Friday, May 07, 2010

The evening after

Checking back into the post-election situation. Despite the overall bad picture, there are a few reasons to be cheerful.

1. The BNP have done abysmally, not least in their key seat Barking, where they have lost all of their councillors and the entire council is Labour. Credit mainly to Hope Not Hate I'd say.

2. The horrific George Galloway did abysmally too, getting a smaller vote than the utterly un-charismatic, non-celebrity Lindsey German got in the last election. In fact, Jim FitzPatrick increased the Labour vote in Poplar and Limehouse, despite Ken Livingstone and the Islamists spreading all kinds of lies and rumours about him.

3. Rushanara Ali also retook Bethnal Green and Bow from Respect. Brockley Central: "We can offer this exclusive insight on the new MP - she is very nice."

4. The Conservatives failed to capture London.The Boriswatch analysis:
Inner London stuck with Old Labour, basically, who fought a good campaign (which, since it was led by Ken’s old Chief of Staff Simon Fletcher will annoy the tits off Andrew Gilligan).  Karen Buck holding on in Westminster North and Andy Slaughter in Hammersmith (beating high-profile Look-the-Tories-aren’t-racists Shaun Bailey and his gang of PR merchants, no less) were indicators to me that good local Labour MPs with a personal following were resistant to the Boris charm.  Conversely our Brownite MP Ann Keen lost, a victim of expenses and, if truth be told, not a great constituency record, and Tony McNulty suffered the same fate again due presumably to expenses. [...] Jon Cruddas was safely returned and John McDonnell in Harlington too. The two Islington constituencies remained Labour, crushingly so.
So where does this leave Boris?  Well, when elected he was supposed to use his charisma to deliver London to Cameron, which would have won him the Premiership.  Instead Boris has been decidedly low-profile, after being opportunistically beaten up by Labour over the East London Line opening (which was then delayed) he rather skulked – apart from that he’s done walkabouts in key areas, which don’t seem to have produced much – where Labour seats were lost there appear to have been extraneous factors like an undefendably low majority or expenses scandals rather than a Boris Halo – even then his walkabout in Feltham doesn’t seem to have damaged Alan Keen much while high profile visits to Hampstead nearly pulled it off, but Jackson held on by 42 votes with the Lib Dems a very close third.
Perhaps, then, he spread himself too thickly in the West – Angie Bray in Ealing Central & Acton won fairly comfortably, while the real damage was being done out east where a string of supposedly wobbly Labour seats returned a red rosette; Eltham, Erith, Poplar, Dagenham.  Perhaps pissing off the entire South East London area by scrapping transport schemes and reneging on the impossible promises over tidal flow in the Blackwall Tunnel may have lost Boris’s old mate Cameron the chance of power and paradoxically opened the way for a Boris-led right-wing coup?  It’ll be interesting to see where the ambitious Mayor goes from here, particularly with the borough election results.
OK. I'm going to look at the Lewisham Council results and then return.

Update 1: The Lewisham Mayoral results are in. John Hamilton got a respectable 6000 in the first round but Steve Bullock won comfortably. I think he has been a very poor mayor, but he is clearly preferable to Chris Maines. The council results don't seem to have appeared yet.

Update 2: Lewisham council elections are likely to come in after I go to bed, so in the meantime here's some analysis of the Greenwich council results. Congratulations to Darryl Chamberlain, gracious in defeat, who got a very creditable vote and would have made a great councillor. Hopefully next time. As with Bullock keeping Lewisham, Labour total domination in Greenwich is not a good thing, but it is good to see the Tories routed there. (See the Boris factor above.)

Update 3: What my favourite bloggers are saying: More on the BNP in Barking from Barkingside's Flesh is Grass. Here's George S's morning after. Francis with some George G schadenfreude. And I just caught up with Martin, who appears to have had more or less exactly the same thoughts as me at more or less exactly the same moments. Here are some extracts:
Great to see so many women and young candidates (re-)elected for Labour. It struck me that, on the whole, Labour's candidates look like modern Britain - generally, the Tories (viz. Zac Goldsmith) don't.
I'd been wondering what ordinary Lib Dems would make of the prospect of shoring up the Tories - and especially those who joined the SDP from Labour. But I've just heard David Owen on the BBC insisting in his usual abrasive and pompous way (a fair match, then, for his interviewer, Paxman) that Cameron has the best claim to govern...confirming the Labour prejudice that, for many, the SDP was just a stopping-off point on the way to Conservatism, and that Lib Dems have always been more viscerally anti-Labour than anti-Tory.

Oliver Kamm's take on the 'result' is worth reading. On this morning of disappointments, he shares my consolatory delight that the Guardian got it wrong.

