Saturday, May 26, 2012

From the Vaults

I've popped to the party offices in Clapham, and run across our archivist here. So, I put him to work, and here are our votes from the 1973 GLC election:

Islington NorthBuick284
Hackney North & Stoke NewingtonCarter250
Lambeth CentralBaldwin115
TottenhamA. Young109
Holborn & St. PancrasDavies99
NorwoodH. Young95
St. MaryleboneWeidberg84

If we take those seats in our 2012 area, Norwood, Streatham, Lambeth Central and Vauxhall, we have 451. The Old GLC constituencies were much smaller and more numerous, but judging by their names they seem to have corresponded with the rough size of a Parliamentary constituency, and seem to have had electoral lists totalling about 45,000 voters. So that was 451 out of about 185,000 potential voters.

As the wikipedia article, linked to above, states, 1973 was a changed electoral system. Here are our totals for 1970


As can be seen, these were multi-member constituencies, so we could be picking up stray votes from other parties. We can take our "real" vote as being our top vote in each, which to summarise were:


We're mostly conerned with Lambeth. Now, note, this is across the whole borough (hence the much higher votes than 1973). Lambeth is, obviously, what is now our main stomping ground of Lambeth and Southwark. 620 votes in 1970 can be roughly coubled (assuming an equivilent vote available in Southwark) to give us 1,200 - about our result in 2008, but about half of our vote this time. The above results were about 0.6% of the vote. But, let's look at 1967.


And those headlines again:


Now, intriguingly, we were up against Communist Party opposition that year, and by and large they ouit polled us. Except in Lambeth, where Garnham came above one of the communist candidates. 1967 was not a year of crisis (in fact, it was the year before the crisis, while the going was still relatively good). It was a year of voting against the incumbant Labour government (so the Tories got in) and that may explain our quite high vote in Haringey (1.8%), and our then record in Lambeth (1.3%). To continue my unscientific procedure, if we double the Lambeth vote, we get 2724, just behind our score this time. Last time led to Tory government and to a surge back to Labour, this time we achieved our vote during a surge to Labour, which suggests there may be space for more growth. but in any case, it looks like 2012 is definitively our best election result ever. The trick now will be to build on that vote.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

By parliamentary constituency

The two GLA constituencies we contested covered 10 parliamentary constituencies (which would have cost us £5000 in deposits to contest as opposed to the £2000 we paid). Here are the number of votes our candidate obtained in these, excluding postal votes. As we got 220 postal votes in Lambeth (to be divided between 2 1/2 constituencies), 196 in Southwark (ditto), 159 in Wandsworth (3 constituencies) and 66 in Merton (2 constituencies), 641 in all, the full figures will be higher.

Anyway, here are the postal-voteless figures:

Vauxhall (Lab held) 593 (2.5%)
Streatham (Lab) 510 (2.1%)
Dulwich & West Norwood (Lab) 511 (2.0%)
Camberwell $ Peckham (Lab) 508 (1.9%)
Bermondsey & Old Southwark (LD) 400 (1.7%)
Mitcham & Morden (Lab) 293 (1.3%)
Battersea (Con) 232 (1.0%)
Tooting 228 (Lab) (0.9%)
Wimbledon (Con) 219 (0.9%)
Putney (Con) 146 (0.8%)

What these figures show is that we do better in Labour-held constituencies and in fact the better the safer the Labour seat is. When you think of it, this it what is to be expected in view both of the nature of our case and of the language in which we express it. More people in these places will have some degree of class consciousness.

Here is how all the parties did in Vauxhall:

Labour 12878 (53.7%)
Conservative 4763 (19.9%)
Green 2704 (11.3%)
Liberal Democrat 2515 (10.4%)
Socialist 593 (2.5%)
UKIP 538 (2.2%).

This is how they did in the 8 wards that would make up the proposed new constituency of Brixton:

Labour 15398 (58.5%)
Conservative 3894 (14.8%)
Green 3720 (14.1%)
Liberal Democrat 2117 (8.0%)
Socialist 719 (2.7%)
UKIP 486 (1.9%)

As to the 8 wards in the proposed new Battersea & Vauxhall constituency which we have been considering contesting instead of Vauxhall if it disappears, 4 of the wards are in Wandsworth and 4 in Lanbeth making comparisons difficult as there were 7 candidates in the first 4 and only 6 in the second. The Socialist candidates between them polled (not including postal votes) 428 votes (1.7%).

A word of caution: people tend to vote differently in elections which they consider don't matter (and which in fact don't matter) such as those for the GLA and the European Parliament than they do in parliamentary elections. It would be nice if these results could be reproduced in a parliamentary election but it won't necessarily be the case.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More analysis

This time Lambeth and Southwark.

