Wednesday 10 July 2024

The Eclipse of the SNP

What the hell happened in Scotland? Nine years ago, the SNP carried all before it at the famous 2015 election. What it dubbed the "Westminster parties", Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, were reduced to a single seat each while everywhere else on the constituency map of Scotland turned SNP yellow. A partial uprising of these parties two years later was put down at the return match in 2019. The SNP not only ran the Scottish government, that election gave them 48 MPs. It was common sense getting back to where the Westminster parties were in 2010 would take a generation. And then, last Thursday, what was a peculiar result in England and Wales was nothing but disastrous for the SNP and the cause of independence. The party dropped to just nine seats and lost half a million voters. Labour's support increased by 350,000 votes and gave it an additional 36 seats. The Liberal Democrats increased their seats by two, despite dropping 30,000 votes and the Tories, in line with the disaster in the south, saw their support halve but with the loss of just one seat.

This only tells part of the story. Aggregating the independence parties (SNP + Greens + Alba) totals just shy of 830,000 votes. The unionist parties (the above, plus Reform) is 1.56m, almost double. Turnout was down to 59.2%, only 0.4 above the 2001 low point. In every constituency support for Labour grew and nationalist voters either stayed at home or defected directly. This does not bode well for the next round of Holyrood elections, unless Labour in office makes a spectacularly cack-handed job of governing. How was this catastrophe visited upon the SNP?

There's the conjunctural. The SNP haven't had the best time of it. The departure of Nicola Sturgeon was followed by the tawdry spectacle of her arrest and the overhanging police investigation into SNP finances. Humza Yousaf's brief tenure as party leader and First Minister didn't improve the SNP's standing. In fact, this more or less occasioned their slippage in opinion polls with more support flowing to Labour. His unilateral abandonment of the Bute House coalition agreement with the Greens contributed to the impression that he was not on top of his brief, so he had no choice but to cede power to the right leaning John Swinney/Kate Forbes duumvirate to avoid a humiliating confidence vote. This is against a background of decaying social infrastructure. The Scottish school system has posted declines in science, English, and maths. Poverty in Scotland has stubbornly persisted at around a fifth of the working age population since the SNP came to power. The same house price problems manifest north of the border - though in 2023 new build completions and new build starts went down. NHS waiting lists continue to increase. While these areas are within the SNP's gift to do something about, it would be unfair not to mention the fiscal straitjacket imposed on Holyrood by the Tories. They've borne the brunt of decisions made elsewhere.

The larger problem, however, is the collapse of the SNP's strategy to achieve independence. Having committed itself to the constitutional road to a second referendum, its battles with the Tories and the courts slammed the door on its possibility. And without the prospect of independence, what purpose does the SNP have? The radical nationalist reply, which amounts to campaigning harder on independence, found the extent of its support in the derisory vote Alex Salmond's Alba vehicle registered. Related to this, because another referendum is out of scope, where large numbers of the Scottish electorate are concerned it has receded in salience. It's become a second order issue. As YouGov polling showed, the national question was listed as an important concern for just 27% of 2019 SNP voters. It lagged behind the economy (35%), cost of living (54%), and the NHS (67%). Despite running a policy-lite manifesto, Labour's mantras of economic growth, action on the NHS, and the other fissiparous raft of pledges spoke to enough Scottish voters to draw them back from the SNP to give them a punt. That and, at least according to several post-election vox pops, making sure Labour got enough seats to turf the Tories out of government.

In these circumstances, and after a long period of running Scotland, it was a perfect storm for the SNP. With Keir Starmer now safely installed, the onus is on how the Scottish government now plays its cards. Another round of butting heads on independence doesn't seem a wise move, but there are openings on holding Downing Street to account re: its bread and butter pledges, and on its promises to devolve more powers to the nations and the regions. It's just the SNP's worst luck that in Swinney and Forbes they have two leaders singularly unsuited to capitalising on this centre left moment.

