Friday 8 May 2015

Congratulations to Barnets three Tory MP's in retaining their seats

So I awoke this morning to the rather surprising news that the London Borough of Barnet has returned all three Tory MP's. I am one who believes in being gracious in both defeat and victory, so I would like to congratulate Theresa Villiers, Matthew Offord and Mike Freer. I would also like to congratulate Daniel Hope at the Barnet Bugle, who called not only the election result, but the Hendon result correctly. Following the Mill Hill hustings, Mr Hope predicted a small Tory majority and all three Tory MP's to retain their seats. So it appears that Mr Hope is after all the Mystic Meg of Barnet (Sadly this means I now owe him a fiver, but he ho, only birth, death and tax are truly inevitable in life).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this election is that they show that opinion polls are a complete waste of time and money. Will anyone ever bother believing them again? I don't think so.

The results are as follows

Finchley and Golders Green
Mike Freer, Conservative, 25,835
Sarah Sackman,  Labour, 20,173
Richard King, UK Independence 1,732
Jonathan Davies, Liberal Democrat, 1,662
Adele Ward, Green, 1,357

Matthew Offord, Conservative, 24,328
Andrew Dismore, Labour, 20,604
Raymond Shamash, UK Independence, 2,595
Alasdair Hill, Liberal Democrat, 1,088
Ben Samuel, Green, 1,015

Chipping Barnet
Theresa Villiers, Conservative, 25,759
Amy Trevethan, Labour, 18,103
Victor Kaye, UK Independence, 4,151
Poppy AM, Green, 2,501
Ray Marisha, Liberal Democrats, 2,381
Mehdi Akhavan, Independent, 118

These results are a stunning indictment of the Barnet Labour party. It gives me no great pleasure to say it, but the truth is that Barnet Labour are a disgrace and a shambles. Labour most certainly should have won in Hendon and had a good chance of taking Finchley. Why did they fail so miserably? It is clear that the country didn't want Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. I met Mr Miliband shortly after he was elected, with a delegation from the FSB, and it was clear to me that he wasn't Prime Minister material. I have not met anyone who felt Miliband was a credible man to take the keys to number 10.

But that is only a small part of the picture. In Hendon, we had Dr Matthew Offord, who even privately told me at the Mill Hill hustings that he expected to have "some time on his hands" after the election. Hendon Tory councillors told me that they thought Matthew was in trouble on many occasions. Following a Mill Hill neighbourhood forum meeting, I was discussing the matter with Val Duschinsky, a Mill Hill Tory Councillor, who played an influential role in Offords campaign. I told her that I thought that the only hope for Offord was to hoover up local Lib Dem votes, on the basis that the coalition had been successful. It appears that this is exactly what happened. Matthew Offord also did something none of the other Tory candidates in Barnet did He reached out to parts of the community which Tories traditionally ignore. His courting of the local Nepali community and evangilical Christians has paid off massively. I warned local Labour activist Adam Langleben of the "under the radar" work Offord was doing and sadly Adam dismissed this out of hand. This delivered a huge swing to Offord. One has to look at the Labour campaign. Andrew Dismore was rejected by the Hendon electorate in 2010. Mr Dismore was mired in the expenses scandal, which I believe did for him in 2010. Matthew Offord missed no opportunity to remind the public of Dismores expenses. When it comes down to it, people do not like such things. But the problem goes far deeper than Mr Dismore. Under Alison Moore's leadership at the Council, Barnet Labour have been shown to be naive, stupid and ineffective. There is a tight clique which control Barnet Labour and they have been thoroughly discredited time and time again.

The truth is that if you analyse the 2010 general election figures, you will see that the vast majority of the Lib Dem vote has defected to the Tories. I stood for the Lib Dems in 2010 and it was clear to me that the Labour party has completely alienated the Lib Dem voters. Between 1997 and 2005 elections, the Barnet Lib Dems and Labour had a cosy arrangement whereby they gave an implicit nod to each other to support the anti Tory candidates that were most likely to win. This resulted in Lib Dem councillors in Childs Hill, Mill Hill and High Barnet and Labour MP's in Finchley and Hendon.This is the end of the road for Andrew Dismore. Unlike his two colleagues in Barnet seats who added nearly 5,000 votes from 2010, Dismore added nothing much. It is time for fresh blood and fresh ideas in Hendon.

As you can see from the 2010 results, the Lib Dems had 5,734 voters

Conservative Matthew Offord 19,635 42.3 +5.2

Labour Andrew Dismore 19,529 42.1 −3.0

Liberal Democrat Matthew Harris 5,734 12.4 −1.7

UKIP Robin Lambert 958 2.1 +0.5

Green Andrew Newby 518 1.1 −0.7

Only one in five of these went to Andrew Dismore, the rest went to Offord. The reason is quite simple. Dismore has spent the campaign insulting Lib Dems and blaming them for the ills of the country. It is also quite clear that these Lib Dems looked at what he had to say and decided that they'd rather see Matthew Offord, who was quite nice about the coalition than Dismore who kept calling them every name under the sun. I haven't spoken to any Labour members yet, but I expect a lot of blood letting. The truth is that clique who run Labour are completely out of touch with ordinary voters and they simply talk to each other, convincing each other that they are on course to win. They simply expected the Lib Dems to vote Labour, despite having nothing good to say about them. Dismore only added just over 1,000 voters to his 2010 total, wheras Offord added 5,000

In Finchley and Golders Green, Sarah Sackman was always going to have an uphill task overturning Freers majority. It is clear that with the national swing (the real one, not the "opinion pollsters verdict"), she was always going to fail. Comparing the swing in Finchley with the one in Hendon, it soon becomes clear that Sarah put up a good battle.

