Feted in Mayfair but flouted in Nuneaton: The extraordinary Labour local election performance

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Tiffany’s in Bond Street,London now in an area represented by Labour:

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Now I have had time to look further into  Labour’s performance in the local elections a rather extraordinary picture is emerging among the losses and gains made by Labour on the night.

The election has been presented as a boring status quo result but if you drill down into the figures it  shows two rather extraordinary trends – Labour is losing among the UKIP more Brexit minded white working class voters to the Tories but making major progress in some of the most affluent  areas that  stayed Tory strongholds  even under Tony Blair.

Probably one of the most striking results was in Westminster. Now Labour failed to make the huge headway – just  gaining four seats overall though they narrowed the gap between Labour and Tory across the borough to 1.8 per cent. The Tories  held the one seat they had in Pimlico after a defection  last year.

Labour took one  of three seats in the West End ward – covering Mayfair, Soho and Fitzrovia in Central London.  What’s more the person who won – Pancho Lewis- did so with a by-election style rise in votes. In 2014, the party’s candidates received a total of 1,281 votes and this year the figure stood at 2,858 – more than the 2,831 votes for the three Conservatives. This means  that Oxford Circus, Park Lane,Bond Street, Grosvenor Square, the Dorchester hotel, Savile Row, Regents Street and for that matter the editorial offices of Private Eye are represented by a socialist. Since the ward was created in 1978 Labour have never been in sniffing distance.

The Westminster result mirrors  earlier council wins for Labour in the City of London where Labour won its first seat in the Portsoken ward in 2014 and then went on to win five seats -including one in the Barbican – in the next election.

A similar surprising victory for Labour  was in Harrow where Labour increased its majority to seven over the Tories. It was where it was won  that made it surprising.Labour took Harrow on the hill – one of the poshest bits of the borough – that includes Harrow School and a private hospital – not normally natural Labour territory. The Labour candidates put on 1500 votes between them.

And in Barnet amidst the carnage for some of the Labour councillors in Hendon – Labour did make a GAIN  by two votes -ousting a Liberal Democrat in Childs Hill  just north of Golders Green – in a diverse ward that included Jewish, Arab and Somali voters.

And in Redbridge – Labour which made a double digit number of gains – included the new ward of Wanstead Village where homes can go for £750,000 – again not natural Labour territory.

Outside London Labour did amazingly well in Worthing. Worthing has never had a Labour councillor since Harold Wilson’s second victory in 1966. Last year Labour won a seat in a by-election in the centre of the town. Last week it won another  four council seats and came close in a number of others. They also gained three seats from the Conservatives in next door Adur –  better known as Shoreham on Sea -while the Tories took two from UKIP. The MP for Worthing East and Shoreham , Tim Loughton, who has a majority of  5,106 over Labour should be worried.

The reverse can be shown in Nuneaton which if the council had a full election – it seems certain Labour would have lost it to the Tories. Labour lost eight seats – some by big margins- in a result that gave the Tories 51 per cent of the votes on a 32 per cent poll.

Nuneaton is 88.9 per cent white British with a large proportion of pensioners – immigration hardly exists –  the biggest group are Poles -but it had strong support for UKIP. which has transferred to the Tories.The census figures showed it was overwhelmingly Christian with just 12 Jews and 2895 Muslims out of 126,000 people.Nearly two thirds of the population are working class – classified as C2, D or E.

This makes an interesting  dilemma for Labour they are still gaining votes in areas that Tony Blair could not even dream about  but equally they are losing votes in traditional English working class areas where they need support. But Labour  need to progress in both old England and new diverse England to succeed. If there is any post mortem to be had after these elections – this is it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Feted in Mayfair but flouted in Nuneaton: The extraordinary Labour local election performance

  1. David – a really interesting analysis, this. Thank you. Lesson I guess – either go full on Brexit and win back white working class votes in Nuneaton, or go full of for a customs union and a second referendum and win new votes in affluent bits of the city. Francis.

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    • Nuneaton council was a shameful bunch of you scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours councillors looking after each other’s interests with no thought for the people … that’s why Tories got in. It’s not always about the government in local politics, people are sick.of cronyism in Nuneaton.

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  2. Pingback: Feted in Mayfair but flouted in Nuneaton: The extraordinary Labour local election performance | David Hencke – leftwing nobody

  3. interesting analysis – thanks

    does it mean a further move away from working class voters in favour of the middle classes under the present leadership ?

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    • Paul We don’t know yet – in short term working class Tories who want Brexit seem to trust Tories over Labour -but when the issue is finalised they may come back to Labour if NHS does not improve,their children can’t afford to buy homes and public services deteriorate further.e high on Labour agenda.

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  4. Excellent analysis, David. I agree entirely with your last comment: we shouldn’t change course, rather ride out the Brexit storm and then woo the working class Brexiteers back to the fold by focusing on the things that matter to them – public services, NHS, housing, education

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  5. Brexit will be over before we get a 2nd early general election. The way to get back the white working class, especially pensioner vote, is to get onto 2018 Labour Manifesto, £200 per week state pension, same money regardless of National Insurance record / SERPs opt out to reduce the money, to all pensioner ages / pension 60 men and women (paid between 60 and 66). Please register (GUEST or Labour party member) on Labour Policy Forum and in my policy submission’s comment box please say I SUPPORT THIS STATE PENSION POLICY SUBMISSION. Thanks. https://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/commissions/work/labour-has-nil-state-pension-money-policies

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  6. Very interesting analysis. I personally think that its the older age groups that Corbyn fails to attract. These groups are still the ones who by newspapers and tune into media outlets that are Conservative leaning. My fear for Labour is their working class vote will be reduced by jingoistic propaganda, this will not be an issue in their Northern heartlands which could sustain a halving of the and still win, In more marginal seats the stay at home Labour voter who sees Corbyn as a Marxist who will flood the country with immigrants and promotes weird social policies could still be Labours undoing.
    My final comment to add to your observation is British politics can no longer be seen as workers Versus bosses, it is you have shown in your excellent analysis a shift that is as great as the 1979/1997 elections, but I am not going to place any money on the outcome, it looks like its too close to call.

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