Category Archives: United Kingdom
I wanted to wait a bit until making an election preview post for the UK’s May 6th general election, something you probably all know about and are following with passion anyway. But the recent craziness of the electoral campaign and polling in the British Isles has forced me to do otherwise. A certain yellow party was polling between 20 and 22% a week ago, and now this same party is polling 30-33% and is even leading in some polls. What’s going on?
The Liberal Democrats were formed in 1988 by the merger between the Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party (SDP). The LibDems have, thanks to a successful electoral strategy, been able to increase their representation and popular support from 17.8% and 20 seats in 1992 to 22.1% and 62 seats in 2005. They have, however, never been able to breakthrough lastingly at the national level, the result partly of the electoral system and low media coverage. The LibDems have had a rough ride this Parliament, first with the 2006 resignation for his past alcoholism problems of popular
Nobody knew who Nick Clegg, the MP for Sheffield Hallam was, so his message of a third-way alternative to Tories and Labour didn’t resonate much but he did get the LibDems out of the polling straits they had been under Ming Campbell (as low as 13%). Yet, his message was and is one that can work. The idea of a fourth term for Labour, already in power since 1997, isn’t an appealing prospect to the majority of Britons and the Tories, rejuvenated under their young leader David Cameron, have led in polls since Gordon Brown took office in 2007. Yet, the enthusiasm of Cameron’s first days in leadership have worn down and the Conservatives aren’t as popular as they were back in 2006 or 2008. The recent expenses scandal in 2009 has hurt all sides, especially Labour, and has led to a generalized feeling of discontent with politicians and the two big parties, a discontent expressed in June 2009 by the high vote for the UKIP, BNP and Greens in the European elections.
The first ever televised debates between the big 3 leaders was held on April 15, and two others will be on April 22 and 29. This debate was the opportunity for Clegg, unknown to voters, to gain notoriety. And that he just did. He easily won the debate against Cameron and Brown, who did poorly. The result was huge. All polls since the debate have them over 29%, and up to 33% in some. YouGov on April 18 had them first with 33% against 32% for the Tories, while Labour is polling far behind in third place with 26% in YouGov’s poll but as low as 24% in today’s Angus-Reid (though Angus-Reid is more like ‘Tory-Reid’) poll.
A lot now depends if Clegg lives up to high expectations set for him for the two last debates. But there seems something lasting in this LibDem bump, and it is now extremely unlikely the LibDems will see a net drop in their share of the vote or seats nationally vis-a-vis 2005.
Playing around with the universal national swing (UNS) is always a stupid idea since it assumes that all seats will swing by the same amount on election day, which for is, for all intents, impossible. But with the craziness now, and since the LibDems are a party with some weird voting patterns, it’s even stupider. But it seems that on most of these polls, Labour would be the largest party in a hung parliament followed closely by Tories. Both would hold between 240 and 260 seats. The LibDems would win around 100 to 125 seats. The cool swingometer map on UKPollingReport shows that the LibDems would be strong in the southwest, especially in Cornwall (where they hold all seats already) and Devon.
May 6 will be fun, no matter what. But a likely very divided result could either lead to electoral reform because of a deal between LibDems and either Tories or Labour or to a new dissolution for a late 2010/early 2011 election if Tories and Labour don’t commit themselves to electoral reform, which will likely be the main demand of the LibDems after May 6. Their old plea for electoral reform will be strenghtened by the unproportional result of this election.
Labour has won a surprisingly comfortable victory in yesterday’s Glasgow North East by-election, held to replace Speaker Michael Martin (Labour). Despite Labour’s low numbers nationally and regionally in Scotland, Labour fended off a strong SNP challenge in this safe Labour inner-city Glasgow constituency with little trouble.
