After a third recount, with the majority hovering around the mid-30s each time, Crawley has finally been called.

Laura Moffatt (Labour) 16,411 votes
39.1 percentage of vote -10.2 change in percentage since 2001
Henry Smith (Conservative) 16,374
39.0 +6.8
Rupert Sheard (Liberal Democrat) 6,503
15.5 +2.8
Richard Trower (British National Party) 1,277
3.0 +3.0
Ronald Walters (UK Independence Party) 935
2.2 -0.7
Robin Burnham (Democratic Socialist Alliance – People Before Profit) 263
0.6 +0.6
Arshad Khan (Justice Party) 210
0.5 -0.2

An 8.5% swing, resulting in Laura’s majority falling from 6770 to 37. This must now be one of the closest seats in the country.

Good to see Arshad Khan at the bottom of the list, it was embarrasing for the left-wing groups last time to have lost to him. Shame that there are over 1000 people who are prepared to vote fascist.

second recount

Apparently the counting was suspended at 4:30am to restart with refreshed counters at midday. We might announce later than Northern Ireland.

The rumours are that after the first counts, Laura was slightly ahead. Whatever the final result, it seems that Crawley has seen a massive swing to the Tories, given that the national average is around 3% and London was about 5%. To win, Henry would need more than 8.5%!

Until the final figures are available, we won’t have a clue whether this is a result of votes going to the Tories, the Lib Dems or just not being cast. But I think this is going to provoke a lot of thought in the Party. If the results are that bad, it probably means a few losses in the concurrent County Council election.

We do have a Labour government though, which is the main thing.

count faster!!!

Why is Crawley so slow at counting the vote? It always takes a while longer, and now we have (at least one) recount. Which worries me a lot.

I’ve been walking all over Southgate, delivering and knocking on doors, I’ve got blisters and backache and I still don’t know if it’s been worth it. Will Laura hold on, or will be get the grinning Henry Smith as our MP?

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Mathematically Safe?

Today I went out to deliver leaflets for the election. While I may not like Blair, there’s no way I want Howard running the country, so not only do I vote but I put in a bit of effort too.

Walking around Southgate gives me time to think about things. On Saturday, Fulham beat Everton 2-0 to ensure that they cannot be relegated from the Premiership. Which is good timing because the teams below are all very close to each other and will all trying to grab as many points as possible. This means that Fulham gets another year of top-flight football. Guaranteed by 38 points.

On Thursday, I am hoping that Labour will win the election. 38% of the vote would be enough to secure another four years. And getting that will be tough. The marginals look tighter (in other words Liberals are less likely to vote tactically), the Tories are trying to pull out their core vote with a mixture of xenophobia and false humilty.

We can’t afford to mess about – a General Election isn’t just an excuse to act out frustrations, or for trying to engineer a ‘bloody nose’ for Blair. In any election the favourite can lose. And the electorate gets what it voted for.

So thats why I was out delivering letters to Labour supporters – because if they stay at home or tranfer their vote in a fit of pique, they could end up with a Tory MP and no Labour government. If there were a genuine democratic socialist alternative to New Labour, I’d support that (and I do – inside the Party). But as there isn’t, a vote for anyone other than Laura is a vote for Michael Howard.

Nose pegs

I have already voted in the UK general election. Having been a Labour Party member for 15 years, having represented the party as a councillor and as Constituency chairman in the past it should be a no brainer.

And as Crawley is a marginal Labour seat, all the more reason not to think twice. So I didn’t.

But voting for Laura Moffat wasn’t easy. Well, it was technically easy, I put a cross against her name, put the ballot paper into an envelope, put that envelope into a second and dropped it into a postbox on the way into town.

It’s not that I have anything against Laura. She’s a decent person, a great constituency MP and we get on well. And I don’t blame her for the problems over Crawley Hospital. It’s just that she has been incredibly loyal to Tony Blair. And my main problem with the Party is its leader.

Yes, he won the 97 election, but a monkey in a suit and a ‘Not a Tory’ badge could have done that. Yes he won the 01 election (as would the same monkey). But he isn’t presiding over a Labour government, it’s a Tory-lite government. We’ve finally got to the point where Labour has proved that it can run a Conservative regime better than the Tories.

Oh, I could go on for hours about this, but you get the general gist.

By the way – Brown is no better. Neither is Prescott.