Psephology

It’s been nearly a week, and I thought that I would look at the election results in Crawley in more detail, comparing with 2006 and 2004 (all out).

I am particularly interested in the overall trends, and I won’t produce the results for all 39 instances.

I’ll start Ward by Ward, and then go over the parties at the end.

Bewbush
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 193/216/275
2006 – Labour, maj 192
2007 – Labour, maj 374
A Safe Labour ward. The Labour vote is holding up or increasing. The Tories are slipping back a little. The Lib Dems are slipping back, and our Mr Khan is plugging away in last place

Broadfield N
2004 – 2 Labour, maj 99/261
2006 – Tory, maj 0
No elections in 2007. New ward in 2004. In theory a safe Labour area, was lost last year after a dead heat and drawing of lots

Broadfield S
2004 – 2 Tory, maj 22/52
2006 – Tory, maj 112
No elections in 2007 New ward in 2004. Surprisingly went Tory in 2004, and they strengthened their position last year, although the main losers in that were the Greens.

Furnace Green
2004 – 2 Tory, maj 155/318
2006 – Tory, maj 547
2007 – 2 Tory, maj 524/568
Tory ward, although was Labour until the late 1990s. Becoming much safer for the Tories now, although the Labour vote is holding, and the others are slipping back. The resignation of Mike Weatherley resulted in an extra seat coming up this year.

Gossops Green
2004 – 2 Tory, maj 33/47
2007 – Tory, maj 150
Marginal in 2004, when the Tories gained it. No real change in positions, Labour slightly down, Tories up a little since 2004, Lib Dems on pretty much the same.

Ifield
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 96/100/191
2006 – Tory, maj 21
2007 – Tory, maj 59
Marginal. Labour in 2004 by about 100 votes. Last year Tory gain by 21 votes. This year the Tories led by 59 votes. The only real noticeable trend other than that is that the BNP vote is going down

Langley Green
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 268/303/352
2006 – Labour, maj 406
2007 – Labour, maj 148
Safe Labour seat. Bucked the trend last year with an increased majority, only to become much closer this year. The Conservative candidate this year was a Sikh, and reportedly turnout among this group was high.

Maidenbower
2004 – 3 Tory, maj 682/744/779
2006 – Tory, maj 1132
2007 – Tory, maj 1215
Safe Tory seat. The Tory vote leapt up last year, and the Lib Dems overtook Labour. This year, Labour beat the Lib Dems to second place.

Northgate
2004 – 2 LibDem, maj 292/334
2006 – LibDem, maj 276
2007 – LibDem, maj 250
Liberal Democrat haven. Becoming less secure. Labour second, Tories third. The main trends are for the Lib Dems to bleed a few votes, the Tories challenged for second last year (14 votes behind), but have slipped back again. In 2006 a Socialist Labour candidate may have split the Labour vote. Turnout dipped overall this year.

Pound Hill N
2004 – 3 Tory, maj 778/795/831
2006 – Tory, maj 1280
2007 – Tory, maj 1001
Safe Tory. Labour second, and unusually the Lib Dems gained votes this year (perhaps because this time they had a local candidate, not a Seekings standing). The rest of the drop in Tory majority seems to be down to turnout, which makes sense as this was hardly a seat in question.

Pound Hill S and Worth
2004 – 3 Tory, maj 707/760/828
2006 – Tory, maj 1210
2007 – Tory, maj 1072
Safe Tory. Like PH North, the Tories walked it with a slight fall in turnout. The Lib Dems came second in 2006, but this year lost votes. Labour regained second place and were the only gainers.

Southgate
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 3/50/51
2006 – Tory, maj 198
2007 – Tory, maj 179
Marginal. The Tories won this seat in 2003 by 3 votes, probably helped by the Greens standing. Since 2004, the BNP have overtaken the Greens (but both of their votes are down quite a bit), with the Lib Dems in third. The Labour vote is consistently around 725. The Tories gained about 250 votes in 2006, and slipped back slightly this year.

Three Bridges
2004 – 1 Labour , 1 Tory
2007 – Tory, maj 356
A major Tory gain here. The Labour vote did not fall much, but the smaller parties lost more votes, with the Tories the only gainers. In 2004 the BNP stood and came 6th out of 8 (beating a Green and a Lib Dem). This year the English Democrats stood and narrowly beat the Green.

Tilgate
2004 – 2 Labour, maj 84/87
2007 – Tory, maj 355
Like Three Bridges, a major gain for the Tories. In fact, not only is the majority almost the same, but the Labour vote were exactly the same in both wards this year (549). However, unlike Three Bridges, Labour lost votes and the swing was much greater. In 2004 only the two main parties stood. In 2007 the Greens, Lib Dems and BNP put up candidates. The BNP came third here.

