Labour’s Election Scorecard 2013

4th May, 2013 11:24 am

Every year I do a piece looking at what the benchmarks are for Labour in the May local elections. This year’s one is hereAnd then when the results come out I check back and see how we did. 

Here are this year’s ratings: 

  • Projected national vote share. The 2009 BBC figures were Con 35%, Lab 25%, LD 22%. This year’s were Lab 29% (up 4%), Con 25% (down 10%), UKIP 23% and LD 14%. We therefore hit one target comfortably – beating the Tories. This year’s 4% lead is down from 6% in 2012 but excepting that, better than the 1% Tory lead in 2011 or any other year going back to 2001 (or to 1998 for a non-General  Election year). However, in raw terms the UKIP surge obviously means it is well down on 2011 and 2012’s 37% and 39%.
  • Raw number of councillors. My calculation (the final figure may differ a bit due to boundary changes) is we now have 6850 councillors. This is our highest number since 2003.
  • Gains. I said “300 gains would be a very stretching target … I think 200 gains is a more reasonable benchmark than 300. Even 178 gains would be impressive as it would involve more than doubling the number of seats we win.” This was unduly pessimistic as we gained 291 seats. This is the first time we have made net gains in a county council election year since 1993. Bizarrely 291 is exactly the number we lost in 2009!
  • Control of councils. We gained the powerful Elected Mayors in Doncaster (from an Independent elected as an English Democrat) and North Tyneside (from a Tory – it includes the posh coastal bits of Tyneside). We gained back control of 2 of the 4 county councils we lost in 2009, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. We just missed Lancashire (gaining 23 seats to be the largest party in a hung council, just 3 short of a majority). In Staffordshire, the fourth county we lost in 2009, we gained a whopping 21 seats but this was from a base of only 3 councillors, so the Tories held control. We also came just 2 seats from gaining control of unitary Northumberland, knocking the Lib Dems from first to third place. We also became the largest party in hung councils in Bristol and Cumbria. The number of councils controlled by Labour is therefore now 116, our best figure since 2002.
  • Location of gains. There was a strong correlation between the gains made and parliamentary target seats where we are organising hard for the 2015 General Election. Obvious examples are Amber Valley, Cambridge, Cannock, Crawley, Dover, Hastings & Rye, Ipswich, Lincoln, Norwich North, Norwich South, Stevenage. But we also made progress with gains in seats like South Dorset (scene of gains in Weymouth) and Sittingbourne & Sheppey which were Labour until 2010 but are not listed in our 106 target marginals, core areas of seats we lost in 2005 like Gravesend and Harwich, and in areas where we have never had the MP like Aldershot, Banbury, Salisbury and David Cameron’s Whitney backyard.
  • Labour toeholds. On this indicator of whether we can claim to be a One Nation party we did spectacularly well. Of the 13 councils where we had 0 to 2 county councillors each in 2009 (Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, North Yorkshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex, and Wiltshire) we have gone from a total of  just 16 to 83 councillors, with representation on every authority, and in one case (Suffolk) a Labour Group of 15!
  • Finally, I’d note that most of our gains were direct from the Tories, in areas where they hold the MP, whereas in 2011 and 2012 lots of our progress was in urban areas that already have Labour MPs, against the Lib Dems.

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  • No mention of turnout?

    It is dropping like a stone!

    Please see http://ajustfuture.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/election-turnout-is-dropping-like-stone.html for some analysis and how Robin Stuchbury got elected to Buckinghamshire County Council (only Labour member)

    • But since when were we ever going to gain a parliamentary seat in Bucks?

      • TomFairfax

        That would be the seats in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. One each lost in the last two national elections. Not that Aylesbury is

        It’s all very well taking the mickey out of the Tory view that the North starts at Watford Gap services and is a land of flat caps and whippets, but the views I see of the south sometimes from those north of the Humber are just as laughable. We don’t all drive around Chelsea in Range Rovers and shoot the remaining peasants as a hobby at the weekend.

        • Tom – they are both part of the .MK unitary authority. Not the county of Bucks for local gov’t purposes

        • Also – you probably don’t realise but I was born and brought up in Bucks, and it was the Wycombe CLP I first joined in 1977. Guess what? There wasn’t a single Labour councillor then either!

          • TomFairfax

            Hi Mike, no I didn’t know that, but I was concerned about the undue pessimism(real or imagined) E.g. ipswich isn’ the same as Lowestoft, or Newmarket, so always a risk to write a whole county off.
            My image is that you can tell what an organisations management thinks is their biggest risk/weakness. For Labour it is representation outside of urban areas, and even urban areas in the south. Hence the one nation message. And it is undeniably a risk to be just a party of the northern conurbations.
            Likewise the Tories harping on about hard working families, when nobody believes they have a clue about what the average family puts up with.
            So like the Royal Mail I think MK is in Bucks and we need to be able to challenge in semi rural marginals such as MK north.
            We can’t just expect places like Liverpool to pull us through, when we want a national mandate, and there is a very real risk that at some stage Scotland won’t help either.

          • I agree that the two MK seats are winnable . But the rest of Bucks has always seen us do far worse than might be imagined. I don’t know what it is about the county which causes ward’s in Aylesbury and High Wycombe to be Tory when everything suggests we should be doing far better. Particularly in Wycombe where we don’t even seem to manage to appeal to black and Asian voters.

    • aracataca

      Good point Jon. However, Mike is correct Bucks is not our brightest and best hope for success in 2015 except of course for MK ( possibly).