Image Credit

Tuesday 9 July 2024

The Class Politics of the Tory Collapse

While there is a tone of ambiguity about Labour's election triumph, there is no such doubt about what happened to the Conservative Party last Thursday. 230 Tory careers went up in smoke as its vote more than halved compared to Boris Johnson's 2019 triumph. This is their lowest seat count since the 1832 Reform Act, which gave birth to the modern Conservatives, and at 6.8m votes their lowest level of popular support since the advent of universal suffrage in 1928. Indeed, you'd have to go back to 1923 under Stanley Baldwin to find them polling lower. They suffered a calamity where anti-Tory voters of the left and right prised them apart, leaving behind a bewildered and rudderless rump. Perhaps some of this pain might have been avoided had they read my book.

There are plenty of conjunctural factors that had a role in the Tories' electoral collapse, but what how did the party's crisis of political reproduction impact its evisceration? Five years ago, Johnson's championing of Brexit allowed him to configure class politics to the Conservatives' advantage. To remind ourselves, the base of mass conservatism was based on the differences between class cohorts. Or, to be more precise, the Tories hegemonised older people and particularly the retired. This has two components. First, because social location has the biggest impact on how one views the world, formulates one's interests, and draws political conclusions about it, the experience of being a pensioner is analogous to the existence of the small business person. Overwhelmingly dependent on their own labour for an "independent" livelihood, the petit bourgeois fear being out-competed, particularly by bigger businesses that can use their clout to cartelise markets and drive out smaller competitors. They may also have employees, which bring with them wage demands, motivational issues, and varying degrees of reliability. Both present existential dangers that might drive them out of business and into poverty or, horror of horrors, having to work for someone else. Hence, as generations of Marxist activists and thinkers know, they are disproportionately attracted to authoritarian politics.

This is relevant to understanding mass conservatism in Britain because being a pensioner means having a relatively fixed income. One cannot simply re-enter the work force to make good a financial crisis, and so one is at the mercy of events. This location is close to petit bourgeois anxiety and predisposes one toward a politics of certainty and is mirrored by an antipathy toward most things that epitomise change - migration, shifts in popular culture, growing acceptance of (previously) stigmatised minorities. This is exacerbated even more if one owns property. Thatcher's Right to Buy plus the cheap credit of the 1970s and 1980s created a generation of homeowners, but one does not become conservative magically because your name is on a title deed. It individuates and disciplines: individuates because one has an individual material interest in the appreciation of an asset, and disciplined because servicing the mortgage/debt makes collective action that much more difficult. It's almost as if the Conservative Party promoted home ownership with these in mind. Therefore, fast forward to the last decade the Tories' policy platform have catered to these interests and dispositions. Protect pensioners from the immediate consequences of austerity, not building houses to protect asset price inflation (many home owning pensioners voted Tory so they would have a handsome nest egg to hand down to their children and grandchildren, who've bore the brunt of the last 14 years), cut taxes, pull at the nostalgic heart strings of an independent Britain bestriding the world stage, and lash out at trans people and immigrants who are perceived as harbingers of unwelcome, dangerous social change.

There will always be plenty of old people, but the problems the Tories had with making this the basis of their voter coalition was its time limited character. Again, for two reasons. The first is the conservatising effects of age are breaking down. The experience of being a pensioner is weaker as a right wing authoritarian disposition than owning property, and the story of Britain since the mid-1990s has been a contraction in housing supply. Fewer homes overall were built, and the diminishing of council housing has led to the huge growth of the private rented sector. With asset price inflation surging well ahead of real wages, millions were and are locked out of acquiring property until much later in the life course. It meant couples aren't starting their families until later, if at all. Therefore these props of reproducing the Conservative vote were kicked away, and this has only continued under the last five Prime Ministers. Related to this were the everyday class politics of the Tories in office. Holding down wages, defending landlords, encouraging precarity, attacking the public sector, despoiling the environment, victimising minorities, this has been the lot of working age people and young people for 14 years. Their record is unlikely to convert many of this layer into Tory voters, even if millions of them do get on the housing ladder.

