Harry Hayfeld’s Local By-Election Preview : July 9th 2015

Harry Hayfeld’s Local By-Election Preview : July 9th 2015

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Thorniewood on North Lanarkshire (SNP defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 41, Scottish National Party 26, Independents 2, Cumbernauld Independent Councillors Alliance 1 (Labour majority of 12)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour: 1,623, 1,443 (71%)
Scottish National Party: 1,057 (24%)
Conservative: 225 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Steven Bonnar (SNP), Hugh Gaffney (Lab), Meghan Gallacher (Con), Patrick McAleer (Green), Liam McCabe (SSP), Craig Smith (Scottish Christian Party), Matt Williams (UKIP)

What I can say about this eh? If the SNP can rack up swings of 39% in Glasgow North East, 36% in Coatbridge, 35% in Glenrothes and 32% in Inverclyde, then a mere 24% swing needed to top the poll will be absolute child’s play for them. And with the Scottish Parliament elections next year, I think it is almost certain that the SNP will be able to recover Dunfermline, gain Cowdenbeath and hold Donside and maybe even be able to rack up a super majority (86 seats out of 129) and put us back into the position of a second independence referendum.

Morfa Nefyn on Gwynedd (Plaid Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 37, Independents 19, Llais Gwynedd 13, Labour 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (No Overall Control, Plaid short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Plaid 378 (77%), Llais Gwynedd 110 (23%)
Candidates duly nominated: Sian Hughes (Plaid Cymru), Wini Jones Lewis (Llais Gwynedd)

All of which must make Plaid Cymru scream “WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG?”. It’s been sixteen years since Plaid’s breakthrough in the first Assembly elections when they gained Islwyn, Rhondda, Llanelli and Conwy (from Labour wins in the 1997 general election), polled 28% in the constituency vote, 31% in the regional vote and won 17 seats overall in the Assembly. Compare that to 2011 when they only won five constituencies (all west of the Cambrian mountains), polled 19% in the constituency vote, 18% in the regional vote and had three fewer seats than the Conservatives. Readers will remember the last time there was a by-election in Gwynedd I highlighted the fact that Llais Gwynedd were established when the Plaid run council stated that several Welsh medium schools had to close and there is Plaid’s problem in a nutshell. In order to move their support from the Welsh language heartlands to the South Wales valleys, they have had to run the risk of Welsh language supporters deserting them in protest over their supposed “Anglicasation”.

Brentford on Hounslow (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 49, Conservatives 11 (Labour majority of 38)
Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour: 2,326, 2,066, 1,875 (46%)
Conservatives: 733, 715, 693 (15%)
Green: 683 (13%)
United Kingdom Independence Party: 610 (12%)
Liberal Democrats: 311, 223, 223 (6%)
Independent: 229 (5%)
All People’s Party: 152 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Patrick Barr (Con), Joe Burke (Lib Dem), Guy Lambert (Lab), George Radulski (UKIP), Diane Scott (Green)

Which is quite similar to the problem that UKIP has in London. In the European elections in 2014, when UKIP polled the most votes and won the most seats across England, London saw UKIP poll 17% (up 6%) compared with the English total of 29% (up 11%) and in the local elections held at the same time, in places like Hounslow this became ever clearer, so even though Hounslow is a virtual one party state (the sort of council that UKIP do great damage in in the past) I am not confident that UKIP will be able to do much better here than a close second. Until UKIP solve their “London problem” UKIP will never be able to amount to anything in the capital.

Old Hastings and Tressal on East Sussex (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 20, Liberal Democrats 10, Labour 7, United Kingdom Independence Party 7, Independents 5 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 5)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 1,076 (49%), United Kingdom Independence Party 492 (22%), Conservative 342 (16%), Green Party 182 (8%), Liberal Democrat 97 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Tania Charman (Lab), Robert Cooke (Con), Andrea Needham (Green), Sebastian Norton (UKIP), Stewart Rayment (Lib Dem)

Central St. Leonards (Lab defence) and St. Helens (Con defence) on Hastings
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 24, Conservatives 8 (Labour majority of 16)
Result of wards at last election
Central St. Leonards (2014): Labour 691 (53%), United Kingdom Independence Party 206 (16%), Conservative 167 (13%), Green Party 101 (8%), Independent 96 (7%), Liberal Democrat 40 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Al Dixon (Green), Terri Dowling (Lab), Daniel Gross (Ind), Kevin Hill (UKIP), John Rankin (Con), Sue Tall (Lib Dem)
St. Helens (2014): Conservative 787 (40%), Labour 678 (34%), United Kingdom Independence Party 430 (22%), Liberal Democrat 76 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Clarke (Con), Leslie Crane (Lab), Ken Pankhurst (UKIP), Chris Petts (Green), Edward Spencer-Holmes (Lib Dem)

Hastings, for many people, has been a source of great pride and sorrow. If you were a Liberal Democrat in 1997, the Labour gain of Hastings and Rye was a bitter disappointment especially as the Con to Lib Dem swing nationally in that election was just the swing the Lib Dems needed to gain the seat. The Conservative gain of the seat in 2010 was a bitter disappointment for Labour as it wiped out Labour on the South East coast and at the election just been it was a poor showing for UKIP who felt that Hastings was a realistic chance of a win, so with three elections covering the town on the same day (one of which is a marginal) it is just possible that everyone will have something to cheer about tomorrow morning

Spring Hill on Hyndburn (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 24, Conservatives 8, United Kingdom Independence Party 2 (Labour majority of 14)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 877 (50%), Conservative 601 (34%), United Kingdom Independence Party 278 (16%)
Candidates duly nominated: Diane Fielding (Lab), Kerry Gormley (Green), Mohammad Safdar (Con), Ken Smith (UKIP)

Hyndburn, on the otherhand, has been a disappointment to the Conservatives ever since 1992, when they first lost the seat to Labour. In fact since 1997 when their vote share fell to 32%, they have stayed there at pretty much every election since and yet despite this Labour’s vote share has fallen from 55% in 1997 to just 42% now so where has it gone? Well, between 1997 and 2010 it was fairly evenly spread between the Lib Dems and the BNP but now has firmly swung behind UKIP so with only an 8% swing from Lab to Con to enable a Conservative gain, Labour might a little nervous about a UKIP and Green opposition candidate.

Newton on Sandwell (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 72 (Labour majority of 72)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 1,350 (45%), United Kingdom Independence Party 893 (30%), Conservative 437 (15%), Liberal Democrat 284 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Murray Abbot (Green), Keith Allcock (Lab), Steve Latham (UKIP), Tony Ward (Con)

So you might assume that in Sandwell, where there is absolutely no opposition in the council chamber, Labour don’t have to worry about a thing? There are four constituencies in Sandwell, three of which are rock solid Labour seats and what happened in those seats in May? West Bromwich East: Lab +3%, Con -5%, UKIP +18%. Warley: Lab +6%, Con -6%, UKIP +9% and in West Bromwich West: Lab +3%, Con -5%, UKIP +21%. Proof, if proof were needed, that in actual and virtual one party states, UKIP are the real challengers.

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