West Green
2004 – 2 Labour, maj 147/274
2006 – Labour, maj 117
Usually safe Labour. Turnout was low last year, and the Tory vote held up. The BNP came third, beating the Lib Dems and an Independent. No election this year.

Tories
A mixed year. In the core seats (those to the East of the London-Brighton line), they slipped back, but that is likely to be down to the inevitability of the results. In the seats they won last year, they pretty much held up. In what were thought to be the new ‘marginal’ seats, they achieved large swings. Whether they would have had the same if the seats had been contested last year, or whether the campaigning of this year also made a difference I can’t tell. The only odd trend was the boost to the vote in Langley Green, where I think communal voting came into play.

Labour
A bad year, but looking at it, not worse than last year. I am sure that there will be recriminations about Ifield, but there always are (even if they win). In the safe Tory and Labour wards, the general trend was up. In many places the vote held up, but needed to go up to win or hold seats. The main point of collapse was Tilgate. There, the vote was possibly split by other parties. Also, the Tory candidate was a prominent local church member, and had a lot of support from there. Our candidate was not local, and the branch lost key members in the past year (to old age).

Lib Dems
Overall, the trend is down. If it continues, Northgate could possibly come into play in future years. The only place where the vote increased was Pound Hill North, where the candidate was the only local standing.

Greens
In 2003 they arrived in force for the first time. The catalyst was the defection of Councillor Malcolm Liles from Labour, in protest at the Iraq war. In 2004 they put up quite a few candidates and achieved reasonably high votes. However, now they can’t beat the BNP or the English Democrats, let alone get close to any of the main parties. Most of their candidates are members of Malcolm’s family. Lowest poll was 35 in Northgate, highest was 185 in Furnace Green.

BNP
Still not to be discounted, their popularity is waning. Where they once got 400 votes, they get 300 or less. Where they stand for the first time, they do better (I think it’s the novelty factor), but they aren’t getting the over 15% share that they achieved last year. Ifield is their strongest ward, with 309 votes and 3rd place.

English Democrats
Brand new, arrived out of nowhere (or Harrow, it seems), and merely seem to have split the vote. They are made up of ex-UKIPers, which may mean that they stick around, but around here many of the UKIP members either drifted to the BNP or appear to have gone back to they Tory party. Beat the Greens, which seems to be no great challenge.

Far Left
No candidates from the Socialist Labour Party or Respect or any ‘Independant Socialists’ this year. Their absence may explain better results for Labour in Northgate and Bewbush.

Independents
Arshad Khan (officially of the ‘Justice Party’, but in no way connected to the Brum based party of that name, and a one-man-band in reality) wins the battle of the also-rans, beating Richard Symonds by 5 votes. Daniel Capstick-Bedson got 30 votes, the least of any candidate across the town. I think that Richard Symonds can take comfort from the splitting effect in Ifield, but overall the Independent vote is going down since 2004. I suspect that Khan’s increased vote in Bewbush may be a result of absence of Robin Burnham, or the presence of the Lib Dem candidate – who I hear is not a particularly popular gentleman.

oh dear

My contacts tell me that Labour held 2 seats in Crawley (Bewbush and Langley Green). That means losing seats in Ifield, Three Bridges, Southgate and Tilgate, presumably to the Tories. It is unlikely that any other seats changed hands.

That would give the Conservatives control of the council with 22 seats, a majority of 7. Labour would be on 12 and the Liberal Democrats on 3.

I haven’t seen the figures, so it’s hard to tell whether it represents a major change from last year. Southgate and Ifield were the scene of losses last year (and a nasty and inaccurate piece of hate mail went out in Ifield just before the election). Three Bridges was a seat in which the result was very close in 2004, and it was a hard ask to hold that seat. Tilgate is very disappointing, but the omens did look bad there yesterday.

Commiserations to the losing Labour candidates. Well done to Chris Cheshire and David Shreeves for their re-elections. Across the town this was a tough campaign, and we always knew that it would be an uphill struggle to hold all seats, let alone make any gains. But the members really pushed as hard as they could.

There are, of course, a few factors which overshadow the elections, some of which are beyond the controll of local councillors (Iraq, Blair, the Hospital). However, we can’t escape the fact that the Tories have consolidated power and have the momentum, and that there are local factors as well.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 9 Comments »

Local Elections 3 May – Don’t forget to vote!

(and vote Labour)

In Crawley, it is pretty much a straight contest between Labour and the Tories in all seats (except for Northgate, which is solidly Lib Dem).

Some seats have a BNP candidate, and it is vital that they not get a foothold in Crawley.