  • kb32904

    Plenty to be happy with so here’s hoping this is what our MP’s will be saying when asked instead of navel gazing & in-fighting.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Luke, the “No Overall Control” councils are I think portrayed as somewhat positive (not by you, but others) for Labour. In reality, the councils have little proper power and authority, and in addition, if you look at the new composition, unlikely to deliver real hope for Labour.

    Take my own local county council of Cambridgeshire. It was tory, now NOC and seen as a tory “loss”. But in reality, the parties are all relentlessly tory or even more absolutist tory (ie the UKIP). Day to day, it is hard to see the Cambridgeshire NOC council as being less tory than before; in fact it seems even more so. Labour gained 4 seats, but the UKIP gained 10, and they are unlikely to vote with Labour. The net result is what counts.

    I have not seen a full analysis, but in practical day to day matters the tories and the UKIP are likely to be voting for the same things on the new councils. The great success of the UKIP in these elections probably means that more councils are more tory than they were a week ago.

    • Redshift1

      Yes and no. The NOC in Lancashire has zero UKIP county councillors. The Tories meanwhile would be short of a majority even if they did a deal with the Lib Dems. Labour are biggest party and the only ones in a position to rule.

      • Also, we haven’t a clue how UKIP councillors will behave. Given they are populist they may well not be particularly ideological on many matters – after all, they only talk about immigration and the EU, and local councils don’t have any influence over either.
        I think some of them may have a shock if they think they can block services to particular ethnic groups – under the Equality Act they would be breaking the law if they trieds

      • Similarly in Northumberland, where UKIP failed to have an impact despite a concerted effort and a visit from Farage. Intriguingly, Farage only camaigned in Tory dominated parts of Northumberland, despite most people thinking UKIP had a chance in the south east of the county against Labour incumbents (they failed…)

    • aracataca

      You’ve probably already realised JT that I value your contributions to LL largely because you have a tendency to back up your arguments with reference to empirical data. However, one of the pitfalls of your contributions is your tendency to make large and sweeping generalisations and you’ve done this here. I mean how typical of the country is Cambridgeshire? South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge itself are, with the possible exception of parts of Surrey, some of the wealthiest parts of the country. NB See Redshift’s reference to the situation in Lancashire.

    • aracataca

      You’ve probably already realised JT that I value your contributions to LL largely because you have a tendency to back up your arguments with reference to empirical data. However, one of the pitfalls of your contributions is your tendency to make large and sweeping generalisations and you’ve done this here. I mean how typical of the country is Cambridgeshire? South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge itself are, with the possible exception of parts of Surrey, some of the wealthiest parts of the country. NB See Redshift’s reference to the situation in Lancashire.

    • aracataca

      You’ve probably already realised JT that I value your contributions to LL largely because you have a tendency to back up your arguments with reference to empirical data. However, one of the pitfalls of your contributions is your tendency to make large and sweeping generalisations and you’ve done this here. I mean how typical of the country is Cambridgeshire? South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge itself are, with the possible exception of parts of Surrey, some of the wealthiest parts of the country. NB See Redshift’s reference to the situation in Lancashire.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Well, I did say “more councils”, not “every council” (…now in NOC). I think I stand by my assertion, and it is not a great amount of work to look in detail at the 10? councils newly now in NOC. Cambridgeshire – I suspect – will now be even less supportive of Labour ideas than it was before, as the tories as the largest grouping will have to listen to the UKIP arguments. It is of course also the case that Lancashire is more complex.

        Of the 10? councils that are now NOC, the question is whether the new lump of UKIP councillors drag the overall council towards a tory + position. For some, yes, I think. For others, probably no. But for the media to push them all together and declare a tory loss is missing the nuances. In some cases, the county councils will be more supportive of a tory + position than before, even if not of the tory party as an institution.

        • aracataca

          However, of course Labour increased its representation on Cambs CC. In fact the number of Labour Councillors on CCC increased from 2 to 7 (an increase of 350%) and I think you’ve admitted that Cambs County Council elections are highly unrepresentative of the country as a whole (but not sure).

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Yes, of course Labour increased the representation. But it is not of much importance, as the council as a whole now has 10 new UKIP members, who are likely to be more to the tories’ outer flank. It is a simple question: in a case of NOC, are the biggest grouping of tories likely to listen more to the UKIP (+10, and of some natural sympathy to the tories), or to Labour( +5, and not sympathetic to the tories)? I suspect that for those Labour councillors, they will have to get used to being perpetually on the losing side of council votes.

          • Labour doesn’t need to win in Wisbech. Who cares what they vote for? I’m sorry but making out that Labour being in opposition in Cambs is a big blow is like saying the Tories should have won County Durham. Cambridge city is what matters.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “Labour doesn’t need to win in Wisbech. Who cares what they vote for?”
            You are correct in the brutal calculus, but also brutal in your view.

            I care for the people of Wisbech, which is not my constituency. I care for the people of Tiverton, Liverpool, Llanelli, Stirling, Darlington and Dover, and everywhere else in this country. And if your view is representative of the Labour Party, it does not deserve to govern for the people.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “Labour doesn’t need to win in Wisbech. Who cares what they vote for?”
            You are correct in the brutal calculus, but also brutal in your view.

