A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Did the Tories do well in the North?

Cameron says they did, so I went and calculated the numbers of seats changing hands by standard government region:

South East - Con +240, Lab -105, LD -84

South West - Con +181, Lab -43, LD -55

East - Con +125, Lab -47, LD -57

East Midlands - Con +102, Lab -121, LD +2

West Midlands - Con +105, Lab -55, LD -39

North West - Con +82, Lab -48, LD -27

Yorkshire - Con +36, Lab -15, LD -13

North - Con +25, Lab -56, LD -11

I think that is a bit of a pattern - 62% of the Tory gains were in the 3 southern-most regions, grossly inflated by large numbers of gains in districts with tiny wards where they were in straight fights with the LDs and which have absolutely no relevance to the next General Election - that's why they suddenly picked up another 500 gains during Friday afternoon as these areas counted.

Just 15 of these kind of councils accounted for 240 - 27% of the Tory gains nationwide:

Bournemouth (23), New Forest (11), North Devon (12), North Somerset (18), North Wiltshire (16), Shepway (16), South Norfolk (20), South Oxfordshire (10), Tonbridge & Malling (12), Torbay (16), Uttlesford (14), Waverley (25), West Berkshire (9), West Wiltshire (9), Windsor & Maidenhead (19).

Where there were Tory gains in the north they were concentrated in a handful of councils with a rural or suburban character or special issues like the Blackpool casino bid:

1 council - East Riding - accounted for 18 of the 36 gains in Yorkshire (50%)

3 councils - Blackpool (13), Ribble Valley (8), South Ribble (24) accounted for 45 of 82 gains in the North West (55%)

This wasn't the Tories making a broad thrust into the territory they need to win the General Election - it was a massive coming home by their core vote in the deep south, a very patchy performance in marginal areas (notably good in North Kent and the East Midlands) and rubbish anywhere urban.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Labour did very badly in the north and only badly in the south.

Is this a cause for celebration?

Ms Blears has said: at least the Tories can't claim a "breakthrough". This is a very depressing way to see things, as voters clearly feel the New Labour project needs a significant change of direction.

To this, I suspext you would reply: the voters are so content with their lot, they don't need feel the need to vote.

Such a view is simultaneously naive and complacent.

4:43 pm, May 05, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anonymous - that's the opposite of what I said. We did OK in the north despite it being mid-term, but badly in the south. The message from southern marginals is that we need to stop internal bickering and start focussing on the bread-and-butter issues they care about. I don't think that voters are content - I think they are angry we've wasted so much energy on the issue of our own leadership, and that we aren't listening hard enough to their worries about the NHS, crime and immigration (and indeed as identified by Cruddas, housing)because we are so busy navel-gazing. They don't want us to be more leftwing they just want us to get a grip and concentrate on governing.

7:02 pm, May 05, 2007

Anonymous Tim Swift said...

Thank you for a very helpful analysis, Luke. One of the striking features of this election is that the Liberal Democrats were absolutely pasted in some authorties that they previously controlled. That seems to me to be a fairly new feature (they have generally managed to dig in quite well in these areas) and would be interesting to know more about some of those authorities.

A significnat loss of councillors is serious, and I share your concern in previous posts about areas that are left with few or no Labour councillors. But in terms of the national situation we should emphasise more strongly that the headline numbers of councillors do not reflect the proportions of the population who continue to have Labour representation at local level. I don't have the time or resources to work this out, but it would be useful if the party nationally did some work on this to counter the line the Tories are trying to run about being the only 'national' party.

Final point - not all was bad in the East Midlands. Fascinating result in Leicester City, where the previous Lib Dem / Tory administration took a real pasting and Labour are back in overall control. Again, it would be good to know the full story.

7:11 pm, May 05, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Yes there was a real contrast between the main East Mids cities - OK result in Derby, very good in Nottingham, excellent in Leicester, and weak results in the suburbs and rural areas in the same 3 counties.

7:19 pm, May 05, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Final point - not all was bad in the East Midlands. Fascinating result in Leicester City, where the previous Lib Dem / Tory administration took a real pasting and Labour are back in overall control. Again, it would be good to know the full story. "

IIRC the Libdems in Leicester had a serious split within their ranks. So there were Libdems and Liberal Focus Team (former LDs) standing against each other in those elections.
However I think Labour increased their votes anyway (and it wasn't just Liberal vote split letting Labour through the middle)

9:56 am, May 06, 2007

Anonymous David said...

Rather like Labour in the 80s, where the first stage of recovery to form a governemtn , seen in 87 and laregely completed in 92, was to see off the challenge of the third party (SDP), before they can form a government, the Tories need to win back seats which they are contesting with the LibDems. This would suggest taht the Tories may disproportionately increase their share of seats, but not votes at a general election. If I was a LibDem, I'd be very nervous after these results

11:58 am, May 07, 2007


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