The evidence shows no Ken/Labour gap

7th May, 2012 2:15 pm

As soon as the ballot boxes closed on Thursday, the media talking heads had made up their minds. Labour had lost London and it was all because Ken was much less popular than Labour in the capital.

Although the counting had not yet begun, this was then eagerly taken up by some in our own Party – on twitter and elsewhere – who never wanted Ken as the candidate in the first place. Ironically, given the very positive results in the much of the country on Thursday, it was often the very same people who just a few months ago were calling for Ed Miliband to go as, in their opinion, he was also underperforming.

With the full figures now in, was there any significant Labour vote above that for Ken? The answer is clearly no.
As the table below shows, across London Ken won 890,000 votes and Labour in the Assembly won 911,214 (using the List figures).

The difference of 22,000 votes is just 0.96% of those who voted in the Mayoral election.

In percentage terms, Labour in the Assembly election won 41.1% whilst Ken achieved 40.3% in the first round of the Mayoral election – a gap of just 0.8%.

Even when you break it down seat by seat the result is similar. Overall in 5 seats Ken was either narrowly ahead of Labour (as was the case in 4 seats) or the difference was effectively zero; in 4 other seats Labour’s lead over Ken was below or around 1% ; in 4 seats it was around 2% and in one seat it was around 3%.

Vote for Ken
Ken %
Vote for Labour on the list
Labour list %
Difference between Labour Mayor and List vote
Difference between Labour Mayor and List vote %
Barnet and Camden 58354 167793 34.80% 63688 167847 37.90% 5334 3.20%
West Central 40741 147322 27.70% 43754 147010 29.80% 3013 2.10%
Ealing and Hillingdon 64085 162810 39.40% 68100 164219 41.50% 4015 2.10%
Merton and Wandsworth 51144 151768 33.70% 53978 151718 35.60% 2834 1.90%
Havering and Redbridge 48525 141687 34.20% 51144 142090 36.00% 2619 1.70%
Brent and Harrow 67083 145188 46.20% 69133 145494 47.50% 2050 1.30%
City and East 106149 170255 62.30% 108395 171522 63.20% 2246 0.80%
Enfield and Haringay 69399 143920 48.20% 70801 144847 48.90% 1402 0.70%
Bexley and Bromley 37520 168033 22.30% 38832 170440 22.80% 1312 0.50%
Greenwich and Lewisham 63772 131604 48.50% 64042 132090 48.50% 270 0.00%
Lambeth and Southwark 78333 157757 49.70% 78174 158149 49.40% -159 -0.20%
South West 51486 173895 29.60% 50986 174167 29.30% -500 -0.30%
Croyden and Sutton 50393 154003 32.70% 49804 154365 32.30% -589 -0.50%
North East 102934 192440 53.50% 100383 192911 52.00% -2551 -1.50%
TOTAL 889918 911214 21296
Average difference 1521
Average difference % 0.80%

The evidence shows there was no significant Labour gap in the sense that Ken was able to attract almost identical support to other Labour candidates on aggregate.

Of course, anyone who has spent hours on the doorsteps over the recent months can recount someone saying they were voting for Labour but not Ken. This is not surprising given the personalised media onslaught from a Tory press over recent months.

But as the figures show, these were nearly completely matched by those who backed Ken but did not support Labour. This can be for all sorts of reasons. As results in Bradford have shown, some people have still not been won back to Labour because of unpopular wars. Whilst Ken also picks up large support from voters concerned about the environment and who would not normally back Labour. I encountered both arguments frequently whilst tube leafleting in my own constituency of the North East – encompassing Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest which are all very strong Labour areas – where Ken out-polled Labour.

But regardless of the causes, the overall impact is that Labour and Ken scored almost identically the same number of votes. Even if Ken had won the extra 0.8% votes that backed Labour, he still would not have won. He needed another 65,000 votes to win.

A focus on the alleged Labour-Ken gap misses the bigger picture. The real issue is that Boris outpolled both Labour and Ken.

This is not only due to the soft soaping that Boris Johnson had in the media where his lack of policies was subject to almost no serious scrutiny. It is also smart media positioning by Boris Johnson to pose himself as a celebrity, almost separate from politics, meaning many people back him who would never normally vote Tory.

In total, Boris Johnson attracted 263,000 more votes for Mayor than his party did on the London Assembly list.
Far from this being due to Labour supporters, over half of these votes came from parties to the right of the Tories. A comparison of the Assembly list votes and Mayoral votes indicates that up to 140,000 Johnson first preferences will have come from voters who backed UKIP, BNP, Christian People’s Alliance – For Traditional Marriage, English Democrats and the National Front in the List election but not for Mayor.

The chart below shows the total of the voters who backed one of these right-wing non-Tory parties in the List but not in the Mayoral election. The overwhelming bulk of which will have been first preference voters for Johnson.


Against this combination of constant onslaught against the Labour candidate from the Tory press; a candidate who cultivates celebrity and which made it difficult to get the label of him being a blue-blooded Tory to stick and strong backing from the non-Tory right, Ken did very well to even get near to winning. No factual argument – aside from assertions and false claims over a Labour gap – has been put forward that anyone else would have done so well. In fact, that it was so close is testament to Ken Livingstone, his record in London and the policies he put forward.

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  • S K Lee

    I think the point you make about Johnson transcending the toxic Tory brand is really very important. As a friend in Islington told me ‘we tried to pin the Tory colours on him but couldn’t make them stick’.

    Those who are trying to pin the whole blame on Livingstone are merely grinding the same old axes and wilfully refusing to see the reality in front of them. Doomed to an existence endless Labour Party infighting, they fiddle while the Coalition burns the welfare state and devastates ordinary people’s lives in the real world.

    • AlanGiles

      Yesterday, when “Labour” supporters were still coming onto LL to express their “outrage” at Ken Livingstone, even though he virtually retired from the scene three days ago, I suggested that instead of continuing kick the now ex politician, they might like to concentrate on the antics of a current government minister – Duncan-Smith, who had made some insulting and insensitive comments about Remploy workers – a story which outraged even a Tory tabloid (Sunday Express) to the point they made it their front page headline.

      One person did – the rest of them went on Livingstone-bashing.