            I care for the people of Wisbech, which is not my constituency. I care for the people of Tiverton, Liverpool, Llanelli, Stirling, Darlington and Dover, and everywhere else in this country. I also care for those without, wherever they are, and for those who pay taxes wherever they are to allow others to be cared for.

            And if your view is representative of the Labour Party, it does not deserve to govern for the people.

            “…I’m sorry but making out that Labour being in opposition in Cambs is a big blow…”

            You will find that I did not make that argument, so setting it up as though I did, and then knocking it down is a Straw Man. I do not give you permission to false quote me.

          • Cambridge itself is the only seat we could possibly gain in the county council area.

          • aracataca

            Correct Mike and guess where Labour’s 7 County Councillors come from?

            http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/council/democracy/elections/elections-2013/cambridge-city.htm

  • Rabih Chaaban

    The Local election saw the emerge of One Nation Labour ‘recovering and start reaching Under Ed Miliband leadership Labour is moving forward, out polling the
    Tories in areas where it mattered

  • Thanks for the sterling work with Laura in covering elections. The blog was a lot better than BBC coverage. Just one thing – it is Witney (not Whitney!).

    Good, reasoned analysis as usual. I think it it is a reasonable result by Labour. I do wonder if politics has changed from the days of 20% lead in opinion polls – I think we are now in en era – for better or worst – of 4 party politics, UKIP being a symptom, not the cause, of that changed politics.

    Another good article is in the Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/03/local-elections-analysis-ukip-labour

  • Thanks for the sterling work with Laura in covering elections. The blog was a lot better than BBC coverage. Just one thing – it is Witney (not Whitney!).

    Good, reasoned analysis as usual. I think it it is a reasonable result by Labour. I do wonder if politics has changed from the days of 20% lead in opinion polls – I think we are now in en era – for better or worst – of 4 party politics, UKIP being a symptom, not the cause, of that changed politics.

    Another good article is in the Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/03/local-elections-analysis-ukip-labour

  • Thanks for the sterling work with Laura in covering elections. The blog was a lot better than BBC coverage. Just one thing – it is Witney (not Whitney!).

    Good, reasoned analysis as usual. I think it it is a reasonable result by Labour. I do wonder if politics has changed from the days of 20% lead in opinion polls – I think we are now in en era – for better or worst – of 4 party politics, UKIP being a symptom, not the cause, of that changed politics.

    Another good article is in the Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/03/local-elections-analysis-ukip-labour

    • If UKIP does to the Tories what the SDP did to us in the 1980s and 1990s, good for them.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Do you not think that the SDP empowered the change from Old Labour to New Labour?

        I think your view is too tribalist. Politics should not be like football***, where people follow their team through good and bad. Politics is about what is best for the country.

        *** A good game, but nothing more than that.

        • rekrab

          Clearly UKIP played a good game and no doubt the queues of money men will be backing their push come 2015.

          Things are so indifferent, it isn’t a case of follow follow, it’s a simple case of choosing your option and going for it wholeheartedly.

          I really want to stick right in the net but the goal posts keep moving.I really hope labour steadies the posts and we can all smack it through those white sticks.

        • This is a Labour website… Don’t be surprised when people slag off the SDP.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I think you miss my point (or, to my own fault, it was too obscure).

            The SDP forced Labour to change, and thus to win 3 successive terms in the 1990s / 2000s. I think that the UKIP just might do the same for the tories.

            Anyone “slagging off” the SDP might do some critical thinking first, if they are capable of doing so non-tribally.

          • rekrab

            Well, Thatcher’s darlings won three election in the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s of course you weren’t here for most of that, so you’ll not have a scobby what went on.

            Just how further to the right would you like? Mr Candelas?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I make a point about the SDP and Labour, and you respond with something incoherent about the Mrs Thatcher.

            Do you want to discuss about the SDP and Labour, and whether the UKIP might do the same to the tories, or do you merely want to howl at the moon?

            And as far as “right” is concerned, you will know me to be less concerned with that axis as with the liberal / authoritarian axis. Here is a clue, Derek, it does not matter what you say something is, if it is not.

          • rekrab

            Internally, this present government is about as far right as it has ever been, attacking the poorest and the workers in a way Thatcher only ever dreamed of.

            What UKIP offers them is the design to finally bury the EU and it’s treaties. UKIP, Libertarianism are the ultimate self serving model of political backwardness and can all be traced to Thatcher and it’s formation around her ending.

            Jaime, you only play the scale when it suits but by far you do come out to the far right in your wordings and thinking.

            You even got so mad at the lack of whip cracking over the housing benefit costs, you declared a notion to leave for some new honey amongst the maple leaf tree huggers.

            The SDP had a problem with CND and the trade unions.Trade unions and employers have a mutual written contract, if yearly, on wage rises, employers committed not to breach that mutual agreement, trade union would offer not to take strike action over that said year. Today we’re all strapped for cash? in a state sense, is it wise to spend so much on nuclear arms? and finally UKIP are just Thatcherite babies looking to reclaim those by gone years.(you drive an old car, do you really want to fire it up and transport us all back to Thatcherism?)

            Why wont you vote for labour?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I’m not going to play your stupid little games, Derek. Just about everything you say above can be demonstrated to be wrong, or irrelevant, or a logical fallacy, or a non sequitur, but if that is what you want to believe, you will believe it.

            You continually avoid the point. Do you, or do you not, understand what the short and “meteoric” rise of the SDP in the 1980s meant for Labour of the early 1990s? At one point when the SDP were in alliance with the Liberals scoring over 50% in a national opinion poll. That was no “outlier” – there were multiple opinion polls in the high 40s.