And then there are values. The Tories' coalition tends toward social conservatism, whereas the younger one is the more socially liberal one is likely to be. This is not the result of lefty teachers or liberal institutions, but is itself a consequence of class cohorts. As explained on many occasions here and elsewhere, what has become increasingly dominant in advanced capitalist societies since the war has been immaterial labour and the advent of the socialised workers. Displacing the industrial worker as the hegemonic working class figure, its object is the production of care, knowledge, services, subjectivities. I.e. The production of the social relations capitalism needs to reproduce itself as a social system. Therefore, as the generations have passed through the changed character of work, the traits selected by it - tolerance, sociability, networking, care - have come to the fore of popular consciousness. It has now become the spontaneous disposition for the majority of working age people, hence not only is the Conservative party's base in long-term decline, so is the basis for social conservatism. It follows that when the Tories victimise people, make draconian pledges, play divide and rule, and seek to cultivate the prejudices of their base this only serves to drive a wedge between themselves and the bulk of the population.

Bearing these processes in mind, in the book - the bulk of which was written when Johnson was at the height of his powers - suggested that if nothing went wrong, the Tories would be competitive in the 2024 election but that afterwards, from the late 2020s onwards, unless they underwent root and branch change winning an election would only get more difficult. Party Gate was not an inevitably, nor was the Liz Truss debacle, nor for that matter was the complacent negligence of Rishi Sunaks year-and-a-half at the helm. But what they did was solidify support for the broad left of centre among working age people, driving Tory numbers there to historic lows, and alienated a swathe of its softer support among the coalition built by Theresa May and Johnson. Who knew that cuts to public provision the elderly are disproportionately dependent on and continued attacks on their younger family members would undo the fealty of millions of them? Tory accelerationism ensured the consequences of their party's decline bit earlier than it had to.

Does the rise of Reform bother this picture much? Standing against them everywhere it could was always going to cause the Tories trouble, but Nigel Farage's entry into the election fray made them much more potent than would have been the case. Of the 230 seats gone, the Reform's was greater than the difference between the Tory vote and that of their victorious opponent in 170 of them. It wasn't Morgan McSweeney that won Labour its famous victory. Arguably it was Messrs Farage, Tice, and Anderson. Ditto for the Liberal Democrats' triumphant comeback and for the Greens taking the two Tory-held seats they targeted. Finally winning his place in the Commons, Farage has vowed that he's "coming for Labour next". In reality, while one should not be complacent about the poisoning effect their breakthrough could have on political discourse, especially considering they came second in 98 Labour seats and provide a handy excuse for Keir Starmer to go with "socially conservative" authoritarian politics on immigration. But electorally, Reform has probably maxed out their reach and is only capable of making inroads into Labour held seats in a smattering of places. Their vote is less than what UKIP polled in 2015, despite all the advantages of tacit press backing. And you can forget the ridiculous hype about Farage finding an echo among young people. Their numbers here show the same incredibly low levels of support as per the Tories, and like the Tories their voter coalition is of broadly the same sociological character and are on a declinist trajectory.

This is the problem the Conservatives have got. The recriminations and excuses have started to come forward, but it's not the case the cataclysm has hit and now is the moment to rebuild. The dynamics of long-term Tory decline have not abated. The antipathy of rising generations is not vanishing, nor will it. The Tories and Reform rest on a set of values opposed to the majority of the population, and articulate interests seriously at odds with it. On the basis of the politics both are proffering there are no new people to be won over. If they decide to stick with their current platforms, which Reform are bound to, then some sort of alliance between the two might make them competitive at the next election. Especially as Labour aren't likely to put on support after four or five years of government, and whose campaign will probably have to take on the appearance of 412 by-elections. But time is against both parties. If the Tories want to recover and become a party of government again, they're going to have to completely renovate their politics and reforge a mass conservatism that intersects with the socially liberal default that is already here and is only getting stronger. But also this conservatism cannot be as brutally and as sectionally divisive as it has been these last 45 years. The basis for a two-nation Toryism is receding with the generation that voted for it.

At the end of the first edition of the book, I laid out the challenge facing the party and observed that no matter their difficulties, "no one got rich betting against the Tories." Fewer then five years on from a victory that was supposed to see the Tories dominate this decade, their party is broken, their coalition eviscerated and split, and the way back is not obvious to anyone in their ranks. There hasn't been a worse time to be a Conservative, and long may it remain so.

