Friday, 23 May 2014

Local elections; an early look at the fringe

The news that Labour had won control of Hammersmith & Fulham this morning left me with a smile on the way to work. The Tories had been planning to sell off all council housing and I cannot help but imagine this had some influence on local voters whose home were put at risk. Local Tory MP expressed obvious "sour grapes" when he blamed it on "Labour lies". David Cameron won't be happy either as this was one of his "flag ship" councils.

Meanwhile Greg Hands was not the only one with a sour face tonight as "Gorgeous" George Galloway saw his totally misnamed Respect outfit wiped out in Bradford. The Guardian reports:

George Galloway's Respect party made no gains in the city, despite Galloway touring the city in an open top bus in support of his eight candidates. He later blamed the poor result on "biradari" clan politics among the Pakistani community.

Respect has no representatives in Bradford's town hall since its five sitting councillors – elected in the euphoric aftermath of Galloway's byelection win in 2012 – quit the party last year. They now sit as an Independent grouping.

The biggest majority in Bradford was won by Labour's Imran Hussain in the Toller ward, who lost so catastrophically to Galloway in the Bradford West byelection. But on Friday, after polling 4,850 votes to Respect's 660, Hussain vowed to fight Galloway again in next year's general election -if selected as Labour's parliamentary candidate (and if Galloway choses to stand once more).
Galloway's response?:

Galloway did not attend the count, but wrote on Twitter: “It's with regret I inform you that feudal reactionary 'biradari' Labour politics is back in power in Bradford City Council. God help us. Thanks to the thousands who voted Respect yesterday and the candidates who braved foul weather and worse. We lost but we'll be back.”

After winning Bradford West in what he later dubbed the Bradford Spring, Galloway claimed to have “smashed” clan-based bloc voting.

Meanwhile in Bristol my correspondent Rick Johansen writes:

Bristol PCS Trot Mark Baker polled a spectacular 28 votes for the TUSC in the only Council Ward that returned a UKIP councillor. He was seventh out of seven and polled less than a quarter of the votes gained by Gorgeous George's odious Respect, who came sixth.

The TUSC promised to publish bulletins on their results from mid-morning today, but at the time of writing the page remains a bit scant. They did however score one victory, that of a defected Labour councillor Keith Morrell managed to get re-elected*. 

Well that's one step forward to..err somewhere I suppose.

The comrades are putting a spin on their other results, though not the abysmal 14 votes polled in one Portsmouth ward that I noticed earlier. Dave Nellist, the "Dear Leader" of the TUSC managed to come second in Coventry where he had previously been a Labour MP until he was exposed as a "cuckoo in the nest" and kicked out for his membership of the Militant Tendency.

Talking of "cuckoos", Andy Newman's home town of Swindon bucked the trend as Labour failed to take control. Nothing published on Socialist Unity as yet, though the "great man" will no doubt write some whinging excuse treatise in due course.

Lots more to come over the weekend I'm sure including results from Tower Hamlets and of course the Euro-elections. We'll be able to see how King Arthur's Socialist Labour Party fared in Wales, where the ancient Socialist Party of Great Britain is also standing.

By the way, did anyone notice the NO2EU campaign? Nah, me neither....

*Update: It has been bought to my attention that Keith Morrell actually appeared on the ballot paper as an independent, not TUSC, so not really a "gain" for them!

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