Election Scorecard 2012

8th May, 2012 10:26 am

As last year I’m following up my pre-election piece on what might constitute success (http://labourlist.org/2012/04/may-elections-ready-reckoner/) with a look at how we did against the measures I suggested.

In the order in which I listed them a month ago:

  • London Mayor. We lost. We got about 4,000 votes less on first preferences than in 2008, but about a 4% higher vote share (the turnout was lower). I suggested why on Saturday. My comment a month ago was “Trying to overcome a double incumbency effect (Ken losing any benefit of incumbency he had in 2008 and Boris gaining a first-term incumbency boost) with the rejected candidate from last time was always going to be tricky.” Sadly I was correct. Luckily this was the only bad news on an otherwise spectacular night.
  • As I said a month ago “A more accurate indicator of Labour’s support in London will be the London Assembly poll.” We took two of the three target marginals I named (Camden & Barnet and Ealing & Hillingdon) and missed the third one, Merton & Wandsworth. In Havering & Redbridge, which had been on no-one’s target list, my Hackney comrade Mandy Richards came within just 4,000 votes on a massive 13.3% increase in the Labour vote. This seat is the “Essex” bits of London which have underperformed for Labour since 2001 so this was a very pleasing result. We also scored big increases in the Labour vote in Croydon & Sutton (13.5%) and South West London (12.7%), both suburban areas. The overall increase in Labour’s assembly vote of 13.6% (9.6% more than our vote increase for Mayor) also delivered two top-up list seats, for a total of 4 gains, taking us to 12 when I had set the winning line at passing the Tories and getting 10. This is the most seats any one party has ever held on the London Assembly and 3 more than Labour’s best previous result.
  • For the Welsh local elections I said “Success would be reversing the 124 seat losses from 2008 and the six council control losses.” We massively exceeded this, gaining 231 councillors and eight extra councils. This was despite us being in power in Wales, a point in the cycle where we might expect a mid-term backlash. The result in Cardiff was particularly spectacular (33 gains!) and deserves a blog post analysing the campaign in detail.
  • In Scotland, most commentators thought it would be a miracle if Glasgow was held and predicted heavy losses. In fact Labour bounced back from its Scottish Parliament drubbing last year and held Glasgow (actually gaining 5 seats) as well as making a net gain of two councils and 58 councillors. To control any councils outright with a non-First-Past-the-Post voting system is nothing short of miraculous.
  • For England I suggested we needed to gain Birmingham. We did. I also said we needed to gain at least half a dozen “winnable major southern towns”. We did: Exeter, Plymouth, Southampton, Reading, Harlow, Thurrock, Norwich, Great Yarmouth. This puts us back in play in the south in a way we weren’t last year. We gained a net 22 councils in England.
  • On national vote share we got 39%, thus hitting both of the measures I suggested of exceeding last year’s 37% and beating the Tories.
  • On raw number of councilors I set a 6,000 target and I think we ended up with 6,515, just below what we had back in 2004.
  • On number of gains, the 824 councillors we gained net was the 3rd best result in the last 30 years (after 1995 and 2011) despite very few seats being up for grabs this year.
  • On control of councils, our 32 gains takes us to 113, somewhere between our 2002 and 2003 positions.
  • As mentioned above, the geographical spread was good, with gains in all areas of the country including in areas covering parliamentary target marginals.
  • And finally we made “toehold” gains in such unpromising territory as Rushmoor (Aldershot and Farnborough in Hampshire) where we went from 6 to 11 councillors, gains in Tunbridge Wells and Winchester, and an iconic batch of 3 gains in Witney and Chipping Norton in David Cameron’s own constituency.

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  • david

    Does anyone know what the LGA’s political proportionality formula works out at for 2011 and now? This is a handy way of measuring political party strength in local government in England. If Labour has the highest percentage then Labour would regain the Presidency of the Local Government Association; I wonder how close this is and whether we could achieve it next year if we make gains in the county councils.

  • Thanks for the Havering and Redbridge mention Luke. As the local organiser I’m duty bound to point out that the swing to Labour was 13.3% but we increased the vote from around 35,000 to 49,000 which is about 39% – sorry for the pedantry. We are obviously over the moon about both although disappointed we couldn’t get Mandy in this time.

