Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Analysis of recent local by-elections (from 04/09/14) and thoughts on other by-elections

I should have posted this on Friday 5th September, but I was at Green Party conference then and I had limited internet access (it costs me a lot of money to use the internet on my mobile phone and as it is not a smart phone I cannot really write blog posts on it :( )

The results of local by-elections from 4th September that featured Green candidates were as follows:

Oxford City Council, Carfax: Labour 168 (44.2%), Liberal Democrats 101 (26.6%), Green 63 (16.6%), Conservative 24 (6.3%), UKIP 24 (6.3%).

Shepway District Council, Folkestone Harvey Central: UKIP 287 (27.9%), Con 224 (21.7%), Lib Dem 198 (19.2%), Lab 196 (19.0%), Green 96 (9.3%), TUSC 29 (2.8%).

One important point needs to be made on the Carfax by-election-it was essentially rigged so Labour could win it easily, as my fellow Greens hold the other two Carfax council seats. Labour deliberately moved the writ to make sure the by-election was outside university term time so they could avoid losing it (the majority of residents in Carfax ward are students at Oxford University)-as a result of their moving of the writ to 4 September, turnout plummeted to 8.6%-the worst turnout in local by-election history in peacetime ever recorded in the United Kingdom.

As for the Folkestone Harvey Central by-election, I am glad we Greens did reasonably well when we had not stood there in 2011. There have many comments recently on how the Green Party is taking the fight to Labour (and rightly so, because we care about the wishes of ordinary voters when Labour does not), and here we probably helped Labour get pushed into fourth place, just behind the Liberal Democrats. UKIP's win, as often as ever with a poor winning percentage (27.9%) is not that surprising as they have been making so many inroads in Kent over the last few years, even in reasonably genteel places like Folkestone and Canterbury. One issue that marred our performance was the Socialists (the Socialist Party is the main component of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition aka TUSC) splitting our vote (I believe they split our vote and not Labour's; most genuine left-wing voters in the UK stopped voting Labour years ago)-I am surprised they would poll as well as even 2.8% here as in 2010, TUSC did not field a single general election candidate anywhere in the whole of Kent (yet they stood one in Spelthorne, in even posher Surrey!)

On the subject of Parliamentary by-elections, I am pleased to say that the Green Party will be standing in Clacton against Douglas Carswell-the writ has formally been moved for 9th October, just for the record-nominations will likely close pretty soon. Within this by-election, we Greens will do our best to provide a good alternative to the voters of Clacton-on-sea and continue to expose UKIP for the pro-neoliberal sham they really are.

Whilst I was away at conference, I learned another Parliamentary by-election will occur soon-this time in Heywood and Middleton, Lancashire. The Labour MP for this safely Labour constituency, Jim Dobbin, who had been the MP here for more than 17 years, passed away aged 73 years on 6 September whilst he was visiting Poland on a Council of Europe delegation. I will give more news on the Heywood and Middleton by-election (which has not been called yet and may take place as late as early 2015) as it develops.




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