped in Springfield as they did not feel the need to mobilise it.
· Lib Dems had a sensible targeting strategy (just Cazenove and Hoxton) and a good campaign in those wards but failed to get anywhere near in Hoxton and nearly lost a seat to Labour’s Munaf Zina in Cazenove. They are still paying the price for their destructive behaviour when Hackney was a hung council.
· In wards where the incumbent LD councillors had been defeated in 2002 and replaced by Labour Councillors there was a double incumbency bonus and further movement to Labour.
· Greens got over confident and could have taken all three seats in Clissold if they had not wasted polling day resources in Leabridge.
· Respect was a damp squib in Hackney.