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…)

August 26, 2008

Is Environmentalism compatible with representative democracy?

Filed under: Environment,London Politics — Political Animal @ 3:51 pm
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Iceberg in Belsund, Spitsbergen (c) The Political Animal

Iceberg in Belsund, Spitsbergen (c) The Political Animal

If you or I, dear reader, stick with this thing long enough, we’ll both come to realise that when I put a question in the title of a post, it will invariably mean I don’t have an answer. It will also probably mean that I don’t expect anyone else to have an answer either, because if they did, well I’d just Google it, wouldn’t I?

I’ve been thinking quite a lot this summer about how the climate change and broader environmental agendas fit into the British political context. Partially this is due to a trip to the Arctic revealling to me, unsurprisingly, that shrinking glaciers and changing animal behaviour are a very real occurance; partially because of the results of the London elections in May; and in large part because I have a nagging feeling that environmental policy is about to take a back foot in the political sphere.

Perhaps the greatest setback for the cause of environmentalism was when it somehow, in the eyes of the Daily Mail and assorted other organs of the right, became ‘PC’. So-called political correctness is one of the great strawmen of our time: invented, promoted and blown out of all proportion by the losing side of the post-60s culture wars. Sadly, the myth of PC has had some success in building up and sustaining revanchists in the social sphere – to such an extent that it has managed to attach a stigma to the causes of equality and justice. (more…)

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