There was no "Lurch to the Left"
An analysis of the internal ballot results announced at Labour's Conference shows very clearly that in stark contrast to the years following the 1931, 1951, 1970 and 1979 defeats there has been no "lurch to the left".
For the leadership only 7.3% of members (fewer than 15 people in each CLP on average) voted for Diane Abbott, the only candidate explicitly on the left of the party. Obviously some of Ed Miliband's 29.8% first preference vote came from the soft left, but it also included the votes of people from across the spectrum of Labour opinion. It would have been better for the Hard Left if Diane had not got nominated, as her vote exposed their weakness once turnout goes up - it was fairly similar at 9,314 to the baseline vote that the least strong Grassroots Alliance NEC members get in a normal year.
The increased turnout and a sectarian split in the left vote which is so complex even I can't explain it, coupled with an unprecedented level of organisational co-operation between Progress and Labour First saw me get on the NEC and a net move from a 4-2 balance for the left on the constituency section to a 3-3. This was despite the involvement of the allegedly important soft left Compass faction in the left slate for the first time. The results break down as follows:
Grassroots Labour slate (supported by CLPD and Compass) - Livingstone, Black, Shawcroft, Willsman, Tarry and Taylor - took places 1, 3, 5, 8, 11 and 14 and an aggregate 266505 votes (43.9%)
Moderate slate (supported by Progress and Labour First) - King, Reeves, Akehurst, Wheeler, Gardiner and Ali- took places 2, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12 and an aggregate 218474 votes (35.9%)
Alternate left slate (supported by LRC and STLP who also cross-supported Shawcroft from the GL slate) - Kenyon, Press, Wiseman - took places 13, 15 and 19 and an aggregate 45114 votes (7.4%)
Genuine independents - Baxter, Sidhu, Matharoo, Bennett, Ware-Lane - took places 7, 16, 17, 18 and 20 and an aggregate 77663 votes (12.8%)
A few points:
- Name recognition is critical.
- So is crossover support - most people vote for 4 or 5 of their preferred slate and then 1 or 2 from the other side for balance - hence a balanced overall result despite the election being run on first-six-past-the-post.
- Unless my maths is faulty quite a few folk may have voted for David Miliband and Christine Shawcroft. If anyone can explain this please do!
- The disproportionate size of London CLPs and the presence in the race of Ken and Oona has resulted in a very unfair under-representation of other regions - I say this as someone who is proud to be from Hackney (and got nearly 500 votes from the 2 Hackney CLPs) but was also proud to run alongside people from Salford, Dudley and the Isle of Wight, and gutted that they didn't get elected - we need to look at how this can be addressed.
- Johanna Baxter's near miss with 30,653 votes was an amazing achievement for someone not on a slate (albeit with close links to one of the leadership campaigns) - she has set a new benchmark for the amount of campaigning required to win.
The NPF regional reps were elected by OMOV for the first time which has seen a bit more pluralism in the results - the Grassroots Alliance are claiming they got 19 seats out of 55 but this may include some double-counting (i.e. centrist people backed by both slates) - there was a wide regional variation with the left doing best in Scotland and Wales (oddly I think these were Diane Abbott's weakest areas) and worst in the South East and West Midlands.
For the National Constitutional Committee, elected by CLP delegates to Conference, Labour First's Maggie Cosin took over 70% of the vote.
Thank you to Labour First and Progress for supporting me for the NEC - I wouldn't have won or even run without a lot of people's advice, support and hard work.