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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October 31, 2008

Short hiatus and some updates

I am away this weekend (the picture should be a clue as to where) and today looks busy, so probably no posting this side of Monday. Don’t cry too much, please.

However, I thought it might be worth providing some updates on a few of my earlier posts, just so they don’t feel forgotten (and so in some cases the Animal can say “told you so”).

October 28th Is the Game Afoot? The Animal speculated that a prolonged period of single figure Conservative poll leads over the next couple of months would suggest that the narrative about the next election would change, with a hung parliament maybe becoming a stronger possibility than a stonking Tory majority. We’re a long way off a prolonged period yet, and the latest Yougov poll does show Labour moving out a smidgin, but the Tory lead remains (just) within the psychologically important single figure zone. 

October 27th European Left Watch: Out of Office in Lithuania The Animal reported on the defeat for the parties that formed the Social Democrat-led government in Lithuania by a mixture of (more…)

September 14, 2008

A little local difficulty…turns national

Should Camden's Lib Dems be looking for a new chief whip?

Should Camden's Lib Dems be looking for a new chief whip?

This is a cautionary little tale for the chief whips and leaders of party groups on local authorities everywhere, courtesy of Camden Liberal Democrats.

In 2006 the quaint traditional annual custom of the ‘Labour Local Elections Bloodbath’ took place in, amongst other places, the London Borough of Camden. The Labour group lost half of its councillors, including many in traditionally safe Labour wards, with control of the council shifting to a Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition. Amongst the seats lost was Kentish Town, where two Labour councillors lost their seats to the Lib Dems: a by-election in December 2006 following the resignation of the remaining Labour councillor permitted the Liberals to complete the set. The influx of new Liberal Democrat councillors in Camden in 2006 mirrored the national situation of Labour in 1997: a lot of individuals who had not expected to win and were not necessarily suited to the role suddenly found themselves elected.

One of the Liberal Democrats elected for Kentish Town was a Mr Philip Thompson, who had at least the distinction of being just 24 when he was elected. So far as we can tell, he distinguished himself no further until 2008, when he took up an offer to study for a PhD in American Politics at…the University of Arizona. And for some reason, thought that this was entirely compatible with remaining a representative for Kentish Town, 5000 miles away. As the Camden council website continues to list Cllr Thompson as being chair of one of the licensing committees and a member of the scrutiny committees for the Culture & Environment and Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny committees, we must assume that he considered it possible to (more…)

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