      If ever Labour does go into terminal decline, it will because the right-wingers in the party are more interested in taking pot shots at left wing colleagues rather than the real opponents – but then, are right wing Labourites that far away from Coalition’s actions and thoughts?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        I think there’s a more ordinary alternative explanation Alan.  Take 4 “hypothetical” voters:  one hard left, one centrist-left, one centrist right and one hard right.  The two centrists are likely to be closer together, even if nominally supporting Labour and the tories, than they are to the hard outliers with whom they share a party affiliation.

        Overlay that onto the standard bell curve distribution of the general electorate, and you have an idea why politics in the UK is as it is.  Mike Homfray wisely observed that in many other countries, with many small parties instead of two polarised alternatives, you don’t see this phenomenon, but in the UK we do.

        I find the categorisation in the main article of the BNP being hard right somewhat lazy, when any analysis using standard political classifications of their non-racist policies (such as they are) show them to be markedly on the left.  Without access to any data, I only have apocryphal evidence, but locally it is only in the traditional Labour wards that the BNP get any support, and this being Cambridgeshire, those wards are white working class (many descended from East End of Londoners who were moved into new council houses in the 1950s, when the Germans had destroyed their old London homes with the bombing).  Those wards have been solidly Labour since 1955, give some support to the BNP, and regularly on voting occasions people fly “coded” messages such as the flag of St George.

        • Brumanuensis

          I’m sceptical about the BNP-Labour link.

          As UKPollingReport noted at around the same time: 

          “If BNP supporters are traditional Labour, male working class voters therefore, the natural conclusion that it’s Labour they are taking support from. This falls down, however, on some other questions – asked if they’d rather have Cameron or Brown as PM, BNP voters opt for Cameron by 59% to 17%. Asked to place themselves on the political spectrum they put themselves right of centre, in roughly the same place as they do the Tories. 22% of them think the Tories care about people like themselves, only 6% say the same about Labour. In short, the people the BNP seem to appeal to are actually “working class Tories” – the sort of traditional working class voters who under other circumstances might shift over to the Conservatives”.

          • Brumanuensis

            This fits with the pattern in France, where traditionally the FN have taken votes off the UMP/UDF, to the benefit of the Socialists.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            This is not France.  Your example would work if the BNP were a big factor in heavily tory areas, which they are not.

          • Not entirely true. In Bradford the BNP only won middle class Tory wards. The same was true in Epping Forest and many of their Burnley wards were the village wards which used to be Tory until they died in the area. I think you fail to note how much the Tories have disappeared from some of these areas – and there has always been a solid working class Tory minority.

            Also, you only class the BNP as ‘left’ because you see the right-left divide as only about economics. In the usual way the term is defined, the BNP are socially conservative and on the right – given that their appeal is not about economics but cultural factors. They certainly don’t view themselves as on the left – but right-wing populists and nationalists, committed to social conservatism

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            to Brumanuensis and Mike Homfray,

            There are multiple ways in which political opinion can be measured, and the left/right axis is only one.  Traditionally, it was is to measure opinion about economic factors – the ownership and control of production and resources and assets.  What you express – eloquently and with conviction – is I feel a modern aggregation in which everything is plotted on one axis, called left / right.  It is designed to appeal to the level of political comprehension of a nation that credits “Britain has got Talent” and “The Only Way is Essex” as being upscale and complex. It makes little sense to me, but I acknowledge that many try to do just this.


            you choose just some examples of wards.  If you look at a broader set of where the BNP have stood successfully, in all types of elections you will see my point is true.


            for someone with legal training as you have, your arguments are very “leading”, in two respects.  Firstly, if you go back to my original statement, it is clearly about the BNP, not their supporters, a point I later reinforce.  Secondly, you paint a false picture of what some ignorant people may say about the Nazi Party, which many call a straw man, to then try to discredit my argument.  It is not an argument I make.  I have great respect for the intellectual and logical capacities of Barristers, but you need to put more work into addressing the arguments I do make, not those that others may make, in order to win this argument.

          • Brumanuensis

            That was entirely my point, on the left-right axis. The BNP is hard to categorise and the manifesto has both ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ elements. The BNP can be placed on the right, thanks to its ethno-nationalism and populist sentiments. The Communist Party banned trade unions, but that doesn’t make it right-wing. Similarly, the BNP doesn’t like globalisation, but that doesn’t make it left-wing. Just because it’s hard to place some groups, doesn’t mean it’s impossible; you just have to look a broader range of factors.

            I confess I still don’t understand why you distinguish between the BNP and their supporters, unless you’re suggesting that because the BNP draw a lot of their support from working-class areas, this must mean they are drawing it from Labour, rather than from people who in the past might have voted Conservative.

            The ‘Nazi’ point was not a straw-man. It was an illustration of what can happen when you try to use elements of a Party’s identity to categorise the whole. The Nazis did have some ‘socialist’ elements, but these weren’t the dominating influence and the bulk of Nazi support came from lower-middle class voters who emphatically weren’t SPD or KPD types. Labour policies could be used to describe Labour as ‘right-wing’, but I don’t think this would be accurate and I’m sure you’d agree with me. 

            I also said such debates ‘remind me of’ ones about the BNP being left-wing or not. It was an analogy. Earlier, you said the BNP were essentially left-wing. This was a statement I felt inaccurately represented the BNP’s ethos and philosophy, and I presented evidence to support my point. I stand by those points.

            A cynic might argue that the legal profession is devoted to getting away with leading questions. Incidentally, I am not a barrister and if I have implied I am in the past in any way, that was unintentional and a misstatement.

          • Brumanuensis

            If we wanted to use ‘values’ to distinguish the political wings, we could use this, for example:


          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            My point is that you need multiple axes to describe accurately political opinion. Using only one leads into the sort of confusion and errors that many in politics or normal life make.

            It is correct to describe the BNP’s economic policies as left wing (although some minor elements are right wing).  The balance is left wing.

            It is equally correct to describe other of their policies as nationalistic, authoritarian, and so on.  Those are measured on different axes.

            If some uneducated people wish to confuse authoritarianism with being left wing (similar to equating a banana to a quadrilateral equation, or a sports shoe to a poem), it is not my problem, it merely illustrates their lack of capacity to think in several co-existing dimensions at once.  But I suspect that does accurately sum up the “Everyman” political discourse.