    • AlanGiles

      Matt, With all due respect I have to make the point again that, as a Havering resident, I didn’t receive as much as a single page leaflet from Labour through my door – mind you that applies to the Tories and Lib-Dems and Greens as well. In Central Romford on consecutive Saturdays only UKIP and BNP canvassed (Saturday in market place), I understand Johnson made a brief flying visit one Wedensday morning (market day) – only those two parties send round leaflets (in the UKIP case a 4 page A3 “newspaper”).

      The “big three” seemed to rely on those “London Elects”  booklets where each party gave a short statement, and which, I suspect, went unread in most homes due to the  density of the printed matter.

      Don’t misunderstand me – I am not having a go at you, but I do feel all three major parties should have made a greater effort in an area which could go either way.

      • Alan,

        Thanks for the feedback. First thing to point out is that I’m the organiser for Redbridge and not Havering but I was part of the campaign for the whole GLA seat. I know that a lot of work was done by the local team in Havering but sadly it seems to have missed you. I also know that Ken was in Havering on a number of occasions (I was with him on 3 of those occasions) so I don’t think it’s fair to say that Havering was ignored. However, with limited people and resources decisions have to be made about what gets done where. The efforts put in locally have turned a 44,000 Tory majority into a very marginal GLA seat.
        Next election I’d be happy to try and get you some leaflets to deliver in your street – that’s a good way of ensuring your part of the world doesn’t get ignored.

      • John Ruddy

        If you are a party member, did you volunteer to deliver any leaflets? As an election agent, its disheartening to hear from members “Oh well, we NEVER got a leaflet, yet party X manged to” – and then when you ask them to help out (even if in a small way) theres all manner of excuses….

        • AlanGiles

          Hello John, As I have explained elsewhere this morning to David Talbot, I gave up my membership of the party a few years ago, though I still support it and try to be supportive – but sometimes when “Labour” Johnny-come-latelys prefer to kick Ken Livingstone when he’s down , or left wingers in general, rather  than comment on some of the grotesque behaviour of the likes of Duncan-Smith, KI wonder why I bother!

  • Thanks for the Havering and Redbridge mention Luke. As the local organiser I’m duty bound to point out that the swing to Labour was 13.3% but we increased the vote from around 35,000 to 49,000 which is about 39% – sorry for the pedantry. We are obviously over the moon about both although disappointed we couldn’t get Mandy in this time.

  • treborc1


    hell of an empty map really

  • Can you confirm your source for the figures of ‘gains’ in Scotland? You list 58, the actual figure is 48, as I believe you are using BBC’s incorrect 58 figure. This article may help…


    Aunty Beeb is going a bit senile in her old age, and adding up isn’t one of her great abilities these days so it might be best to use an alternative, credible source from now on.

    • Brumanuensis

      There’s nothing ‘incorrect’ about the BBC’s figures. They’re just using a different base-line. Both figures are therefore correct, depending on where you choose to measure from and there are valid reasons for using either. This is just a pro-SNP website having a paddy because Alex Salmond is no longer sweeping all before him.  

  • robertcp

    I am sure that the good results upset the moaning Blairites.   They are welcome to stay in the Labour Party but they should realise that nobody else cares what they think about anything.

    • AlanGiles

      Yes you can see their displeasure because as they have nothing to complain about throughout the country, their manufactured “outrage” over Ken Livingstone goes on ….. and on……… and on……. (R. Marchant took five days to get his jibes out on the site). Interesting how many “Labour” supporters who were so vocal against KL on LL now seem to have vanished from the scene again.

      I do find it very concerning that Blair wishes to “re-engage” with British politics and announced PRIOR to last Thursday’s elections he had appointed a new communications chief to help him to do so – perhaps he was thinking/hoping the results were not going to be as good as they turned out to be, and was hoping to be able to create internal dissent. 

      In the light of Thursday’s results, perhaps he will change his mind, and like a lavatory door remain “vacant” rather than “engaged”.

      *Jimmy Deuchar 1930-1993

      • robertcp

        Yes Alan, Blair should just stay away and get rich.


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