            And if you apply that understanding and judgement to the UKIP and the tories, do you think that a similar transformation – of the tories, not old Labour – may have positive effects for the tories in the years to come, in the same way that New Labour were able to win 3 victories?

          • rekrab

            Prove it then?
            Your comparing apples and oranges and moving backwards.
            23% doesn’t return one single UKIP MP, it’s a protest vote against the tories and lib/dems and a fear vote against EU migrants who may take their jobs.
            Labour still has work to do, on the competition rules of the EU and around the economic recovery, that’s where we are in reality and only labour can return a government that will be for the people and by the people, all others are tarred with thick black glue.
            Jaime, call me what you like but I’d doubt you’d say it to my face!

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            (Note to Derek). I’ll call you anything I want to your face, if it is the truth. I’m not brow-beaten by you, or by anyone else on God’s green earth.

          • rekrab
          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Completely pointless discussing anything with Derek. He has his own point of view, and it makes sense to him.

          • But if what you say is correct then the SDP pulled Labour to the centre. Ukip will drag the Tories to the right and lose their centrist support. Coming out of the EU would hardly help them gain business voters or finance.. So I don’t think it is a sensible comparison.

          • rekrab

            Mike, if we take Jaime’s thoughts of “Tories 25% + UKIP 23% “equals a win? we could apply that logic and say that labours 29% and the Tories 25% means the opt in referendum on Europe wins, as the UKIP vote 23% is primarily a vote to opt out and as far as I’m aware Cameron and Miliband want to stay in Europe.

          • Its ludicrous to think that the 23% are all Tories. The BNP vote disappeared this year for a start. In many of these areas the LibDems are not on the left – these are conservative minded shires – and we also need to remember how lousy the turnouts were once again

          • aracataca

            Excellent point Mike.

          • $6215628

            Yes but where did that BNP vote come from ,in the first place, 10 plus years ago, all those BNP voters weren’t just people who stayed at home, at previous elections,

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Mike, again you judge things in terms of left and right. There is nothing right wing about UKIP, in the classical economic terms by which left and right are judged. In fact, they are less right wing than Thatcher. They quite favour state support of British industries, which is not at all right wing. They are however clustered around a populist nationalist point of view on the liberal / authoritarian axis.

            The SDP and the UKIP both appear to me to be pointing towards a popular point of view.

          • Nonsense. UKIP are very right wing. Toryism traditionally supported state intervention too – the true Tories like Heseltine and Clarke still do. Thatcherite economics is neo-liberal. I have already pointed out that the logical position of UKIP, although Farage denies it, is protectionism. That’s also the Tory tradition. Free trade was associated with classical liberalism.

            UKIP are also socially conservative. If anything they are a reconstruction of the old Toryism of the Monday Club.

            The SDP weren’t like that at all. They were socially liberal and progressive, and economically centrist – indeed, their main passion was support for Europe, David Owen aside, who went his own way in any case. The other distinctive feature of the SDP was support for a British nuclear deterrent

          • $6215628

            Te Monday Club comparison is disgraceful, the Monday Club wanted repatriation of non white, and Ukip a quite liberal on things like civil partnerships, legalising drugs, allowing women to set up their own red light districts, porn etc,

          • aracataca

            Sounds like you’ve been on the sauce here JT.

          • $6215628

            The SDPs concern over unilatalism in the 80’s is totally different to now, Michael Portillo, and Denis Healey were multilateralist s then aren’t now, the SDPs departure from labour had been on going for years before 81′ the unions dominance and the bomb, were only the straw that broke the camels back,Ukip, consist of. Ex liberals and labour members, Robert Kilroy silk former labour M.P was in them once,

          • “UKIP just might do the same for the tories.”

            You’re having a laugh.

            UKIP have only two policies: withdrawal from the EU and opposition to immigration. Their immigration ‘policy’ is currently ‘under review’ and the Tories will never, while in government, support withdrawal from the EU – advocating withdrawal is a luxury reserved for powerless oppositionists.

            Yesterday, in a radio interview, Farage confirmed that UKIP candidates are free to express whatever views they think their electorates want to hear, no matter how much candidates contradict each another, as long as they broadly support UKIP main objectives (see above).

            The UKIP vote tells us how far the reputation of established parties has fallen. Rather than trust the established parties many people prefer to opt for the unknown.

            In some respects this situation is reminiscent of the rise in enthusiasm for Clegg, just before the last G.E. – anything seemed better than the tired, old parties. But, just as with Blair, the Clegg reality turned out to be quite different from the promise. And so it will most probably be with UKIP.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Dave,

            the point is not how stupid the UKIP are – with which I probably agree with you – but the effect they could have on the tories. So I am not having a laugh, or at least not deliberately.

            Tories 25% + UKIP 23%. Does that not worry you if somehow the tories gain that 23%? It might take the political killing of Cameron, it might take until 2017 with a single term Labour government under Ed Miliband, but 48% of people favouring a tory or tory + agenda is not good news for Labour, in the medium or long term.

          • But they don’t. Ukip just happens to be the current outpouring of frustration. Its been the Greens and the LibDems before. Also turnouts were poor.

          • As a concern troll* you, as always, express concern while consistently promoting any Party other than Labour.

            Here’s an useful overview of UKIP**.

