Election 2014: The numbers

Election 2014: The numbers

Labour seats where Labour lost the popular vote in the 2014 local elections Party names in brackets in the 2010 columns indicate the main competitor party in 2010 where this is different from 2014. There were 9 Labour seats where the party did not come top in the popular vote in the 2014 local elections. In three of them the Conservatives were ahead, and in the other six UKIP ‘won’. The Conservative ‘gains’, though, were all in seats where the Tories had also won the local government elections in 2010. Even so, it suggests worryingly small pro-Labour swings in the seats concerned, and considerable vulnerability to UKIP. Labour target seats from Conservative   Labour target seats from Lib Dems   Notes The tables are of the party shares of the vote in Labour’s target parliamentary seats in the 2014 local elections. Target seats where there were no local government elections (e.g. Loughborough) are omitted. Target seats where only a minority of the seat had local elections (e.g. Norwich North) are also omitted. Exact figures should not be taken too seriously. There are several things that can make them misleading: People may vote differently in local and general elections. There are some places where this is a regular pattern – for instance, the Conservatives seem to do better in local elections in Birmingham and Wirral, but worse in Stevenage, than in general elections, and the Liberal Democrats often gain more local votes than seats in some areas (Bristol, Watford). There may be year-to-year variations caused by local issues. These are observations, not predictions – things will change before May 2015. This is a snapshot, albeit a fairly detailed one. Candidates may differ – not all parties put up full slates of candidates everywhere, and this will affect the shares of the vote. Liberal Democrat shares of 0 per cent in Lab/Con marginals mean that no Lib Dems stood for the council, and are definitely not a prediction that they will get zero votes in a parliamentary election. No adjustment is made for missing local candidates, even from the major parties. Turnout is considerably lower than in general elections. To some extent, ‘swing 2010-14’ (second column from the right) helps adjust for differences between local and national voting; the swing is taken from the 2010 local elections, not the general election, and may be a better approximation of changes in opinion since 2010. The swing figure is omitted in cases of boundary changes since 2010 (Swindon, Milton Keynes) and where it is meaningless. Where a projection is based on partial elections in the wards of the constituency, the figures are given in brackets () and may not give an accurate idea...

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No complacency

No complacency

This open letter to Ed Miliband originally appeared on www.fabians.org.uk. Dear Ed, I have seldom seen a set of local elections about which so much rubbish has been talked, even if the 2014 results were a particularly confusing mixed bag. The media commentary that Labour had done appallingly was initially badly overdone, partly because some of the most UKIP-friendly areas such as Hull and Rotherham came through long before the genuinely stunning successes Labour enjoyed in Hammersmith & Fulham and Bradford were counted. It also reflected the media’s obsession with novelty and the most idiotic trivia. The establishment media are hypnotised by UKIP rather like a rabbit before a snake. An almost equally stupid counter-reaction has set in among some Labour circles, arguing that because we made the most gains in these elections and UKIP didn’t win many seats, there is nothing to see here, we should all move along, and that Labour are doing marvellously. A quick look at the detailed figures of how people voted should dispel any such illusion. Let me outline a few key points. It is true that we are doing better than we did in 2010 (with a swing of about 4-5 per cent from the Tories), but so we bloody well should be. In most areas (other than London) 2010 was a low point and we could have hoped for better progress. Compared to Labour’s impressive gains in 2012, we have slipped back and there are a fair few wards that were Labour in 2012 but went Tory in 2014. Perhaps 2012 was always going to be Labour’s high point, as the economy languished and the Tories gifted us with an ‘omnishambles’ in the weeks before the election, but we still have to face the fact that (outside London) we did significantly worse. Target constituencies which were Labour on the basis of the results in 2012 (such as Elmet & Rothwell and Dudley South) were Tory in 2014. I don’t need to tell you about the inroads that UKIP have made in white working class areas where people have been voting Labour for generations. After all, you represent Doncaster North where UKIP won 34 per cent of the vote from a standing start. Labour came very close to losing a lot more seats to UKIP. There is a long term problem here – we started losing votes heavily here in around 2008 in local elections, and it is getting worse. We need to get tougher with poorly-performing Labour parties and councils. The collapse of Respect has given Bradford a reprieve, but the problems in Rotherham did not vanish after the successful handling of the difficult by-election there in 2012. But we also need...

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