A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, the Labour Party and Hackney - 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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

If this is union control, let's have more of it

The Guardian gives front page coverage to Labour's affiliated unions' policy demands (in return for financially rescuing the Party) in the run up to the "Warwick II" National Policy Forum meeting.

I have to say that if the Guardian has accurately reported what the unions want, then I would happily subcontract large slices of the next manifesto-writing process to them, as it all sounds both eminently reasonable and likely to win us back votes.

The Guardian says the agenda being pushed is:

"unions have deliberately decided to hold back from demanding traditional workers' rights, and are instead pushing issues which they hope will have a broad appeal with core Labour voters."
"The public services union Unison is to propose that primary school children should all get free school meals to help families and increase healthy living."
"The GMB is tabling amendments that would allow environmental workplace representatives to be created to encourage "green" workplaces"
"Unite, the largest union, is proposing that employees have better access to flexible workplace leave. At present parents with children up to the age of six may request time off if their child has an exam or a medical appointment. The unions want the age limit raised to 16."
"John Hannett, the general secretary of the shop workers' union Usdaw, said his union's priorities would be to extend "lifelong learning in the workplace, better protection for young workers, helping parents and carers to balance their home and working lives, and tackling crime including antisocial behaviour"."

Good stuff, let's have more of it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

NEC Ballot

Labour Party members should have received their NEC ballot paper by now. I would recommend voting for:

NEC:
Azhar Ali
Deborah Gardiner
Sonika Nirwal
Ellie Reeves
Peter Wheeler
tactically it makes sense to not use your sixth vote

Treasurer:
Jack Dromey (reluctantly - in my case the deciding factor was receiving an invite to join "Labour Friends of Palestine" on Facebook from his rival Mark MacDonald)

Auditor:
Kevin Hepworth
Michael Leahy

If you are a councillor you get some extra votes. Choices are a bit more nuanced here as there is no Grassroots Alliance slate running but I settled on:

NEC Local Govt Reps:
Sir Jeremy Beecham
Ann Lucas

NEC Joint Local Govt Cttee:
Caitlin Bisknell
Mehboob Khan

NPF
Jamie Carswell
Pauleen Lane
Roger Lawrence
Irene MacDonald

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gippsland by-election

We're not the only country with a by-election or two.

In Australia voting is taking place in the Gippsland seat in rural Victoria. It's been held by the National Party and its predecessors since 1922.

Labor are unlikely to gain it but might get a swing in their favour in the first federal by-election since Kevin Rudd took power.

Result after transfers in the 2007 General Election was Nat 55.9%, ALP 44.1%.

ABC's News' Antony Green's profile of the seat is here.

If anyone in Australia is reading this and knows the result before I post it here, please can they post it in the comments.

David Davis' opposition

With 25 candidates running against David Davis, in the absence of a Labour candidate I would be thinking about voting for Jill Saward if I lived in the Haltemprice & Howden constituency. Her stance on the issues Davis wants to debate in the by-election is set out here. I think Davis might get more of a debate than he bargained for.

Also running in Haltemprice is my Hackney acquaintance Rev George Hargreaves (Christian Party) who targeted my council ward as Christian Party ("Proclaiming Christ's Lordship") agent in the 2006 borough elections with leaflets claiming Tony Blair was a Marxist dialectical materialist so Christians shouldn't vote Labour! He also put out extremely inflammatory leaflets in the Springfield Ward by-election last year (with his wife as candidate) which seemed to designed to damage relations between Stamford Hill's Orthodox Jewish community and their Christian neighbours. Luckily only 40 people in Springfield were taken in by this unpleasant tactic.

Agreeing with Diane Abbott

I found myself in the unusual position of nodding vigorously at Diane Abbott's assessment of the overall political situation in her MP's report at the Hackney North & Stoke Newington CLP meeting last night.

Her basic message (from memory) was:
  • we'd be nuts to change leader again so quickly
  • we all need to stop panicking and that will be helped by MPs going on Recess and not all being in London stirring each other up
  • Gordon should focus on using the next two years to deliver two or three landmark policies that are the things he really wants to achieve in politics and will, to quote Diane, be "recognisably Labour, not necessarily left wing, but inspiring and heartening to Labour people"

Another by-election

Sometimes you just get a run of bad luck in politics that compounds problems that were already there.

Labour seems to be hitting one of those runs, with a fourth by-election now on the horizon just when we least need one.

Labour MP David Marshall is stepping down from his Glasgow East seat due to ill-health.

Where did it all go wrong?

Lots of newsprint this week has been dedicated to deciding where it all went wrong for Gordon.

Although it's actually rather more important to think about how we can get it to all go right for him, my take on the last year is as follows - apologies if this upsets anyone.

I think it actually all started to go wrong in August 2006, nearly a year before the leadership election.

Stephen Byers MP made what turned out to be a completely on-the-money assessment that Inheritance Tax was going to be a big stick which the Tories could use to beat Labour in the south where house prices were meaning lots of fairly humble folk were suddenly finding themselves liable for it.

Instead of taking this at face value as a sensible contribution to debate by a politician with his finger on the pulse of how key swing voters think, the paranoid pre-leadership election atmosphere meant Byers was leaped on and denounced as an "outrider" and "maverick", with an assumption made that he was just trying to create mischief.

13 months later the chickens came home to roost, as the exact moment when Labour's poll rating changed direction and started a downward trajectory can be traced to the Monday of Tory Party conference when George Osborne delivered a powerful speech the centrepiece of which was a promise to raise the Inheritance Tax threshold.

The knock this gave to Labour's poll lead led to the first of a series of u-turns and the sudden doubts about the wisdom of calling an early election which damaged the PM's reputation for strong leadership and squandered the opportunity to renew our mandate. And the rest is history.

What a difference it would have made if instead of sneering at him and launching savage attacks on him, Byers had been listened to. Without a key policy attractive to swing voters (and rejected by Labour) Osborne's speech would have been technically accomplished but politically hollow. Labour would have maintained its poll lead through early October and won a snap General Election on 8th November 2007. Gordon would now be able to deal with the economic downturn, taking tough decisions safe in the knowledge that he had 4 years to go before he had to face the electorate again, not less than 2.

Perhaps part of the solution might be to bring forward-thinking (and experienced) ex-Ministers like Mr Byers back into the tent and see how they can help.

Numbers

Not sure whether to laugh or cry about the Henley by-election result. Labour crashing to fifth place certainly isn't a reflection on the campaign run by Labour candidate Richard McKenzie and Regional Director Malcolm Powers. I'm told they worked their socks off. Unfortunately I don't remember receiving anything from the national party encouraging people to go there and help. If we decide we are going to get a catastrophic result and don't try to put in resources then guess what, we end up with a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm not saying we could have done well, given the territory and the national polls, but it would have been nice to save our deposit and beat the Greens and BNP. Interesting that Lib Dem whispers that they were running a close second turned out to be a total fantasy.

Also out last night was a YouGov poll that was at least moving in the right direction - Con 46% (-1%), Lab 28% (+5%), LD 15% (-3%). This may sound academic but the narrowing of the Tory lead by 6% represents an extra 44 Labour MPs, and 44 fewer gloating Tory newbie MPs elected by surprise in heartland Labour seats.

There were some council by-elections last night as well:

Park Ward, Blackpool UA. Con gain from Lab. Con 977 (55.1%, +28%), Lab 448 (25.3%, -8.4%), BNP 218 (12.3%, -4.8%), LD 97 (5.5%, -9.5%), UKIP 30 (1.7%, -6.7%). Swing 18.2% Lab to Con since 2007. Stunning result for the Tories at expense of all other parties in a ward in a parliamentary marginal.

Hatfield C Ward, Welwyn & Hatfield DC. Lab gain from Con! Lab 425 (33.2%, -7.5%), LD 329 (25.7%, +8.9%), Con 319 (24.9%, -17.6%), BNP 138 (10.8%, +10.8%), Ind 69 (5.4%, +5.4%). Swing 8.2% Lab to LD since 1 May. Labour picks up 3rd seat in a split ward on a council where we only got 5 councillors on 1 May.

Diss Ward, S Norfolk DC voted on Friday. Con hold. Con 1041 (55.6%, -3.2%), LD 768 (41%, -0.2%), Lab 63 (3.4%, did not stand last time). Swing of 1.5% from Con to LD since 2007.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Purnell's speech

I got an email yesterday from a friend whose politics are broadly Compass-ite saying "Have you read this Luke? Thought you’d like it - it’s a brilliant critique of Cameron – by far the best I've read from a cabinet minister recently"

It linked to this speech by James Purnell last week.

