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, July 04, 2008

Council by-election results

Last night's council by-election results:

Christchurch Ward, LB Bexley. Con hold. Con 1192 (47.8%, -16.1%), LD 459 (18.4%, +3.5%), BNP 431 (17.2%, +17.2%), Lab 411 (16.5%, -4.7%). Swing 9.8% Con to LD since 2006. Tories hit by BNP intervention in an area that polled very heavily for Boris on 1 May.

Chadwell Heath Ward, LB Barking & Dagenham. Con gain from Lab. Con 842 (37.4%, +7.5%), Lab 641 (30.7%, -7.0%), BNP 564 (25.1%, +25.1%), UKIP 142 (6.3%, -6.9%), Ind 11 (0.5%, -18.7%). Swing 7.3% Lab to Con. More evidence from Jon Cruddas' constituency that there is a fundamental flaw in his strategy of moving Labour to the left i.e. his own constituents want a more right-wing, not more left-wing government.

South Hornchurch Ward, LB Havering. Ind gain from Residents Assoc. Ind 661 (Ind 27.0%, +7.9%), BNP 518 (BNP 21.2%, +21.2%), Con 438 (Con 17.9%, -4.7%), Lab 416 (17.0%, -5.9%), Havering Residents 287 (11.7%, -12.8%), UKIP 64 (2.6%, +2.6%), English Dems 28 (1.1%, +1.1%), London Residents 17 (0.7%, -4.5%), Ind 17 (0.7%, +0.7%). Swing 6.7% Ind to BNP since 2006. This ward goes into Cruddas' Dagenham & Rainham seat under the forthcoming boundary changes - it's a split ward with 1 Labour cllr.

Eckington Division, Derbyshire CC. Lab hold. Lab 824 (35.9%, -15.3%), Con 658 (28.6%, +11%), Ind 300 (13.1%), BNP 253 (11.1%, +11.1%), Ind 150 (6.5%), LD 113 (4.9%, -9.1%). Swing 13.2% Lab to Con since 2005.

Killamarsh West Ward, NE Derbyshire DC. Lab hold. Lab 480 (46.1%), Con 342 (32.8%), Ind 169 (16.2%), LD 51 (4.9%). Labour were unopposed in 2007.

Unstone Ward, NE Derbyshire DC. LD gain from Ind. LD 169 (31.2%, +31.2%), Con 160 (29.6%, +29.6%), Lab 146 (27%, -13%), Ind 66 (12.2%, -47.8%).

Bexhill Sackville Ward, Rother DC. Con hold. Con 571 (49.4%, +6.5%), LD 491 (42.5%, +5.8%), Lab 93 (8.1%, +0.7%). Swing 0.4% LD to Con since 2007.

Burgess Hill St Andrews Ward, Mid-Sussex DC, 2 seats. 2 LD holds. LD 876/829 (56.8%, +1.3%), Con 561/501 (36.4%, +0.5%), Green 65 (4.2%, +4.2%), Lab 40 (2.6%, -6%). Swing 0.4% Con to LD since 2007.

There was also a referendum in Bury on whether to have Directly Elected Mayor - result was "no".

Apologies for the late posting of the results this morning, I'm recovering from celebrating being awarded the title "UK Consultant of the Year" at last night's Public Affairs News Awards, the trade awards for my day job as a public affairs consultant.

Off to see Morrissey at the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park this afternoon.


Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

More evidence from Jon Cruddas' constituency that there is a fundamental flaw in his strategy of moving Labour to the left i.e. his own constituents want a more right-wing, not more left-wing government.

Not surprised you won that gong. Only a bloody good PR consultant or an unreconstructed Stalinist could put that interpretation on the Chadwell Heath result with a straight face.

11:32 am, July 04, 2008

Anonymous Bob said...

If the public want a more right-wing government rather than a left-wing one as you believe the evidence points to in Dagenham, they're going to vote for the Tories anyway rather than a rightward moving Labour Party.

11:33 am, July 04, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

What other interpretation is there on result where Labour's vote went down and the Tory and BNP votes went up? It's not as though ex-Labour voters in Dagenham are turning to Respect or the Lib Dems or Greens.