Image Credit

Monday 8 July 2024

New Left Media July 2024

A rare occurrence! Enough new media projects have infiltrated my feed to allow for two consecutive monthly posts. Amazing. With the new government in place and with it a new balance of political forces, might the change of scene stimulate new people to try their hand at commentary/analysis? If it does, this is guaranteed coverage here.

1. New Realist (Blog) (Twitter)

2. Peeps (YouTube Channel)

3. Redgauntlet (Podcast)

4. The Partyist (Blog) (Twitter)

Chatting to Bryn of the Labour Left Podcast at the Beyond the Fragments at 45 conference, we both agreed it was vitally important for existing left media infrastructure to platform new voices as they come through. Especially if the established figures/projects have a large following. We need to resist the proprietary attitudes forced on us by the micro celebrity of social media. So if you know of any new(ish) blogs, podcasts, channels, Facebook pages, resources, spin offs of existing projects, campaign websites or whatever that haven't featured before then drop me a line via the comments, email, Facebook, or Twitter. Please note I'm looking for new media that has started within the last 12 months, give or take. The round up appears hereabouts when there are enough new entrants to justify a post!

Sunday 7 July 2024

An Ambiguous Triumph

Congratulations to Keir Starmer. Not only has Labour won a thumping majority, seats few would ever dream of winning came its way here, there, and everywhere. 12 members of the cabinet had their careers dashed on the rocks of political failure. And prominent right wingers were brushed aside. No more Liam Fox, no more Michael Fabricant, and perhaps most stunning of all, no more Liz Truss. Tory seats fell like dominoes as the long-term decline of their party culminated in the most devastating climax. But not content with destroying the government, Labour visited revenge north of the border where the SNP went through the 2015 election again, but in reverse. The issue of Scottish independence seemingly settled for a generation as Labour surged in seats once regarded permanently lost. Considering where the party was in 2019, going from the lowest tally of seats to within touching distance of Tony Blair's triumph is surely one for the history books.

Yet, befitting a low key election there's nary a sign it even happened. Starmer has said he wants politics to tread lightly on everyone's lives, and that begins with his victory. The turnout at 59.9% was the second worst since 1918, and Labour's victory is on the fewest votes won since the advent of mass suffrage. With only one in five of the electorate voting for the triumphant "changed Labour" in exceptionally advantageous circumstances has been brushed off by our new powers that be. Asked about his sandcastle majority at the first Prime Minister's press conference, Starmer simply said "we won a mandate." Which is evidently going to be the line for the next five years. It seems Peter Mair's Ruling the Void was less a warning about the decline of democracy and more a user's manual as far as Morgan McSweeney was concerned. The fact Labour polled fewer votes than even in the disaster year of 2019 doesn't trouble the party's supporters at all. Indeed, they've replied in their hundreds to this viral tweet demonstrating how unbothered they are about it.

There is a difference between winning a mandate and winning legitimacy, which are points you can find in all the right wing Saturday and Sunday papers. The Sun's post-election editorial issued not-so-coded warnings to Starmer, saying there was no popular appetite for "left wing radicalism" despite the huge majority. And it's something we're going to hear quite a lot from Nigel Farage, who unfortunately triumphed in Clacton. Indeed, the Reform leader/proprietor contributed more to Labour victory in dozens upon dozens of seats than anything offered by the party. The Labour leadership can try and ignore this, but parties with shallow roots must treat each passing breeze as a danger lest they get toppled over. Again, it's worth remembering that despite the critique of New Labour's support being a mile wide but an inch deep, it weathered 13 years in government and handsomely won an election, on numbers not dissimilar to Starmer's, after the deeply unpopular invasion of Iraq. And even when it was dumped out of office the Tores were unable to govern on their own. "Changed Labour" can only look at Blair's victories with envy. If that wasn't bad enough, the coalition Starmer's Labour pulled together is fast decomposing, as evidenced by the loss of seats to the Greens and left independents, and the primary motivator of those who voted Labour according to pollsters was an entirely negative "get the Tories out".