It deserves reading.

Help Labour Fight the BNP in Dagenham & Rainham

There are two by-elections next Thursday (3 July) in Jon Cruddas' Dagenham & Rainham seat - South Hornchurch Ward and Chadwell Heath Ward. Both the BNP and Tories are challenging Labour. Both wards have at least one Labour councillor. Contact the London Labour Party (0845 850 0588) if you can help.

Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by Chris Lennie, Acting General Secretary, The Labour Party, on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 39 Victoria Street , London SW1H 0HA.

Labour growing on London councils

Slightly counter-intuitive given the national polls, but Labour in London is going through a remarkable period in terms of councillor defections to us from other parties. In the three adjoining boroughs of Haringey, Hackney and Tower Hamlets in 13 months we've had two defections from Lib Dem to Labour in Haringey, one from Lib Dem to Labour in Hackney and five from the various successor parties of Respect to Labour in Tower Hamlets, including four this week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More CCTV needed

One of the good things about being a local councillor is that it means you get to hear on a regular basis how things look from the perspective of ordinary voters who don't read blogs, watch Newsnight or write letters to the Guardian.

Hence the following comments from people at a Tenants Association meeting on a large estate in my ward last night:

"Oh Luke, was that you on the front page of the Hackney Gazette? We've all been looking at it and saying "that's our Luke"".
"We knew it was you because you were wearing a tie and you almost always wear a tie"
"If you are on the front page does that mean you will be our next MP?"
"There's too much Labour competition here - you should be an MP down in south London, there's lots of nice places down there."
"We never realised you were a politician as well as our councillor."

I thought the last comment was actually a rather nice distinction to make.
I don't think their current MP Meg Hillier needs to lose much sleep.

And so after giving me some career advice we got down to the business of trying to get play areas improved, dog mess bins and new benches installed from the Environmental Improvement Budget, windows upgraded under the Decent Homes programme, strengthened security doors to keep the local druggies out, and - take note David Davis - a request for covert CCTV in the lifts to catch the charming individual who is regularly taking a dump in them between floors.
Presumably libertarians would consider the latter a gross invasion of the liberty of the individual to use lifts as public toilets, as enshrined in Magna Carta ("no powere shall ye Kinge have to watcheth a manne through anyee CCTV system invented 1,000 years hence performigge ye bodilee functions in anyee place, nor shall anyee lette or hindrence be putte uponne ye rightes of barones, knightes, burghers, serfs or curls to performeth suche functions").

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Same old Tories, same old dogwhistle politics

In one day we get two examples of the Tory Party really being pretty much unchanged from the anti-immigration/anti-Europe nastiness of the Michael Howard era beneath the Cameroon "nice party" veneer:

One of Boris Johnson's advisers quits after this exchange with anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth: ""I pointed out to him a critical comment of Voice columnist Darcus Howe that the election of 'Boris Johnson, a right-wing Conservative, might just trigger off a mass exodus of older Caribbean migrants back to our homelands'.
"He retorted: 'Well, let them go if they don't like it here.' "

And the Tory PPC for North Ayrshire and Arran names Rhodesian white supremacist leader Ian Smith as his political hero. He also said that Enoch Powell's far-right warnings about immigration had "in a small way come true". He went on to describe Sir Edward Heath as "a rat".

These are not obscure local activists, but a parliamentary candidate and a full-time adviser to the Mayor of London.

Not helpful

WWW.LabourHome.org has been running a little survey about the popularity of the Cabinet.

They asked me to link to it to get more responses.

I didn't because I couldn't see it would be anything other than ammo for our opponents.

It isn't based on a scientific sample, but on a self-selecting group of respondents. It's impossible to know whether Tories or Lib Dems have completed the survey pretending to be Labour supporters in order to make the results look worse.

Unsurprisingly it has ended up as a big story in the News of the World (http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/2306_brown.shtml) with the results portrayed in the worst possible light for Labour.

LabourHome is run by Alex Hilton, who is a Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. Alex is a decent guy and I respect his site being a forum for a genuine debate that won't always be what the Party leadership wants to hear. But in this case and in some of the recent posts over there I can't help wishing that he'd think more carefully about whether the polls etc. he is running can in any way benefit Labour. As a PPC as well as an individual Party member he does have some responsibility for what gets done by the Tories or the News of the World with these survey results.

A sad day for British politics

I have to say I'm devastated.

Not by the latest 23% Tory poll lead - I've reached the gallows humour stage with Labour's poll ratings - but by the news that there is unlikely to ever be another edition of Robert Waller's Almanac of British Politics.

The Almanac has been a kind of Wisden for political geeks and trainspotters since the mid '80s. I have half-a-dozen editions of this brick sized tome on my bookshelf. It is basically a set of pen portraits of every parliamentary constituency in the UK, packed with stats and gems of history and geographical and demographic insights. It's necessarily impressionistic and subjective as Mr Waller has basically personally researched it as a labour of love over the years.

In recent editions Byron Criddle joined Waller and started adding in mini-biographies of the MPs to go with Waller's seat profiles.

On politicalbetting.com Waller explains why we may never see a new edition of this much-loved (to its narrow readership) book:

"thanks for your continuing interest in The Almanac of British Politics, Punter, but I fear it will not appear again, at least not in that form, since money was lost when my co-author made a mistake about an MP, whose threatened suit severely cost the publishers (and my co-author)."

I can't remember reading anything remotely libelous in what is a rather good-natured, gossipy publication. It's a shame the MP concerned - I have no idea who they were - couldn't have accepted an apology rather than effectively shut down a harmless book which brought a great deal of knowledge and pleasure to its readers. Rather like another topical threat of libel it portrays a rather humourless approach and disregard for free speech (and I'm writing as someone who has been libelled repeatedly on the Fakehurst site but laughed it off as legitimate satire).

I hope Mr Waller finds some way to keep the Almanac alive.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Council by-election results

Last night's council by-election results:

Braintree East Ward, Braintree DC. Con hold in a split ward. Con 668 (50.7%, +27.4%), Lab 406 (30.8%, -4.6%), Green 125 (9.5%, +9.5%), LD 119 (9.0%, -6.1%). Swing 16.0% from Lab to Con since 2007 but Labour vote actually holding up well due to local organisation given a) national polls and b) withdrawal of UKIP from field and entry of a Green candidate.

Hatfield Peverel Ward, Braintree DC. Con hold. Con 782 (78.1%, +0.1%), Lab 138 (13.8%, -8.2%), Green 81 (8.1%, +8.1%). Swing 4.1% Lab to Con since 2007, entirely because of Green intervention.

Ringwood South Ward, New Forest DC. Con gain from Ind. Con 610 (56.6%, +25%), LD 354 (32.9%, +12.3%), Lab 113 (10.5%, +1.7%). Swing 6.4% LD to Con since 2007.

Monkseaton North Ward, N Tyneside MBC. Con hold. Con 1617 (69.6%, +1.8%), Lab 413 (17.8%, -1.5%), LD 198 (8.5%, -4.4%), Green 94 (4.1%, +4.1%). Swing 1.7% Lab to Con since 1 May.

Wollaston Ward, Wellingborough BC. Con hold. Con 816 (81.1%, +10.6%) Ind 97 (9.6%, +9.6%) LibDem 93 (9.2%, +9.2%). No Lab candidate. Swing 0.5% Ind to Con since 2007.

Great Eccleston Ward, Wyre DC. Con hold. Con 778 (67.8%), Ind 309 (26.9%), LD 60 (5.2%). Unopposed in 2007. No Lab candidate.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A blast from the past

Followers of Hackney political history should take a look at BBC4's programme about the Stamford Hill chassidic Jewish community shown last night but available on cable catch-up etc.

It focused on the attempted rehabilitation by the community of convicted drug dealer Samuel Leibowitz but also features his brother, Isaac, a Tory Councillor jailed for six months for perpetrating the largest proxy vote fraud and dodgy registration scam in British electoral history, which ensured Hackney was a hung council rather than Labour after the 1998 council elections. Oddly the BBC didn't mention that Isaac was an ex-con like his brother or make any reference to his conviction.