11:34 am, July 04, 2008

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

That the Labour Government is massively unpopular? That the Tories are seen as the best way of getting rid of them? That turnout suggests many Labour voters stayed at home? That the BNP woos Labour voters with left-wounding rhetoric on all subjects other than immigration?

I'd be amazed if more than three Chadwell Heath voters have read one of Compass's glossy brochures and are keen followers of Cruddas's left-right meanderings.

11:40 am, July 04, 2008

Anonymous David Floyd said...

"What other interpretation is there on result where Labour's vote went down and the Tory and BNP votes went up?"

Another interpretation is that people vote for the BNP in particular out of a feeling of economic insecurity.

That can obviously be tackled in different ways with both right-wing and left-wing measures.

I know you don't support the right-wing ones offered by the BNP, which means left-wing ideas not currently offered the BNP, the Tories or New Labour might be worth a hearing.

11:47 am, July 04, 2008

Anonymous Andrea said...

The winner in Chadwell Heath was a former councillor for that ward in 2002-2006 term. In 2002 the ward was a split Residents/Con ward whilst in 2006 it became a Lab ward

11:55 am, July 04, 2008

Anonymous john said...

Luke, you persist in using a model of electoral behaviour which assumes that voters place themselves on a left-right continuum and vote for the party closest to themselves on that spectrum. That's simply not the case. Overall perception of competence is likely to be far more important, as is general consideration of who's on whose side; a sense that one party has had it's chance and that it's time for the pendulum to swing back may also contribute - regardless of policies. After all, how can they be voting on Tory policies when the Tories have none? Perhaps if Labour was more willing to stand up for moderate earners in these more difficult times - in keeping with Cruddas' views - this would not happen. I still think price controls would be a good idea.

12:04 pm, July 04, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the award Luke.

I was up for it once before they changed the voting procedures and was beaten by, frankly, unethical "vote packing" from someone else.

1:08 pm, July 04, 2008

Anonymous Insider said...

Of course Labour wouldn't have won the Eckington DCC seat without the mysterious addition of 180 votes that came from nowhere! After 4 recounts, the Deputy Returning Officer was still at a loss as to where they came from, as the initial count of just ballot paper numbers before the count proper tallied with the polling station figures.

Welcome to elections - Zimbabwe style!

1:33 pm, July 04, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

ell, Luke, if the constituents want a more right wing government then they should quite rightly vote Tory. Power isn't everything, you know - not that you would understand that.

Of course, the results mean nothing of the sort. People are voting Tory because they are sick to death of the government. I don't think ideology has a lot to do with it in terms of who they opt for instead. But its the new labour formulae which is clearly failing, and these results prove that. By the way - turnout in Chadwell Heath was?

The results in the North are also very bleak for Labour. You know, Luke, that area which returns a majority of Labour MP's, unlike the South.

3:59 pm, July 04, 2008

Anonymous Simon said...

"More evidence from Jon Cruddas' constituency that there is a fundamental flaw in his strategy of moving Labour to the left i.e. his own constituents want a more right-wing, not more left-wing government."

I would be surprised if this were the case on issues like social housing, one of Cruddas's (and the constituency's) big themes.

4:31 pm, July 04, 2008

Anonymous odze said...

Congratulations on your award, I am not sure what it was for, but no doubt it is well deserved!

1:14 am, July 06, 2008

Anonymous A Very Public Sociologist said...

Do you have information on turn out for each of these contests as compared to last time?

9:12 am, July 06, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Cruddas, But I suppose it is difficult to work out who votes for the BNP. My view is it is normally right wing scum.

2:48 pm, July 06, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"More evidence from Jon Cruddas' constituency that there is a fundamental flaw in his strategy of moving Labour to the left i.e. his own constituents want a more right-wing, not more left-wing government."

Oh, that'll be why we also lost Crewe.People don't vote in a Council bye election based ion the views of the local mp- they voted overwhelmingly based on their current attitude toward national politics with a side swipe at local politics.

2:37 am, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent piece by Gary Younge in the Guardian on this very issue, like most people on here here thinks your analysis is well wide of the mark...the rise of the BNP is entirely due to the failure of New Labour to adequately represent communities who expected more from a Labour government..


