Confessions of a Political Animal

June 10, 2009

Party like it’s 2008 – sort of.

London Boroughs Euro Labour

Note: I have published my data sheet for the London European election results with borough-by-borough breakdowns here. I am missing the exact breakdown of independent candidate votes in Hillingdon and the results for the City of London (unless the latter are included in a neighbouring borough). If anyone has access to these, please could they leave me a note? Thanks! UPDATE: data now complete thanks to Nick in comments.

If the patterns emerging on the map above (apologies for the atrocious reproduction quality) look slightly familiar, it’s probably because, like me, you spent some time last year poring over maps like this or thiswhich showed clearly the inner/outer London divide in voting in the Mayoral elections. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised that last week’s European elections produced similar results – voting patterns aren’t likely to change that much in 13 months – but they are evidence of the re-emerging political disconnect between the ‘two Londons’. The dominance of New Labour did much to smooth over that disconnect. It may be the case that its death throes are widening the gap further than ever before.

There’s no getting around the fact that the European Election results were very, very bad for Labour, but as Dave Hill has pointed out, what was calamitous in the rest of the country was merely dismal in London. Whilst Labour’s vote dropped 7% nationally compared to 2004, it fell by only half of that in the London region; the Tory increase was smaller even than the limited national figure (+0.6% in London, compared to +1% nationally), whilst UKIP, surging into second place across Britain registered a 1.9% vote decrease in London, narrowly falling into fifth place behind the Greens. (more…)

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November 20, 2008

Now that’s what I call an obssession

griffinWhat was your reaction when you heard that the BNP’s membership list had been published on the internet?

a) A sudden desire to see whether any fascists lived on your road? b) A certain gleefulness that such a vile party had come a cropper in this way? c) A little salivation at the prospect of BNP members losing their jobs? d) A mild concern over the data protection issues involved? e) Or maybe you thought ‘Aha, here’s a chance to have a bash at someone who used to be Mayor of London’?

If your answered mainly ‘e’, then you are Andrew Gilligan, and I claim my £5. The Animal’s favourite scribe has dedicated his Evening Standard column to pushing the centre-right’s usual line regarding the hard right: “oh look, aren’t they small and insignificant, if we generally downplay them and pander a bit to the prejudices of their supporters, they’ll go away.”

Gilligan headlines his article “Now we know what little threat the BNP poses” and bases his assumptions on the fact that the membership list shows a relatively small number of members in London generally, with unsurprisingly, very low numbers in the inner boroughs. But surely this was news to no-one – it was always assumed that the party’s membership was somewhere in the vicinity (more…)

November 3, 2008

The quest for housing apartheid – Part 3: Boris wades in

The Animal has discussed here before the fact that there is some pretty heavy-weight media backing for the continued ghettoisation of London’s housing supply, with a health dose of outrage being expressed at any attempts to provide a more mixed housing portfolio in the wealthiest areas of the city. Council housing in Kensington? Affordable rents in Fulham? Key worker housing in Hampstead? It’s all dangerous socialistic meddling in the free market, I tell you. Socialists! Reds! Run for the hills!

Now we’ve always known that Boris Johnson was a none-too-covert subscriber to this world view. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t wantsocial housing in London – he’s crossed the Cameron Rubicon in that respect – but he has real problems about where it is built. Scrapping the Livingstone aspiration for 50% of all new build housing to be socially affordable, regardless of location, loomed large in the Mayor’s election manifesto. And he has been as good as his word – last week, the 50% target’s death rites were read. Of course, the runes could be read well before then – appointing two leading former councillors from notoriously social housing-unfriendly Westminster to your team of ‘deputy mayors’, (more…)

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