Cllr Smith & I thought it was a great shame that one of the first ever TV documentaries about the chassidic community in Stamford Hill focused on two bad apples (albeit cheeky, endearing rogues) rather than the 20,000 other people in the community who are amongst the most law-abiding people going.

The programme briefly interviewed Mr Cahan who runs the Hatzolah voluntary ambulance service and Mrs Symons the Chief Executive of Agudas Israel Housing Association (which I sit on the board of as a council representative). A full documentary about the amazing charitable and community work they do would have been a better representation of the community in Stamford Hill.

Infamy at last

Something of a shock to be greeted by my local newsagent this morning with the news that I had made it on to the front page of the Hackney Gazette with a very out-of-date picture and the headline "TERROR VOTE CALL OUTRAGE". Must be a slow news week down our way. Very fair and balanced article by the Gazette though, souvenir copies of which will be winging their way to my relatives. Might even frame one. My son being too young to read was merely impressed that "dada's picture" is not only on the telly and the (com)"puter" but also features at the same height as the Thomas the Tank Engine and Lazytown comics in the corner shop, thus presumably putting me on a par with them.

Compass Executive Elections

Some key quotes from the internal manifestos document for the Executive of Compass, which most innocent by-standers, and the media, think of as a Labour think-tank/faction:

Candidate A: "He was a member of the Labour Party from 1976 to the invasion of Iraq"

Candidate C: "A member of the Labour Party from 1964 to 1999, I currently have no party allegiance." (what happened in 1999?)

Candidate G: "As a political activist and (sometimes reluctant) Labour Party member"

Candidate T: elected as an independent rather than a Labour Party candidate to a very senior position in the National Union of Students within the last couple of years

As an organisation allegedly committed to greater democracy it has come as something of a shock to the member I am in correspondence with that they have been offered the chance to vote by return of email, thereby letting Compass HQ get a full record of exactly which members voted for which candidates.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You read it here first

Looks like I was not the only person thinking along these lines.

Our ancient liberties - Tory style

One of the things that has most wound me up over the last few days is the sight of a Tory lecturing us about civil liberties and "ancient rights" .

This would be an MP from the Party who just a few years ago gave us:

- The ban on trade union membership at GCHQ.
- The stopping and searching of cars during the 1984 Miners' Strike to block pickets from travelling round the country.
- Section 28
- Abolition of a whole tier of metropolitan government because the democratic results upset the PM
etc. , etc.

and a bit further back, the same old Tories showed their respect for ancient rights by:

- creating a huge network of police spies to infiltrate and undermine the Chartists and Radicals and anyone else promoting democracy or wanting to improve the lot of working people
- suspending Habeas Corpus
- passing the Six Acts which made holding meetings to call for democratic reform ""an overt act of treasonable conspiracy"
- slaughtering innocent protesters at the Peterloo Massacre
- opposing the Great Reform Bill
- opposing Catholic emancipation
- passing the Combination Laws which banned trade unions
- bankrolling despotic reactionary monarchies across Europe in the Napoleonic wars

I assume David Davis is quite a fan of our most authoritarian Tory PMs such as Baroness Thatcher and Lord Liverpool.

The Whigs, forerunner of the Lib Dems weren't much better. They had the Tolpuddle Maryrs transported to Australia for setting up a union branch, and less than a hundred years ago the Liberals sent troops to break the strike at Tonypandy.

Personally I can't quite see that the golden age of Magna Carta lauded by Davis ever existed unless you were a baron. For the rest of us the rights in it weren't much use in a society where for a good few hundred years after the Magna Carta was written the bulk of the population were serfs literally owned by their masters, where until 200 years ago you could be hung for stealing a handkerchief or a bit of bread to feed your starving family, or less than a hundred years ago you could be shot after a summary court martial for suffering from shell shock in the trenches and your right to vote depended on how much property you had and your gender.

I don't think anyone Labour needs to take any lessons about civil liberties from anyone who stands in the Tory tradition - the tradition of reaction, oppression and privilege down the ages. To misquote Orwell, "the jackboot stamping on the face of democrats and ordinary working people down the ages has usually been worn by a Tory foot".

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Back from reality

Well, well, well.

I didn't quite expect to come back to quite so many comments or links here at the end of the weekend. I hadn't actually been aware of the existence of the Libertarian Party let alone that it had so many rather over-excitable members.

Absolute belief in liberty at the expense of all other political goals seems to me just as dangerous as the absolute belief in equality at the expense of freedom promoted by communists. Real politics involves trade-offs between liberty, equality, economic prosperity and security (and probably some other values too) to try to achieve a society that maximises the happiness of its citizens. On 42 days, like the Government, I've come to the conclusion we need to trade in a bit of liberty to get a bit more security, just as we use taxes to trade a bit of people's economic freedom to deliver more equality.

At least the angry chaps from the Libertarian Party are consistent, unlike David Davis who saw no theoretical argument against 28 days but suddenly discovered 42 days was a principle worth resigning over, and whose concern about the potential for the detention for 6 weeks of the innocent is not matched by his stance on capital punishment, where he supports the death penalty, which it is quite difficult to compensate people for if they are found innocent after their execution.

The people I feel sorry for are Tories like Michael Gove who it's fairly obvious to assume were privately supportive of the Government position but were forced to troop through the "no" lobby against their consciences in a vain effort to keep Davis from going postal.

Any way I had a pleasant weekend away from the Internet, glibly innocent of the ant heap I had poked, enjoying a visit to Labour First's Annual Meeting at the Brandhall Labour Club in Oldbury, Sandwell, where we heard from two of the heroes of Tuesday's government victory, Chief Whip Geoff Hoon and Home Office Minister Liam Byrne, and voices from the floor urged the former to take tougher sanctions against Labour's persistent whip-breakers. I also found time to finish writing the campaign plan for the Hackney borough council elections on the horizon in May 2010 (there go all my weekends for 2 years - canvassing starts rather soon) and to visit the Cherwell Boathouse Restaurant for dinner and the Summertown Wine Cafe.

One unexpected potential collateral benefit of the David Davis by-election is that if he is not careful Bob Marshall-Andrews MP may find himself kicked out of the PLP. As he chooses to vote against his own party so often, this might be a welcome formal recognition of the reality - he doesn't behave or vote like a Labour MP, so why keep pretending he is one?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Candidate vs Davis

Ex-Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie has just said on "This Week" that if Labour don't run in Haltemprice he will stand on a pro-42 days ticket (he actually said earlier in the programme he was pro-420 day detention), and Murdoch has already said he will fund the campaign.

Council by-elections

Harlow Common Ward, Harlow. Con gain from Lab. Con 959 46.6%, +3.1%), Lab 628 (30.5%, -14.5%), LD 419 (20.3%, +8.7%), Ind 53 (did not stand last time). Swing 8.8% from Lab to Con since 2007.

Holywell Ward, Oxford City Council. Lib Dem hold. LD 188 (40.4%, -5%), Con 112 (24.1%, +1.6%), Lab 93 (20%, +6.4%), Green 72 (15.5%, -2.9%). More progress for Labour's excellent team in Oxford. Swing of 3.3% LD to Con since 1 May.

Upperby Ward, Carlisle. 2 Labour holds. Lab 595/515 (35.2%, -12.1%), LD 428 (25.3%, -0.6%), Con 346/275 (20.5%, +5.5%), BNP 321/278 (19.0%, +7.3%). Swing 5.8% Lab to LD since 2007.

Forest Ward, LB Waltham Forest. LD hold. LD 977 (36.9%, -2.3%), Lab 927 (35.0%, +1.4%), Con 507 (19.1%, +5.9%), Greeen 184 (6.9%, -7.0%), Left List 56 (2.1%, +2.1%). Swing 1.9% LD to Lab since 2006. Good result for Labour in a highly competitive split ward.

Brockworth Division, Gloucestershire CC. LD gain from Residents. LD 1040 (52.9%, +41%), Con 751 (38.2%, +11.1%), Lab 175 (8.9%, -15.9%). Swing 15% Con to LD since 2005.

Bexhill King Offa Division, East Sussex CC. Con hold. Con 2825 (53.0%, +13.8%), LD 1991 (37.3%, + 6.7%), Lab 518 (9.7%, -20.5%). Swing 3.6% LD to Con since 2005.

Bexhill Collington Ward, Rother DC. Con hold. Con 893 (75.2%, +5.2%), LD 216 (18.2%, -11.8%), Lab 78 (6.6%, +6.6%). Swing 8.5% LD to Con since 2007.

