Sunday, 14 May 2017

The erosion of the Labour vote in Broxtowe does not look good for 8th June

The tables below are quite telling and suggest that for Labour to win they need a low poll.

Click on a table to enlarge.

In the four general elections from 2001 to 2015 the percentage turnout increased from 68.5% to 74.4%, which is good news. The bad news is that the Labour Party's vote fell from 23,636 in 2001 to 19,676 in 2015.

The Green Party and UKIP did not contest the 2001 General Election in Broxtowe (hence the zero). The Conservative vote went up in every election, as did the Liberal for three elections until the party's vote collapsed 2015.

I heard Nick Palmer say more than once that he lost because electors voted for the Green Party. The truth is a little different. He lost because more people voted.

Perhaps what surprises me most is that the no. of electors fell from c73,690 in 2001 to c71,828 in 2015. It will be interesting to see the size of the 2017 electorate, given the number of students now living Beeston. Based on my own experience, which I have blogged about, Broxtowe Borough Council does not make it easy to register as a voter, nor is it ever keen to share electoral information (eg. the no. of voters living in each ward and polling districts).

Students attending Nottingham University, based on my experience of being actively involved in Dunkirk and Lenton ward in Nottingham, are more likely to vote Conservative than Labour. It has been their failure to vote in city council elections which has kept the ward Labour. In other words if students living in Beeston have managed to register as voters, the chances are they won't be voting for Greg Marshall.

Like it or not there has been a erosion of the Labour vote in Broxtowe since 2001 and I am working on tables using data from borough and county council elections to see if the trend in general elections has been mirrored in local elections. The above table is an attempt to match county council ward results with the Broxtowe constituency and not the Borough, so I have excluded Eastwood and the Beauvale/Greasley ward (which includes Brinsley). It shows Labour's low point in the five county council elections between 2001 and 2017 as being in 2009 — the year before the 2010 general election. The evidence suggests that the party which gets most votes in the county council elections wins the general election, so you understand why Labour entered the 2015 election on a high, not that I thought the optimism was well founded and said as much when I blogged in December 2014 about the Toton by-election result. I hope I'm wrong.

Broxtowe Borough Council is being its usual awkward self, not providing data from the county council election results it could compile for me in five minutes at most (ie. the actual number of electors in Broxtowe by county wards and by polling districts in Bramcote & Beeston North ward). I asked for it a week ago. It seems they are 'very busy' registering voters (I wonder how many will share my experience of being refused registration  by Broxtowe Borough Council and having to appeal?).

Perhaps Greg Marshall has to follow Theresa May's example and pretend to be a loser. That as good a candidate as he is, he needs every Broxtowe vote he can get and not just Labour die-hards. He needs to have different messages for different parts of the constituency. In the county council election just gone Steve Carr used this tactic to good effect and I admit to being full of admiration for him and what he achieved.

Theresa May knows that the worst thing that can happen as far as she and the Conservatives are concerned is a low turnout. Historic evidence suggests that the Labour Party should focus on identifying its core vote, working it and praying for a low turnout.

When I was younger and running elections I used to identify the core vote early, then work it. I was the view that I could win any local election with 10% of the vote as Labour by election day. As far those firmly against Labour were concerned there was no election taking place. I simply didn't contact them and as a strategy it worked. I am pretty sure the Conservatives in Broxtowe are doing this. 

In the county council election my wife and I had to pick a window poster for Ellie Winfield up from the Labour Party stall on Beeston High Road. For the 2015 borough council election we had to make our own. By now every Labour Party member in Broxtowe should have been taken a window poster. We're still waiting.

On county council election day only Steve Carr was outside the polling station in Bramcote & Beeston North ward where we went to vote. No one from Labour was there. If you can't distribute posters to your members or have tellers at every polling station then you get some inkling why things are as they are.

Finally, saying this in private doesn't seem to work or get any acknowledgement, and your enemies will delight in your shortcomings, saying nothing — hence this blog as a critical friend.

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