            I did not state that you were a Barrister; you have previously stated that you have legal training, your writing displays a structure and erudition, and it is only courteous, in a lack of knowledge of the true position, to award you a high rank to avoid upset.

          • derek

            Interesting debate, you two and the axis bearing on the left and right most probably does swing from right to left? for instance someone may well value the ideas  of a fully pledged distribution of wealth but alternatively support tougher crime initiatives or the call to end private education but favour the right to religious I’d guess there are several that tend to go from a left to right axis depending on the issue.

          • The BNP’s economic policies are a classic example of populism – which includes a strong State – but this does not make them 
            ‘left wing’. Ian Smith’s Rhodesia was hardly left wing but was also a strong interventionist state

          • Brumanuensis

            Additionally, if your point was that ‘left’ and ‘right’ were no longer useful, then why describe the BNP as ‘left-wing authoritarian’? Surely just ‘authoritarian’ or ‘authoritarian-populist’ might do?

            Or do we need a new nomeclature altogether?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas


            you are talking about the BNP supporters, I am talking about the BNP.  It is entirely possible that we are both correct, as it is not automatic that support correlates with opinion.  You cannot expect people with the finesse of gorillas to concentrate on more than one factor at a time.  Maybe I am unfair to gorillas, comparing them with BNP voters.

            It is possible that the BNP support comes from previously tory voting working class people living in heavily Labour wards, as opposed to Labour voting working class people living in heavily Labour wards – someone would need to do a lot of analysis on voting patterns in those wards over multiple elections.  It is however easy to see that BNP support ONLY comes in working class wards with a history of voting Labour, and that when Labour is up, BNP is down, and vice versa.  It is the same with Respect.  See Dagenham, Bradford West, etc.

            On the wider point, anyone who declares the BNP to be right wing based on an opinionated analysis of one of their policies is clearly naïve,   They are a left wing authoritarian nationalist party.

          • Brumanuensis

            Ok, I don’t see how what you’ve said rebuts my first point about likely voter profile. The BNP’s supporters are centre-right types, who preferred David Cameron to Gordon Brown by a hefty margin. Accordingly, the BNP is not likely to be drawing from people who would otherwise vote Labour and as you confess, your evidence is largely ‘apocryphal’ – I presume you meant anecdotal.

            Take Oldham East and Saddleworth. In the by-election last January, the BNP vote dropped by 1.2%. It’s more than likely that it went to UKIP (+ 1.9%) or to the English Democrats, who didn’t stand in the 2010 GE (and in January got 0.4%), than it went to Labour. In Barking, in 2010, the BNP vote fell by 1.7%. I’m quite sure that in past the BNP gained some votes from people who had previously voted Labour, but even here, the slump in turnout in 2001 and 2005, compared to 1997 and 2010, could suggest that the perceived ‘trade-off’ between the Labour and BNP votes was a statistical artefact and the BNP increase represented new voters for them and abstentions for Labour, rather than transfers.

            Let’s look at Burnley. In 2001, after the race riots in Oldham and shortly before the race riots in Burnley itself, the BNP, which had not stood in 1997, won 11.3%. A chunk was probably won off Labour, but in subsequent elections, that chunk didn’t return – and 1997 was an exceptional year of course. In 2001, the BNP vote fell by 1%, but Labour’s fell by 10.8%. The votes presumably went to the Independent ‘Burnley First’ candidate. In 2010, the BNP vote fell by 1.3%, but this probably largely went to UKIP, whose vote increased by 1.2%, than it did back to Labour, whose vote fell, whilst the Tory and Lib Dem votes increased.

            Now, Oldham West and Royton, where Nick Griffin stood in 2001. He won 16.4%, but seems to have got similar shares from Labour and the Tories, judging by the falls (-7.6% and -5.7% respectively). And don’t forget some Labour votes probably went Green and Lib Dem. In 2005, Labour’s vote fell by 2.1%, but the BNP’s by -9.5%. The biggest increase was in the Lib Dem vote (+ 7.6%), but it seems unlikely that BNP votes went there, so this probably illustrates how abstention shapes the BNP vote, more than or at least equally, to transfers to other Parties.

          • treborc1

             The BNP tend to be good for a protest vote so long as you do not get them elected.

          • Brumanuensis

            On a wider point, anyone who declares the BNP to be left wing based on an opinionated analysis of one of their policies is clearly naive. They are a populist/fascist party.

            Discussions about whether the BNP are ‘left-wing’ remind me of similar debates about how the Nazis were supposedly left-wing. This comes about as follows:

            ‘Oooh, look! The name ‘Nazi’ contains ‘socialist’ and ‘workers’, ergo they must be left-wing.

            Uh. Huh.

            Wrong end of the stick, people. The emphasis is on ‘NATIONAL socialist GERMAN workers Party’. The same is true of the BNP. Superficially, some of their policies are similar-looking to left-wing ones, so the conclusion goes that they must be left-wing.

            This is a bit like saying, ‘Socialists and Liberarians agree that bailing out the banks is wrong, corporate welfare should be ended and gay marriage and drug decriminalisation implemented, therefore they are fundamentally the same’. Wrong obviously, but an identical leap of logic is being applied here.

            It is important in politics not just to look at ‘what’ someone advocates, but ‘why’ they advocate it. The BNP is a nationalist party; Left-wing parties are internationalist by tradition and don’t have much truck with appeals to ‘nation-hood’. The BNP subsists on appeals to ethno-nationalism; the left is viscerally opposed to such appeals – dividing the workers, remember? Trying to cut the BNP’s racism and nationalism out of the equation is just plain ‘cheeky’. The BNP doesn’t make sense without its racist elements and evaluating it in their absence is like trying to judge the political philosophy of the Socialist Workers Party, without any references to the abolition of capitalism, or class war. It just doesn’t work.