Hope Division, Flintshire. LD gain from Ind. LD 480 (63.6%, +63.6%), Ind 275 (46.4%, -63.6%). Swing 63.6% from Ind to LD since 2005.

An idea

Maybe instead of Labour fielding a candidate in Haltemprice & Howden we should find a Martin Bell type candidate - preferably a recently retired senior police officer, or a survivor or relative of a victim of a terrorist attack, to run under the following 5 word candidate description: "Independent - for detaining terrorism suspects".

I'm fed up with us playing softball with the Tories while they posture and pontificate on this issue. If they want to play liberal they should pay the full political price for it and be eviscerated at the polls for being soft on national security. We should have their stance on this issue on every single poster and leaflet at the next General Election and then see how Davis and his mates feel about a referendum on this issue.

Good luck to Ray Collins

Ray Collins was named as the new Labour Party General Secretary following today's meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Good luck to him in turning round the Party's fortunes - electoral and financial.

Two prats resign

Surreal fallout from the 42 day detention vote:

Pompous ass David Davis triggers a totally unnecessary by-election, at great public expense, currently he's on TV chuntering on about Magna Carta, fundamental freedoms, blah, blah, blah. Hopefully it really will be a referendum on the issue concerned and he'll lose given that 69% of the public support the Government position. Alternatively his little stunt could be undermined by everyone else not bothering to field candidates.

Jon Trickett MP stands down as Chair of the Compass group of MPs because he and Jon Cruddas voted with the Government rather than with the policy of their faction (well done to the whips' office for causing this little outbreak of infighting on the left, which has also led to John McDonnell boycotting this weekend's Compass Conference).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hammersmith Tories

...reach out to ethnic minority communities

This charming lady is one of the new ruling group whom David Cameron hailed the victory of when he visited Hammersmith & Fulham the day after the 2006 elections. Impressive to see that his new, modernised, liberal image doesn't even extend to the next borough to Notting Hill, led alone nation wide. Alf Garnett would be proud to vote for Cllr Ivimy.

Selection creates failing schools

Anyone who needs convincing that selection at 11+ is a bad idea only needs to look at the map of "failing" secondary schools published by Ed Balls yesterday.


The county where I grew up, Kent, is shaded a nasty dark green colour rather out of keeping given its relative prosperity with the rest of the map, where the pattern broadly follows an economic one.


The accompanying list of schools tells you all the ones in Kent with GCSE pass rates under 30%.

26 of these schools are, when you check, "secondary moderns". They have often dressed up their names as something else, but these are the schools that necessarily have to exist as the corollary for selective Grammar schools in the 11+ system that Kent largely clings on to. That they get such low GCSE pass rates is hardly their fault when their intake consists entirely of those children branded as "failures" by the 11+, and all the kids likely to get a string of high grade GCSEs have been creamed off and put in different schools.

The remaining 7 are listed as comprehensives but from looking at the town names several of them are "comprehensive" in name only as they are in towns with high profile Grammar schools and hence face exactly the same problem of a lop-sided intake as the 26 secondary moderns do.

A quick way Ed Balls could get these 33 schools off the list of failing schools is to end Kent's nutty system of selection by exam at 11, and ensure every school in Kent has a mixed-ability intake and an equal chance of getting a good GCSE pass rate.

42-day detention

The 42-day detention issue is one of those where I'm in such a different paradigm to opponents of the Government's position that I actually don't even know where to start debating with them.

I just don't get why any one would want to constrain the security forces' ability to lock up and question people suspected of terrorist offences for long enough to help stop mass casualty incidents.

The worst thing that can happen is that someone spends 42 days in Paddington Green and then gets let out, apologised to, and no doubt compensated. Unpleasant for the individual but not life-threatening.

The worst things that can happen if the police don't get enough time to investigate properly and stop a terrorist incident is in the "best" case a mass-conventional casualty event like 7/7 that kills many people and maims and psychologically traumatises many more, in the worst case its far, far worse stuff involving dirty bombs or biological or chemical weapons that could cause an unimaginable human catastrophe.

Having rather a great desire to live, and not to be shredded by a nail bomb or infected with small pox or polluted with radiation on my daily commute into central London, I am rather relaxed about the police having just six weeks to chat to folks thinking of doing this to me and other Londoners with a view to stopping them doing it.

The irony that at a time when the Labour Government can't seem to do much that is popular there are a whole bunch of Labour MPs prepared to vote against their own Ministers on one of the few issues where we are wholly in tune with what the public wants is profound. I'm with the 69% of the public who support the new 42 day limit. I find their voice rather more compelling than the incessent scare-mongering and Orwellian paranoia of Shami Chakrabati.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Birmingham Ladywood selection

Odd that there hasn't been more attention paid to the Labour parliamentary selection result in Birmingham Ladywood (currently Clare Short's seat, notional Lab majority of 6215 over LD) on Saturday.

The new candidate is 27 year old barrister and Oxford graduate, Shabana Mahmood. I gather from people in the West Midlands that she is likely to be a very bright and talented addition to the PLP.

I find it a little strange that a young Muslim woman getting selected for a Labour-held seat when there have only ever been 3 BME women MPs in history hasn't been celebrated a bit more.

Another defection

Les Byrom, former Tory Leader on Sefton MBC, has defected to Labour, citing the Tories' unprincipled stance on 42 day detention for terrorist suspects.

This guy is extremely senior and has been around in politics for a long time - I remember him being the Tory parliamentary candidate when I was seconded up to work for Labour in the Wirral South by-election in early '97.

Haringey Lib Dem Councillor Defects to Labour

A second councillor in less than a year has resigned from the Liberal Democrats to join the Haringey Council Labour Group.

Councillor for Bounds Green ward Cllr Ali Demirci was welcomed to the Labour Group on Tuesday.

Cllr Demirci said:

"I became involved in politics because I wanted to fight injustice and I am joining Labour today because I believe that they are the party who have the best policies to tackle poverty and inequality in Haringey and across London. The Liberal Democrat party is nothing but a protest party, with no vision, no plans and no real concept of the injustice that still exists in Haringey. As a councillor for Bounds Green I have seen that it is the Labour party who have the vision and policies to improve the lives of local people; that is why I have decided to join them."

Ali is the brother of my Hackney Council Labour colleague, Cllr Feryat Demirci, one of a number of very able young councillors from the Kurdish community who got elected in May 2006. If Ali is anything like as effective a councillor and campaigner, and as good a colleague, as his sister, Haringey Labour have made a real coup in recruiting him.

The impact on Labour's chances of retaking the marginal parliamentary seat of Hornsey & Wood Green from the Lib Dems is also interesting, as with this second defection Lynne Featherstone MP's Haringey Lib Dems really seem to be in crisis.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A misguided decision by the GMB

With all respect to my friend Iain McNichol who is their National Political Officer, I thought the GMB's decision today to withdraw funding from, as they seem to have put it, six Labour MPs, was churlish and misguided.

The six MPs are Meg Munn, junior minister at the Foreign Office and MP for Sheffield Heeley, Stephen Ladywood, MP for Thanet South and vice-chairman of the Labour party, and four parliamentary private secretaries to government ministers: Christine Russell, MP for Chester, Roberta Blackman-Woods (Durham), Sharon Hodgson (Gateshead East), and Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West).

They are all Ministers and PPSs so they all have the same reason why they are "not doing enough to support its preferred policies" - they are part of the Government, not backbenchers, so cannot pursue issues in the way that backbenchers can and would have to resign their positions if they want to break the whip to support a GMB position.

The more pertinent point is that there has been no such thing as the GMB sponsoring an MP for at least a decade, since that system was abolished and replaced by one less open to accusations of outside interests controlling MPs. What the GMB actually has is a series of "Constituency Plan Agreements" with Constituency Labour Parties. The deal here is that they and other unions give some cash (often not a lot) in return for the CLP encouraging GMB branches and members to get active in the party, recruiting GMB members to party membership, working on joint campaigns on the issues GMB cares about etc. It would actually be of questionable legality and a breach of parliamentary privilege for this to be presented as a deal that somehow mandated the MP to push particular policies. Having a Constituency Plan Agreement is not necessarily a precondition of an MP being a member of a union's parliamentary group. In fact an MP could be a member of a union, and of its parliamentary group, and vigorously campaign for its policy priorities without having any funding for their CLP through a Constituency Plan Agreement. The media and public might rightly suspect the buying of votes with donations if there was an explicit linkage.