The Labour candidates for the Crawley wards this year are:

  • Bewbush:
    Chris CHESHIRE
  • Furnace Green (2 votes): TT *
    TP PATEL & Andrew SKUDDER
  • Gossops Green: T
    Chris MULLINS
  • Ifield: *
    John STANLEY

  • Langley Green:
    David SHREEVES
  • Maidenbower: T
    Ron FINCH
  • Northgate:
    Bill WARD

  • Pound Hill Nth: T
    Jasmin SAMSON
  • Pound Hill Sth & Worth: T
    Colin MOFFATT
  • Southgate: *
    Ian IRVINE
  • Three Bridges:
    Daryl ENGLISH

  • Tilgate: *
    Jayne SKUDDER

Where the BNP are standing, I have marked the ward with *. Where the Conservatives currently hold the seat(s), I have marked the ward with a T (for Targetting Tories).

With the Council on a knife edge (Conservatives 1 seat short of a majority), and several close contests, every vote could count. In Southgate, we had results within 3 votes two years running. Crawley has had two elections result in dead heats in the last ten years.

So, if you want to lift the threat of higher charges for tenants (with lower standards of upkeep for council houses), if you want to safeguard local services, if you want to see improvements, then Vote Labour to keep the Tories out.

Best of luck to all of our candidates tomorrow. I will be out and about in Southgate, where we are working to re-elect a hard working councillor Ian Irvine.

More from MMVC

Now that Steve from Make My Vote Count has read my article properly (and he admits that he didn’t read it properly the first time – I’d say perhaps in a half-arsed manner?), he has given a more robust response.

I do understand his points. I did put a further in, but it takes them a long time to get round to approving posted comments. It might appear tomorrow.

One part of his piece that I did think was a good idea was this:

Anyway, i’d rather have a system that flips yours on its head, where popular impact is felt at the stage of policy formulation and debate, with the public acting like an expanded legislature. This creates a better politics because politicians have better, or at least more informed, policy options to choose from. And the public can’t simply complain of having legislation thrust upon them from above, as fellow – arbitrarily chosen – citizens have had a role in formulating it. Such a system still manages to retain a clear line of command, where ultimate responsibility for decisions lies with (relatively) transparent, accessible and public individuals who are ultimately (and most importantly) accountable for their actions to the electorate.

Yes! A ‘citizens jury’ which can go through upcoming legislation and ask questions or suggest changes. Sounds fantastic. It’s supposed to be how policy is formed in the Labour Party (policy forum meetings for members discuss various options and they get passed on and debated by delegates before being presented to Conference).

Another CiF piece

I had another article published on CiF today. Now that the site is up, I can link to it: The law of Average Joes

Again, the title wasn’t mine (I prefer mine – “Let us all vote in parliament”), and the standfirst was added in.

As it went up while I was at work, I wasn’t able to respond to the comments until I got home, but that gave me the opportunity to produce a longer answer

I have also seen one response elsewhere www.makemyvotecount.org.uk – ‘average_joe/common ‘tator where I think they call me a potato. They definitely call the piece ‘half-arsed’. I spent ages on that, and they didn’t even read it properly as far as I can tell.

Tory town

It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the way it happened and the actuality are quite disappointing. The Tories won seats in Southgate and Ifield, and got lucky with the drawing of lots for Broadfield North (just as they did in Furnace Green and Maidenbower not so long ago).

So, from a Labour majority of 1 we go to a Tory majority of 1. Bob Lanzer will be the new leader. Duncan Crow will be the deputy. I wonder who else will be running departments. Will Brenda Burgess be tasked with trying to convince tenants to opt for Stock Transfer? Who will have to handle the travellers (and what will they actually DO, now that they have ruled out the only sensible option)? What cuts will they make:

Voluntary sector – currently CBC donates about £600,000 to local voluntary groups. None of them is a loony left ‘muslim lesbian single mothers coffee morning’ group. They include the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Crawley CVS. Any cuts here will not exactly chime with the national Tory line about using voluntary and charitable bodies to do good in the community

Community Wardens – Labour was going to increase the number of them. If the Tories don’t or even more cut them, will that make our streets safer?

Raid the bank – Crawley is one of the few councils in the country which has kept itself debt free. In fact, there’s some money in the bank. The easy option would be to spend that money to keep council tax down. However, the interest on it is also used to keep council tax down. So if you dip into those reserves and don’t decrease revenue demands, all that will happen is that the savings will disappear. I’m all for using that capital to invest to make savings. But a Council Tax giveaway – while popular – will erode the financial position long term.

One thing I do know – we need a decent, united opposition on the Council. Part of the problem with the group appears to me that they didn’t notice that a majority of 16 had gone down to a majority of 1. You can afford posture politics sometimes, but not with a single vote at play.

finally…

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.