Saturday, May 05, 2012

Post Match Analysis and Punditry
– London Elections

Well, it’s all over now, as Mick Jagger used to sing. The votes are counted, eventually, and the victorious and the vanquished have made their speeches and those elected are now fighting to get an office in City Hall with a good view of Tower Bridge and the Thames. But what does it all mean, apart from another four years of the same old? The duopoly of British Politics remains strong and is reflected in the results.

Some of them, like in Broken Barnet twinned with Camden, were expected. Brian Coleman lost his seat and a massive majority after many local residents turned against him with a very effective campaign. There was quite a big swing from Tory to Labour overall but not enough to unseat him, I think, without the backlash of local blogger power and Mrs Angry.

Here in Havering & Redbridge our encumbant Roger Evans was re-elected but with a slashed majority down from about 40,000 to 4,000. Partly due to the reduced turnout, down to 38% this time around, and maybe some leakage to UKIP. The Residents Association candidate, Malvin Brown, put in a good show based, I expect, on that Party's presence on the Havering council benches. For Labour, Mandy Richards ran Roger a very close shave after a concerted and substantial effort by the Redbridge Labour team headed up by Fixer and Bouncer. There’s not much support for Labour in Havering, so assuming the majority of the Labour vote came from Redbridge this could be causing some (word deleted) reflection in our Coalition Council.

The odd part is that the Labour revival, if that is what it is, did not unseat Boris. It was closer than last time but there is a very strong argument that many people were prepared to vote Labour but not Ken. This seems to be causing some recriminations in the Labour camp, but he was their chosen candidate. They’ve now got 3 years to find a replacement. As have the Tories if Boris keeps his pledge not to stand a third time. Perhaps a move away from “personalities” and comedy haircuts would be in order? Valerie Shawcross and Andrew Boff know the ropes at City Hall.

The Greens fell back here but overall managed to get third place in both the Mayoral ballot and the London list. However, they still have only two Assembly Members. This suggests that rather than they moving above the Liberal Democrats, it was the Liberal Democrats who sank below the Greens. We do have a mid term Coalition Government and one would expect them both to do badly, and they did. Having said that, next door in North East constituency Caroline Allen came very close to second place and beating the Conservative - and there were some other good Green performances elsewhere.

UKIP and the BNP, (who have both had Assembly Members in the past, although they all ended up completing their terms of office with a different label), and all the others failed to reach the minimum 5% required to gain a seat on the Assembly.

So, there is no two-thirds majority of the combined opposition parties to overturn the Mayor’s budget, but they are sufficient in numbers to form a quorum without the Tories. No more Tory walk-outs.

Results here.

Next up the Locals in 2014.

The Coleman Effect - Big Smoke
No Ken Labour Gap - Labour List


  1. Seems to me that the problem all the Parties have, re the London Mayoralty, is the perceived need to have a 'personality-strong' candidate rather than choosing the most obviously capable one.

    But then, I still do not comprehend the need for a Mayor and Assembly for London.

    1. Whilst I sympathise with that view on the GLA, I think that we would still need some sort of organisation to oversee London wide activities.

      Take public transport, for example: would you really like to see transport services, particularly buses, operated purely for profit with no social provision at all - like they are in the rest of the country? True, a small number of social journeys are grudgingly subsidised by local authorities, but not many.

      I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, Judith, when Morris's favourite bus route is cut back to one an hour with no service after 5pm or on Sundays ...

    2. Wish I had a good answer to that, Knowsie. TfL has been a massive drain on financial resources, and has become so powerful that it has proved very difficult to rein in its internal extravagance. Isn't this what happens when large organisations, whether statist or corporate, get their hands on other people's money?

      Where there is a need for London-wide co-operation, why not appoint an elected Councillor from each Borough as a high-profile rep on a specific governing body? On the other hand, if it's agreed that there should be a London Mayor, perhaps it's a job that could be added to the City of London Mayor's, I can see the objections to that too.

      Oh dear.

    3. with the extortionate cost of TfL we could all have free travel,if we sacked the thousands (5858 to be exact) of overpaid staff earning more than £50,000 pr year.

  2. "Perhaps a move away from “personalities” and comedy haircuts would be in order?"

    You do make me laugh sometimes! It's funny 'cuz it's true! :D

  3. The really clever thing that Boris and Ken pulled off was to make it all about them, a needle match like Rangers v Celtic or England v Argentina. They made most people forget that there were five other candidates, three of whom were viable (Libdem, Green and Independent). Instead it became a great gladiatorial contest - there was even a near-fight in a lift. The other candidates could barely get airtime.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist...

    1. Not clever at all Patsy. It is a function of the electoral system devised by the Labour Party and supported by the Conservatives - a top two run-off, which ensures the continuation of the Duopoly of British Politics and the "establishment's" control to exclude everybody else.

    2. To be fair you cant exactly have PR in a mayoral system.

      Everyone else also gets pushed to the side because they don't register on the public imagination.

      For example how many people could name the UKIP candidate now?

      John H

    3. John,
      Can you remind me how your Leader, Ed Miliband, was elected into that position?