So the victims of today's decisions are not the six MPs who had little choice any way about which way they vote given the offices they hold, but the members and activists of six probably blameless CLPs. A couple of them are in areas where the historic links between the GMB and Labour go back nearly a century. Three of the six are knife-edge marginals where the withdrawal of funding can only hurt Labour's chances of holding the seats, and risk local GMB members ending up with Tory or Lib Dem MPs hostile to trade unions.

The GMB would do better to make sure every one of its Constituency Plan Agreements is implemented, not scrap some of them.

It ought to be working to strengthen the Labour/union link at the grassroots by sending more delegates to CLP GCs and increasing joint campaigning, not issuing threats that the people on the receiving end have no power to respond to.

I write this in some sorrow as someone whose great-grandfather helped set up both his Boilermakers' Union and Labour Party branches in the '20s, at a time when the idea of a union voluntarily distancing itself from local Labour Parties would have been unthinkable.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Council by-election results

Last night's council by-election/postponed election results:

All Saints Ward, Allerdale DC. Con hold in a split 2 Con, 1 Lab ward. Con 586 (45.1%, -1.6%), Lab 537 (41.3%, -11.9%), BNP 99 (7.6%), Green 54 (4.2%), Ind 24 (1.8%). Swing 5.2% Lab to Con since 2007.

Red Lodge Ward, Forest Heath DC. Lib Dem gain from Con. LD 321 (55.9%), Con 230 (40.1%), UKIP 23 (4%). No Lab candidate. Seat was uncontested Con in 2007.

Bowydd & Rhiw Ward, Gwynedd UA (postponed from 1 May due to death of a candidate). Voice of Gwynedd gain from Lab who did not stand this time. Voice of Gwynedd 341 (48.4%), Plaid Cymru 247 (35.0%), Green 117 (16.6%). Seat was Lab uncontested in 2004.

Bettws Ward, Newport UA (postponed from 1 May due to death of a candidate) 3 Lab holds. Lab 1128/890/789 (52%, -0.7%), LD 586/451/408 (27%, +19.7%), Con 331/260 (15.3%, +7.1%), Plaid Cymru 75/49 (3.5%, -3.6%), Ind 50/40 (2.3%, -22.4%). Swing 10.2% Lab to LD since 2004.

St Julians Ward, Newport UA (postponed from 1 May due to death of a candidate). 3 LD holds. LD 1148/1029/985 (49.2%, -3.5%), Con 581/552/542 (24.9%, +15.3%), Lab 492/467/432 (21.1%, -2.7%), Plaid Cymru 111 (4.8%, +0.3%). Swing 9.4% LD to Con since 2004.

Edwinstowe Ward, Newark & Sherwood DC. Ind hold in a split 2 Ind, 1 Lab ward. Ind 715 (60.9%, +6.7%), Lab 459 (39.1%, +8.9%). Swing 1.1% Ind to Lab since 2007.

Market Drayton Division, Shropshire CC. Con hold. Con 1178 (53.1%, +0.6%), Lab 510 (23%, -24.5%), Ind 362 (16.35), Ind 170 (7.7%). Swing 12.6% Lab to Con since 2005.

Great Dunmow North Ward, Uttlesford DC. Con gain from LD. Con 569 (52.5%, +17.4%), LD 515 (47.5%, -2.3%). Swing 9.9% from LD to Con since 2007.

Implication of the Newport results is that LD not taking Bettws means the council may get a minority Labour rather than LD/Con administration.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No President Clinton II

Having not bought into Obama hysteria I'm feeling pretty flat now that Hillary has been beaten.

It feels like the end of a political era that started with Bill Clinton's victory in 1992.

For anyone my age on the centre-left everything before that in US and British politics that we had experienced was of a triumphant Reagan/Thatcher right pulverising various hapless Democrat or Labour candidates, often with the active support of a large slice of blue collar workers (the "Reagan Democrats" and their British cousins who had done right-to-buy and bought their first shares).

Bill (and Hillary) Clinton turned up on the horizon just as Labour was deep in depression following our 4th election defeat - in fact only about six months after we had been beaten in the 1992 election, and the centre-left seemed permanently in opposition, suddenly there was Hope (Arkansas) and this relatively young Democrat President.

His victory gave Labourites hope that there was a recipe for the centre-left to win back those lost "Reagan Democrats" and their British equivalents with a modernised, moderate agenda. I remember some of the organisational architects of our 1997 victory like Margaret McDonagh and Alan Barnard coming back brimming with enthusiasm and ideas from their trip to observe the Clinton campaign.

New Labour and Labour's recovery as an electoral force were given massive impetus by the lessons from across the Atlantic and the message that the centre-left was a force that could win, not a relic of history.

The Clintons seemed to have a special affection for the British Labour Party and us for them - Bill Clinton's speech to Labour Party Conference in 2002 was one of the "must remember" moments for any Labour conference-goer.

The Clinton Presidency in retrospect seems like a lost golden age when America was briefly restored to being a force for progress in the world - a brief interlude of hope between the dark clouds of the Cold War before it and the then seemingly second-order terrors of al-Qaeda and global warming after it. Even the scandals seem quaintly trivial and more about Bill the flawed human being than about any real wrong-doing.

But I guess now the chances are we will never see chapter 2 of the Clinton presidencies. A shame.

I hope Obama can win and can be a great President, but I am not holding my breath. The primary system has reverted to its usual character of producing candidates who get the Democratic faithful fired up into a frenzy but leave swing voters in phlegmatic key states quietly unimpressed and voting Republican in the privacy of the polling booth. A bizarre system and a fit of rule-mongering over Florida and Michigan has given victory to the guy who carried a host of tiny states that the Democrats can never win or which have hardly any electoral college votes, and denied it to the woman who carried those two, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, California, Texas and just about everywhere that might have been useful in the general election.

I have an awful suspicion that we are not going to see a lot of "change" in November.

Oh well, there's always Australia - Kevin Rudd seems to be doing pretty well, much as Bob Hawke did back before the long Clinton saga started.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obligatory dig at Compass

From the Compass website:

"Local Convenors (UK wide)
As part of the ongoing development of Compass, this autumn we’ll be encouraging the formation of local groups across the UK. This is a crucial step for Compass to continue to build its membership, to increase its influence and not just be seen as a London operation.
It’s envisaged these will meet on a monthly basis to primarily discuss Compass ideas – in particular hold discussions themed around Compass publications. At present there is a lack of quality progressive debate at the local level – the purpose of these groups will be to revitalise political debate at the local level around the key issues/challenges facing the democratic left.
In addition we want groups to be action focused around particular policy campaigns Compass is advocating at the national level. Another important role is linking to other groups – such as trade union branches, community action groups and local groups of members from other pressure groups. We want groups to become positive change-makers in their local area."

Now call me old-fashioned but if I considered myself on the left, and had gone to the bother of joining a group aiming to influence Labour's future direction I would

a) stand to be secretary or campaigns officer of my local Labour Party (or to be a local councillor) not "Compass Local Convenor"
b) try to get "quality progressive debate at the local level" going at my local Labour branch or CLP, where there might be people that disagreed with me (isn't that what "debate" is about) rather than setting up separate little grouplets to have a Compass love-in
c) be so busy campaigning on both issues and elections with my local Labour comrades in one happy, comradely team that I wouldn't have time for separate campaigns under the "Compass" banner that by definition bring no political benefit to the Labour Party
d) link to trade unions and socialist societies through the structures of the Labour Party they set up, rather than inviting them to provide a token proletarian presence at the Compass monthly whine/wine and cheese.
e) believe that the body best suited to being "positive change-makers in their local area" was the Labour Party

What are these clowns on?

Compass is starting to take on all the characteristics of a political party - an HQ, staff including a "General Secretary", an annual conference, local organisers, local branches, its own campaigns, its own regular meetings, its own relationships with unions and other groups outside Labour's structures - albeit a rather absurd political party with no organic roots in the working class, a leadership personality cult and policies last taken seriously at NUS conferences in the late '70s.

At least if they spend their time in exclusive conclaves it gives them less chance to screw up their local Labour Parties.