Will this affect how Starmer will govern? I suspect not. A majority is a majority, and a win is a win. At least that's what they are telling themselves. The problem is, as our new PM is about to find out, running a government is not like managing an institution. The opposition the government are going to face, whether it's from the left or the right don't share its illusions about its mandate. While it is true that Starmerism is a programme of state renovation and modernisation designed to restore the very legitimacy Labour are now lacking, the experience of all past governments is support tends to wane, not increase in office. If everything goes right and the economy remains stable, the state does get fixed, public services work better, and the pledges in the manifesto are achieved Starmer could buck the trend. But what will test Labour is how it meets opposition within parliament and without. Never mind Starmer wanting to tread lightly out of preference, the political road ahead is littered with eggshells and landmines.

Image Credit

Friday 5 July 2024

Left of Labour General Election Results 2024

As the debates over Labour's vote share, the damage done to the Tories by Reform, the Liberal Democrat surge, the breakthrough of the Greens, and the collapse of the SNP rage in the politics discourse, here are the results disproportionate numbers of people who visit this site are interested in: the showing put in by the far left and the large comparatively large numbers of left wing independents.

The results are grouped by party, and are arranged in alphabetical order by constituency. Where applicable, +/- indicates the results from the 2019 election campaign. There are few of these as only a handful of candidates stood then. Underlining indicates a clash with another party/group. Clashes with left independents aren't included for reasons already explained. Likewise, for those fulminating over the inclusion of the Workers' Party on this list the explainer can be found on the same link.

Alliance for Green Socialism
Leeds North East - Mike Davies, 259 (0.6%, +0.3)
Lewisham North - John Lloyd, 119 (0.3%)

Communist Future
Manchester Central - Caitriona Rylance, 131 (0.3%)

Communist League
Manchester Rusholme - Peter Clifford, 167 (0.6%)
Tottenham - Pamela Holmes, 63 (0.2%, +0.1)

Communist Party of Britain
Blaenau Gwent and Rhymney - Robert Griffiths, 309 (1.0%)
Bury South - Dan Ross, 181 (0.4%)
Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket - Darren Turner, 176 (0.3%)
Coatbridge and Bellshill - Drew Gilchrist, 181 (0.5%)
Edinburgh North and Leith - Richard Shilcock, 189 (0.4%)
Glasgow North East - Gary Steele, 146 (0.4%)
Hastings and Rye - Nicholas Davies, 136 (0.3%)
Ipswich - Freddie Sofar, 205 (0.5%)
Leicester South - Ann Green, 279 (0.7%)
Lewisham North - Oliver Snelling, 211 (0.5%)
Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare - Bob Davenport, 212 (0.6%)
Newcastle East and Wallsend - Emma-Jane Phillips, 186 (0.4%)
South West Norfolk - Lorraine Douglas, 77 (0.2%)
Taunton and Wellington - Rochelle Russell, 134 (0.3%)

