Saturday, 7 May 2016

The London Election unpicked - Analysis of London Mayor and Barnet & Camden GLA elections

Analysis of the Mayoral Election

Lets start with a look at the Mayoral race. Here are the final results.

Click for more readable view
Firstly it is worth noting the sheer scale of Sadiq Khans victory He was a clear winner in bith the First and second choices. We will give commentary elsewhere, however it is clear that given the scale of the Conservative win in 2012, something has gone seriously wrong in their campaign.

2012 election results

Click for a more readable version
Sadiq Khan and his wife Saadiya
A few facts leap out. Firstly the scale of change in the first choice votes for the top two parties. It was always assumed that Boris and Ken were big hitters and popular with the voters. It seems with the hardcore voters, Boris got maybe 10-15% more votes than Zac, not a huge number. Khan however got a huge number more votes. Another interesting feature is that the turnout was far higher. So much for the big hitters. Could it be that London really isn't quite as seduced by the cult of celebrity and we actually prefer an ordinary bloke who just wants to get on with the job. There is of course one factor that wasn't present in 2012. UKIP did not run a candidate. I would guess that Tory and UKIP 1st & 2nd choices are pretty interchangeable, so it is notable that the Right of centre block was still beaten. The BNP saw a decline in first choices but a more or less identical figure in 2nd preferences. The BNP yet again proves that it is an irrelevence.

The Greens made steady progress and Sian Berry increased the Green 1st choice vote by more than 50%. This is a spectacularly good performance. For the Lib Dems Caroline Pidgeon put in a decent performance. Many people had commented to me that the Lib Dems would suffer for having a politician rather than a celebrity such as Brian Paddick who stood last time. In actual fact, Pidgeon did far better. Again this seems to show that London is not seduced by the cult of celebrity. It is also notable that London seem to rather like women and more diverse candidates. It is also interesting to see that Sophie Walker from the womens equality party beat George Galloway, who has a national TV profile.

The message London seems to be sending to its politicians is a fairly clear one. We don't do division, we do diversity. Women are an electoral asset and we want candidates who reflect the social mix of London rather than those who seek to represent priviliged cliques.

One final word. The Conservatives made a monumental and highly costly error trying to portray Sadiq Khan as an extremist. There is one bit of advice I'll give anyone trying to work out if someone is a religious fundamentalist extremist. Have a look at a picture of them with their wife. Religious fundamentalists deal in singularity. It is quite clear that Khan does not subscribe to such views. He is about as mainstream as it is possible to be. Khan has got a very big job on his hands. It is in all our interests that he does a splendid job. David Cameron and his Tory party have done Khan a huge disservice with their lies and distortions. My advice to Cameron would be to reach out to Khan and to try and mend a few bridges.

Barnet and Camden analysis

Now lets have a look at the local results. A solid result for Labour and Andrew Dismore.

Please click for viewable image

Dismore consolidated his position. Many thought that without Brian Coleman to tarnish the Tories standing, Dismore could be in trouble. It seems that whilst Coleman was a factor in 2012, the non campaign run by Dan Thomas for the Tories seems to have completely negated any bounce they may have had.

Click for viewable version
It is worth noting that this time we had a UKIP candidate in Barnet to split the right of centre vote. As with the London Mayor, this didn't have any material effect. An interesting point of note regarding the Green party, where there was a marked decline in numbers of voters, in spite of a general increase in turnout. It was pretty clear to me that Poppy was a better candidate than Stephen Taylor. It is another example of a female candidate polling better than a male equivalent. I do find it a tad disappointing that none of the parties could manage to field a more diverse candidate. The Tories believed they had a shoe in, so went for what they believed to be a safe pair of hands. They made a huge mistake. Dan Thomas, deputy leader of the Council, sits in a safe ward and has no experience of fighting a proper campaign. I have no doubt that the polling day cock up in Barnet had a massive effect on his campaign. There is no way that you can argue that you are a safe pair of hands when the authority you are running is in the process of going into complete administrative meltdown. I also believe that the scandal of the withdrawal of Freedom passes for disabled people (broken by this blog) had an effect. We've seen huge interest and increeased blog hits around the story. Given that Zac Goldsmith and Dan Thomas had been claiming Freedom passes were safe, it is clear that the electorate dislike being told porkies.

 Andrew Dismore celebrates his win last nigh
Dan Thomas made a catastrophic schoolboy error in the dying days of the campaign, trying to link Andrew Dismore to anti semitism in the Labour party. Anyone familair with Dismore and local politics knows that this is ridiculous. Dismore is probably the politician most trusted by the Jewish community in London. Even those that don't vote for him, have never had anuything but praise for him. A couple of people I know rather well told me that these smears were a decisive factor in how they cast their votes (or didn't). It is a credit to Andrew Dismore that he didn't sink into the gutter and that he won.

Final conclusion

On Monday I finished off my blog about the Mayoral race with these words.

In summary I will be supporting Sadiq Khan. I am not a Labour activist and I am not a party member. I just happen to think that his plans are more coherent. I also think that Goldsmith has done himself no credit at all with his highly personal attacks on Khan. This is a trademark of the Lynton Crosby style of electioneering. Sadiq Khan is not a Muslim extremist and does not support Islamic extremists. To pretend otherwise is dishonest and unfair. There are many things which I would wish to see as qualities as the new Mayor, but ultimately I really don't want a man who tells lies and promotes outrageous smears about his opponent. London is a city with all manner of creeds and colours. Sadiq Khan strikes me as a man who can work with all of them. Zac Goldsmith strikes me as a man who simply follows what his campaign manager tells him. He is a lightweight  with a lightweight plan. His campaign seems to be banking on scaring people into thinking Khan is in some way dodgy. For that reason alone, I hope London soundly rejects him. 
I am pleased that London firmly agreed with me on Thursday. Congratulations to both Sadiqand Andrew. The hard work starts today.

No comments: