Friday, 9 September 2016

My analysis of by-elections from 25/8/16 to 8/9/16

The results of the few by-elections from the last three weeks that featured Green Party candidates were as follows:


Fife UA, The Lochs: Labour 1318 (47.1%, +0.7%), SNP 1079 (38.6%, +19.6%), Con 270 (9.6%, +6.9%), Communist 86 (3.1%), Green 45 (1.6%). Labour elected at stage 2; Labour gain from Independent Communist.


Bournemouth UA, Kinson North: Con 556 (34.7%, +2.3%), Lab 517 (32.2%, +12.9%), UKIP 313 (19.5%, -8.8%), Liberal Democrats 116 (7.2%, -2.2%), Green 102 (6.4%, -4.2%)


Sheffield MBC, Mosborough: Lib Dem 1711 (45.6%, +31.8%), Lab 1279 (34.1%, -9.2%), UKIP 466 (12.4%, -9.8%), Con 229 (6.1%, -7.9%), Green 67 (1.9%, -1.8%) Liberal Democrat gain from Labour.

With that by-election in Fife, the last piece of Communist representation in Britain disappears; the former councillor, elected in 1973, was the last remaining Communist councillor in Britain anywhere from 1991 onwards, when the original Communist Party of Great Britain disbanded. However, it is a hollow victory for Labour, as The Lochs ward will be abolished in Fife's next round of boundary changes; Fife will lose 3 councillors overall and this ward will be split asunder.

Labour also found themselves out of luck in trying to regain representation on Bournemouth council (Kinson North is their strongest point in Bournemouth), although by squeezing the Green vote they came rather close; the Conservatives were however able to capture falling votes from UKIP to negate Labour's advance. Elsewhere that week, Labour lost a local by-election in Grangefield ward to the Conservatives, which is notably located in the North East's only bellwether constituency, Stockton South; the ward's demographics mean it frequently changes hands. One week later, Labour lost a normally safe council seat in Mosborough to the Liberal Democrats on a swing of 20.5%, which is attributable to the successful Lib Dem candidate having worked the ward before and the fact it is only solidly Labour when a challenge fails to be presented. This same factor applies to villages which are generally thought of as safely Conservative by psephologists; my Green colleagues prove this wrong frequently.

The Boundary Commission will soon be releasing its initial proposals for English, Scottish, and Welsh constituencies regarding the crucial Sixth Review (which reduces the number of parliamentary seats from 650 to 600 and requires them all to have electorates within 5% of the national average), as it has done for Northern Ireland earlier this week-watch this space.

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