Check the 2010 results

Conservative Mike Freer 21,688 46.0 +6.2

Labour Alison Moore 15,879 33.7 −5.4

Liberal Democrat Laura Edge 8,036 17.0 −0.1

UKIP Susan Cummins 817 1.7 +0.6

Green Donald Lyven 737 1.6 −1.0

Sarah put on nearly 5,000 votes, which is hugely impressive. I hope that in the cold light of day, she sees that this is a fantastic achievement. Again it appears that Freer hoovered up many Lib Dem voters. I believe that the key to this was Barnet Council Labour leader Alison Moore's decision to attack the Lib Dem stronghold of Childs Hill. This alienated a key area that has always swung behind Labour at general elections. I told Labour before the council elections last year that this was suicidal and so it has proven. Sadly I think Sarah has paid a heavy price for Alison Moore's arrogance.

Finally a quick look at Theresa Villiers in Chipping Barnet. Despite no support from the local Labour Party, Amy Trevethan added nearly five thousand votes to the total polled in 2010. Again though, the Lib Dems jumped ship to the Tories. Again I believe this was due to the way Labour disrespected the ordinary Lib Dem voters. High Barnet had been a target seat for the Lib Dems in last years council elections, they had a popular local councillor, Duncan MacDonald until 2010. Labour threw the kitchen sink at the Lib Dems in Barnet. This simply drove Lib Dems to the Tories.

Check the 2010 results

Conservative Theresa Villiers 19,744 46.6 +0.2

Labour Pauline Coakley-Webb 13,784 32.5 –7.5

Liberal Democrat Sean Hooker 6,671 15.7 +2.1

Green Audrey Poppy 1,199 2.8 +2.8

UKIP Victor Kaye 924 2.2 +2.2

Rainbow Dream Ticket Rainbow George Weiss 59 0.1 +0.1

The sad truth in Barnet is that Labour have to learn that arrogance never pays off. They have been arrogant in council, with little to be arrogant about. They have to learn that the art of seduction has nothing to do with lecturing people and telling them they are idiots. You have to tell them they are marvellous, but just this once, maybe can we have a quick kiss, whilst the life partner is looking the other way. That is why Barnet Labour failed and until they learn this lesson, they will go on failing.
In life, you get what you deserve in the end. Barnet Labour deserve nothing, because they are foolish, arrogant and lazy. Not the activists who worked tirelessly, but the people with their hands on the levers of power in the party. This blog has been broadly supportive of the Labour Party since its inception in 2008. In this time we've had over, 1.5 million hits. In the whole of this election campaign, despite posting at least one blog a day for the last year, we have not had anything from Barnet Labour to enable us to make the case for them. We asked for their candidates to support the #SaveLondonMusic campaign, which we've been running since February, but none signed up or even mentioned it with a retweet. We asked them to give us info on local stories, we got nothing, we asked for feedback on canvassing, we got nothing. All we got was press releases from Andrew Dismore that went to every other news organisation. I take no great pleasure in seeing the Tories back in, but it would be dishonest to fail to admit that when it comes down to it, they are far better at connecting with the real voters of the Borough. Until Labour realise that and come out of their Ivory towers, we are doomed to see this story repeated again and again. This process can only start with the resignation of Alison Moore. I sincerely hope she goes today. I hope Amy Trevethan takes over, because the one lesson you can learn from the above stats is that she can connect with voters and she has fresh ideas and a fresh approach.

And the other parties. It was a dismal night for the Lib Dems. If you jump into bed with your next door neighbour, don't be surprised if your partner throws a paddy when they get home and catch you. The Lib Dem voters have been none too keen on coalition. They seem even less keen on Labour though, which is why we have three Tory MP's.

UKIP have simply proven what we knew all along. They have nothiong to offer in Barnet and nothing to offer nationally. I suppose the only good thing is that they've emptied the pockets of a few billionaire backers. It's a shame these greedy opportunists backing UKIP didn't give the cash to Battersea Dogs home instead. At least that would have been a shaggy dog story with a happy end. 

On Barnet politics, finally a word about the Green party. If anyone can look at the above results and tell me that the Green party are anything but a useful way of splitting the progressive vote, they are clearly smoking something far stronger than Benson and Hedges. Thank God the whole thing is over. Much as I am disappointed with the result, if nothing else it appears the country will have stable government.

One last word on a personal note. I was pleased to see my friend Jane Ellison, a former Mill Hill and Hale Tory Councillor, reelected as MP for Battersea. Jane founded the Mill Hill Music Festival 20 years ago, before moving to Battersea. Unlike most of her colleagues at the Council, this is a fantastic legacy from her time here. Jane is no longer involved with the festival, but it is still going strong. Click the banner at the top of the page to find out more details.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is from Poppy. I've only now got the chance to look at this blog. You have made an error. We all do, Roger, and will generally be glad to put them right when they're pointed out, no? I'm not going to impugn your sincerity because of an error. The table you show above as being Chipping Barnet's 2010 results are actually 2005's. Victor didn't stand in 2010, and I didn't stand in 2010 because I was in the Philippines doing peace work.