In Lambeth we got 1700 (2.1%) and in Southwark 1238 (1.6%).

In three wards in Lambeth (Coldharbour, Larkhall and Brixton Hill) we got over a hundred votes, respectively 111, 102 and 101, or 3.4%, 3.3% and 3.0%. What this means in practical terms (assuming only about a third of electors voted) is that if you are walking town the street in these areas 1 out of every 100 people you pass are likely to have voted Socialist. I think that means that we should have a regular literature stall in Brixton High Road (which these three wards plus Ferndale where we got 2.9% surround). It also suggests that we should consider contesting the proposed new Brixton constituency (which will include all these wards) rather than the proposed Battersea & Vauxhall constituency -- if these and the other proposed boundary changes ever come in and are not dropped in exchange for not reforming the House of Lords.

In 9 of the 21 of the wards our candidate got more votes than the UKIP, or rather "The Fresh Choice for London", candidate. Not really surprising, as their main campaign slogan was "Save the City" and who wants to do that except the likes of the City bankers and lawyers who figured on their list?

In the 8 wards making up the parliamentary constituency of Vauxhall, the vote (not including postal votes) was 593 (or 2.5%). This contrasts with the 143 (or 0,3%) we got there in the 2010 General Election and the 240 (0.6%) in the 2005 General Election. In the 2008 GLA elections the figure was 351 (or 1.6%). An analysis of how we did in all the 10 parliamentary constituencies the GLA constituency covers follows separately.

In Southwark the best ward was Nunhead (which we did happen to leaflet) with 76 (or 2.7%) and we beat UKIP in 2 wards.

The higher vote in Lambeth than Southwark is no doubt to be explained by the fact that we have put a lot of work into Vauxhall, having contested 3 General Elections and 3 Council elections there as well as the last GLA elections and the European Parliament. We have also been leafletting regularly Larkhall and Ferndale wards (chosen because that's where we did best last time). This doesn't explain why we did better in Streatham (the other Lambeth parliamentary constituency) than in any part of Southwark.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Analysis -- Merton & Wandsworth

A little examination of the breakdown by ward (available here). Some breakdowns are very interesting. We got 578 votes in Merton, as opposed to 765 in Wandsworth (averages of 28 and 36, respectively). Postal votes complicate the picture a little, as they aren't grouped by ward, and we got 66 in Merton and 159 in Wandsworth. Our highest vote in Merton was 38 in Merton Park and St. Helier wards. In Wandsworth it was 54 in Latchmere (1.8% of votes cast) -- this appears to be one of the few Labour wards in Wandsworth. Of the Merton wards, St. Helier is Labour, while Merton Park is Independent. Both are down in Morden, so we have votes at the end of the Northern Line.

In some ways these figures confound my expectations, I thought we'd do better in Labour held Merton (which also returns Labour MP's), as compared to squarely Tory Wandsworth. Then again, Battersea Parliamentary constituency used to be Labour, and that's the area we leafletted. Further, Latchmere appears to have been squarely in the area we leafletted, so maybe that sort of thing pays off (it might also account for the higher postal vote).

The main thing it emphasises, that although in aggregate it sounds an impressive number, by ward it is our usual fare at council elections. The trick will be to tap into this latent vote and turn it into something bigger.

Just by way of comparison, TUSC averaged 15 votes per ward (308 in total) in Merton on the list election, and 28 (596) on the list election, which is pretty consistently behind us. The question to ask, is where a lot of our voters as confused as the BBC? If, however, you take our vote and replicate it across all 627 wards in London, it means we would achieve about 18,000 votes, which is close to the TUSC vote anyway.

Update: A more statistically minded comrade has pointed me in the direction of our average percentage. By that measure we did do better in Merton (average 1.1% of the vote) than in Wandsworth (0.9%). It's also been suggested we did well in St. Mary's Park ward (Wandsworth) thanks to the work of a mysterious comrade there. By percentage, then, our best overall result was St. Hellier (Merton), with 1.76%.

After a bit of fenangling...

The BBC did a wee write up of the election. You can find it here.
The Socialist Party

Keen to distance themselves from the Socialist Party of England and Wales, who make up one section of the Trade Union Socialist Coalition, the Socialist Party stood candidates in two Assembly consistuencies.

Both James Martin (Merton and Wandsworth) and Daniel Lambert (Lambeth and Southwark) finished last in their respective contests, gaining 4,281 votes between them.