            * http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-concern-trolling.htm

            ** http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/special-report-what-voters-should-know-about-ukip-8517997.html

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You really deliberately miss the point. It is not what UKIP is, or the SDP were, it is the effect they have on the nearest other party.

            Has your head been repeatedly hit with the stupid shovel? You appear to be childlike in your intellect.

          • Slow day in the office?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Yes, it is difficult having to slow down enough to engage with your intellectual cogs, or possibly cog. But it is a Sunday, a day of some rest, and so possible to engage in banter.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Yes, it is difficult having to slow down enough to engage with your intellectual cogs, or possibly cog. But it is a Sunday, a day of some rest.

            You should try understanding some Amy Lowell. Your “jeering” has the same quality as the foolish crowd she observes, and will no doubt have the same inchoate end.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Yes, it is difficult having to slow down enough to engage with your intellectual cogs, or possibly cog. But it is a Sunday, a day of some rest.

            You should try understanding some Amy Lowell. Your “jeering” has the same quality as the foolish crowd she observes, and will no doubt have the same inchoate end.

          • “Yes, it is difficult”

            So aracataca was right – you have been on the sauce.

          • Redshift1

            One Labour activist on Friday at the count was surprised to hear that one of the UKIP candidate’s key motivations for standing was the bedroom tax! Despite the fact UKIP nationally attack the same people that are being hurt by the bedroom tax!

          • Alexwilliamz

            If we followed your argument that the sdp forced labour to become more electable this must presumably by encouraging them to become more centrist, how could that work for the tories. If they moved towards ukip i think they would actually ensure they never held power again. In chasing their ‘core’ vote would they not be doing the opposite of what happened with the sdp. Not that i’d agree that the sdp had that effect, rather they hampered the reform of labour by at least one parliamentary term, by not hanging in there and fighting for reform.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            The same reply as that I made to Mike Homfray. If you stop looking at politics from a bi-dimensional left-right axis, but instead look at the liberal – authoritarian axis, there are clear areas where the UKIP (and, I would venture, earlier the SDP) captured a popular mood that is little to do with economics.

            Ask yourself or more appropriately the electorate the question, “what is in Britain’s best interest”, and there are very few answers coming from either Labour or the tories. I think the electorate are “ahead” of where the parties are.

          • Alexwilliamz

            But even from that axis i’d have said that the ukip are placed in the libertarian extreme rather than the sdp who were relatively centrist compared to the more statist ‘authoritarian’ position that the labour party was labelled with then.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I am not getting through to you. It is no doubt my poor powers of expression.

            It does not matter where on any axis the UKIP or SDP were, it was the fact that they were where lots of people also were. They “caught a mood”.

            Actually, I would disagree with your assertion that the UKIP are extreme libertarians, but it is not really the point.

            So, if the UKIP have “caught a mood” (to the extent of 23% support), the real point is which established parties, and how, will gain advantage? The UKIP’s published policies are clearly indicating towards nonsense, and will be exposed, but their power is passion, not policy.

            Put it this way. If the tories – certainly under a different leader, as Cameron and Farage are personally embittered – capture some of the UKIP passion, then it is not good news for Labour. Will they? I do not know. Could they? Yes, certainly.

          • Alexwilliamz

            Firstly i’ll take on board our point about ukip maybe appealing to something the conservatives are failing at, the point is that even if all the ukip seats had remained tory given where the seats were those voters are not going to be the ones that will bring tories a mandate. They may be catching a ‘mood’ but it is not one which i believe will make the tories electable, it might bring some people back to the tories, i’m pretty certain it will alienate others. Added to that the low turnout and we are vastly extrapolating what ukip support might be and how weaknit may turn out to be in the rest of the country. The tories did well last election partly because they convinced enough people they had changed, ukip kind of represents that brand of conservatism that lost the last two elections before the coalition.

          • You clearly weren’t here when the SDP were in existence, were you? Or you wouldn’t be talking such nonsense. The situation which brought the SDP into existence was entirely different.
            UKIP have caught an ‘anti-politics’ mood which the governing parties are not in a good place to meet – the Tories have promised a referenda, but its not that which matters. UkIP are providing a largely unthinking repository for a largely emotional, unthinking set of responses. Their policies are laughable.
            The SDP was almost entirely different to this.

          • The libertarian-authoritarian axis is too clunky to easily apply. Ukip claims to be libertarian but on many issues are authoritarianism personnified.
            And the SDP’s appeal was largely economic.
            However, the point you seem to have missed is that the SDP and UKIP are entirely different animals. One primarily split the left, the other is primarily splitting the right.

          • $6215628

            The SDP didn’t split the left it was Labour swinging to the left that caused that and Ukip have ex liberals and ex Labour people in them, the SDP formed from Labour being anti the EU, Ukip was formed by a Liberal who thought the liberals were too pro the EU, and joined by ex Tories and Labour people who thought their old parties were the same,

          • postageincluded

            “The SDP forced Labour to change, and thus to win 3 successive terms in the 1990s / 2000s. I think that the UKIP just might do the same for the tories.”

            I think you’re right in a way, Jaime, but the analysis is too dry – all the essential juice is missing.

            The way the SDP made Labour change was by handing almost absolute power to the Tories for 15 years, during which the SDP (pace David Owen) ceased to exist. Yes, New Labour evolved as a response to the paradigm shift that this extended Tory hegemony brought about. But that was an entirely unintended consequence of the SDP; they entirely failed in their project to replace Labour and evict Thatcher.