Left Independents
Aberdeen South - Sophie Molly, 225 (0.5%)
Banbury - Cassi Bellingham, 850 (1.8%)
Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk - Ellie Merton, 329 (0.7%)
Bethnal Green and Stepney - Ajmal Masroor, 14,207 (30.5%)
Birmingham Edgbaston - Ammar Waraich, 3,336 (8.9%)
Birmingham Hall Green and Moseley - Mohammad Hafeez, 6,159 (14.8%)
Birmingham Ladywood - Akhmed Yakoob, 12,137 (33.2%)
Birmingham Perry Barr - Ayoub Khan, 13,303 (35.5%, ELECTED)
Birmingham Selly Oak - Kamel Hawwash, 2,842 (7.4%)
Blackburn - Adnan Hussain, 10,518 (27.0%, ELECTED)
Brentford and Isleworth - Zebunisa Rao, 486 (1.1%)
Bristol East - Wael Arafat, 257 (0.6%)
Bristol East - Farooq Siddique, 1,259 (2.7%)
Bromsgrove - Sam Ammar, 1,561 (3.1%)
Cardiff West - John Urquhart, 241 (0.5%)
Central Devon - Arthur Price, 477 (0.9%)
Chingford and Woodford Green - Faiza Shaheen, 12,445 (25.7%)
Dudley - Shakeela Bibi, 857 (2.4%)
East Ham - Tahir Mirza, 6,707 (17.7%)
Edmonton and Winchmore Hill - Khalid Sadur, 1,700 (4.1%)
Eltham and Chislehurst - John Courtneidge, 91 (0.2%)
Enfield North - Ertan Karpazli, 1,448 (3.3%)
Feltham and Heston - Damian Read, 373 (1.0%)
Frome and East Somerset - Gareth Heathcote, 294 (0.6%)
Grantham and Bourne - Charmaine Morgan, 1,245 (2.7%, +1.8)
Harrow West - Pamela Fitzpatrick, 4,120 (9.1%)
Heywood and Middleton North - Chris Furlong, 4,349 (11.7%)
Holborn St Pancras - Andrew Feinstein, 7,312 (18.9%)
Hove and Portslade - Tanushka Marah, 3,048 (5.9%)
Ilford North - Leanne Mohamad, 15,119 (32.2%)
Ilford South - Noor Begum, 9,643 (23.4%)
Islington North - Jeremy Corbyn, 24,120 (49.2%, ELECTED)
Kensington and Bayswater - Emma Dent Coad, 1,824 (4.1%)
Kingston and Surbiton - Yvonne Tracey, 1,177 (2.3%)
Leicester East - Claudia Webbe, 5,532 (11.8%)
Leicester South - Shockat Adam, 14,739 (35.2%, ELECTED)
Leyton and Wanstead - Shanell Johnson, 4,173 (9.5%)
Liverpool Garston - Sam Gorst, 3,294 (7.8%)
Liverpool Wavertree - Ann San, 1,191 (3.0%)
Mid Cheshire - Helen Clawson, 850 (2.0%)
Monmouthshire - Owen Lewis, 457 (0.9%)
Newcastle upon Tyne Central and West - Yvonne Ridley, 3,627 (8.8%)
Newport East - Pippa Bartolotti, 1,802 (4.7%)
Oxford East - Jabu Nala-Hartley, 600 (1.5%)
Preston - Michael Lavalette, 8,715 (21.8%)
Reading West and Mid Berkshire - Adrian Abbs, 562 (1.2%)
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough - Maxine Bowler, 2,537 (8.0%)
Sittingbourne and Sheppey - Mike Baldock, 3,238 (7.9%)
South Dorset - Giovanna Lewis, 185 (0.4%)
South West Wiltshire - Thomas Culshaw, 441 (1.0%)
Southport - Sean Halsall, 922 (2.0%)
Stockport - Asley Walker, 193 (0.4%)
Stockton West - Monty Brack, 45 (0.1%)
Stoke-on-Trent Central - Andy Polshaw, 315 (0.9%)
Stratford and Bow - Fiona Lali, 1,791 (4.1%)
Stratford and Bow - Steve Headley, 375 (0.9%)
Tottenham - Nandita Lal, 2,348 (5.8%)
Tunbridge Wells - Hassan Kassem, 609 (1.1%)
Walsall and Bloxwich - Aftab Nawaz, 7,600 (20.4%)
Wells and Mendip Hills - Abi McGuire, 1,849 (3.7%)
West Ham and Beckton - Sophia Naqvi, 7,180 (19.8%)
West Suffolk - Katie Parker, 485 (1.1%)
Wigan - Jan Cunliffe, 406 (1.0%)
Windsor - David Buckley, 1,629 (3.6%, +2.6)
Wycombe - Ajaz Rehman, 1,913 (4.3%)

People Before Profit
Belfast North - Fiona Ferguson, 936 (2.3%, +2.2)
Belfast West - Gerry Carroll, 5,048 (12,7%, -1.4)
Foyle - Shaun Harkin, 2,444 (6.4%, +3.6)

Scottish Socialist Party
Glasgow East - Liam McLaughlan, 466 (1.3%)
Rutherglen - Bill Bonnar, 541 (1.3%)