Willie Bain (Labour) 59.39% (+6.07%)
David Kerr (SNP) 20.00% (+2.34%)
Ruth Davidson (Conservative) 5.22%
Charlie Baillie (BNP) 4.92% (+1.68%)
Tommy Sheridan (Solidarity) 3.86%
Eileen Baxendale (LibDems) 2.30%
David Doherty (Greens) 1.61%
John Smeaton (Jury Team) 1.25%
Kevin McVey (SSP) 0.74% (-4.2%)
Mikey Hughes (Independent) 0.26%
Louise McDaid (Socialist Labour) 0.23%
Mev Brown (Independent) 0.16%
Colin Campbell (TILT) 0.06%
Turnout was 33.2%, down 12.6% on 2005, marking the lowest turnout ever in a Scottish by-election. The previous Scottish record had been set by the Falkirk by-election in 2000, held shortly before Christmas…
The results are a clear victory for Labour, which has done remarkably well, as well as a deception for the SNP, which had hoped for a repeat of the Glasgow East 2008 by-election here. It wasn’t even close. The reasons for Labour’s strong victory vary, a lot saying that Labour was helped by leading a local campaign and campaigning as an opposition party to the SNP, a winning strategy also tried in Glenrothes. Others have suggested that Glasgow East voters had voted SNP in a real hope or aspiration for social change, but that voters in this very poor constituency had little hope that either Labour or the SNP would change anything, and resigned themselves to voting Labour. The SNP was also hurt by it’s candidate selection troubles earlier on in this campaign.
The Conservatives can breathe a sigh of relief as they save their deposits, do slightly better than they did here in the European elections (4.4%) and get a symbolic third ahead of the BNP, which was rumoured to be in third for most of the count. As for the BNP itself, a good result, but below the 5% threshold for deposits and behind the Conservatives, disappointing for them. However, as an observer, I’d just like to make a point of noting the stupidity of the talking heads taking the BNP’s ‘breakthrough’ with 4.9% of the vote in a 35%-turnout by-election as a massive shock and the equivalent of the election of the Nazi Party to power. In most countries with a strong far-right, most can only dream of the day when the far-right polls only 4.9%!
The Trot Tommy Sheridan, despite facing a perjury trial, came in a solid-ish fifth, though somebody on the BBC’s election night special noted that a few years ago, Tommy Sheridan running in a constituency like this would have come close to 20%. Though the man facing a criminal trial did do better than the LibDem candidate, amusingly enough. Little use in commenting further, though I will note the Green result is disappointing given that the Greenies came in third in the Euros, with 6.5% here.
Labour won due to a good local-opposition campaign, but that will be difficult to repeat in England in the 2010 election. This by-election will likely have little effect, especially south of the border in England.
Voters in Glasgow North East go to the polls today, November 12, to elect a new MP after its MP, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin resigned in the wake of the expenses scandal in June. Despite winning re-election in 2005 as the Speaker, and without opposition from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats (as is the norm for speakers), he is a member of the Labour Party and was elected in 1979 in Glasgow Springburn (the predecessor, more or less, or Glasgow NE). Glasgow North East, one of Glasgow’s poorest areas, ridden by poverty, drugs and crime, is a Labour stronghold. Martin, standing for Labour in 1997 won 71.4% in Glasgow Springburn and won 53.3% standing as Speaker in 2005. Here are the 2005 results:
Michael Martin (Speaker [Labour]) 53.3%
John McLaughlin (SNP) 17.7%
Doris Kelly (Socialist Labour) 14.2%
Graham Campbell (Scottish Socialist) 4.9%
Daniel Houston (Scottish Unionist) 4.5%
Scott McLean (BNP) 3.2%
Joe Chambers (Independent) 2.2%
These results may give the wrong impression in some places, as third parties, which are often jokes in normal races, poll decently well in the Speaker’s constituency. The Socialist Labour Party, a Stalinist joke outfit, won 14.2% mostly due to voter confusion over the fact that its name included ‘Labour’ (and Martin was listed as ‘Speaker’, not ‘Labour’). The Scottish Unionists, a largely anti-Catholic unionist party, polled ‘well’, probably with usually Conservatives voters (the Conservatives poll crap here, only 4.4% in the 2009 European elections).
The Labour candidate and favourite is William Bain, who faces SNP candidate David Kerr. The Conservatives, LibDems, Scottish Greens, Solidarity, the BNP, Socialist Labour, Scottish Socialists, the ‘Jury Team’ are all fielding candidates, in addition to an Independent.
Labour polled 41.3% in the terrible Labour defeat of the June European elections, against 25% for the SNP and 6.5% for the Greenies. If Labour carried it so comfortably, it would indicate it is pretty safe. However, the Glasgow Labour Party’s by-election record is awful (see Glasgow East, another relatively poor Labour stronghold lost to the SNP in a 2008 by-election).
