Sunday, May 07, 2006

Local Election Digest

It may be said that Blair got a bruising nationally on Thursday, but I feel Labour did relatively well in the local elections both in Birmingham and in the country at large given the scale of their recent problems (although apparently Patricia Hewitt believes the Government is having its best year ever). Noteworthy results include Labour surprisingly losing Longbridge to the Tories (thanks to an increase in the BNP vote) and Salma Yaqoob taking Sparkbrook for the Respect party. I was pleased to see this - regardless of what Respect stand for, she tends to be quite a prominent figure in local politics and deserves her place on the council. The Lib Dems managed to pick up Moseley, but not a lot else, and the Tories picked up Erdington.

Unfortunately the city's name was dragged through the mud again with allegations of electoral fraud against a Lib Dem candidate in the north of the city. It's deja vu all over again. And the count at Kingstanding was right royally messed-up, with more votes being declared than were available. This initially gave first place to the BNP candidate when actually the two Labour candidates should have been returned. Unfortunately, as the result was declared this will now have to go through the courts to rectify this, giving the British Nazi Party more free publicity. They no doubt will be spinning the line that it is a government conspiracy to cheat them out of a seat they fairly earned.

The BNP did pick up three seats in Sandwell and one seat in Solihull, and got about 10% of the vote in Birmingham.

But at least they came sixth out of six in Moseley.


Simon said...

Hi there. found you through the post on politicalhackuk. (I live in Moseley.)

I am pleased but not surprised by the BNP's last place in Moseley, since I saw no evidence whatsoever of any kind of campaign here beyond the bare fact of having a candidate on the ballot paper.

I would have thought Respect might have done better through the sheer visibility of their campaign, but I suppose it shows that lamppost signs and leafleting can only get you so far if you don't have much of a supporter base. I'm equally unsurprised that they romped home in Sparkbrook, and though I deprecate Respect's politics and campaign tactics in many ways, I think Yaqoob will prove to be a very good councillor, and might pick up a personal vote in future elections if Respect eventually collapses under the weight of its own contradictions.

Louis said...

The BNP may not have had a presence here (would you want to knock on doors which may have been touched by asians if you were a fascist?) but I was a bit paranoid after the boundary change election a couple of years ago where the three main parties put up an ethnic minority candidate and all three got the least votes, allowing Labour to steal the third seat from the Lib Dems.

Wasn't surprised Salma Yaqoob won, but to get 4000+ votes? Wow!

Simon said...

Not wanting to pass the buck to our southern neighbours, but I would guess the smidgen of a racist vote was far likelier to have come from Kings Heath, which (as I understand it, as a newcomer to the area) is historically more 'white working class' than the more cosmopolitan Moseley.

That said, yeah, the 2004 result doesn't look pretty. On the other hand we have just elected a black councillor, albeit marginally, so I would hope that that tendency is diminishing.

Louis said...

Hang on a minute I'm Kings Heath born and bred and I don't need any foreigners coming here and telling me we're racist! Parts of Kings's Heath are "white working class" but it is nontheless a cosmopolitan area with people of all races living together, particularly the part that falls under the Moseley council ward which is just off the High Street. I put 2004 down to "subtle racism". People had three votes and didn't want to use them for the same party, so they voted for people they trusted or liked, who happened to have names that were recognisable or pronouncable. Not the kind of overt racism the BNP can thrive on.