            If Farage hands power to Labour for 15 years I expect the Tories will have to accomodate to the new reality that Milibandism would give birth to. Who knows how successful the “New Conservatives” would be? I for one am unlikely to be around to find out, but if they are going to win an extended period of government in ’30s they will surely have to be more centrist, more community minded, more socially liberal and less doctrinaire than they are now.

          • postageincluded

            “The SDP forced Labour to change, and thus to win 3 successive terms in the 1990s / 2000s. I think that the UKIP just might do the same for the tories.”

            I think you’re right in a way, Jaime, but the analysis is too dry – all the essential juice is missing.

            The way the SDP made Labour change was by handing almost absolute power to the Tories for 15 years, during which the SDP (pace David Owen) ceased to exist. Yes, New Labour evolved as a response to the paradigm shift that this extended Tory hegemony brought about. But that was an entirely unintended consequence of the SDP; they entirely failed in their project to replace Labour and evict Thatcher.

            If Farage hands power to Labour for 15 years I expect the Tories will have to accomodate to the new reality that Milibandism would give birth to. Who knows how successful the “New Conservatives” would be? I for one am unlikely to be around to find out, but if they are going to win an extended period of government in ’30s they will surely have to be more centrist, more community minded, more socially liberal and less doctrinaire than they are now.

          • $6215628

            Of course had the Labour Party not had policies that had driven away the SDP it wouldn’t have split the vote, although ,by the time the SDP didn’t exist in 92 we still lost and the Tories got the biggest vote in history, in other words ,half the people who had voted SDP in the 80’s voted Tory in 92′

          • Redshift1

            This is kind of backwards logic. It assumes Labour would have lost 83, 87 and 92 if there wasn’t another centre-left party competing for votes with them.

            So are you saying it was worth losing those 3 elections because we won the three elections that followed?

          • $6215628

            Jamie’s not a labour supporter,so he wouldn’t have cared if we’d won in the 80’s, as for your other comment the SDP wasn’t around in 92 and we still lost, and as pointed out by Owen ,had Healey been leader in 80, the SDP wouldn’t have formed and that although labour would have still lost in 83′ we could have won in 87′

          • $6215628

            That s a good way to get people who support other political parties too, support us. Slag them off, Not!

          • $6215628

            http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2013/05/from-proftimbale-the-balance-of-advantage-for-the-conservatives-has-shifted-they-would-now-be-better.html

            Not that I read Tory home, but an explanation of how SDP voters wouldn’t have voted Labur had they not existed,and how the SDP let Labour get electable again,

      • $6215628

        Seeing as half. The Tory cabinet were in the SDP. From ,Andrew cooper, mark hunter ,chris grayling and Advisors Like Danny finklestien,the similarity with the SDP, is that Ukip aren’t only taking Tory votes away, they taking Labour ones away too

  • I am suspicious of the 29% estimate. there is plenty of evidence that we are doing well in the metropolitan areas which didnt vote on Thursday.

    • That’s supposedly the projected national share, but I’m suspicious too. To work it out you need to have some idea of how voting patterns are different in the non-voting parts of the country. For UKIP there is really very little useful data (by-elections are too exceptional), so the projections were always going to be a bit of a fudge this time around. What we know for sure is that UKIP are hurting the Tories in their core areas.

  • NT86

    “However, in raw terms the UKIP surge obviously means it is well down on 2011 and 2012’s 37% and 39%.”

    While I like the analysis in this article I don’t know if these elections can be comparable to those. Given the differing size, location and representation on county councils versus boroughs and unitary authorities, I personally think it’s better to measure performances with the last comparable elections. In this case that would be 2009. The shire is a very different beast to a metropolitan borough.

    The number of gains Labour made was alright. But more importantly it was about where they were, as you’ve alluded to. No one expected them to turn swathes of the south red or something. The main aims were to take back 4 counties and simply re-establish a presence in the shires after a horrible 2009. Key battleground seats for the general election matter in the long term so having that local presence is a good way to field the troops. In symbolic terms, UKIP’s biggest achievements came in Lincolnshire and Essex. In the former, they’re the second largest party and in the latter are on level pegging with Labour and the Lib Dems in terms of seats. Yet Labour made almost strategic additions in the Lincoln and Harlow divisions. Those are important in order to mount a good campaign nationally.

    In those two examples, Karl McCartney and Rob Halfon must have got a bit jittery yesterday.

  • What seems to be missed by most political analysts who are fawning over the UKIP results (which I admit are quite spectacular) is that we have gone from a distant third to win on the overall percentage on which are seats that are traditionally conservative, or conservative leaning.
    Second thoughts, let them keep fawning over UKIP, it is sending the Tory Party into turmoil

  • That was meant to say distant second.

  • Amber_Star

    Given Labour’s local election launch & campaigning was interrupted by, of all things, the Margaret Thatcher Death Frenzy, I think we did extremely well.

    • aracataca

      Sorry Amber – ‘Extremely well’ is over doing it.

    • aracataca

      Sorry Amber – ‘Extremely well’ is over doing it.

    • “the Margaret Thatcher Death Frenzy”

      That’s one way to describe it, but I prefer: “party political broadcast for the Conservative Party.”

      Unbelievable that Labour’s London elite suspended campaigning out of respect for Thatcher. The event should have served as a reminder to redouble effort.

  • These results now seem a lot more positive than they did at the time. Some disappointing near misses, but a good gain in total councillors and some fantastic results in target seats.