The count has started by now, and most rumours indicate a rather easy Labour victory. The full results remain unknown.
I posted last night on a by-election in the Westminster constituency of Norwich North which was held on July 23 after the resignation of the sitting Labour MP, Ian Gibson, over the expenses scandal. Here are the results:
Chloe Smith (Conservative) 39.54% (+6.29%)
Chris Ostrowski (Labour) 18.16% (-26.70%)
April Pond (LibDems) 13.97% (-2.22%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 11.83% (+9.45%)
Rupert Read (Green) 9.74% (+7.08%)
Craig Murray (Honest) 2.77%
Robert West (BNP) 2.74%
Bill Holden (Ind) 0.48% (-0.17%)
Howling Laud (Loony) 0.42%
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 0.17%
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian) 0.10%
Peter Baggs (Ind) 0.07%
Conservative GAIN from LabourConsevative majority: 21.37%
16.49% swing from Labour to Conservative
Unexpectedly good showing from the Conservatives, who managed to increase their vote share quite significantly even though UKIP also had a phenomenal vote increase, probably aftershocks from the Euros and a good turnout from their base. Labour, on the other hand, has fared worse than I and others expected, and much below that 30% the poll gave them. Their share is down nearly 27% and they have been reduced to a mere 18.2% in a constituency which is a generally safe Labour seat. Good result for the Greens, but they must be deceived they only polled fifth and below 10%, but it positions Read well to run in Norwich South, where he’ll do much better.
If the Conservatives can manage a majority of 21% in a seat like this, they’re well on their way to a landslide mandate in the next general election. And a 16.5% swing to them endangers a number of senior Labour cabinet members.
However, this is a low turnout by-election (45%), so it’s perhaps best not to use this as a prediction model for the general election.
A by-election is being held today (July 23) in the British constituency of Norwich North, located in Norfolk in the East of England. This is held to replace Ian Gibson, a Labour MP involved in the expenses scandal who was excluded from the party and forbidden to run for re-election as a Labour candidate. His position was untenable and he resigned, without running for re-election as an Independent Labourite.
Norwich North is the poorer and more blue-collar of the two Norwich constituencies, and includes little industrial pockets and social housing. It has been held by Labour since its creation in 1966, but the Conservatives won it in the 1983 Tory landslide and held it until 1997 after a close election victory in 1992. Norwich South is wealthier and more service-oriented. However, the city as a whole has a reputation to be one of the country’s ‘greenest’ cities. In fact, the Greens were the largest party in the city in the June Euro elections – though their strength is mostly concentrated in Norwich South.
The 2005 results were as follows:
Ian Gibson (Labour) 44.9%
James Tumbridge (Conservative) 33.3%
Robin Whitmore (LibDem) 16.2%
Adrian Holmes (Green) 2.7%
John Youles (UKIP) 2.4%
Bill Holden (Ind) 0.7%
The two major contenders – Labour and Tories – have both nominated candidates, who, if elected, will be the youngest MPs in the House. Labour’s candidate is Chris Ostrowski and the Tory candidate is Chloe Smith. The LibDem candidate is their 2005 candidate in South West Norfolk and local councillor April Pond. The Greenies nominated Rupert Read, their top candidate in the East Euro constituency in June as their candidate. Read is also a local councillor – the Greens are the second party on the Norwich council. There are also UKIP, BNP and Looney candidates. A notable independent is former ambassador Craig Murray running as an anti-corruption candidate.
The Greens are not strong in the North, but more in the South (over 7% in 2004); but Labour is bleeding a lot of support to the Greens according to a poll for the by-election (change on 2005). Craig Murray was not polled, but he is an important factor. His result will be important to this race.
Conservative 34% (+1)
Labour 30% (-15)
LibDem 15% (-1)
Green 14% (+11)
UK PollingReport has some information on the poll:
Norwich’s University & College Union have commissioned an ICM poll for the forthcoming by-election in Norwich North. [...]
This is the equivalent of an 8 percent swing to the Conservatives, pretty much in line with national polling at the moment, though beneath those figures the actual shift has almost all been from the Labour party over to the Greens. The sample size was only 500 (and once don’t knows, unlikely to votes and so on were taken out, the voting figures were based on only 294), so there’s a hefty margin of error, but the Conservatives start the race slightly ahead.