Socialist Equality Party
Holborn and St Pancras - Tom Scripps, 61 (0.2%, +0.1)
Inverness, Skye, and West Rossshire - Darren Paxton, 178 (0.4%)

Socialist Labour Party
Bangor Aberconwy - Katherine Jones, 424 (1.0%)
Barnsley South - Terry Robinson, 227 (0.6%)
Birmingham Perry Bar - Shangara Singh, 453 (1.2%)
Camborne and Redruth - Robert Hawkins, 342 (0.7%)
Central Ayrhsire - Lois McDaid, 329 (0.8%)
Edinburgh North and Leith - David Jacobsen, 227 (0.5%)
Forest of Dean - Saiham Sikder, 90 (0.2%)
Gloucester - Akhlaque Ahmed, 496 (1.1%)
Mansfield - Peter Dean, 423 (1.0%)
North Ayrshire and Arran - James McDaid, 232 (0.5%)
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport - Robert Hawkins, 183 (0.4%)
South Derbyshire - Paul Liversuch, 183 (0.4%)

Socialist Party of Great Britain
Clapham and Brixton Hill - Bill Martin, 122 (0.3%)
Folkestone and Hythe - Andy Thomas, 71 (0.2%)

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Aberdeen North - Lucas Grant, 214 (0.5%)
Birmingham Erdington - Corinthia Ward, 37 (0.1%)
Bristol North East - Dan Smart, 399 (1.0%)
Cardiff East - John Williams, 195 (0.5%)
Chorley - Martin Powell-Davies, 632 (1.9%)
Coventry East - Dave Nellist, 797 (2.2%)
Crawley - Robin Burnham, 153 (0.3%)
Croydon West - April Ashley, 247 (0.5%)
Doncaster North - Andy Hiles, 212 (0.7%)
Dundee Central - Jim McFarlane, 600 (1.5%)
Folkestone and Hythe - Momtaz Khanom, 249 (0.6%)
Gateshead Central and Whickham - Norman Hall, 369 (0.9%)
Glasgow North East - Chris Sermanni, 236 (0.7%)
Glasgow South - Brian Smith, 473 (1.1%)
Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes - Mark Gee, 222 (0.6%)
Hull North and Cottingham - Michael Whale, 262 (0.7%)
Ilford South - Andy Walker, 376 (0.9%)
Islington South and Finsbury - Ethan Saunders, 215 (0.5%)
Leeds Central and Headingley - Louie Fulton, 186 (0.6%)
Leicester West - Steve Score, 317 (0.9%)
Liverpool Riverside - Roger Bannister, 622 (1.9%)
Mansfield - Karen Seymour, 123 (0.3%)
Northampton South - Katie Simpson, 296 (0.7%)
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport - Alex Moore, 220 (0.5%)
Reading Central - Adam Gillman, 221 (0.5%)
Sheffield Central - Isabelle France, 409 (1.3%)
Sheffield Heeley - Mick Suter, 398 (1.0%)
Smethwick - Ravaldeep Bath, 163 (0.5%)

South West Devon - Ben Davy, 141 (0.3%)
Southampton Itchen - Decland Clune, 264 (0.7%)
Southampton Test - Maggie Fricker, 366 (1.0%)
Southgate and Wood Green - Karl Vidol 785 (1.7%)
Swansea West - Gareth Bromhall, 337 (0.9%)
Swindon North - Scott Hunter, 139 (0.3%)
Uxbridge and South Ruislip - Gary Harbord, 223 (0.5%)
Walthamstow - Nancy Taaffe, 561 (1.2%)
West Ham and Beckton - Lois Austin, 190 (0.5%)
Worcester - Mark Davies, 280 (0.6%)
Worsley and Eccles - Sally Griffiths, 241 (0.6%)

Bishop Auckland - Rachel Maughan, 331 (0.8%)
Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor - Brian Agar, 264 (0.7%)

