Saturday, May 08, 2010

Out for the count

The result at Vauxhall wasn't declared till after 8 o'clock on Friday morning and then it was back to the Town Hall for the count for the local elections which lasted till midnight. We got 82, 48 and 45 in Ferndale and 48, 45 and 46 in Larkhall. For the full figures see here and here respectively. Since Vauxhall has 8 wards and we contested two this meant that a quarter of the electorate had a chance to Vote Socialist twice and some obviously did. We only saw a handful who had voted just for all 3 of our candidates, but most of the others were deliberately cast for us (eg one for us and 2 for Labour or 1 for us and 2 for the Greens) and the higher voted for Danny Lambert is to be explained by people knowing what we stood for.

Besides staring at ballot papers the two of us had a chance to talk to Janus Polenceus of the English Democrats. He invited us to send a speaker to a meeting of theirs to explain our attitude to their proposal for an English Parliament (not sure we can say much about that except that it's irrelevant). He also said that the English Democrats wanted a referendum to be held in the old county of Monmouthshire to decide whether the inhabitants wanted to return to England which they had been part of until the 1960s. He got 60 votes in Stockwell ward.

At the general election count two of us spent some time talking to the people from the Animal Protection Party. Apparently they are different from the Animals Count Party we met at the European elections. They see themselves as the "spikey" wing of the Animal Rights movement and are hunt saboteurs. Their candidate told us he had voted for the Greens in his constituency.

We eventually met and talked to the people from Workers Power. At the beginning of the evening they had been hostile, the editor of their paper remarking to Danny that we had decided to "sully our hands" had we? In the end, as the votes for the 5 minor parties were counted together at one table, we had to talk to each other in a more civilised manner. When I said that the last time there had been two candidates calling themselves "socialist" in Vauxhall (in 1997) the other one (Scargill's SLP) had easily got many more votes than us, their candidate said that he had once been a member of the SLP. I'd forgotten that quite a number of Trotskyist groups entered the SLP till Scargill the Stalinist kicked them out.

The local bloggers couldn't get over the fact that, despite his slick campaign of tweets and YouTube clips, Jeremy Drinkall got less votes than us. Our friend the SW8 nationalist in particular, but he'd been hostile to us from the start. Maybe it was the triumph of substance over form. Or maybe that the people on council estates he targetted don't tweet. To tell the truth, from a media point of view, his campaign was better than ours. We never got a mention in the Financial Times, or got a photo in the South London Press or used YouTube. We'll have to do better here next time.

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