    Having said that, I do worry a bit about Labour’s vote share. Political Betting have a piece showing how UKIP’s surge can make it easier for Labour to win the next GE, as it is not the share of the national vote that matter, but the lead over the Tories. Based on current boundaries and a uniform swing, Labour could be winning with ~30% of the vote provided UKIP do well and the Tories are suitably behind. This would not be a good result as Labour would have a really poor mandate to govern. Even worse than in 2005 and that ruffled some feathers.

    It is often said that Labour is at an advantage because we need fewer votes to win an election. That’s a bit of a misrepresentation, as it’s more down to Labour votes being more efficiently spread. When Labour is 3rd we do really badly. In safe seats turnout is crushingly low. Tories on the other hand tend to get a more even spread of votes and are therefore punished a bit by FPTP. To ensure legitimacy for the next Labour government does the Party not need to ensure that voters in safe seats are optimistic about Labour and actually want to vote? Apparently Labour in South Shields was starting from a shockingly low level of voter IDs before this by-election, and if that is replicated in other safe seats it could go some way to explaining this. By focusing on the target seats you win the election, but you undermine your base and end up with a worse mandate each time.

    • trotters1957

      Whose bothered about a poor mandate?
      Did the Tories worry about no mandate ?
      Lets get in there and be ruthless in pursuing our agenda.

      • reformist lickspittle

        Disagree, the points Alex makes are important. And disregarding the voters always catches up with you in the end.

    • reformist lickspittle

      re Labour’s vote share – this 29% figure that has been banded about almost obsessively by our opponents is almost certainly bogus. And far from the Tory vote being “spread evenly” (that has traditionally been more a LibDem failing) their problem in recent years has been piling up votes in safe seats – which used to affect Labour back in the 1980s when FPTP favoured the blues.

      But your point about Labour’s strategy is well made, nonetheless. The Blairite obsession with targeting only small groups of floating voters in marginal seats and letting the party organisation in both “safe” and hopeless seats atrophy, is a major reason why our comeback from the lows of 2009 wasn’t bigger this week. The party needs renewing everywhere, not just in target constituencies. And our lack of voter ID in S Shields, just maybe, doesn’t reflect too well on the outgoing MP?? If he had spent a bit less time flattering political hacks in the Westminster bubble and more on his own seat, maybe he might be around now – perhaps even leader?

    • robertcp

      A majority with 30% of the vote would be a joke! It looked like we might return to two party politics when the coalition was formed. Now, however, we seem to have moved to four party politics with UKIP taking over from the Lib Dems as the ‘none of the above’ party, while in Wales and Scotland there will be five parties. In other words, the next General Election will be a lottery.

    • robertcp

      A majority with 30% of the vote would be a joke! It looked like we might return to two party politics when the coalition was formed. Now, however, we seem to have moved to four party politics with UKIP taking over from the Lib Dems as the ‘none of the above’ party, while in Wales and Scotland there will be five parties. In other words, the next General Election will be a lottery.

      • “four party politics” has been said before: remember the Greens? There is now just one Green MP.

        Local government elections are more mixed than general elections, since a local issue can galvanise the electorate to voting for a single issue party. For example, look at Kidderminster, where there were Health Concern councillors. This only translated into an MP (Richard Taylor) when the Lib Dems pulled their candidate out of Wyre Forest, once the LDs put up a candidate the seat went Tory.

        So *if* there is a four party influence in general elections, it will not translate as MPs (in England, the other nations have had nationalists for decades). However, the entry of a “fourth party” may shift the balance between the existing parties. Personally, I think UKIP have peaked too early and won’t be an influence in 2015. (I live in a very Tory area, with one of the biggest turnouts and Tory majority, yet at the last general election the UKIP candidate pulled out of the election because he was getting such a bad reception from voters.)

        • I think you’re right. At most we’ll end up with a 2-and-2-halves party system, and that’s assuming UKIP support stays high. I doubt UKIP will actually win a single MP in 2015 unless Farage gets in by a by-election in the meantime.

          • robertcp

            We probably agree that Labour and the Tories will get 30-39% each, with the Lib Dems and UKIP both in double figures. This will be a long way from 1945 to 1970 when the two party vote was usually about 90%.

          • robertcp

            We probably agree that Labour and the Tories will get 30-39% each, with the Lib Dems and UKIP both in double figures. This will be a long way from 1945 to 1970 when the two party vote was usually about 90%.

        • robertcp

          You may be right about UKIP but they could have a major effect if they get about 10% of the vote. The Tories are in a very awkward situation with UKIP to their right. They might lose liberal and pro-European support if they move towards UKIP. I am optimistic about Labour because it should have a monopoly of the centre-left vote in 2015.

        • robertcp

          You may be right about UKIP but they could have a major effect if they get about 10% of the vote. The Tories are in a very awkward situation with UKIP to their right. They might lose liberal and pro-European support if they move towards UKIP. I am optimistic about Labour because it should have a monopoly of the centre-left vote in 2015.

    • Richas

      The BBC PNS survey used for the national share figure of 29% is not very reliable, especially this time. in 2009 they made no attempt to measure UKIP in their survey of seats (it is based upon seats where all parties contested the time before).

      This methodology causes problems for the share figure as they are only using about a third of the UKIP contested seats this time, the third that were their top targets and the third where they are contesting again.