This is of course an early poll – the by-election campaigning has barely started and Labour haven’t even named their candidate. 18% of the people ICM contacted weren’t even aware there was a forthcoming by-election, and 24% said they didn’t know how they would vote (as usual ICM re-allocate a proportion of these people based on how they voted at the last election, without this adjustment the figures would have been CON 35%, LAB 28%).
Labour is expecting a bad night (or day, seeing as counting starts tomorrow morning), but the Conservatives falling flat (albeit allowing them to win thanks to Labour’s collapse) wouldn’t be entirely good news. A good Green result for Read would position him well to run “for real” in Norwich South in the general election, since Norwich South is probably a top Green target and one of the few places they stand a chance to win.
As expected, the UK Euro results were marked by an unprecedented defeat for the governing Labour Party and also a drop in already very low turnout (though much smaller than earlier predicted, thankfully). Euro elections in the UK are held in twelve regional constituencies with a threshold of 5% in each, with seats allocated through proportional representation. Only Northern Ireland uses the single-transferable vote system, which is also used in all other Northern Irish elections. Prior to 1999, the UK was the only European country to elect MEPs via FPTP. The UK’s delegation has been reduced from 75 to 72 since 2004. For that reason, the results table gives the seat change including the loss of 3 seats nationally but also (second number) the relative seat change, using results for 72 seats in 2004.
Conservative 27.7% (+1.0%) winning 25 seats (-2/+1)
UKIP 16.5% (+0.3%) winning 13 seats (+1/+1)
Labour 15.7% (-6.9%) winning 13 seats (-6/-5)
Liberal Democrats 13.7% (-1.2%) winning 11 seats (-1/+1)
Green Party 8.6% (+2.4%) winning 2 seats (nc)
British National Party 6.2% (+1.3%) winning 2 seats (+2/+2)
Scottish National Party 2.1% (-+0.7%) winning 2 seats (nc)
Plaid Cymru 0.8% (-0.1%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Results by region (all parties over 5% and the best party under 5%):
South East England: Con 34.8% (4), UKIP 18.8% (2), LD 14.1% (2), Green 11.6% (1), Lab 8.2% (1), BNP 4.4%
London: Con 27.4% (3), Lab 21.3% (2), LD 13.7% (1), Green 10.9% (1), UKIP 10.8% (1), BNP 4.9%
North West England: Con 25.6% (3), Lab 20.4% (2), UKIP 15.8% (1), LD 14.3% (1), BNP 8% (1), Green 7.7%, ED 2.4%
East of England: Con 31.2% (3), UKIP 19.6% (2), LD 13.8% (1), Lab 10.5% (1), Green 8.8%, BNP 6.1%, UK First 2.4%
South West England: Con 30.2% (3), UKIP 22.1% (2), LD 17.2% (1), Green 9.3%, Lab 7.7%, BNP 3.9%
West Midlands: Con 28.1% (2), UKIP 21.3% (2), Lab 17% (1), LD 12% (1), BNP 8.6%, Green 6.2%, ED 2.3%
Yorkshire and the Humber: Con 24.5% (2), Lab 18.8% (1), UKIP 17.4% (1), LD 13.2% (1), BNP 9.8% (1), Green 8.5%, ED 2.6%
Scotland: SNP 29.1% (2), Lab 20.8% (2), Con 16.8% (1), LD 11.5% (1), Green 7.3%, UKIP 5.2%, BNP 2.5%
East Midlands: Con 30.2% (2), Lab 16.9% (1), UKIP 16.4% (1), LD 12.3% (1), BNP 8.7%, Green 6.8%, ED 2.3%
Wales: Con 21.2% (1), Lab 20.3% (1), Plaid 18.5% (1), UKIP 12.8% (1), LD 10.7%, Green 5.6%, BNP 5.4%, Christian 1.9%
North East England: Lab 25% (1), Con 19.8% (1), LD 17.6% (1), UKIP 15.4%, BNP 8.9%, Green 5.8%, ED 2.2%
Northern Ireland: SF 26% (1), DUP 18.2% (1), UCU-F 17.1% (1), SDLP 16.2%, TUV 13.6%, Alliance 5.6%, Green 3.2%
The map and result table above show the extent of the Labour rout. Third place, behind UKIP, and losing in Labour’s historic strongholds. In the south of England, they’ve been reduced, at the Euro level atleast, to a fringe party left fighting with the Greenies. In Cornwall for example, Labour is in sixth – behind the Greenies and Mebyon Kernow (Cornish autonomists, who polled an excellent 7%)! Their only “wins” are in urban areas in the populated areas of central and northern England (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, County Durham). At this point, Labour seems to be a purely urban/industrial party. The Conservatives, however, are quite far from a real landslide in the popular vote, with less than 30%. They break 40% in only a few places and 50% only in Gibraltar. However, in a general election, one would expect a lot of the UKIP vote to go to the Conservatives (and Labour to a lesser extent and to a much, much lesser extent, the LibDems). Not too bad a night for the