Friday, May 02, 2008

Big Shake Up in Norwich

I will summarise the results below (I'm really too tired to even think at the moment) but some clear themes emerged from the night that I think the media may miss.

Theme 1: Positive campaigning won - Conservatives and Greens stayed positive throughout and both made net gains. Some of the Labour literature was shocking during the campaign and the stories we have heard of LibDem canvassing were next-to-vile.

Theme 2: Labour's been robbed of a frontbench. They've lost Housing Executive Member Julie Westmacott - to be fair, one of the few members with a real grasp of complex Housing issues - and also Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Culture Brenda Ferris. I know Steve Moprhew wants to reshape his top team but I cannot see where the talent is coming from.

Theme 3: The true scale of the LibDem collapse. Yes, they lost Mancroft, Town Close, Mile Cross and Thorpe Hamlet. But the true scale of their loss comes in the study of the results in detail. They came FOURTH in Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Crome. They lost the seat and plunged to FOURTH in Unviersity, Mancroft and Wensum. They went from first to third in Mile Cross; they also went into third in Nelson. In Sewell Ward they came FIFTH. The Conservatives came second in Mile Cross and Crome and came third and above in all but one seat.

Bowthorpe: Con GAIN from Labour, removing Labour Deputy Brenda Ferris on an 8% swing and with a big majority.
Catton Grove: Con GAIN from Labour, with roughly the same majority as last year
Crome: Lab HOLD but with a much reduced majority
Eaton: LibDem HOLD with a good majority but a much increased Tory vote
Lakenham: LibDem HOLD, a surprise result but caused by a collapse in the Labour vote
Mancroft: Green GAIN from LibDem with a big majority
Mile Cross: Lab GAIN from LibDem, with a sizeable majority
Nelson: Green HOLD, even with losing a thousand votes this was safe Green territory
Sewell: Lab HOLD with a much, much reduced majority over the Greens
Thorpe Hamlet: Green GAIN from LibDem, with the irony of turning a 1 vote LibDem majority into a 501 Green majority
Town Close: Green GAIN from LibDem, easy result with big majority
University: Lab GAIN from LibDem, but with the Greens in a keen second place
Wensum: Green HOLD, easily.


Anonymous said...

There was one Tory loss in Norwich to report, Cllr Little's (Con) car keys!

Where were they Ant? ;)

Anonymous said...

No one can possibly deny that it was a very good result for the Tories. To actually outpoll Labour in Norwich South is an amazing result. In addition a very strong performance across Norwich North with good progress particularly in Mile Cross.

The Greens will grab the headlines but this may be something of a false dawn. Their vote increased in north Norwich without putting in too much effort. However, in Norwich South - with the exception of University and Thorpe Hamlet their vote was fairly flat and for all the effort put in even slipped back in some wards. I said from the start that Sewell could be key to the Greens and said to Rupert reid on the night that he would have nightmares about it over the weekend - he Labour vote was teetering to collapse, the Greens were in prime second place but they did little work and secured no increase in vote - Labour just pulled through. In contrast the Greens belief that they could walk on water saw them throw a lot of resources at a huge deficit and the best organised Labour campaign in the city at University - the Greens came away with little.

Labour had a bad night. The contrast in Charles Clarke's expression this year to last could not have been more marked. Last year he was releived, this year he saw Labour come fourth in his own constituency. Labour sank to 25% across the city and just 21% in Norwich South. Labour can just be thankful that they met little opposition in places like Crome, Sewell and Mile Cross - otherwise it could have been meltdown.

Comrade is being honest - I have indeed defected to Lib Dems. It was a bruising night but we had already put on our knee & elbow pads in preparation. In reality you cannot lose what you haven't got - this applies to seats where sitting councillors stood down and we had performed poorly over the past couple of years. There comes a time when you have to cut your losses and instead of the total meltdown generally predicted the Lib Dems defended Lakenham and Eaton and still came second across Norwich South. Significantly in the two major contests with Labour and the Tories the Lib Dems prevailed. The Lib Dems do though have a serious problem with the Greens and the fact of concentrating on Norwich South has left everything to slip away in the North of the city (depsite the bizarre increase in vote in Catton Grove).

congratulations to all the new councillors - commiserations to the vanquished. We do have a very fluid situation still with everything to play for. I feel confident that it is only a matter of time before the Greens become a busted flush and then the whole ball game changes once again.

Nich Starling said...

Antony. Just thought I'd be civil and congratulate you on your efforts.

I would take canvassing stories with a pinch of salt (seriously), but your efforts appear to have been rewarded and you deserve praise for that.

Paul said...


Great news that you have ousted Brenda Ferret!

Billy Boulton & I had fantasies of targeting Steve Morphew after I beat him in Nelson. It would be great if you guys could do that. Would I come and give you a hand!? .... hmmm


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that in your Tory manifesto you talked about viod times going down to 16 days and clearly shows lack of understanding on how complex the issue is. The City Care contract is 15 days and that would mean Norwich city council doing all their work in one day. Even given the achievements of the staff to move from 56 days to 26 this is unrealistic and is a cheap political stint.

Anonymous said...


Come back to the Lib Dems and we can prise out the mighty Morph from Mile X together!

Anonymous said...


Come back to the Lib Dems and we can prise out the mighty Morph from Mile X together!