Friday, 14 February 2014

My analysis of the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election result

In case you have been busy, the result of the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election of 13 February 2014 was as follows:

John Bickley, UKIP, 4,301 (18.0%, +14.5%)

Captain Chaplington-Smythe, Monster Raving Loony, 288 (1.2%) 

Reverand Daniel Critchlow, Conservative, 3,479 (14.3%, -11.0%)

Mary Di Mauro, Liberal Democrats, 1,176 (4.9%, -17.4%)

Michael Kane, Labour, 13,261 (55.3%, +11.2%)

Edward O'Sullivan, BNP, 708 (3.0%, -0.9%)

Nigel Woodcock, Green, 748 (3.1%)

As we all predicted, Mike Kane won for Labour, despite his exposure of being part of Labour's right-wing Progress Faction, which during the by-election campaign was fined heavily for accepting dodgy donations.

UKIP may have come second, but they had to work hard to achieve that, as metropolitan areas like Manchester have not shown themselves to be as friendly towards UKIP as rural and semi-urban areas (market towns,basically) have been. UKIP's racist nature is now well known across Britain, as there were reports of vandalism of UKIP activists' property during the campaign. Although they hoped to gain support from ex-Labour voters (John Bickley's parents were Labour voters), they as usual found it easier to take Conservative votes, and the Conservative vote dropped sharply in Wythenshawe and Sale East, mirroring their loss of votes to UKIP in Manchester Council elections in this part of Manchester.

The Liberal Democrats' vote fell more than many expected, and they (narrowly) lost their deposit as a result, with only 4.9% of the vote and their highest loss of vote share since 1945-they vote share dropped by 17.4%, worse even than in the Manchester Central by-election where their vote share dropped by 17.2%. With stories of sexual abuse/harassment by prominent Liberal Democrats including Lord Rennard and Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock being aired during the campaign, and given that the Liberal Democrats have shown no real commitment to liberalism or democracy during their time in coalition, a lost deposit is exactly what the Liberal Democrats deserved.

It is of course rather unfortunate that we Greens could not save our deposit in this by-election, despite the hard work we put in and despite floods across Britain being a major story. At least we can be content with the fact that we got 3.1% from a standing start (given that Wythenshawe is not exactly an area of good Green strength), better than our 2001 result and better than the BNP, whose vote did not collapse as badly as I thought it would, partly due to them at least trying to be active in Manchester when they have fallen apart elsewhere.

As for Captain Chaplington-Smythe of the Monster Raving Loony Party, his 288 votes is rather respectable by Loony standards, particularly for a candidate who had never stood in any election before and whom we had never heard of before this by-election was called. 

I would like to say well done to Nigel Woodcock for the efforts he put in during this short by-election campaign. Hopefully, this will bode well for us in the Euro elections in May 2014.





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