I think this is the last I have to say about the election. Three things, first on the left, then the far right, and at the bottom on the situation in my local area, Lewisham, and what it means. (In fact, nothing to do with the picture which I took from here.)
I was wrong to say that the BNP performed abysmally. Half a million votes in the General Elections alone. They may have lost deposits in a fair few places, and been kicked off Barking council,.but they have become a significant force in the political scene. Nick Griffin is now treated by the media as more or less a regular, mainstream figure, despite his increasingly obvious wackiness. This is a real cause for concern. The struggle continues.
As I wrote last night, the far left have performed terribly, far worse than the fash. The Greens got half the vote of the BNP, and the socialist parties didn't even get close to that. I suggested last night that 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.
The left desperately needs major surgery. For example, it needs to learn to articulate the arguments on immigration, not assume that the Gillian Duffies are bigots, but clearly argue exactly why they are wrong, and what we need to do about it. And, again just for example, it needs to abandon identity politics and the perverse obsession with the national liberation of particular faraway peoples to the exclusion of the issues that affect people like Gillian Duffy here. There's lots more examples I could give, but those will do for now.
A few postson this issue worth reading: Chris Dillow - Cameron's failure: the left's problem; Harry Barnes - The Future For Socialists; David Osler - Gillian Duffy: welcome to the core vote, Mr Brown; David Osler - The far left and the general election.
Labour have done extraordinarily well in the local and mayoral elections in Lewisham. Despite the national swing away from Labour. Despite the utter disregard of Mayor Steve Bullock's new Labour administration for local democracy and its disasterous policy on key issues like schools.
The Liberal Democrats put up an extremely impressive fight here. They were extemely visible on the streets, and their placards dominated the landscape. While I was very un-impressed by mayoral candidate Chris Maines and by yummy mummy parliamentary candidate Tamara Langley, they had some other strong and credible candidates, such as Lewisham East's Pete Pattison in the Generals and Max Calo in the locals - popular local figures of known integrity.
Similarly, the Greens have been excellent councillors in Brockley and Ladywell. The Greens put up a strong fight in Crofton Park, where I voted for Jim Jepps and his colleagues. The Socialists in Telegraph Hill have also been great councillors, both for their local areas and for the borough as a whole (personally, I think the Greens should not have stood against them). I think the picture was fairly similar in Greenwich, and in some other inner London boroughs. For what it is worth, I offer my commiserations to Jim, Sue, Max, Jess Leech and Ian Page in particular, as well as my appreciation of Andrew Milton who did not stand for re-election.
I think that the Labour domination of Lewisham and Greenwich has been increasingly unhealthy in recent years, and have no explanation for why Labour did so well this year, despite doing not so well in the General elections, where the stakes are surely higher.
(More local results analysis at Brockley Central. Added: and more.)