      More structurally the elections this time were very leafy, southern and English ad the byelection and polling data suggests that these seats (the UKIP one third especially) are precisely where Labour has gained least since 2010 whilst the areas we have done best just did not vote this year.

      We should remember that 2009 when these seats were contested last also had a Euro election. In that election the Tories came first UKIP second and Labour third. Plus of course the BNP got 6.5% and 2 MEPs but have since self destructed (or been destructed by good local campaigns). This time Labour came first (even if the survey is biassed against us), UKIP second again and the tories third, with the BNP being wiped out. That is a good turn around in 4 years.

  • Bad news is that the Tories won the most votes in the marginal seats of Worcester, Tamworth and Burton. Those are the only ones I’ve checked so far. I’ll be taking a look at others today like Wyre Forest and Gloucester.

  • Redshift1

    Interesting that you mention the gains being in places we have parliamentary marginals without mentioning Lancashire in the same sentence. 7 key seats in one county!

  • Monkey_Bach

    Will UKIP ever get one single MP elected to the Commons? I doubt it! Eeek.

    • Chilbaldi

      exactly. Their voters will return to the Conservatives for the General Election.

      • reformist lickspittle

        That is what the Tories themselves, complacently, believe.

        They – and you – are almost certainly wrong in many cases.

      • Many will. I think in the areas where they did well they may maintain more momentum. That really won’t affect us as those areas are largely not winnable for us.

  • Andy Harvey

    Thanks for this. I have been saying for days the results were good if not spectacular and the media as usual has been downplaying our achievement. This analysis proves it!

  • I think that anyone who believes that UKIP only take votes from the Conservatives and/or Lib Dems is truly living with their head stuck in the sand.

    Here in the South last Thursday saw not only UKIP take some votes from the Conservatives but probably almost as many votes from us, in that the protest votes we would almost certainly picked up mid-term in this awful ConLibDem Government got taken by UKIP. Yes they may not have eaten into our core vote as much as they did to the Tories but they sure did take the swing vote.

    I think as well the scary part locally was that the UKIP candidate is a known local extremist and yet 5 times as many people voted for him as for us…….

    It is true that we will now see what UKIP do in office and can hope that they screw it up, but I think the big lesson for us is we need to be doing much more to connect with the man/woman on the street, not shout down anyone who talks about immigration as being instantly racist (the two are not the same), have a clear line on the EU referendum, and put serious thought now on whether we put any resource into fighting the EU elections next year (which in my opinion on current sentiment (certainly in the South East), UKIP are likely to win by a country mile), or instead do we save that resource (both in terms of money and shoe leather) for the General Election campaign for 2015 (which is ours to lose if we don’t start reconnecting with the electorate).

  • I think that anyone who believes that UKIP only take votes from the Conservatives and/or Lib Dems is truly living with their head stuck in the sand.

    Here in the South last Thursday saw not only UKIP take some votes from the Conservatives but probably almost as many votes from us, in that the protest votes we would almost certainly picked up mid-term in this awful ConLibDem Government got taken by UKIP. Yes they may not have eaten into our core vote as much as they did to the Tories but they sure did take the swing vote.

    I think as well the scary part locally was that the UKIP candidate is a known local extremist and yet 5 times as many people voted for him as for us…….

    It is true that we will now see what UKIP do in office and can hope that they screw it up, but I think the big lesson for us is we need to be doing much more to connect with the man/woman on the street, not shout down anyone who talks about immigration as being instantly racist (the two are not the same), have a clear line on the EU referendum, and put serious thought now on whether we put any resource into fighting the EU elections next year (which in my opinion on current sentiment (certainly in the South East), UKIP are likely to win by a country mile), or instead do we save that resource (both in terms of money and shoe leather) for the General Election campaign for 2015 (which is ours to lose if we don’t start reconnecting with the electorate).

    • aracataca

      ‘I think that anyone who believes that UKIP only take votes from the Conservatives and/or Lib Dems is truly living with their head stuck in the sand’
      – and who does exactly?

    • Reconnecting. What exactly does thIs mean? We cannot and should not try and outdo UKIP. It would neither be convincing nor sincere. Labour are not about to recommend leaving the EU so we cannot support a referendum we could not carry out.

      • How to reconnect? I’d suggest Ed should admit it was wrong to act against the interests of the UK workforce as when New Labour (according to a recent John Reid confession*) used immigration to keep wages down. And if the Blairites want to walk, let them – Ed should give them a kick up the arse to help them on their way to the door.

        What the hell were New Labour numpties playing at? Labour are liable to get hammered on this in future elections – one imagines the only reason the Tories have kept quiet is because they also want to keep wages down. Doubtful if the opportunists of UKIP will extend the same courtesy.

        * http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/14/labours-lord-reid-party-offer-solutions

  • Rabih Chaaban

    Did Labour’s confrontation with the media tycoons ‘earlier’ cost them a fairer local election coverage?

  • Redshift1

    Yes but their successor party did….Think you’re being more than a little pedantic sunshine.

    • $6215628

      well Sunny jim, the Liberals as Neil Kinnock called hem during hte 92 election, had been around in all the otehr elections we’ve lsot or won in the 20th centrury, saying taht Its’ liberals faults we lsot in 92, would you say that was the reason we lost in the 50’s!!

  • Pingback: Every Vote Counts | Amanda Ramsay()

  • To be honest… even alot of the areas that were deemed “No Overall Majority” had a Labour majority, I don’t really understand that rule, but my point is that we have more of a majority than even the statistics dictate.

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