Readers, the results of yesterday's local by-elections featuring Green candidates were as follows:
Durham UA, Burnopfield & Upton: Labour 446 (44.9%), Derwentside Independent 445 (44.8%), Conservative 83 (5.7%), Green 68 (4.7%).
Durham UA, Evenwood: Lab 546 (38.2%, -7.8%), Con 396 (27.7%, -0.3%), UKIP 309 (21.6%, -4.45), Independent 108 (7.5%), Green 72 (5.0%)
Gloucestershire CC, Mitcheldean: Con 959 (38.4%, +14.0%), UKIP 550 (22.0%,+2.7%), Independent 455 (18.2%), Lab 278 (11.1%, +0.8%), Lib Dem 150 (6.0%, +0.3%), Green 106 (4.2%, +0.4%).
Forest of Dean DC, Newnham: Independent 321 (38.5%, -1.6%), Con 216 (25.9%, -4.9%), UKIP 102 (12.2%), Lab 100 (12.0%, -1.0%), Green 70 (8.4%, -7.7%), Lib Dem 25 (3.0%).
Shepway DC, Folkestone Harvey West: Conservative 385 (36.4%, -18.8%), UKIP 293 (17.7%), Liberal Democrat 262 (24.8%, +3.4%), Green 61 (5.8%), Labour 57 (5.4%, -18.0%).
I am very pleased that my good friend, Jasmine Heywood, managed to beat Labour, given that she is only 19 years of age (and thus one of the youngest Green Party candidates to stand in a local by-election) and that we have never stood in that ward before. Labour's collapse was also rather spectacular-it is clear that we are acquiring former Labour votes in areas like Folkestone, but sadly, so are UKIP (even though the Conservative vote was also hit substantially). The significant loss we got in the Newnham by-election can be partly attributed to the Lib Dems standing when they had not done so in 2011, as well as some of our protest votes going over to UKIP.
By the way, the Labour candidate in the Burnopfield & Upton by-election really did win by one vote-were there any recounts?
Even though we did not stand in the North Oban & Lorn by-election up in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, it is notable nevertheless. It is the first Scottish local by-election held since the Scottish independence referendum of 18 September, and it delivered a decisive victory for the SNP, although because of the strength independent candidates have in rural Scottish areas like Argyll & Bute, the SNP had to wait until the second STV count to actually win. I also found out today that the so far only SNP MP to have represented the Argyll & Bute Westminster constituency, (from 1974 to 1979) Ian MacCormick, died on the same day that the results of that referendum were announced.
I would like to now pay tribute to Edward Gough Whitlam, former Prime Minister of Australia, who has died at the age of 98. He was the last decent Prime Minister of Australia in the same way Harold Wilson was the last somewhat decent British Prime Minister-in both the cases of Messrs. Whitlam and Wilson, every one of their successors was successively worse than the last. Gough Whitlam is notable for having been undemocratically dismissed by Sir John Kerr, the unelected and unaccountable Governor-General of Australia, in 1975. Gough was notable for having during his term of office introduced the first legal land rights for the Aboriginal people of Australia, who had hitherto been oppressed by the white European colonial elites that still dominate Australia today. In his tenure, his government got Australia to support sanctions on apartheid-era South Africa, withdrew all Australian troops from the Vietnam War, and ended both capital punishment and conscription throughout Australia.
However, he was undermined by the CIA and by MI6, to the point where they were somewhat responsible for persuading John Kerr to dismiss Gough in 1975 when Australian Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser (probbaly funded by the intelligence services also) used his majority in the Australian Senate (he did not have one in the Australian House of Representatives) to block supply. Notably at the same time, MI5 and notable British elites like Airey Neave and Louis Mountbatten (aka Lord Mountbatten), undoubtedly also aided by Margaret Thatcher some years before she became Prime Minister, tried to undermine Harold Wilson at the same time, which partly explains why Harold Wilson resigned as British Prime Minister in 1976.
So farewell, Mr Whitlam. But do not worry-one day soon, albeit in Britain, another good Australian will help fairness, morality and compassion rise again in politics and at least start us on our way to purging free-market capitalism not only from Britain, but also the rest of the world. And this Australian's name is Natalie Louise Bennett-the current Green Party leader :)
UPDATE: By-election results added whose news came in late.