Greenies, with a nice vote increase and first place in the wealthy liberal cities of Brighton & Hove, Oxford and Norwich. However, they must be pretty angry at missing out on seats in Scotland, North West, East, South West and a second seat in the South East. They’re perfectly right that a national constituency, used in most countries, would produce real proportional results and not fake proportional. On a very sad note for sanity and non-fascists, the British National (or Nazi) Party got not one MEP, but two MEPs. Including an outright racist and former Nazi (real one, I’m not using it as an insult), Andrew Brons, in Yorkshire and the Humber. Nick Griffin was elected in the North West (a massive campaign to prevent his election, led notably by the Greenies, failed). Griffin is not any better than Brons (the same can be said for any BNPer, really).
Terrible results for Labour in it’s Celtic heartlands of Scotland and Wales. In Scotland, the SNP seems to have replaced Labour, for the time being atleast, as Scotland’s natural governing party. The SNP has won pleasing results in urban Labour areas (the Glasgow-Edinburgh belt). Labour’s defeat in Wales by the Conservatives is even more spectacular, Wales having voted for Labour since 1918. Even in Labour’s Welsh strongholds north of Cardiff, they’re not even breaking 35%. In Rhondda, where they polled 68% in the 2005 general election, they’re polling 34.7% today. However, the results in Wales are only encouraging to the Tories, who are on track to stack up a number of gains in the next general election. Plaid is obviously on track to re-gain Ceredigion, but they’ve fallen flat on their noses due to their coalition with Labour in Cardiff.
The result maps for Scotland are by local government area and in Wales, they’re by 2005 Westminster constituency.
The Northern Irish results are not really that groundbreaking and the claims of a massive historical defeat for unionists is laughable. While Sinn Féin is certainly far ahead, they’re polling slightly below their 2004 level and the other nationalist party, the SDLP has only marginally improved. The only reason the DUP has taken such a hit is because Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionists have done well (13.5% on FPVs). The Ulster Unionists-Conservatives have marginally improved on the UUP’s 2004 result. Overall, the seat distribution remains unchanged and the votes stand at nats 41.9% (42.2% in 2004) vs. unionists at 48.6% (48.5% in 2004). Alliance candidates or an Indie supported by the Alliance in 2004 took 5.5% in 2009 and 6.6% in 2004. The Alliance, close to the LibDems, claim to be independent of the nat/unionist divide and non-sectarian. IIRC, their preferences generally split more favourably for unionists (though the split is pretty even).
A number of countries vote today in the Euros, though many more vote tomorrow. Only the Dutch have taken the risk to publish Euro results before they were technically allowed to, while the Brits and Irish who voted before-yesterday and yesterday respectively have not published their Euro results (they will do so tommorrow, when all 26 other countries do so).
However, local elections were held in England and Ireland (where there were also two by-elections).
The Conservatives have won a landslide in the local elections (27 county councils, 3 old unitary authorities, 5 new unitary authorities, and 3 directly-elected Mayors). According to the BBC, the figures for seats and councillors for all these authorities (except the Isles of Scilly, where all are Indies) are the following:
Conservative 1,476 councillors (+233) winning 30 councils (+7)
Liberal Democrats 473 councillors (-4) winning 1 council (-1)
Labour 176 councillors (-273) winning 0 councils (-4)
Independents 95 councillors (+6)
Green 16 councillors (+6)
Residents Associations 9 councillors (+2)
UKIP 6 councillors (+6)
Mebyon Kernow 3 councillors (±0)
BNP 3 councillors (+3)
Liberal 2 councillors (±0)
Others 28 councillors (+13)
No Overall Control winning 3 councils (-2)
The BBC has done a “projected PV share” estimate, which is quite worthless (anybody applying it to a general election is a useless tool) and probably very flawed. The Tories would have 38% (44 in 2008), the LibDems 28% (25 in 2008), and Labour 23% (24 in 2008). However, do note that the 2008 figure is based on entirely different councils, so the 2005 estimate is a much better comparison. The 2005 result is not available.