            The BNP manifestos of 2005 and 2010 include the following policies and observations:

            “The EU is a liability to our economy because of its tendency to strangle business with unnecessary regulations whose sole purpose is to increase
            the power of the Brussels superstate that wishes, for the purpose of aggrandising its own power, to rule Britain”. (p. 5, 2005)

            “It is the taxpayer who funds the vast State instruments of repression and the wasteful paperwork that keeps unproductive bureaucrats in their positions”. (p. 1, 2005)

            “We believe that there is a strong argument for making entire families financially responsible for the cost of crimes committed by one of their members. This was the ancient Anglo-Saxon system, and would apply a huge amount of pressure on young tearaways in particular to mend their ways. Would it be unfair?Sometimes, perhaps, but not as unfair as the present shambles where millions live in fear of crime, most of which is committed by a relatively small number ofserial offenders who have very little fear of the present weak criminal justice system”. (p. 24, 2005)

            “We reject egalitarianism, and base our plans for the education system on the scientific fact that different individuals are born with different abilities and potentials. All are entitled to the same chance of realizing their own potential, but this cannot be done be forcing them all into a low-grade ‘one-size-fits-all’ education system”. (p. 30, 2005)

            “For several years, the BNP was the only party to express serious doubts over the claims of ‘global warming’.

            The deluge of recent revelations over the fraud, deception and distortion used in promoting this theory has undermined public confidence in the concept and has proven the BNP’s original scepticism correct.
            Climate has always changed but this process has been both natural and cyclical. In Roman times, vines were grown as far north as Hadrian’s Wall and olives were cultivated elsewhere in England.
            Most of the underlying tenets of the global warming theory — including the ‘hockey stick’ graph and global temperature rises — have been shown to be either completely fraudulent or grossly exaggerated”. (p. 25, 2010)

            “The BNP will raise the inheritance tax level to £1 million”.

            “The BNP aims to relieve the tax burden by raising the personal non-taxable allowance to £12,500”.
            “The BNP will encourage the family unit by reintroducing the married man’s allowance by as much as £2,500, depending upon the presence of children”. (This was abolished by Labour in the ’70s remember).

            (all, p. 71, 2010)

            “Excessive taxation reduces productive activity and Britain has already reached a point at which further increases in tax rates will yield no meaningful revenue.
            The BNP aims to lower taxation rates, both immediately and over the long term”.

            (p. 72, 2010)

            “One of the most important inhibiting factors on SMEs — which provide the larger part of Britain’s employment — has been the vast layer of regulation which emanates from the EU.
            A BNP government’s withdrawal from the EU will enable us to alleviate the onerous weight of regulation that is so harmful to SMEs. This encompasses well over 100,000 different laws and regulations, all created since the Conservative government signed the Treaty of Rome in 1973.
            Many of these regulations are onerous to business, job creation and profitability. They undermine employment opportunities, especially for part-time and older workers.
            The working time directive is but one example and, inter alia, it imposes a strain of record keeping required for compliance purposes.
            For the larger company, the cost of regulation can more easily be absorbed as an overhead but this is not always viable for SMEs.
            A BNP government will balance the interests of SME employer and employee rights by repealing burdensome rules and regulations on companies employing 20 persons or less.
            Relieved of excessive regulations and bureaucracy, SMEs will thrive and this will stimulate private sector employment”.

            (p. 74, 2010)


            Really left-wing eh? 

          • Peter Barnard

            Plus a few more “left-wing” policies of the BNP, Brumanuensis :

            (i) reintroduction of discipline including corporal punishment  … in schools

            (ii) reintroduction of grammar schools …

            (iii) restoration of capital punishment …

            (iv) restoration of corporal punishment …

            I made a similiar response – but not as comprehensive as yours – a week or so ago and up he (JTC) pops again with the same assertion.

          • And don’t forget the self-admitted centrality of ‘ethno-nationalism’ to the BNP, as distinct to the ‘civic nationalism’ of UKIP.

            The purpose of European ethno-nationalists can be summed up by The 14 Words (a pledge familiar to many in the BNP): 
            “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “Ethno-nationalism” (your term, but it works) has been a feature of governments and regimes of all flavours since the ancient Greeks.  It is completely unrelated to how a government views economic matters.  Witness the similar treatments afforded to ethnic minorities by Sparta, Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, which collectively cover the entire left/right spectrum. Or consider modern Wahhabist Islamism.

            You stretch beyond breaking point the capacity of the economic axis to contain these differing philosophies.

          • treborc1

            I put it all down to the cave people asking for rents myself

          • Peter Barnard

            But they did some wonderful drawings, Robert … rent in kind?

            It makes you wonder what in the human psyche moved someone to start drawing in the way that they did.

          • treborc1


          • Sorry Jaime but I don’t see how I stretch anything related to an economic axis beyond breaking point.

            I make no mention of how (or if) the BNP’s ethno-nationalism* can be related to non-ethno-nationalistic economic perspectives.

            However, I would warn against retrospective applications of modernist perspectives – this is where you appear to be authoring your own breaking point.

            * Ethno-nationalism is the BNP’s term btw. And it is the single most important determinant of all their policy thinking, including economic. If you want an exposition of the political priorities of such a perspective try this:


          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            OK Dave, I was unaware that it was the BNP’s term.  

            My general point is that it is “sub-optimal” – and often greatly so – to try to plot all parties on a left / right axis, and particularly when their main policies are not economic.  Yet that is the general standard of commentary in the UK.  It is lazy, uninformed, and leads to gross error.  I understand completely how anyone on the left of centre in British politics has a horror of the BNP, but to react by labelling them as “far-right” as some do in an attempt to create distance and distinction is inappropriate.  They are racist, authoritarian, and isolationist, all of which are opposed to Labour’s position, but in general terms their economic position coincides with the left.

            The problem is that we have a tyranny of consensus that there is only one axis, onto which everything is shoe-horned.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Are you able to plot those policies onto an economic axis, as opposed to the liberal / authoritarian axis on which these things are correctly measured by psephologists? Or are you going to try to force them onto the only axis the man on the street knows about?

            All of those policies (under slightly different names) were features of Soviet and Soviet-supported regimes in Eastern Europe and Russia from the 1930s to the 1980s.

          • Peter Barnard

            Stop moving the goal-posts, Jaime. You started by introducing “non-racist policies” (ie all policies, not just economic) and you have been given a bucket-load  of “non-racist policies” that are on the right.

            I am sure that Conservative supporters of grammar schools (and capital punishment – there are a few around, even in Westminster) will be delighted to know that they are cousins of Communism.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Those policies are not on the right, because you cannot measure them on an economic axis.