Monday, June 02, 2008

More London election stats

Well done to contributers on http://www.vote-2007.co.uk/index.php?topic=1586.870 for doing a whole host of list of facts and figures about the ward level results on May 1st, starting with this map:



Other interesting stuff (Hackney stats highlighted for my local readers) - mainly posted by Westminster Labour Councillor David Boothroyd:

Top ten best percentage wards for Boris Johnson (Conservative):

1. Stanley, Kensington and Chelsea: 79.96

2. Royal Hospital, Kensington and Chelsea: 79.68

3. Knightsbridge and Belgravia, Westminster: 78.59

4. Hans Town, Kensington and Chelsea: 77.70

5. Queen's Gate, Kensington and Chelsea: 74.85

6. Redcliffe, Kensington and Chelsea: 74.25

7. Brompton, Kensington and Chelsea: 73.85

8. Blendon and Penhill, Bexley: 72.50

9. Darwin, Bromley: 72.06

10. Village, Merton: 71.95

Bottom ten:

1. Coldharbour, Lambeth: 12.53

2. Clissold, Hackney: 13.03

3. Hackney Downs, Hackney: 13.77

4. East Ham North, Newham: 14.15

5. Stoke Newington Central, Hackney: 14.44

6. Green Street West, Newham: 14.44

7. Dalston, Hackney: 14.57

8. Chatham, Hackney: 14.73

9. Leabridge, Hackney: 14.94

10. Bethnal Green South, Tower Hamlets: 15.06

Top ten best percentage wards for Ken Livingstone (Lab):

1. East Ham North, Newham: 73.42

2. Green Street West, Newham: 70.92

3. Southall Broadway, Ealing: 69.77

4. Green Street East, Newham: 68.94

5. Spitalfields and Banglatown, Tower Hamlets: 68.37

6. Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets: 68.15

7. Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets: 68.13

8. Bethnal Green South, Tower Hamlets: 68.04

9. Coldharbour, Lambeth: 68.02

10. Manor Park, Newham: 67.49

Top ten highest percentage votes for Brian Paddick (L Dem):

1. The Wrythe, Sutton: 20.02

2. Wandle Valley, Sutton: 19.43

3. St. Marks, Kingston-upon-Thames: 19.28

4. Wallington North, Sutton: 18.18

5. St. Helier, Sutton: 18.04

6. Cann Hall, Waltham Forest: 17.72

7. Sutton Central, Sutton: 17.68

8. Heathfield, Richmond-upon-Thames: 17.41

9. Sutton South, Sutton: 17.32

10. West Twickenham, Richmond-upon-Thames: 17.13

Top ten highest votes for Sian Berry (Green Party):

1. Highgate, Camden: 10.68

2. Brockley, Lewisham: 9.66

3. Clissold, Hackney: 9.35

4. Stoke Newington Central, Hackney: 8.74

5. Kentish Town, Camden: 8.67

6. Ladywell, Lewisham: 8.61

7. Dalston, Hackney: 8.21

8. Hackney Downs, Hackney: 7.76

9. Highbury West, Islington: 7.66

10. Brownswood, Hackney: 7.57

Top ten highest ward votes for Richard Barnbrook (British National Party):

1. Goresbrook, Barking and Dagenham: 20.16

2. Mayesbrook, Barking and Dagenham: 19.64

3. Parsloes, Barking and Dagenham: 19.50

4. Albion, Barking and Dagenham: 19.42

5. Heath, Barking and Dagenham: 17.10

6. Thames, Barking and Dagenham: 16.99

7. River, Barking and Dagenham: 16.67

8. Valence, Barking and Dagenham: 16.51

9. Gooshays, Havering: 16.40

10. Village, Barking and Dagenham: 16.37

Top ten ward % results for Lindsey German (Left List):

1. West Green, Haringey: 4.87

2. St. Pancras and Somers Town, Camden: 4.12

3. White Hart Lane, Haringey: 3.65

4. Northumberland Park, Haringey: 3.11

5. Leabridge, Hackney: 3.01

6. Tottenham Green, Haringey: 2.74

7. Edmonton Green, Enfield: 2.70

8. Tottenham Hale, Haringey: 2.68

9. Golborne, Kensington and Chelsea: 2.49

10. King's Cross, Camden: 2.40

Johnson won 334 wards, Livingstone 293 (including the three polling districts of the City of London, which went two to Johnson, one to Livingstone).

Brian Paddick did not beat either Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson in any ward. In 48 wards, Richard Barnbrook (BNP) beat Brian Paddick, and in a further two they were tied.In three wards, Alan Craig (Christian Choice) beat Brian Paddick: Canning Town North, Canning Town South, and Custom House, all in Newham.In two wards, Sian Berry (Green Party) beat Brian Paddick: Stoke Newington Central (by 17 votes) and Hackney Downs (by 5 votes) both in Hackney. In Clissold (Hackney) Sian Berry was only three votes behind Brian Paddick (272 to 269).

Top ten greatest % leads for Johnson over Livingstone:

1. Royal Hospital, Kensington and Chelsea: 69.08

2. Stanley, Kensington and Chelsea: 68.73

3. Knightsbridge and Belgravia, Westminster: 65.78

4. Hans Town, Kensington and Chelsea: 65.59

5. Blendon and Penhill, Bexley: 60.25

6. Queen's Gate, Kensington and Chelsea: 59.97

7. Darwin, Bromley: 59.53

8. Redcliffe, Kensington and Chelsea: 59.53

9. Biggin Hill, Bromley: 59.38

10. Brompton, Kensington and Chelsea: 58.88

Top ten greatest % leads for Livingstone over Johnson

1. East Ham North, Newham: 59.27

2. Green Street West, Newham: 56.47

3. Coldharbour, Lambeth: 55.50

4. Bethnal Green South, Tower Hamlets: 52.98

5. Spitalfields and Banglatown, Tower Hamlets: 52.77

6. Green Street East, Newham: 52.05

7. Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets: 51.92

8. Southall Broadway, Ealing: 51.54

9. Manor Park, Newham: 51.30

10. Hackney Downs, Hackney: 51.30

The number of valid second preferences cast, as a proportion of valid first preferences. (In other words, where a voter actually used their second preference, rather than spoiling or leaving it blank)

1. Brownswood, Hackney: 89.46

2. Crouch End, Haringey: 88.96

3. Surrey Docks, Southwark: 88.88

4. Mayesbrook, Barking and Dagenham: 88.64

5. Forest Hill, Lewisham: 88.62

6. Clissold, Hackney: 88.50

7. Grove, Kingston-upon-Thames: 88.37

8. Stroud Green, Haringey: 88.35

9. Greenwich West, Greenwich: 88.08

10. Church End, Redbridge: 88.00

Top ten improvements in the Conservative vote from 2004:

1. East Wickham, Bexley: +31.96

2. Falconwood and Welling, Bexley: +31.49

3. Biggin Hill, Bromley: +30.79

4. Orpington, Bromley: +30.13

5. Blackfen and Lamorbey, Bexley: +30.03

6. Cray Valley West, Bromley: +29.89

7. Farnborough Common and Crofton, Bromley: +29.53

8. Blendon and Penhill, Bexley: +29.52

9. St. Michael's, Bexley: +28.67

10. Mottingham and Chislehurst North, Bromley: +28.61

Top ten increases in Livingstone's vote compared to 2004:

1. Spitalfields and Banglatown, Tower Hamlets: +38.77

2. Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets: +36.27

3. St. Dunstan's and Stepney Green, Tower Hamlets: +35.77

4. Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets: +35.44

5. Bethnal Green South, Tower Hamlets: +34.03

6. Shadwell, Tower Hamlets: +33.94

7. Mile End East, Tower Hamlets: +32.16

8. Green Street West, Newham: +31.48

9. East Ham North, Newham: +30.79

10. Bethnal Green North, Tower Hamlets: +27.81

There were only eight wards in which Brian Paddick improved on Simon Hughes' vote from 2004:

1. Chatham, Hackney: +1.95 (My council ward. Oh dear!)

2. Brixton Hill, Lambeth: +1.38

3. Harringay, Haringey: +0.91

4. Bruce Grove, Haringey: +0.63

5. Clissold, Hackney: +0.34

6. Noel Park, Haringey: +0.16#

7. St. Ann's, Haringey: +0.12

8. Hackney Central, Hackney: +0.10

Top ten wards where Green Sian Berry improved most on Darren Johnson's vote:

1. Highgate, Camden: +4.85

2. Kentish Town, Camden: +2.49

3. Thurlow Park, Lambeth: +2.38

4. Cantelowes, Camden: +2.23

5. Stoke Newington Central, Hackney: +2.21

6. Crofton Park, Lewisham: +2.12

7. Dalston, Hackney: +2.00

8. Bounds Green, Haringey: +1.94

9. De Beauvoir, Hackney: +1.91

10. Forest Hill, Lewisham: +1.88

The turning point?