Anyways, Labour has suffered a very humiliating defeat. What is most striking is Labour’s total rout in some of its strongholds. In Lancashire, Labour fell from 44 seats in 2005 to 16 today (the Conservatives gained 18, the LibDems also gained 6). In Staffordshire, a Labour-held council, Labour is now the fourth party. It fell from 32 seats in 2005 to just 3 today (the Conservatives have gained the council with 49 seats, the LibDems and UKIP have four each). Other Labour council loses are Derbyshire (-16 seats for Labour), Nottinghamshire (-22).
The Liberal Democrats have picked up Bristol from NOC (they were the largest party before though). However, they have performed very poorly in Cornwall (where they hold all 5 – or 6 on new boundaries – seats in Westminster). They controlled the old Cornwall County Council, and today the Conservatives are by far the largest party with 50 seats (38 LibDem, 32 Indies and 3 Mebyon Kernow – a party which wants a devolved assembly and greater self-governance for Cornwall). This is certainly a bad sign for the LibDem incumbents in Westminster.
The other NOC councils are Cumbria (38 Con [+6], 24 Lab [-16], 16 LDs [+6], 5 Ind [+2], 1 Other [+1]) and Bedford, a new unitary authority (13 LDs, 9 Con, 7 Ind, 7 Lab).
This does not smell good for Labour in the Euros, and the UKIP and BNP’s local gains do smell good for them tomorrow.
On a negative note for all (although that may end up a positive note for certain parties), turnout was at joke levels. Around 20% for the Euros (the UK had a decent turnout by British standards for the 2004 Euros – 38%), which is close to 1999 levels (23%). In the locals, turnout was 30% (low turnout in locals is not a surprise or an abnormality in British electoral life). In Glasgow, turnout was 7% (yes, 93% did not vote).
In Northern Ireland, rumours have it that Sinn Féin has topped the poll (an excellent result for them which I did not see coming) due to a strong performance by incumbent “Traditionalist Unionist” MEP Jim Allister against his old Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). It seems that Sinn Féin’s Bairbre de Brún has made the quota by first count, while the DUP gets the second seat but without reaching the quota. The third seat is a thing to watch between the Conservative and Unionist (Conservative + Ulster Unionist [UUP]) MEP Jim Nicholson, the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) candidate Alban Macginness and Allister. These, however, are just rumours.
Ireland Locals and By-Elections
Ireland also voted in local elections (counties, county borough, city and town councils) and two by-elections for the the Irish lower house, the Dáil. Again, the government has suffered a humiliating defeat by the looks of the exit polls.
The local elections exit poll from RTÉ.
Fine Gael 34% (+6.5%)
Fianna Fáil 24% (-8%)
Labour 17% (+5.5%)
Sinn Féin 9% (+1%)
Green Party 3% (-1%)
The current standings (190 seats out of 883)
Fine Gael 72 seats
Labour 46 seats
Fianna Fáil 30 seats
Others and Indies 29 seats
Sinn Féin 13 seats
In the Dáil by-elections, the counts are almost over.
Dublin South (Quota: 26,019)
George Lee (Fine Gael) 53.4% (+26.1% on 2007) / 27,768 votes
Alex White (Labour) 19.8% (+9.4%)
Shay Brennan (Fianna Fáil) 17.8% (-23.6%)
Elizabeth Davidson (Green) 3.5% (-7.5%)
Shaun Tracey (Sinn Féin) 3.3% (+0.3%)
Ross O’Mullane (Ind) 1.2%
Frank O’Gorman (Ind) 0.7%
Noel O’Gara (Ind) 0.3%
Fine Gael GAIN from Fianna Fáil
Dublin Central, Count One (Quota: 14,207)
Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind Gregoryite) 26.9% (+13.5% on Gregory 2007) / 7,639 votes
Paschal Donoghue (Fine Gael) 22.7% (+13.1%)
Ivana Bacik (Labour) 17.3% (+4.8%)
Christy Burke (Sinn Féin) 13.3% (+4.1%)
Maurice Ahern (Fianna Fáil) 12.3% (-32.2%)
David Geary (Green) 2.9% (-2.9%)
Patrick Talbot (Immigration Control) 2.2% (+1.5%)
Malachy Steenson (Workers’ Party) 1.8%
Paul O’Loughlin (Christian Solidarity) 0.7% (-0.04%)
On count 8, O’Sullivan has won without a quota. She has 13,739 votes against 10,198 for Donoghue. Therefore: Independent HOLD.