            You surprise me, as in many things you display great discrimination and judgement, and yet you make the case for everything to be measured on one axis.  It does not work, it cannot work, it makes no sense.

            I am not moving the goalposts.  I am pointing out that – to use your sports pitch analysis – that in addition to the goalposts at both ends of the horizontal pitch – there are other equally valid goalposts above and below, to either side, and indeed in other dimensions.

          • AlanGiles

            Jaime, Leaving 1931 eighty one years in the past, where it belongs when did you last hear a left-winger wanting to bring back capital punishment in the UK?

            For example, much as I detest Blair I have never been one of those to call for him to be put on trail for war crimes, simply because  I know if he was found guilty, the penalty could well be execution: I don’t want him dangling at the end of the rope. Or anyone else for that matter.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You maintain a UK perspective,  I have more of an internationalist one.

            You will find that modern left wingers such as Hugo Chavéz and Ramón Castro are enthusiastic about the death penalty.

            Only last year, Labour councillors Sundip Meghani and Barbara Potter in Leicestershire called for the reintroduction of the death penalty (swiftly followed by horror and denunciation by party central). But it makes you think.  The death penalty is not a matter of right and left.

          • Peter Barnard

            Jaime, I am talking about the Labour Party and its declared policies over the last hundred years or so, not megalomaniac dictators overseas.

            You seem to be using a back-door and tenuous method of saying that the BNP “policies” and the Labour Party’s policies aren’t a million miles apart.

            They are.

      • Dave Postles

        Remploy  Thanks for the heads-up about Remploy, Alan.  I didn’t know that the Daily Express was running this campaign.  I applaud it.  Remploy makes outstanding products – that’s where Smith could start.  He could then, with its management, devise a strategic plan for marketing its products better. 

        • AlanGiles

          I didn’t know about their campaign either, dave. I heard a mention of it on the early morning press review on radio early yesterday. This was the original link. Warning: This article includes a photograph of Smith, which some viewrs might find disturbing:

          • treborc1

             The Welsh Assembly have asked that if England let them have then funding that is used to keep Remploy going at the moment they will take over the costs from now  of running the Remploy factories in Wales, if that is refused they are looking at using other funds to keep the factories going making them coops .

            But putting another two thousand onto unemployment because many of these people are the most severely disabled and they cannot get JSA or benefits because they have worked, and because they are severely disabled they are refused unemployment benefit.

          • Dave Postles

            Bravo Welsh Assembly.  That is such good news.  Thank you, Robert. 

          • treborc1
          • AlanGiles

            many of these people are the most severely disabled and they cannot get JSA or benefits because they have worked, and because they are severely disabled they are refused unemployment benefit”

            An absolute disgrace – Duncan Smith is without doubt one of the most odious politicians ever to have crawled out of the gutter. Unless he really is as stupid as he looks he must know that most of these people will find it difficult – if not impossible – to find other work and they will be punished and humiliated even further with otiose “work focused” interviews etc. I wish Labour had something better than Byrne to offer.

  • Because Ken polled less than Labour he wasn’t a drag on the ticket? Remind me, where is the logic in that argument?

    It is all semantics, nonetheless; Ken, in a predominantly Labour city, lost the mayoral election (again) to Boris Johnson. 

    •  One might equally say ‘in a predominantly Labour City, Boris won the Mayoral election, again, to Ken Livingstone’.

      In other words, your argument is simply a question of phrasing and framing (a point Lee is essentially demonstrating with the vote percentages)… however, the percentages themselves show evidence more solid than questions of how we choose to arrange our sentences?

      • In other words, the likelihood once the facts are taken into account is that people are submitting an analysis to fit the argument, in spite of the evidence.

        Why would someone do this?

        Well, there are many potential reasons, but reinforcing a preconception can’t be far away from the top – especially given the pre-election media narrative about the Labour/Ken gap.

        The net effect? To take a ‘common sense’ (i.e. a shared set of uncontested preconceptions) propagated by a social and political network of journalists (however unrelated to the facts borne out), and reinforce it in progressive institutions (and not even deliberately!).

        We simply think in accordance with our influences, because of who surround us and what we trust. Some of Labour’s own internal debate is simply a collection of examples of this – debate surrounding Ed Miliband’s leadership is just as good an example.

        We accept the argumentative authority of those opposed to our values, because we see no reason to question – even confronted with a neat HTML table of figures. We base our next assumptions about implications on this, once again uncritically (‘we must shift to the right, everyone seems to be saying it’).

        Thus is ideological hegemony enforced.

    • S K Lee

       Here we go! It’s ‘la la la I’m not listening’ again.

      Ignore the facts – stick to your prejudices. Watch ordinary people get crapped on and blame it on others.


      • That doesn’t make much, if any, sense, S K Lee.

        As Livingstone lost the election, surely he is the appropriate person to attribute blame? Unless you can think of an other? 

        • AlanGiles

          Don’t be naive Mr. Talbot. Don’t you think the “don’t vote for Livingstone” Twitterings of Sugar played it’s part?. The constant onslaughts from Hatwul and Hodges et al at Labour Uncut, Marchant on LL?.

          At times he seemed to get more opposition from “Labour” than his Tory opponents.

          I suspect taht you are another of that shower who think that another four years of Bumbling Boris is a price worth paying to get rid of one of the right-wings bete noires.

          The trouble is it will be the poorer residents in London who play the price – not you and your kind.

          • I actually indicated my willingness to, just about, vote for Livingstone on Labour Uncut. Look it up.

            Why do you think that seemingly so many Labour party personnel – from MPs to supporters – could not bring themselves to wholeheartedly support Ken Livingstone? Surely, it must have something to do with the candidate himself, as we can’t all be right wing apparatchiks you obviously think they are?

            And despite the best efforts above, it does show that there was a gap between people who voted for Labour in London Assembly elections but then did not vote for the Labour mayoral candidate. Funny that. 

            Alan – did you vote Labour last Thursday?

          • AlanGiles

            Yes Mr Talbot I did vote Labour – and for KL – last week.

            You don’t seem to grasp the point that if you have whole swathes of your own party actively denigrating your own candidate, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in floating voters.