I never thought I'd be relieved that Labour was on 30% in the polls, but tonight's ComRes poll (CON 44%(+1), LAB 30%(+4), LIB DEM 16%(-3)) seems to suggest the worst is over and we are heading back into "normal" territory.

Now Labour needs to stop the panicking and get behind our Government to make this a sustained recovery.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

London results by parliamentary constituency

Over on http://www.ukpollingreport.co.uk/ commenter Andy Stidwell has gone to the bother of posting the results from May 1st calculated on the new constituency boundaries under each constituency profile.

I thought it would be useful to pull these together into one list.

The numbers I've listed below are for the List vote as these are the most reliable indicator of party support (the Mayoral vote was clearly influenced by the personal votes of the two main candidates and the GLA constituency vote may have been influenced by some tactical voting).

Postal votes are not included as these are not disaggregated by ward by London Elects so you can't accurately allocate them to constituencies (but where the Postal Vote in a borough would clearly have overturned the non-postal vote I have indicated it).

Barking – Lab hold
Lab - 7,763 (33.23%), BNP - 6,129 (26.23%), C - 4,357 (18.65%), LD - 1,082 (4.63%)
Battersea – Con gain from Lab
C - 11,700 (42.98%), Lab - 7,029 (25.82%), Green - 2,983 (10.96%), LD - 2,424 (8.91%)
Beckenham – Con hold
C - 16,867 (55.63%), Lab - 3,767 (12.42%), LD - 3,003 (9.90%), Green - 1,845 (6.09%)
Bermondsey & Old Southwark – Lab gain from LD
Lab - 7,647 (28.25%), LD - 6,727 (24.85%), C - 5,104 (18.86%), Green - 2,692 (9.94%)
Bethnal Green & Bow – Lab gain from Respect
Lab - 10,800 (35.33%), Respect GG - 5,064 (16.57%), C - 4,277 (13.99%), Green - 3,395 (11.11%), LD - 2,912 (9.53%), BNP - 1,368 (4.57%)
Bexleyheath & Crayford – Con hold
C - 11,529 (46.39%), Lab - 4,283 (17.23%), BNP - 3,433 (13.81%), LD - 1,669 (6.71%), Green - 915 (3.68%)
Brent C – Lab hold
Lab - 11,364 (40.28%), C - 5,550 (19.67%), LD - 4,243 (15.04%), Green - 2,182 (7.73%)
Brent N – Lab hold
Lab - 12,062 (38,56%), C - 10,106 (32.31%), LD - 2,873 (9.18%)
Brentford & Isleworth – Con gain from Lab
C - 9,999 (35.30%), Lab - 7,863 (27.76%), LD - 3,274 (11.56%), Green - 2,759 (9.74%)
Bromley & Chislehurst – Con hold
C - 13,345 (50.87%), Lab - 3,577 (13.64%), LD - 2,756 (10.51%), BNP - 1,829 (6.97%)
Camberwell & Peckham – Lab hold
Lab - 12,991 (46.58%), C - 3,898 (13.98%), Green - 3,484 (12.49%), LD - 3,214 (11.52%)
Carshalton & Wallington – Con gain from LD
C - 9,050 (37.48%), LD - 5,793 (23.99%), Lab - 3,046 (12.61%), BNP - 1,955 (8.10%)
Chelsea & Fulham – Con hold
C - 16,427 (59.50%), Lab - 4,045 (14.65%), Green - 1,989 (7.20%), LD - 1,975 (7.15%)
Chingford & Woodford Green – Con hold
C - 13,246 (49.16%), Lab - 4,475 (16.61%), LD - 2,564 (9.52%), BNP - 2,086 (7.74%), Green - 1,546 (5.74%)
Chipping Barnet – Con hold
C - 13,639 (46.57%), Lab - 6,394 (21.83%), LD - 2,846 (9.72%), Green - 2,360 (8.06%)
Cities of London & Westminster – Con hold
C - 13,946 (52.43%), Lab - 4,593 (17.27%), Green - 2,477 (9.31%), LD - 2,435 (9.15%)
Croydon C – Con gain from Lab
C - 11,689 (42.37%), Lab - 6,561 (23.78%), LD - 2,296 (8.32%), BNP - 2,144 (7.77%)
Croydon N – Lab hold
Lab - 11,616 (40.72%), C - 7,130 (24.99%), LD - 2,286 (8.01%), Green - 2,119 (7.43%)
Croydon S – Con hold
C - 17,932 (54.28%), Lab - 4,862 (14.72%), LD - 3,283 (9.94%)
Dagenham & Rainham – Con gain from Lab
C - 7,065 (28.84%), BNP - 6,112 (24.95%), Lab - 5,620 (22.94%), LD - 1,227 (5.01%), Green 794 (3.24%)
Dulwich & W Norwood – Lab hold
Lab - 10,010 (35.42%), C - 6,612 (23.40%), Green - 4,633 (16.39%), LD - 3,771 (13.34%)
Ealing C & Acton – Con hold
C - 11,420 (37.15%), Lab - 7,813 (25.42%), LD - 3,989 (12.98%), Green - 3,444 (11.20%)
Ealing N – Con gain from Lab
C - 9,977 (33.91%), Lab - 9,384 (31.89%), LD - 2,477 (8.42%)
Ealing Southall – Lab hold
Lab - 10,672 (45.86%), C - 5,482 (23.56%), LD - 1,982 (8.52%), Green - 1,755 (7.54%)
East Ham – Lab hold
Lab - 13,372 (46.08%), Respect GG - 4,549 (15.68%), C - 4,125 (14.22%), LD - 1,328 (4.58%), BNP - 1,323 (4.56%), Green - 1,114 (3.84%)
Edmonton – Lab hold
Lab - 9,041 (39.21%), C - 6,779 (29.40%), LD - 1,386 (6.01%), BNP - 1,296 (5.62%), Green - 1,018 (4.42%)
Eltham – Con gain from Lab
C - 8,748 (34.77%), Lab - 6,487 (25.79%), LD - 2,255 (8.96%), BNP - 2,982 (11.85%), Green - 1,562 (6.21%)
Enfield N – Con hold
C - 11,178 (43.99%), Lab - 6,348 (24.98%), LD - 1,744 (6.86%), BNP - 1,908 (7.51%)
Enfield Southgate – Con hold
C - 12,243 (45.73%), Lab - 6,696 (25.01%), LD - 2,216 (8.28%), Green - 2,214 (8.27%)
Erith & Thamesmead – Lab hold (Might have gone Con once Postal Votes are factored in)
Lab - 7,081 (31.08%), C - 6,768 (29.71%), BNP - 3,015 (13.23%), LD - 1,508 (6.62%), Green - 959 (4.21%)
Feltham & Heston – Con gain from Lab
C - 6,624 (31.68%), Lab - 6,520 (31.18%), LD - 2,093 (10.01%), BNP - 1,682 (8.04%)
Finchley & Golders Green – Con gain from Lab
C - 13,035 (45.09%), Lab - 7,250 (25.08%), LD - 3,070 (10.62%), Green - 2,737 (9.47%)
Greenwich & Woolwich – Lab hold
Lab - 4,643 (35.53%), C - 3,768 (28.83%), LD - 1,263 (9.66%), Green - 878 (6.72%), BNP - 810 (6.20%)
Hackney N & Stoke Newington – Lab hold (Tories would almost certainly move into 2nd place once postal votes factored in)
Lab - 8,791 (38.81%), Green - 5,065 (22.36%), C - 3,371 (14.88%), LD - 2,221 (9.81%)
Hackney S & Shoreditch – Lab hold
Lab - 8,568 (41.26%), Green - 3,432 (16.53%), C - 3,056 (14.72%), LD - 2,180 (10.50%)
Hammersmith – Con gain from Lab
C - 10,177 (33.25%), Lab - 9,159 (29.92%), LD - 3,216 (10.51%), Green - 3,660 (11.96%)
Hampstead & Kilburn – Con gain from Lab
C - 9,310 (28.94%), Lab - 9,084 (28.24%), LD - 5,431 (16.88%), Green - 4,373 (13.59%)
Harrow E – Con gain from Lab
C - 11,391 (41.63%), Lab - 8,839 (32.30%), LD - 2,000 (7.31%)
Harrow W – Lab hold
Lab - 8,155 (35.68%), C - 7,405 (32.40%), LD - 2,184 (9.56%), Green - 1,430 (6.26%)
Hayes & Harlington – Lab hold (Might have gone Con once Postal Votes are factored in)
Lab - 7,230 (34.29%), C - 6,910 (32.77%), BNP - 2,081 (9.87%), LD - 1,166 (5.53%)
Hendon – Con gain from Lab
C - 11,270 (44.73%), Lab - 7,009 (27.82%), LD - 2,071 (8.22%), Green - 1,252 (4.97%), BNP - 966 (3.83%)
Holborn & St Pancras – Lab hold
Lab - 12,029 (33.74%), C - 7,279 (20.42%), Green - 6,211 (17.42%), LD - 4,627 (12.98%)
Hornchurch & Upminster – Con hold
C - 14,019 (44.00%), BNP - 5,386 (16.90%), Lab - 4,642 (14.57%), UKIP - 1,897 (5.95%), LD - 1,766 (5.54%), Green - 1,408 (4.42%)
Hornsey & Wood Green – Lab gain from LD
Lab - 10,521 (30.35%), LD - 8,552 (24.67%), C - 6,416 (18.51%), Green - 5,576 (16.09%)
Ilford N – Con hold
C - 11,577 (42.58%), Lab - 6,719 (24.71%), BNP - 2,226 (8.19%), LD - 1,869 (6.87%), Green - 1,247 (4.59%)
Ilford S – Lab hold
Lab - 11,034 (41.19%), C - 7,035 (26.26%), LD - 1,957 (7.30%), Respect GG - 1,634 (6.10%), BNP - 1,285 (4.80%), Green - 1,130 (4.22%)
Islington N – Lab hold
Lab - 9,328 (36.99%), Green - 4,980 (19.75%), C - 4,011 (15.91%), LD - 3,330 (13.21%)
Islington S & Finsbury – Lab hold
Lab - 7,838 (32.10%), C - 5,453 (22.33%), LD - 3,846 (15.75%), Green - 3,399 (13.92%)
Kensington – Con hold
C - 12,592 (49.20%), Lab - 4,407 (17.22%), Green - 2,435 (9.51%), LD - 2,320 (9.06%)
Kingston & Surbiton – Con gain from LD
C - 11,857 (38.04%), LD - 7,685 (24.65%), Lab - 4,563 (14.64%), Green - 2,073 (6.65%)
Lewisham Deptford – Lab hold
Lab - 9,482 (39.02%), Green - 4,977 (20.48%), C - 3,437 (14.14%), LD - 2,441 (10.04%)
Lewisham E – Lab hold
Lab - 7,699 (32.31%), C - 6,112 (25.65%), LD - 3,326 (13.96%), Green - 2,317 (9.72%)
Lewisham W & Penge – Lab hold
Lab - 8,224 (30.57%), C - 7,085 (26.34%), LD - 3,727 (13.86%), Green - 3,312 (12.31%)
Leyton & Wanstead –Lab hold
Lab - 8,512 (35.55%), C - 5,246 (21.91%), LD - 3,149 (13.15%), Green - 2,505 (10.46%), BNP - 890 (3.72%)
Mitcham & Morden – Lab hold
Lab - 10,825 (39.97%), C - 6,964 (25.71%), BNP - 1,976 (7.30%), LD - 1,933 (7.14%), Green - 1,691 (6.24%)
Northwood & Pinner – Con hold
C - 17,546 (57.22%), Lab - 4,526 (14.76%), LD - 2,531 (8.25%), BNP - 1,677 (5.47%), Green - 1,604 (5.23%)
Old Bexley & Sidcup – Con hold
C - 14,513 (51.10%), Lab - 3,666 (12.91%), BNP - 3,020 (10.63%), LD - 2,058 (7.25%), Green - 1,124 (3.96%)
Orpington – Con hold
C - 17,060 (55.19%), LD - 3,666 (11.86%), Lab - 2,885 (9.33%), BNP - 2,356 (7.62%)
Poplar & Limehouse – Lab hold
Lab - 8,927 (34.48%), C - 5,904 (22.80%), Respect GG - 3,707 (14.32%), LD - 1,927 (7.44%)
Putney – Con hold
C - 10,410 (44.81%), Lab - 5,225 (22.49%), LD - 2,638 (11.36%), Green - 2,373 (10.22%)
Richmond Park – Con gain from LD
C - 14,840 (44.04%), LD - 7,458 (22.14%), Lab - 4,569 (13.56), Green - 3,269 (9.70%)
Romford – Con hold
C - 12,929 (48.25%), BNP - 4,100 (15.30%), Lab - 3,681 (13.74%), LD - 1,373 (5.12%), UKIP - 1,203 (4.49%), Green - 1,115 (4.16%)
Streatham – Lab hold
Lab - 9,066 (34.33%), C - 5,617 (21.27%), LD - 4,922 (18.64%), Green - 3,575 (13.54%)
Sutton & Cheam – Con gain from LD
C - 10,483 (41.22%), LD - 6,066 (23.85%), Lab - 2,819 (11.09%), BNP - 1,852 (7.28%)
Tooting – Con gain from Lab
C - 10,233 (35.23%), Lab - 9,061 (31.19%), Green - 3,472 (11.95%), LD - 2,999 (10.32%)
Tottenham – Lab hold
Lab - 11,205 (45.35%), C - 3,729 (15.09%), Green - 2,761 (11.17%), LD - 2,438 (9.87%)
Twickenham – Con gain from LD
C - 12,231 (36.75%), LD - 9,565 (28.74%), Lab - 4,378 (13.16%), Green - 3,249 (9.76%)
Uxbridge & S Ruislip – Con hold
C - 11,514 (44.73%), Lab - 4,434 (17.23%), BNP - 2,738 (10.64%), LD - 2,578 (10.64%)
Vauxhall – Lab hold
Lab - 9,249 (36.88%), C - 5,133 (20.47%), LD - 4,132 (16.47%), Green - 3,301 (13.16%)
Walthamstow – Lab hold
Lab - 9,683 (39.62%), C - 4,236 (17.33%), LD - 2,942 (12.04%), Green - 2,824 (11.56%), BNP - 1,006 (4.12%)
West Ham – Lab hold
Lab - 11,019 (41.41%), C - 3,883 (14.59%), Respect GG - 3,198 (12.02%), BNP - 1,673 (6.29%), Green - 1,592 (5.98%), LD - 1,456 (5.47%)
Westminster N – Con gain from Lab
C - 9,806 (38.45%), Lab - 7,121 (27.92%), Green - 2,402 (9.42%), LD - 2,278 (8.93%)
Wimbledon – Con hold
C - 12,857 (42.82%), Lab - 6,658 (22.17%), LD - 3,676 (12.24%), Green - 3,011 (10.03%), BNP - 913 (3.04%)

