Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Results!

It was a strange feeling not having the count straight after polling day; you might have thought that we'd get some rest ready for the next day. But no; it was a party straight after and with the Euro verification dragging on we felt just as tired by the end of Friday than we would have just counting into the night!

The results for the Conservatives were oustanding; 60 seats out of 84, with some movement forward for the Greens (though in Norwich only), the LibDems slipped back again and Labour were virtually wiped out. Labour won just 3 seats across the whole of Norfolk - two in Norwich (University and Crome) and one in Yarmouth. UKIP picked up a seat in Yarmouth - but the real story was the Tory wave that knocked Labour out of their urban heartlands; Thetford, Dereham, Yarmouth, Kings Lynn, Bowthorpe, Catton ... they kept falling.

Here in the City, the Greens did pull off the big shocks. Paul Wells and Charlotte Casimir won our target seats of Bowthorpe and Catton Grove respectively; with the Tories coming agonisingly close in Crome and Eaton too. The LibDems picked up Lakenham but lost Thorpe Hamlet. The Greens, as expeced, won in Wensum, Mancroft, Nelson & Town Close. But when they also won Sewell and Mile Cross you knew something big had happened. Norwich Labour seem like they are living on borrowed time. These were even stranger because they were outside the Green "Norwich South" comfort zone.

In the end the vastly expensive LibDem campaign - including some very negative tactics which may yet re-bound on them - got them nowhere. Brian Watkins, a thoroughly decent man, shouldn't let the rogue elements of his party drag down his name like this. Labour looked exhausted by the end and the Greens jubilant.

But, of course, the Tories emerged victorious both on total Norfolk terms and with our new City-division Councillors. A good result all round!


Anonymous said...

How is no change slipping back???

Antony said...

Hi Anon;

For 2 reasons - firstly the results within individual wards. A massive and expensive effort to hold up the LD vote, against both the Tories and Greens, pretty much failed.

And secondly the media have got it wrong to suggest it was 13 seats for the LibDems. In fact in 2005 they were elected with 14 but lost Clavering (S Norfolk) to the Tories in a by-election. So they were reduced to 13; a technical point I suppose but I count Clavering as a Con Gain and thus the LDs lost seats in the election.

Anonymous said...

bet you wished you were norwich north's candidate now!? how will you reach parliament now?

Antony said...

by winning in Norwich South! Check out today's Euro results!

Blaine said...

Hi. I am willing to help in any way I can to get you elected.

Kind regards,

Cllr. Blaine Robin

Comrade said...

The county elections were a strong result for the Tories. The main factor was having some organisation right across Norfolk that was able to capitalise on Labour's demise. This was not the case for the Lib Dems.

That said, the results were not that amazing for the Tories nationally. Over the past 15+ years the Tories have maintained a very solid core vote of around 30% - on Tursday this only advanced to 38%. This is actually short of what they have achieved in other local polls in recent years. What is more striking is how this compares with the "Blair surge" of New Labour in 1995/6.

My reading is that the situation is currently very fluid, although once we are into the autumn it might settle down into a more established pattern. An example of the fluidity is the number of voters split voting between the county and Euro elections.

Another case in point is my own contest in a rural Broadland seat as a Lib Dem against a member of the Conservative cabinet. This was a division where in one of the two and a half district wards the Lib Dems hadn't put out a leaflet for years. My "one man" campaign" on local issues cut the Tory majority from 20% to about 3% and without the Greens taking 10% of the vote I might have found the extra 100 votes I needed to win. Apart from blowing my own trumpet I highlight this to show that even in a seat witha 1000 majority the Conservatives could be vulnerable.

The Norwich South results were terrible for Labour but also not good for the Lib Dems. In actual fact this was the worst result in a local election in Norwich South for the Lib Dems since 1990. At 22% of the vote this was not much better than the 20% they got in the 1989 county elections when the newly formed party was in disarray nationally. However, 28% nationally shows that there is still good potential for the Lib Dems in the city - the issue is about how the party campaigns both in terms of message, materials and organisation and getting the three to gel together.

Initial thought on Norwich North is that on the swingometer it should be an easy Tory gain. However, in the current climate a well resourced maverick or independent could turn the result upside down.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts. A bonus of being a defeated candidate is that when the elected members are attending their first meetings I am off on holiday tomorrow!!

TJUK2013 said...

Hi Antony, I was interested that you listed Thetford first when describing areas where the Tories have 'knocked Labour out of their urban heartlands'. For the Tories to only get 882 votes in Thetford-West at a time when they are most popular nationally, and Labour least popular, says a lot. Labour/mmyself managed to poll 706 votes, which I was very pleased with, although of course disappointed not to win. The lib dems have slowly been chipping away in Thetford, and this breakthrough for them in Thetford-West is partly due to that, but also a surge in people who always vote, not being able to bring themselves to vote for Labour, so voted Lib Dem. The previous Thetford-West county councillor had been there since 1985 as well! We will see if the Lib Dems can keep this support in the future or if people return to Labour when things turn nationally. As for Thetford-East, again, this was hardly a resounding Tory victory. The boundaries for Thetford-East were changed for the 2005 election, and it lost a very large pro-Labour area, on paper it should be a safe Conservative seat, we held it just in 2005 with 26 votes, due to a higher turnout as it was on general election day, and also because our candidate was the sitting county councillor for many years, very, very well known and respected. This time, the Tories didn't get over 50% of the vote, and again, many votes went to the lib dems, as people couldn't bring themselves to vote Labour.