English and Irish Locals 2009
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.