5:39 am, July 07, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I think it more likely there is a general malaise to the government rather the move to the left.

People vote BNP because they worry about immigration and campaign successfully on the misapprehension of preferential treatment of immigrants with regard to council housing and jobs. Let us not miss out islamophobia which is gripping the country at the moment.

The question is why do working class people not vote conservative, but BNP? I fear it is because the latter attempts to speak for white working class people, another reason why we are losing support.

Generally people feel the government lied to us about why we went to Iraq and Afghanistan is costing us money but more importantly the lives of our brave service people.

All these situations fall directly on the government's lap.
I said this before and I'll say this again, Rich was right to mention our drop in the polls, I just hope his prediction of a BNP MP is way off. He cited crime and immigration as partly responsible plus the abandonment of the Labour party’s working class ethos (i.e. moderate democratic socialism) which has contributed to the disenfranchisement of the working class. In addition he mentioned the handling of the economy and the failure to have a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. I agree with that; we must find a way to communicate with the poor in our society and help them at this difficult time. The working class need a voice in parliament let it be us.

10:13 am, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you actually go to Chadwell Heath and knock on any doors, Luke?

12:21 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous stating the obvious said...

"It's not as though ex-Labour voters in Dagenham are turning to Respect or the Lib Dems or Greens."

According to your own results posted above, none of those parties actually stood candidates in the two by-elections you're talking about, so it would have been rather hard for ex-Labour voters to have turned to them.

12:27 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


I didn't make it across this time as I was out of London on the key weekends but did a little bit of work whipping in Hackney colleagues to help as the Agent for Barking & D, Rob Chapman, is a councillor with me. I've been and helped in Barking & Dagenham previously in the Goresbrook by-election. I didn't encounter anything then that contradicted my take on the situation.

My partner was full time Agent for John Cryer in Hornchurch in 2005 which is supplying wards into the new Dagenham & Rainham seat under the boundary changes(including S Hornchurch, the other ward where there was a by-election last week) so I know far too much about that segment of London.

I've also been a parliamentary candidate for Castle Point, which is culturally very similar Essex territory and in fact where lots of Dagenham residents aspire to live.

Please feel free to stick all that in your pipe and smoke it.

1:46 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger dominic said...

Hmm.. Labour winning Chadwell Heath last time was a bit freakish (as was pretty much everything about that round of elections in B&D): historically that (and a neighbouring) ward have been noted as those areas of B&D that DO NOT vote Labour - historically more of a Residents Association stronghold, but with strong Tory support.

As for South Hornchurch...that's a weird place, politcally: seems as though the winning independent candidate was supported by "The National Liberal Party" AKA Third Way - originally an offshoot of the old NF, but now more about environmentalism and gay rights than they are about "sendin' 'em back". That said, I've a thought campaigining on the latter set of policies rather than the former would have been more effective in S. Hornchurch.... - One thing I would attribute this victory to would be that the party (which essentially only exists in this very small area of Havering - around Elm Park, essentially) has been quite successful at getting its voice (singular) heard on one of the recently founded ultra-local radio stations.

As for Dagenham being culturally like Castle Point.... hmmmph. (or "Yes, but...the differences are probably greater than the similarities"

(I speak as a native of Dag, now resident much nearer to Castle Point. The latter is a great place, but politically and socially it's rather more go-getting and individualistic - at least on the mainland. Canvey ain't much like Dagenham, either, really)

5:27 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

People are turning to the BNP because the major parties are not dealing with the issue of immigration.

Most working class people are economically insecure even in the best of times so to say this is a reason for the growth is simply crazy.

There are simply too many people coming to live in the UK and too many Brits (NOW 1500 a day) leaving because of it. Immigration must be tackled otherwise everything this country has worked for will be lost. The welfare state being just one of these things under threat.

It is not acceptable to use immigrants to prop up an under funded and badly managed National Insurance System. We need to accept that we now need to be paying more to secure a pension and sickness benefits. But at the same time the payment system must be linked to individual contributions and not one big pot. Working people must see the benefits of hard work and paying into the system.

4:44 pm, July 13, 2008

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1:48 am, August 07, 2008


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