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.

Friday, December 21, 2007

By-election results

Final council by-elections of the year from yesterday.

First, the one I was Labour Agent for - Springfield Ward in Hackney.

Result was:
Conservative – 1244 – 58.9% (up by 414 from 2006, share of vote up by 16.2%)
Labour - 590 – 27.9% (up by 52 votes and 0.2%)
Lib Dem – 113 – 5.4% (down by 85 votes and 8.2%)
Green – 85 – 4.0% (down by 179 votes and 6.2%)
Christian Party – 40 – 1.9% (did not stand in 2006)
Communist – 37 – 1.8% (down by 76 votes and 4%)

Turnout was 33% (up 2% compared to 2006, but electorate has increased by 1300 as well)

For those readers unfamiliar with the idiosyncratic politics of Stamford Hill, this ward is very polarised between two southern polling districts which are mainly social housing and very ethnically mixed, Labour-voting and low-turnout, and two northern polling districts which are mainly owner-occupied with a large Chassidic Jewish population who (in this ward) vote Tory and do so on a very high turnout. Tory councillors at the count last night were describing the result as a referendum on the council's attempts to tighten up the rules on planning permission for residential extensions, a move which is unpopular with the Chassidic community.

Congratulations to Michael Levy the new Tory councillor and to Peter Golds and Matthew Coggins on their campaign. A silver lining to the cloud is that the Lib Dem vote collapsed despite their 5 separate leaflets each saying it was a two-horse race between them and the Tories - and an outrageous leaflet that was blue and stated on the outside that it was a message from the former Tory councillor!

A colleague has calculated that the Lib Dems delivered 19,500 leaflets during the campaign. An impressive 172 leaflets for every actual vote they got ...

Our Labour candidate Munaf Zina put in an excellent performance and worked extremely hard. I hope we will see Munaf as a Labour Councillor before too long – he has a great deal to bring to the council.

Other by-elections yesterday:

In my old stamping ground of Castle Point, there was a 17.5% swing from Tory to Labour in St Mary's Ward, Benfleet - the Tories clung on to one of the two seats being contested but my Agent from the 2005 General Election, Brian Wilson, gained a seat, putting a Labour voice back on a council where we lost our last seat in May.

Shepshed Town Council - 2 Labour gains from Conservative. I think this is in Loughborough parliamentary seat, which is a Labour held marginal.


Anonymous Dalston Dave said...

Congratulations on your victory. Does this mean that Comrade Brown can stay in power?

9:44 am, December 21, 2007

Blogger Hughes Views said...

Well done for your efforts in Springfield Ward. None of these results suggest much enthusiasm outside the Westminster Village for the boy wonder Dave or his nasty party do they?

Merry Xmas.

10:48 am, December 21, 2007

Anonymous Shambolic said...

That was a bit dull but I think you excelled yourself in your political analysis here .

2:12 pm, December 21, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

Fair result. Turnout, as ever, makes all the difference at local level.

But its quite understandable that Chassidic Jews vote for the political Right!

2:57 pm, December 21, 2007

Anonymous Aminda Shah (aged 6) said...

I don't understand. My mum tells me that in the old days Hackney Council had 60 Labour Councillors and much more recently it had 59, with 1 Conservative. So does that mean that there were no Chassidic Jews here in those days, or just that they have multiplied very fast? They didn't use to vote Labour, surely?

5:55 pm, December 21, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

A mixture of all 3.

The community is growing very fast - about 10% per annum aedult increase - due to both inward migration and a very high birth rate.

Before the 1990s "Tory Joe" Lobenstein was politically active in first the Liberals then the Tories but most of the community did not feel they should vote as they did not want to get involved in secular society.

In the 1990s the community first got politically active in Labour, but policy disputes over nursery education and planning issues, and allegations of malpractice in Labour candidate selections by Isaac Liebowitz (later, as a Tory cllr, convicted with LD cllr Zev Lieberman of proxy vote fraud) contributed to the split in the Hackney Labour Group in 1996. The Orthodox Jewish councillors who had been Labour all ended up as Tories or Lib Dems, as did other previously Labour figures such as Simche Steinberger, now a Tory cllr but then a Labour Branch Secretary.

A small minority of the community such as former Labour cllr Rabbi Pinter still vote Labour.

8:56 pm, December 21, 2007

Anonymous Aminda Shah (aged 6) said...

So Mummy was right, then. They vote Conservative because you lot pissed them off.

9:56 am, December 23, 2007

Anonymous Rabbi Pinter said...

No I don't!