            People didn’t HAVE to write what they did – Sugar for example, didn’t have to “tell” other people not to vote for Livingstone – if he felt that strongly he could have just obstained quietly and privately. Then again, Twitter is for twats, I suppose he has little else to do

          • I have seen you elsewhere let slip that you aren’t a member of Labour any more, and indeed that you did not vote Labour at the general election – so I was just checking your moralizing wasn’t hypocritical.

            Equally, you do not seem to have grasped quite why swathes of the Labour party could not wholeheartedly support Livingstone. It was hinted at in the polls, and confirmed at the ballot box. Why do you think that is so?

          • AlanGiles

            Mr Talbot “Let slip”  sounds like an accident, I did indeed give up party membership because I could no longer tolerate the way the party drifted ever rightwards, Blair’s wars and then Brown allowing the callow Purnell to introduce Freud – at the VERY TIME Freud was joining the Conservatives. I am quite open about that – not a question of “letting slip”. What Brown allowed Purnell to do was a disgrace to the sick and disabled (enthusiastically supported by Byrne and continued by Smith and Grayling).

            However, I have continued to support Labour, despite the party being swamped by kids who have no real affection for Labour principles – 49 years is a long time since I joined – but I feel ever more divorced from the party when I read the outpourings of some people on here.

            There are “Labour” supporters who seem to have more in common with the Coalition – they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on LL talking about the “hard left” and showing their contempt for left wingers in general – and hardly any time hitting out at some of the real Tory neanderthals – like Smith, Gove, Grayling. Nadine Dorries seems more critical of the government than many “Labour” supporters.

          • All very interesting Alan, but you didn’t once touch upon my question.

          • AlanGiles

            I can’t really answer your question Mr Talbot except to repeat that a good deal of mischief was done by “Labour” supporters on LL, Uncut and individuals like Sugar.

            The tax issue was racked over by Labour supporters, allegations of “anti-semitism” by Labour supporters, and of course, Livingstone’s support of Islam was widely denigrated by some Labour commentators – yet KL had not changed in the years between – nobody seemed too concerned about this alleged “anti-Semitism”” when he was selected on the previous two occassions (the Evening Standard reporter debacle occured in 2006 – yet only seemed to get noticed and condemned by some Labour commentators in recent weeks and months – most of whom failed to remark on Johnson’s “picannini” gaffes.

            I have never pretended to be KLs greatest fan, and I frankly don’t have a great deal of patience with the Mayoral system per se’, but I find the behaviour of Labour itself in this affair to be questionable, or rather, the motives of some of those putting the boot in.

          • ” but I feel ever more divorced from the party when I read the outpourings of some people on here”

            I don’t think you’ll have to wait very  long before they begin to abandon their nostalgia, Alan.

            Reality shouts loudly and even the most cloth-eared New Labour revivalist will, eventually, be compelled to listen.

            It can be useful to remember Maurice Glasman’s conception of the current situation: ” the old is dead and the new is not yet born, and in the meantime all kinds of morbid symptoms emerge, including the fraternisation of impossibles.”*


          • AlanGiles

            I was thinking more of your sort, Mr Talbot. I don’t think you will be happy till the party is purged of left-wingers, then, like the SDP you can “go home and prepare for government”. Except of course, like them , you won’t.

          • AlanGiles

            Sorry Dave, my reply above was in answer to D. Talbot.

            sadly I don’t see much hope while we have people like Mr Talbot, Mr Marchant et al all so bouyed up by defeat of people they don’t like in their own party, obviously preferring the idea of Johnson toKL

          • Alan, have I said I would prefer Boris Johnson to Ken Livingstone?

            Evidence please.

          • I haven’t called for a purge of anything, or anyone Alan. 

            I’m just pushing back at the resident LabourList trolls, of which you are chief amongst. You simply cannot bear it when you are challenged. Anyone who does is a closet Tory (with you odd fascination of mentioning Lord Freud multiple, multiple times) or worse – we are Treborc’s “New Labour”.

            It’s all in your head.

          • derek

            Your having a laugh Talbot, @Alan is more labour than you’ll ever be. Now go and fetch a bubble for your spirit level….Wonky Bloke!!!!!!

          • What an odd bloke you are, Derek.

        • S K Lee

           I am saying look at the FACTS and analyse them. Look at the whole picture, not just the bit that suits your own preset world view. Try to understand.

          Livingstone had an opponent in this election – a very formidable demogogue. Almost everyone has ignored this and acted as though Livingstone faced John Selwyn-Gummer or some other such charisma free Tory. To do so is one-eyed and foolish.

          So yes David, I can think of another to blame – Boris Johnson.

  • Maybenot

    Can I just point out you have no way of knowing what proportion of Labour list voters voted for Ken. Likewise, you have no idea what proportion of UKIP, BNP et al voted for Boris. It’s lazy to just assume these voters voted Boris. People who tend to vote for these parties do so as a vehicle for protest. Such protest voters are unlikely to turn around and vote for the government candidate.

    •  Well, that’s a semi-fair point, but Lee can validly make a general extrapolation using the maths. It tells us nothing about individual cases, but in this instance Lee is certainly stating a general truth.

      • JJR

        Some classic assumption that calling a party of the right means that those voting of or them would naturally step to the Tory as next choice. I’ve seen a lot of polling that suggests a large number of BNP supporters are former Labour voters, seen recent polling that sees Ukip pulling votes from Labour. A closer look would suggest that the voting we are seeing in France and Greece for the notionally far left and far right are mainly appealing to the same people, the low earning section of the population that sees employment going east due to technology and globalisation, and like the sound of protectionist and redistributive rhetoric. Similar is true of the Tea Party and Occupy movements, they are motivated by very simmilar concerns.

        •  Yeah, but the polling also indicates that most BNP supporters would vote Conservative #2 if they had a choice. Not sure how much of a representation spoiled ballots are, but when I was scrutinising, most BNP votes actually tended to swap between BNP and UKIP variously. Both of these parties also transferred considerably to Johnson.

          I would also say that BNP ballots were also the most over-represented in the spoil piles, which is uncomfortably on-stereotype really…

          • JJR

            All true, and the actual premise, that Livingstone was not the drag he was made out or be is likely. The missing bite from the piece as I see it is the Johnson voting Labour supporters, even on this assumed maths, 50% of this above party performance has got to come from parties that are not of the ‘right’.