Update 4: Starting to go through Modernity's long list of links. Here's his take on Galloway: "I imagine George will now embark on another fund raising tour of the Middle East or make more of an effort to push his media career at Press TV. Either way expect more inflammatory language from him."

Update 5: One striking thing about the election results is the absolutely disasterous vote for the hard left parties. Apart from Respect, whose vote was, I believe, a vote for communalism and identity politics rather than a vote for socialism, socialist candidates did very badly. Looking at the numbers which Phil lays out, almost none get four figure votes - starkly contrasting to the four figures BNP candidates were getting. Dave Nellist - unusual in that he is both a well-known, highly respected, hard working man locally with some national profile - was one of the slightly better performances, and his share of the vote went down. I guess the low vote is for two reasons. First, the reason I voted Labour: the tribal instinct when the chips are really down brought a lot of socialist voters back to the fold. Second, because the hard left is totally and utterly out of touch with its original core constituency, ordinary working class people.

Update 6: OK, I'm going to bed. The Lewisham Council results are not yet in, although indications are of Labour success. My last link of the night is to Max Calo, on his way to the count, gracious towards Heidi Alexander.


jams o donnell said...

It was god to see Griffin and the BNP getting a drubbing in Barking and Dagenham. I did have a fear at one point that my parents would wake up this morning to a BNP MP in Dagenham and Rainham but happoly that didn't happen

Also the BNP lost it's one seat on Havering council

Also Byb bye Georgie G. You will not be missed

bob said...

Yes, a fair few consolation prizes!

Ross said...

bob i wouldn't say the BNP have done abysmally - they have normalised/embedded the level of vote they pulled in at the euros (something the greens weren't able to do) - and while not being able to deepen their vote, they have avoided its dillution and have broadened in it the new areas they have stood in

nationally they are now pulling in twice the level of the greens (compared to at the euros greens getting a good 33% more than them)

it's nothing spectacular, but it's no meltdown either, it's the long slog and this is another step in the direction they want to go

Waterloo Sunset said...

I agree with Ross. At best, the BNP stagnated this election. What's more significant than whether they win seats is how many votes they pull in over all. Remember, we've been here before when large sections of the left claimed victory when Beacon was thrown out... It's vital antifascists don't get complacent about this. The BNP may not be in the period of rapid growth we saw, but they're by no means down and out.

Martin said...

Thanks for all the updates, Bob. It'll be interesting to see how Respect-style communalism and BNP-style reaction far under a Tory administration (if that's what we get) - and what the attitude of the latter will be to (a) 'social cohesion' and (b) the politics of immigration. Interesting (if depressing) times.

bob said...

Ross, Waterloo, you are absolutely right. Just trying to rescue some consolation from the misery of impending Cameroonianism. The big growth in Hodge's vote is an anti-fascist vote, as it's obviously not about her, so that's comforting. But the half a million figure is depressing (and that excludes any council votes) - twice the Greens and way beyond any left or leftoid alternative.

bob said...

P.s. Ross, off topic, but did you see the conversation here?

love detective said...

"The big growth in Hodge's vote is an anti-fascist vote, as it's obviously not about her"

problem is it's probably entrenched auto-labourism for years now, any hope of a genuine political, and independent working class, solution to the problems faced have been set back even further

not had a chance to look at many blogs recently bob, will grab a look at that one in the week, cheeers

Ross said...

posted the above as my brockley-central moniker - should have been me

sackcloth and ashes said...

'Rushanara Ali also retook Bethnal Green and Bow from Respect.'

I wasn't aware that BG&B actually had an MP between May 2005 and May 2010.

'bob i wouldn't say the BNP have done abysmally - they have normalised/embedded the level of vote they pulled in at the euros (something the greens weren't able to do) - and while not being able to deepen their vote, they have avoided its dillution and have broadened in it the new areas they have stood in'

I think they still had a shocker. Their vote of 500,000 or so was a big decrease on the European elections in 2009 (where it was 900,000+). They also lost all their council seats in Barking, in addition to failing to get MPs in the two London seats they targeted.

The Fash should not be underestimated, but then their tendency to tear themselves apart should be remembered. They're starting to do it now.

Ross said...

"I think they still had a shocker. Their vote of 500,000 or so was a big decrease on the European elections in 2009 (where it was 900,000+)."

compare like with like though - at the european elections everyone in the country had an opportunity to vote for them - in the general election they stood in just over half the available seats, so only half the country had the opportunity to vote for them - in this light the 560,000 they got in 2010 is arguably better than the 940,000 they got in 2009 - it wouldn't be unrealistic to expect their national vote to be well over a million on a national basis, hence my comment about normalising/embedding their euro vote