3:46 pm, December 23, 2007

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

let's call a spade a spade here - it's clear the Tories did a marvellous job at getting their vote out - and squeezing the "third party vote", which was much more inclined to stay inside in the warm (as was the labour vote) than vote.

I was fascinated by your number of leaflets per voter stat for the liberals - i hear it was somewhat less than the number of harrassing phone calls per voter made by the Labour party to try and drive out the voters. Typical New Labour - let the voters freeze whilst you stay inside in the comfort of your committee room.

6:20 pm, December 23, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

To be fair to our activists we had about 3 dozen people out in the cold knocking on doors (up to six times on the main estates), and only three people on the phones - plus me running the "Reading Pad" system - so most of us got just as cold as the voters but for up to 12 hours rather than the 15 minutes it takes to go and vote.

I agree with your compliment about the Tory Get Out The Vote work.

6:43 pm, December 23, 2007

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

Two points, Luke -

1. If you had 39 people knocking up, then that means you had roughly 15 votes per canvasser - and that's excluding the anything up to 3 councillors on each polling station. The Lib Dems on the other hand appeared to have a peak of about 4 people knocking doors on the day. QED.

2. Whatever happened to those 1200 promises from two weeks ago?

7:22 pm, December 23, 2007

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

Oooh! Just thought of a third! When was the last time ANYONE saw Mr Zeena?

Was it that a) he was too important to come out? or b) you were really scared he was going to say something really daft?

7:24 pm, December 23, 2007

Blogger Niall said...

Merry Chrismtas!

That is all

9:49 pm, December 23, 2007

Anonymous Dalston Dave said...

A happy Winterval to you also Niall.

1:12 pm, December 24, 2007

Anonymous Hackney Bill said...

Yes, let's just talk amongst ourselves. It's better than reading the crap on this blog.

2:36 pm, December 24, 2007

Anonymous dalston dave said...

Happy holiday to you Hackney Bill.

2:55 pm, December 24, 2007

Anonymous dalston dan said...

And a happy holiday to you, Dalston Dave!

4:06 pm, December 24, 2007

Anonymous dalston dave said...

Happy Festive Season Dalston Dan!!

3:23 pm, December 25, 2007

Anonymous Shambolic said...

Happy Winterval to you, Hackney Bill, Hughes Views, Dalston Dan, Merseyside Mike, Aminda Shah, Rabbi Pinter, Lord London Fields Lido, Niall and Dalston Dave. Did you all get a card from Khan?

6:12 pm, December 27, 2007

Blogger Phil BC said...

I know you're not much of a leftist trainspotter, not being a leftist and all, but why on earth did the CP bother standing? From what I understand, it remains wedded to the idea the Labour party is the repository of working class political hopes, because of the union link, etc , etc. Can you shed any light on their rather peculiar electoral intervention?

7:22 pm, December 27, 2007

Anonymous dalston dave said...

Season's greetings to you Shambolic.

8:46 pm, December 27, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Phil, it is force of habit. Monty Goldman of the CPB lives in Springfield and runs in every election in that ward and has for decades(plus for Mayor, one of the 2 Hackney parliamentary seats etc). His comrade Ivan Beavis sometimes stands next door in Leabridge. They are the last relics of the days when there were 2000 Communist Party members in Hackney and they controlled the Trade Council and had some cllrs.

2:05 pm, December 28, 2007

Anonymous concerned taxpayer said...

I see Mayor Jools got his CBE. You must be pleased that £10,000 of our council tax money to Labour got its reward.

6:37 pm, December 30, 2007

Anonymous GW said...

"A colleague has calculated that the Lib Dems delivered 19,500 leaflets during the campaign. An impressive 172 leaflets for every actual vote they got ..."

Bet you the LibDemocraps published figures in thier expense returns don't show anything like this !

7:47 pm, December 30, 2007

Anonymous observer's friend said...

Apparently Jools is dead miffed he didn't get the knighthood he wanted - so he still can't look Sir Robin Wales (Mayor of Newham) in the eye!

£10k doesn't buy a lot nowadays, does it?

3:01 pm, December 31, 2007

Anonymous Richard said...

What I find really strange about Labour members is their inability to be able sense defeat.

Labour policies are failing and unless they can grasp this concept they face a big defeat.

I used to vote Labour but refuse to carry on supporting them while they continue to damage the lives of ordinary working people.

Labour has made the poorest even poorer and ever dependent on tax credits and benefits. What working people voted for was a fair deal and we haven't got it under Labour.

Brown must be thick skinned or very deaf as he's failing to listen to the voters who put Labour in power.

Just because we're working class doesn't mean you'll get our vote.

9:28 am, January 02, 2008


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