Mr Martin said they campaigned for the "outright abolition of the wages system".
This is after we wrote to complain (twice, ocne about a small inaccuracy in our candidate's name). Initially they had us under the TUSC heading, but not "standing under their banner". Anyway, we are now immortalised, and the hundreds of readers who may find their way to that page may well get to see (albeit belatedly) that we stand for the abolition of the wages system. Who knows, maybe one or two might be tempted to look a little further.

Southwark readers learn who was standing

Last Thursday's Southwark News gave the results in the form of a pie-chart. Our share is shown in grey at the top:

It's not very clear here, but we know we 1,938 votes (just under 2 percent). This was the first time that this local paper mentioned who was standing. A bit late since the election was over.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Vote breakdown by wards awaited

The breakdown of voting by local council wards is supposed to be being published by next week. It will be interesting to see where our votes came from and whether a higher percentage corresponds to those wards in which we distributed our leaflets.

In the meantime, and for the record, here is the result of the council by-election in the Wimbledon Park ward of Merton council, one of the wards we did leaflet. Don't know if this contributed to any of the 37 rejected ballot papers.

Friday, May 04, 2012

London-wide list results in the two constituencies

These have just been announced.

Here they are for Lambeth & Southwark

Labour 78,174
Conservative 30,498
Green Party 20,151
Liberal Democrats 15,945
UKIP 4,216
Christian Peoples Alliance 2,591
BNP 2,048
Trade Union and Socialist Coalition 1,891 (1.2%)
English Democrats 1,075
The House Party 695
National Front 468
Ijaz Hayat (Independent) 335
Rathy Alagaratnam (Independent) 62

And those for Merton & Wandsworth

Conservative 61,476
Labour 53,978
Green 12,990
Liberal Democrat 9,925
UKIP 4,927
Christian Peoples Alliance 2,744
BNP 2,038
English Democrats 1,021
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 904 (0.6%)
The House Party 536
Rathy Alagaratnam 428
Ijaz Hayat 383
National Front 368

These are the results of the votes cast by the same voters in the two constituencies we contested but on a separate ballot paper.

What is intriguing is why the vote for TUSC should have been smaller than the vote for us (1047 less in Lambeth & Southwark and 439 less in Merton & Wandsworth). Since TUSC was offering a programme of attractive reforms ("jobs with a living wage for all", "no cuts", "cheap, efficient and safe public transport", "affordable homes for all", "free education") while we just advocated socialism, it might have been expected that they would have got more votes than us.

There are various possible explanations ranging from a statistical one (6 and 7 candidates in the constituencies compared with 13 lists) to the political ones that TUSC appealed mainly for the votes of trade unionists in the public sector while our appeal was directed at workers generally or even that some who voted for us deliberately didn't vote for them because they didn't believe in their reformist approach or the feasibility of their reforms within capitalism.

Lambeth & Southwark result

Just been announced by the BBC (we didn't have anybody there):

Val Shawcross (Labour) 83,239 52.8%
Michael Mitchell (Conservative) 30,537 19.4%
Rob Blackie (Liberal Democrats)18,359 11.6%
Jonathan Bartley (Green Party) 18,144 11.5%
James Fluss (UKIP/Fresh Choice for London) 4,395 2.8%
Daniel Lambert (The Socialist Party) 2,938 1.9%

Both the number of votes and the share went up from last time in 2008 (from 1588 and 1.0%).

Later, when the mayor and London-wide counts are done, there'll be a breakdown of how people in Lambeth & Southwark and in Merton & Wandsworth (and the other constituencies) voted for the the mayor and the lists. Later still, we'll get a breakdown by borough and local council wards.

Merton & Wandsworth result

Thanks, Anomymous, you beat me to it. I was there when the result was proclaimed and have just got back.
Here it is:

Richard Tracey (Conservative) 65,197 43.1%
Leonie Cooper (Labour) 55,216 36.5%
Lisa Smart (Liberal Democrat) 11,904 7.9%
Roy Vickery (Green Party) 11,307 7.5%
Mazhar Manzoor (UKIP) 3,717 2.5%
Thamilini Kulendran (IND) 2,424 1.6%
James Martin (Socialist Party) 1,343 0.9%

Total Ballot papers 153,785
Invalid or Blank 2,677
Valid 151,108
Turnout: 40.2%

For the record, when reading out the result the Returning Officer did refer to our candidate simply as "The Socialist Party".

Nothing else to report except that I did see a write-in vote in South West for the ISLP or "Independent Socialist Labour Party", a one-family breakaway from the Scargill Labour Party (I know who he must be: he stood for Kingston council last May). Also the Independent candidate told me that at the last council elections he had stood for the LibDems in Tooting.

