Hello, readers, if you are watching, the results from yesterday's local by-elections featuring Green Party candidates were as follows:
Carlisle City Council, Castle: Labour 364 (38.4%), Conservative 212 (22.4%), UKIP 208 (22.0%), Liberal Democrat 121 (12.8%), Green 42 (4.4%).
Cumbria County Council, Castle: Lab 389 (37.7%), Con 245 (23.7%), UKIP 235 (22.8%), Lib Dem 112 (10.9%), Green 51 (4.9%).
Newham LBC, Beckton: Lab 1006 (51.0%), Con 584 (29.6%), UKIP 215 (10.9%), Green 70 (3.5%), Lib Dem 43 (2.2%), Christian Peoples' Alliance 33 (1.7%), TUSC 21 (1.1%).
Out of these by-elections, the Beckton by-election was notable because of the death of its prominent councillor, Alec Kellaway. Mr. Kellaway had a rather chequered political history during his time in Newham:
-For eight years he was an SDP/Liberal Democrat councillor in Newham, and for a brief period the only opposition councillor to Labour in Newham.
-In the Newham North East by-election of 1994, Alec Kellaway had been the Liberal Democrat PPC but he infamously defected to Labour just before the poll closed; it was too late for him to withdraw by then so he simply avoided campaigning. The Liberal Democrats lost their deposit in that by-election as a direct result.
-From that point until his recent death, aged just 60, he served loyally as a Labour councillor in Beckton ward.
Despite the fact that Beckton, like all wards in Newham, is safely Labour, many candidates competed hoping to provide an opposition voice-any opposition voice-on this monolithically Labour council. Both the Labour and Conservative vote shares fell, but Labour's vote share fell more, from 58% to 51%. I believe we, the Green Party, tried our best given that unlike Forest Gate ward where we are strong, Beckton is not exactly friendly towards progressive politics (it had the strongest Conservative vote of any Newham council ward in 2014 and the CPA vote was reasonably respectable as well). UKIP did frighteningly well in a council whose ethnically diverse demographics are generally hostile towards UKIP, and was probably responsible for the collapse in the Christian Peoples' Alliance vote in that by-election. I was surprised at the very poor result of TUSC here-Newham has had useful potential for the hard left in the past, and TUSC did reasonably well in Newham overall by London standards.
There was a strange disparity between the result for the Castle ward of Carlisle City Council and the Castle division of Cumbria County Council-we improved our vote share in the Castle division but lost vote share in the Castle ward. A tight battle for second place between Conservative and UKIP also must have taken place, given the closeness between the results of both parties in both Carlisle by-elections.
In other news, despite the strength of the recent anti-TTIP European citizens' initiative, the European Commission refused to accept the initiative, which has rightly called for a hearing of TTIP in the European Parliament and the reopening of talks on CETA, a free trade agreement between the EU and Canada that also includes an ISDS clause. It is becoming clearer and clearer that a way must be found to abolish the European Commission rather than simply reform it-its total lack of respect for democratic virtues means and lack of accountability mean it is not worth reforming, and power should be in the hands of the European Parliament anyway.