  • Do not forget the power of the back stabbing, self declared – Labour bloggers or so called ‘Labour Party’ Lord Sugar. They would have turned on any Labour candidate in pious terms using the false shield of their true belief in New Labour. They forget that New Labour was always about responding to the times, changing policy to make us relevant. That is exactly what Ken did in this election. Powerful policies to make lives of ordinary residents better. To make London more affordable. To make our city work together for the benefit of everyone.

    Could you imagine what our friendly fire would have said about Eddie Izzard? The Evening Standard would have joined them in pulling his tax affairs apart, let alone his jokes or his previous campaigns for full dressing rights.

    On Polling day, I was standing with a group of door knockers when a man came running up, desperate to vote for Ken. The Council had moved his polling station and he couldn’t find it. He was about a mile off course, but was desperate to get Ken back. Kens message spoke directly to that man in a way that no other Labour politician has for years.

    We have a strong policy platform to take forward to the London Borough elections in 2014 and the general election probably in 2015. This election has set a bright new course that if we keep following it will lead us winning Councils like Croydon and parliamentary seats galore across the Capital. That’s the bigger prize. That’s the prize that will deliver real change in this country, just as it has in France.

    That was a great campaign, and one that I am proud to have played my part in. The next chapter will be even more exciting.

    • treborc1

      Lets hope those council that have been won do not end up looking like the Tories then with massive cuts and massive lay offs and talk about smaller  public sector, with out sourcing to try and save money.

      Now labour council have to do much more otherwise  we know what will happen the public will show they are not happy at the next election

    • Bill Lockhart

       Straight out of  the Central Office speech-writing manual. Short alliterative sentences which mean nothing. Strung together to sound portentous.

      (By the by, how is “changing policy to make us relevant. That is exactly what Ken did in this election” any different from “unscrupulous opportunism”? I thought policy came first out of sincere belief, followed by persuasion and possibly election)

      And then to show the human touch, an implausible anecdote about “a man” and a mysterious moving polling station.

      Finishing of course with the build of optimism, Elgar in the background, the bright shining uplands of hope within reach…

      And the audience in the school hall shift uncomfortably on their small plastic chairs and quietly look at their watches.

      • Brumanuensis

        That’s a very honest self-assessment, Bill.

        • Bill Lockhart

          What are you, twelve years old?

          • AlanGiles

            Bill,  You really are beyond the pale – ever since your boyfriend “Guy M” left us you have been getting nastier and nastier. Brumanuensis is o0ne of the most erudite and intelligent contributors to LL – far better than your goodself and “Guy” – the gruesome twosome. That last one of yours was school playground material.

          • AlanGiles

            Bill,  You really are beyond the pale – ever since your boyfriend “Guy M” left us you have been getting nastier and nastier. Brumanuensis is o0ne of the most erudite and intelligent contributors to LL – far better than your goodself and “Guy” – the gruesome twosome. That last one of yours was school playground material.

          • Brumanuensis

            Sorry, I thought we were encouraged to express our inner child in these situations?

            Or perhaps I’m being deliberately flippant. 

      • Dave Postles

        Elgar’s not that bad, although, being a popularist, I prefer a bit of RVW.

  •  In other words, people are arranging their arguments to fit the logic you use above, rather than to fit the evidence they could otherwise study, should they so choose. There are reasons why one may opt to do this – but I would suggest that the most obvious of those reasons is to reinforce a preconception?


  • This evidence doesn’t prove very much at all. Given the low turn out we could also assume that Labour voters who didn’t like Ken stayed at home and those that wanted to vote for him came out and hence there was a small gap. If you don’t care about Labour enough to vote for the Mayoral candidate in a 2 horse race between us and the Tories are you really going to come out for the GLA candidates?
    Of course  this doesn’t lessen my sadness about those Labour voters who refused to support their candidates whether for Mayor or GLA.

    • treborc1

       Just as many stayed at home because they did not like any of the political parties right now.

  • joe

    There’s not many people that could make me vote for labour but kens one of them

  • Layth_UCL

    The Tories rock. Labour lost London and they will lost the next General election too. Boris and Cameron are the way forward

    • Brumanuensis
      • Winston_from_the_Ministry


    • AlanGiles

      As you obviously enjoy a good joke – here – specially for you – is the biggest joke of the lot: 

      • Brumanuensis

        Well, well. Was that Warsi I saw at 0.34?

        • AlanGiles

          Could be – I hadn’t noticed that before. It was an incredible tour-de-overacting though, wasn’t it? “Adolf” Smith being spontaneous with two autocues, 17 standing ovations. It was like a ghastly mix of a Mayday in Red Square in the 1970s a Hammer horror film and a slightly irritated vicar whose piles were playing him up in the pulpit on Sunday. The ;performance was so hammy it was sponsored by Mattesons.

          Every cloud has a silver lining though: two weeks later he was gone and to make a bit of money rumour is all that spare applause was sold off to ITV to use in their talent shows 🙂

          • Brumanuensis

            I’m pretty sure it is. God, IDS was hammy. He could have been served with mashed potatoes and gravy at one of my family’s Boxing Day dinners. 

            I’d forgotten the joke about Charles Kennedy’s alcoholism. What a nasty little man he was. And is.

          • Brumanuensis

            I gather the ovations were choreographed as well. Unfortunately, the lines meant to serve as cues were switched around, which was why there were so many in the opening minutes.

          • Brumanuensis

            IDS that is.

          • AlanGiles

            Yes that remark about Charlie Kennedy was terrible (I still think CK is one of the most human of politicians TBH) – seeing IDS being so “sincere” and remembering Bettsygate brings home the mans bogosity – and his thick skin – how could so abject a failure still seek public office?

  • Brumanuensis

    The key factor was Boris Johnson. Like Ken in 2004, Johnson successfully distanced himself from an unpopular national government and built his own political identity as a charismatic, well-meaning fellow, who you could vote for even if you weren’t a Tory. This election is a triumph for Johnson, as much as a failure for Ken. I sometimes think those critical of Ken are falling into the trap of believing Johnson’s reputation as a mere buffoon, matches reality. Johnson is cunning and a skilled politician, albeit a mediocre mayor with very little to show for four years in office. Everyone, including Ken, seems to have missed that to a certain extent.