These results are a very bad result for Fianna Fáil, and this should be confirmed by the Euro counts. Talking about the Euros, RTÉ does have an exit poll out:
Fine Gael 30% (+2.2%)
Fianna Fáil 23% (-6.5%)
Labour 16% (+5.5%)
Sinn Féin 12% (+0.9%)
Libertas 4% (new)
Socialist 3% (+1.5%)
Green Party 2% (-2.3%)
The rumours say that Declan Ganley has performed quite well in North West. In the East, FG and Labour seem assured a seat each though the third seat is close between Aylward (FF) and Phelan (FG). Fine Gael will be hoping that Phelan wins to prevent an explanation of why they lost a seat there. In the South, Crowley (FF) and Seán Kelly (FG) are assured re-election and the third seat is too close to call. In Dublin, Mitchell (FG) and deRossa (Lab) are safe while the third seat is up in the air between SF, FF and the Socialist leader Jim Higgins.
Turnout in the locals is 55% – turnout in the 2004 Euros was 59%
Related to tommorrow’s big day, I hope to be able to live blog results if possible.
European elections in the United Kingdom will be held on June 4, 2009, at the same time as local elections in England.
Euro elections in the UK are held in twelve regional constituencies with a threshold of 5% in each, with seats allocated through proportional representation. Only Northern Ireland uses the single-transferable vote system, which is also used in all other Northern Irish elections. Prior to 1999, the UK was the only European country to elect MEPs via FPTP. The table below outlines these constituencies and the the changes in seat numbers since 2004. For reference, the UK’s delegation has been reduced from 75 to 72.
South East England: 10 seats (nc)
London: 8 seats (-1)
North West England: 8 seats (-1)
East of England: 7 seats (nc)
South West England: 7 seats (-1)
West Midlands: 6 seats (-1)
Yorkshire and the Humber: 6 seats (nc)
Scotland: 6 seats (-1)
East Midlands: 5 seats (-1)
Wales: 4 seats (nc)
North East England: 3 seats (nc)
Northern Ireland: 3 seats (nc)
As you probably know very well, the United Kingdom’s two main parties are Labour, a social democratic party that moved away from its left-wing socialist roots under Tony Blair to become a third way “New Labour”; and the Conservatives, typical European conservatives but also strongly opposed to European federalism and generally seen as Euroskeptic. Indeed, the Conservative Party, along with the Czech Civic Democrats, are members of the European Democrats party (which sits in the EPP-ED group in Parliament). The Liberal Democrats, founded by a merger of the old Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party in 1988, are social liberals and generally economically liberal (though the LibDems are not like the German FDP). The LibDems are the most strongly pro-EU party, and are also anti-Iraq war and have recently added a green liberal flair. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is active mostly in Euro elections and favours the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (a position not adopted by other Euroskeptic parties, such as the MPF in France). While the UKIP has other policies, it’s staunch opposition to the EU is it’s main and most famous position. The Green Party is also Euroskeptic, and strongly left-wing. The Scottish nationalists (SNP) and the Welsh nationalists (Plaid Cymru) have representation both in Bruxelles and in Westmister, and the SNP is currently the leading party in Scotland’s devolved Parliament. The British National Party, a far-right white nationalist/populist party, which has a very bad name, justifiably, is also active but has no representation in either Bruxelles or Westminster.
