It was no surprise that Labour won, although I have to admit the fact that the Lib Dems managed to slightly increase their vote share was unexpected. Of course this was aided by the Tory strategy aimed at bolstering the coalition by fighting a low key campaign where they might, arguably have been able to fight their way into second place. However, it's useful to note that the Lib Dems are still able to mobilise a viable, if losing, campaign.
The results taken from wikipedia show Labour's current increased poll ratings being borne out on the ground.
|Elwyn Watkins||Liberal Democrat||11,160||31.9%||+0.3|
|Nick "The Flying Brick" Delves||Monster Raving Loony||145||0.4%||N/A|
|Stephen Morris||English Democrats||144||0.4%||N/A|
|David Bishop||Bus-Pass Elvis||67||0.1%||N/A|
In other news I was pleased that the BNP failed to either get their deposit back or achieve their previous fourth place in an area they think of as a target. I also happen to think that Peter Allen's 530 votes were very good considering the Greens had not stood in the area before.
I'm never sure about standing candidates in these kind of elections where we're unlikely to come fourth or better. It seems to be a prime opportunity to risk coming below Bus-Pass Elvis without any likely returns. I do wonder whether taking the lost £500 deposit and instead spending it on any random area in the country in a membership recruitment drive would actually have a better longer term impact.
I'm glad Peter got a good result as I would have been worried about mentioning this if he'd got less than 1% but it's hard enough for the Greens standing in by-elections where we have a good electoral history and a strong local party - but here this was the first time we'd ever stood, so it was a real gamble.
It reminds me of when the Greens stood against David Davis in his vanity resignation/restanding during the last Parliament. Ultimately we came second, which was a relief, because if we'd been beaten by the English Democrats et al it would have been a real embarrassment. I'm unconvinced we gained very much by putting ourselves in the firing line on that occasion.
If we're going to stand in these things it would be handy to get more of a by-election machine going, in the way the Lib Dems do - so we're prepared to give local parties support when they fight by-elections like this. But I do think it's worth considering that we don't have to stand just because there's an election and no result can someties be better than a poor result.