  • Bill Lockhart

    Extraordinary. The author blames the Tory campaign, the media and presumably the voters for Livingstone’s defeat. The idea that Livingstone could in any way have contributed to his own downfall is not even mentioned. Extraordinary self-deception.

    • S K Lee

       The thing is that Livingstone has accepted his part of the responsibility, retired and moved on.

      You lot haven’t. It’s utterly extraordinary to me that you want to compete in your own internal political side-shows rather than work for real change for ordinary people in the real world. I tend to think that many of you don’t care a stuff for ordinary people and the real world.

      It’s political masturbation and you are all …… wasting everyone’s time.

  • Sarah Cole

    It is good to see a balanced view of the figures. Ken’s team got a lot of people out campaigning

  • Joe

    All these statistics show is that people in London voted for Labour Assembly Mayoral candidates and the mayoral candidate. It is not possible to analyse the impact of either Ken, the national Labour party, the media or the individual LA candidates on how people voted in London in either the London mayoral or the London assembly election. 

    From these stats it is just as possible that Ken was a drag on the LA campaign, as it is that the LA campaigns were a drag on the Ken campaign.

  • Dave C

    I’d be a little cautious classifying the Christian People’s Alliance as necessarily being of the right. They are concerned about poverty and on many issues are to the left of Labour.

  • MattWales

    I notice Barnet and Camden have the highest turn out and the biggest difference between those who voted labour in the assembly and those who voted for Ken.

    I wonder if he may have said something to offend people who live in that area.

  • Brumanuensis

    In reply to Jaime, from the bottom of the thread.

    I am flattered you assumed I was a barrister and there is a grain of truth in this, although I’ll say no more for reasons of discretion. 

    I think my problem with what you wrote is that you say that some ‘minor’ elements of the BNP’s ideology are right-wing, but that the bulk is left-wing. I have strong doubts about this obviously, on three counts.

    First, because nativist, anti-immigrant, anti-multicultural sentiment is overwhelmingly concentrated, albeit in differing forms and potencies, on the right of the political spectrum. The BNP presents an extreme form, but it is recognisably of the same tendency.

    Second, the BNP is explicitly anti-egalitarian. This is a big tip-off, because if there is one thing that unites left-wing parties – and always has done – it is a foundational belief in equality. So a political party that is opposed to equality of persons, in principle, is unlikely to be left-wing.

    Finally, the BNP’s economic views are not straight-forwardly left-wing. Their attitudes towards regulation and most taxation are pretty boiler-plate right-wing ones. They define their overall objective as being to lower taxes. Don’t be fooled by the jibes at tax avoidance by ‘globalist’ corporations. This is just an off-shoot of their xenophobia – rather in the manner the Nazis used to denounce ‘International High Finance’, which they assumed was controlled by Jews – and is not motivated by a desire to reduce inequality or get a ‘fair share’ from the rich.
    So I take the opposite stance. The BNP have some left-wing elements, but their overall philosophy is identifiably of the far-right, rather than the far-left.

    • … exactly. 
      What they do have is a positive view of the state, but this is not in itself ‘left-wing’. Indeed, the Tory tradition also believed in a strong state, and certainly the Heseltine approach supported intervention – French Gaullism has also been based on much the same principle, but could not be called ‘left-wing’

      • derek

        Thatcher’s government was definitely on the ropes but the strong state approach to the Falkland Islands pulled her out the whole.

        Blair and Cameron are both guilty of tipping the scales from right to left, more currently Cameron massively tipping the scales to the right on economics while trying desperately to fling a few weights on to the left side with liberal motions of gay marriage.Cameron’s government is also guilty of trying to create the strong state syndrome. 

        • treborc1

           Blair and Cameron  right to left, Cameron giving to the left , you do seem to have me lost is your compass  near the Radio .

          • derek

            Sorry Robert, I was trying to suggest that for well over 30 years, things on the economic front have moved further to the right and in favour of the wealthiest, indeed most would say that’s been there since the year dot.I’m also saying the likes of Blair and Cameron try not to completely alienate themselves by giving some crumbs to the  left .Blair’s minimum wage(while the rich grow richer) was part of that game because it was seriously under what was needed £3.10p, so much so cities like Glasgow would raise it to £7 an hour but it took almost a decade to do so. Cameron has taken the economic front even further to the right of the axis but tries  to throw a few sheep’s clothing at it, in the shape of Lords reforms.Robert I think I’m saying today’s politicians try and play a balanced game on the axis of left to right politics by feeding a few crumbs to the left but always ensuring that those of the right and on the right get the biggest share of the sliced cake.

    • AlanGiles

      because if there is one thing that unites left-wing parties – and always has done – it is a foundational belief in equality. So a political party that is opposed to equality of persons, in principle, is unlikely to be left-wing.”

      This I think is the crucial point.

      One of the things that offended me more than anything else about “Guy’s” posts was his use of that disgusting expression “lower classes”. I would no more think of using that term than I would that loathsome word beginning with “n” which the ignorant used as a matter of course to describe black people (sadly even in 2012 a minority still do – not least supporters of the BNP). I have to say I haven’t even heard the most crusty and ageing Tory politician using the term “lower class” in public for at least 45 years.

      The BNP was one of only two parties in my area who canvassed during the recent elections  – UKIP was the other – (I never even saw a leaflet, would you believe, from any of the three main parties, still less a human representitive ) – a dreadful little man wearing a bright blue suit, red braces white shirt – and – most repulsive of all a gaudy “union jack” tie, he was middle aged and surrounded by some minders in their twenties who looked like bouncers from the numerous “night clubs” in the town (I have to confess that my area has been described as the night club capital of the UK 🙁    ). It must have been extremely intimidating to non-white shoppers on those Saturday mornings in the market place throughout April. Their tactics are as far removed from left-wing politics as could be imagined

      • treborc1

        What offended me and it was used again to day with Miliband is the idea that if your out of work, then your work-less, scrounger or workshy, and it’s now used all the time. Around me labour is not see in much hope, labour did not win the local election here they came third, and this was once the strongest labour seat in Wales returning MP’s and councilors since 1909 not for the last twelve years ask them why and it’s the use of these words.

        Low life is how many feel, labour believe people in my area are seen so Guy would be just another person who see people as worthless

  • looks like everyone loves an eccentric comedy uncle – which is ultimately very depressing


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