The results of the 2004 election:
Conservative (ED) 26.7% (-9%) winning 27 seats (-8)
Labour (PES) 22.6% (-5.4%) winning 19 seats (-6)
UKIP (ID) 16.1% (+9.2%) winning 12 seats (+10)
Liberal Democrats (ELDR) 14.9% (+2.3%) winning 12 seats (+2)
Green Party (EGP) 6.3% (nc) winning 2 seats (nc)
British National Party (Euronat) 4.9% (+3.9%)
Respect (EACL) 1.5% (new)
Scottish National Party (EFA) 1.4% (-1.3%) winning 2 seats (nc)
Plaid Cymru (EFA) 1% (-0.9%) winning 1 seat (-1)
Results by region:
South East England: 4 Con, 2 UKIP, 2 LibDem, 1 Lab, 1 Green
London: 3 Con, 3 Lab, 1 LibDem, 1 UKIP, 1 Green
North West England: 3 Lab, 3 Con, 2 LibDem, 1 UKIP
East of England: 3 Con, 2 UKIP, 1 Lab, 1 LibDem
South West England: 3 Con, 2 UKIP, 1 LibDem, 1 Lab
West Midlands: 3 Con, 2 Lab, 1 UKIP, 1 LibDem
Yorkshire and the Humber: 2 Lab, 2 Con, 1 LibDem, 1 UKIP
Scotland: 2 Lab, 2 SNP, 2 Con, 1 LibDem
East Midlands: 2 Con, 2 UKIP, 1 Lab, 1 LibDem
Wales: 2 Lab, 1 Con, 1 Plaid
North East England: 1 Lab, 1 Con, 1 LibDem
Northern Ireland: 1 DUP, 1 SF, 1 UUP
The UKIP has fallen in polls and recently took a thumping in the London elections last year (the last London elections, held on the same day as the 2004 Euros, were favourable to the UKIP). However, the UKIP (and BNP) got a boost from the MP’s expenses scandal which has hurt Gordon Brown’s Labour government a lot. While the scandal has also involved the Conservatives and LibDems, both parties were less affected because of what is perceived to be a better handling of the scandal by those parties’ respective leaders. Since the scandal, the UKIP’s rather dreary poll numbers turned around and returned to 2004 levels – even superior to that. Numbers for the Conservatives and most significantly Labour also collapsed, while LibDem numbers are hovering at or slightly above (or below) its 2004 result. However, certain polls have been placing the LibDems (or UKIP) ahead of Labour, bumping Labour to third. A third place showing would be a total disaster for Labour and could precipitate things in Westminster. The Greenies seem to have picked up some Labour voters, and they’re polling over the symbolic 10% line. The BNP’s poll numbers fluctuate, and I suspect they’re underestimated. The BNP has a definite chance at picking up a seat it narrowly missed out on in 2004 in the North West. Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, is running there.
In Scotland, the SNP is clearly ahead of Labour on most polling and that lead may replicate at the Euro level. A SNP victory in the Euros would be a symbolic victory for the party, which some say is headed to replace Labour as Scotland’s “natural governing party”. It is hard to say if Plaid Cymru is regaining ground lost in 2004 in Wales, since there is rarely polling from Wales.
In Northern Ireland, there should be no change in the seat allocation. However, it is likely that Jim Allister, elected for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) but now a member of his Traditionalist Unionist Voice (TUV), which opposes the DUP’s coalition with the nationalist-Catholic Sinn Fein. Diane Dodds, the DUP candidate this time (each party runs only one candidate, even though there are 3 seats – it is extremely unlikely a party would win two in this system), is likely to pick up that seat. It will nonetheless be a test for anti-Accord Unionists, notably the TUV. The nationalists (Social Democratic and Labour Party, SDLP, of course) picking up a seat from the Unionists is practically impossible and Sinn Fein losing a seat to SDLP can also be ruled out.
All 27 English county councils and 3 existing and 5 new English unitary authorities are up for election. Except for Bristol Unitary Authority, where only a third of the seats are up, all seats are up. As of now, the Conservatives controlled 19 of the 27 councils, Labour controlled 4, the LibDems 2, and two (Cumbria, with Conservative-LibDem coalition, and Warwickshire, with a Conservative minority administration) had no overall control. Of the existing three unitary authorities, Bristol had NOC (LibDem minority) while the Isle of Wight had a Conservative majority and the Isles of Scilly were led by Independents. The new authorities are Bedford, West Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Shropshire, and Wiltshire. Direct mayoral elections are being held in Doncaster (Indie incumbent), Hartlepool (Indie) and North Tyneside (Labour).