Some reactions:
  • Boris' votes weren't really in places that are that useful to the Tories in the next General Election - mainly he just stacked up huge votes in safe Tory seats in the outer suburbs. Away from these seats the result was remarkably "normal".
  • There certainly isn't any evidence of "meltdown".
  • The most worrying results for Labour are the 2 Barking & Dagenham seats, Erith & Thamesmead and Eltham (which share some of their characteristics in terms of economic and ethnic mix) and Tooting (where the long term demographics are against Labour). We also underperformed in both Hounslow seats - maybe a Heathrow factor?
  • There were several seats that were Key Seat marginals in 1997 (i.e. notionally Tory in 1992)that we are still holding now: Croydon N, Edmonton, Ilford S, Mitcham & Morden. Brent N and Harrow W weren't even Key Seats in '97, making holding them now even more impressive. Ealing N and Hammersmith although we narrowly "lost" them on these results looks promising performances if there is a recovery between now and the General Election.
  • There seems to have been a good recovery in Camden from the disastrous 2006 council results, putting Hampstead & Kilburn back in play when at one stage it looked like we might come third.
  • Tower Hamlets has also bounced back, with Poplar no longer looking like the 3-way Lab/Con/Respect marginal it had been predicted and Bethnal Green a likely re-gain.
  • The battleground with the LDs also looks promising with Hornsey & Wood Green and Bermondsey possible gains and Dawn Butler looking solid in Brent C vs. Sarah Teather, as does Emily Thornberry in Islington S&F.

 
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