The counts

Off to the count for Merton & Wandsworth in an hour or so at the Olympia in West London. Danny will be going to the count for Lamberth & Southwark in the Excel building in docklands.

The count is being done electronically. If you're that interested the process is explained in this short video.

You can follow the progress of the count here.

But don't expect results till about the end of the afternoon.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Voting for Socialism

Went to vote early. Cast a write-in vote for "WORLD SOCIALISM" for the Mayor and one for "SOCIALISM -- SPGB" for the constituency (no Socialist standing in mine, only the 5 usual suspects). I kept the London-wide one (it was supposed to be orange, but it's definitely pink) for our records, as it's set out much more clearly than the ballot paper for the European Parliament we contested as a list. It only contains the names and emblems of the parties contesting whereas the one for the EP had the registered name, the description, the emblem and the names of all the candidates. This is way we want go as, for us, it's "the case not the face" that counts.

The reason they have done this is that the votes will be counted electronically. This means that each ballot paper is shown on screens which can be seen by all of the few hundred people (the counting agents of the parties) who will be at the count. This includes write-in votes which will be seen by more than, as with hand counting, just the particular counter who counts them and the election agents of the candidates. That's why it's worthwhile going and casting a write-in vote (rather than just abstain). In fact, as I'll be at the count in Earls Court, where the votes of Merton & Wandsworth and other constituencies in South West and West London will be counted, I'll be able to see my vote as well as those of the dozen or so other comrades in these constituencies. But if you live in Lambeth, Merton, Southwark or Wandsworth don't forget to turn auto-pilot off so as not to cast a write-in vote. There are Socialist candidates there on the yellow ballot paper. You can vote for socialism directly by voting for them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Socialist Party election video

A couple of weeks ago, as we announced, the London on-line magazine, the Big Smoke, interviewed Danny Lambert, our candidate in Lambeth & Southwark, as part of their policy of giving less well-known parties and candidates a chance to put their views across. Technical difficulties prevented them putting it up earlier, but better late than never.

Anyway, here's the 10 minute video interview, the nearest we've got to a party political broadcast in our 108 year history.

One day to go...

By this time tomorrow I will have voted. Voted for socialism, in fact. Since where I live there is no socialist candidate standing, I shall be taking part in the Socialist Party's write in vote, and writing "World Socialism" Across my ballot paper.

Lucky souls in Mertin & Wandsworth and Lambeth & Southwark constituencies can at least for for the socialist candidates there; but, to be clear, if you do, you are the one making the promise. The promise to campaign for, to build for, to work towards attaining common and democratic ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth. If you're not capable of making that promise, we really don't want your vote.

Since we're not standing a list or a mayoral candidate, if you're in those constituencies, you'll need to carry out a write in vote on two of your three ballot papers.

Of course, there are elections and referendums going on across the UK, and we hope socialist readers will write in their vote for socialism. The more of us rejecting the choice of the factions of the capitalist party, the better.

Let's take a risk, anyone out there reading this, if you intend to vote socialist, either directly or by write in, let us know in the comments box. The more the better.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Giant of Idleness...

I read in the newspaper this morning about a new International Labour Organisation report "World of Work, 2012"[PDF]. Here are some key excerpts:
For 2012, around 202 million people are expected to be unemployed, reflecting the downward scenario indicated in the ILO (2012). The unemployment rate will further increase to 6.1 per cent of the global labour force this year and increase to 6.2 per cent in 2013. The number of jobseekers will continue to swell, and is expected to reach 210 million people by 2016, despite a gradual but limited decline in the unemployment rate.

…there is still a deficit of around 50 million jobs in comparison to the pre-crisis situation. It is unlikely that the world economy will grow at a sufficient pace over the next couple of years to both close the existing jobs deficit and provide employment for the over 80 million people expected to enter the labour market during this period.

...In addition, for a growing proportion of workers who do have a job, employment has become more unstable or precarious. In advanced economies, involuntary part-time employment and temporary employment have increased in two-thirds and more than half of these economies, respectively. The share of informal employment remains high, standing at more than 40 per cent in two-thirds of emerging and developing countries.
It is difficult to comprehend the amount of wealth being lost to un-and-under-employment. When we look around the world, and think what can be achieved with 202 million people's labour, and realise that it is just being lost. We need to be crystal clear, on May the first, workers day, capitalism depends on unemployment. It is a key and essential feature of the wages system. Those 202 million are unemployed so that a handful of billionaires can have their profits. We are being robbed not only of our own labour, but of the benefits of the labour of our fellows. That is the case for socialism in a nutshell.