Workers' Party GB
Alloa and Grangemouth - Tom Flanagan, 223 (0.5%)
Altrincham and Sale West - Amir Burney, 643 (1.2%)
Ashton-under-Lyne – Aroma Hassan, 2,835 (8.0%)
Aylesbury – Jan Gajdos, 516 (1.0%)
Barking – Hamid Shah, 3,578 (9.8%)
Bath - Matthew Alford, 230 (0.5%)
Battersea - Hazel James, 499 (1.1%)
Bedford - Prince Sadiq Chaudhury, 996 (2.4%)
Birmingham Hodge Hill and Solihull North - James Giles, 9,089 (26.6%)
Birmingham Yardley - Jody McIntyre, 10,582 (29.3%)
Blackburn - Craig Murray, 7,105 (18.3%)
Blaenau Gwent and Rhymney - Choudhry Yasir Iqbal, 570 (1.9%)
Bolton North East - Syeda Misbah Kazmi, 1,463 (3.4%)
Bolton South and Walkden - Jack Khan, 4,673 (12.7%)
Bootle - Ian Smith, 526 (1.4%)
Bradford South – Harry Boota, 513 (1.6%)
Brent East - James Mutimer, 1,052 (2.8%)
Brent West – Nadia Klok, 2,774 (6.7%)
Brentford and Isleworth – Nisar Malik, 2,746 (6.1%)
Bridgwater - Gregory Tanner, 168 (0.4%)
Bromsgrove - Aheesha Zahir, 144 (0.3%)
Broxtowe - Maqsood Syed, 388 (0.8%)
Burton and Uttoxeter - Azmat Mir, 2,056 (4.5%)
Bury North - Shafat Ali, 1,917 (4.2%)
Bury South - Sameera Ashraf, 1,023 (2.4%)
Caerfyrddin - David Evans, 216 (0.5%)
Cambridge - Khalid Abu-Tayyem, 951 (2.3%)
Carshalton and Wallington - Atif Rashid, 441 (0.9%)
Ceredigion Preseli - Taghrid Al-Mawed, 228 (0.5%)
Chatham and Aylesford - Matt Valentine, 340 (0.8%)
Cheadle - Tanya Manzoor, 811 (1.6%)
Chelmsford - Mark Kenlen, 105 (0.2%)
Chelsea and Fulham - Sabi Patwary, 538 (1.1%)
Chesham and Amersham - Muhammad Pervez Khan, 466 (0.9%)
Chesterfield - Julie Lowe, 248 (0.6%)
Cities of London and Westminster - Hoz Shafiei, 727 (1.9%)
Coventry East - Paul Bedson, 1,027 (2.8%)
Coventry South - Mohammed Ali Syed, 777 (1.8%)
Crawley - Linda Bamieh, 2,407 (5.3%)
Crewe and Nantwich - Phillip Lane, 373 (0.8%)
Croydon South - Kulsum Hussin, 612 (1.2%)
Croydon West - Ahsan Ullah, 708 (1.9%)
Derby South - Chris Williamson, 5,205 (13.9%)
Doncaster Central - Tosh McDonald, 758 (2.0%)
Dover and Deal - Colin Tasker, 98 (0.2%)
Dudley - Aftab Hussein, 621 (1.7%)
Dundee Central - Raymond Mennie, 192 (0.5%)
Ealing Central and Acton - Nada Jarche, 1,766 (3.7%)
Ealing North – Sam Habeeb, 3,139 (7.3%)
Ealing Southall - Darsham Singh Azad, 4,237 (9.1%)
Edmonton and Winchmore Hill - Denise Headley, 668 (1.6%)
Eltham and Chislehurst - Sean Stewart, 356 (0.8%)
Enfield North - Aishat Anifowoshe, 668 (1.5%)
Erith and Thamesmead - Mohammed Abu Shahed, 1,071 (2.7%)
Feltham and Heston – Amrit Mann, 2,201 (5.7%)
Gloucester - Steve Gower, 974 (2.1%)
Gorton and Denton - Amir Burney, 3,766 (10.3%)
Greenwich and Woolwich - Sheikh Raquib, 570 (1.3%)
Hackney South and Shoreditch - Mohammed Hussain, 1,007 (2.4%)
Halifax - Shakir Saghir, 2,543 (6.3%)
Hammersmith and Chiswick - Raj Gill, 439 (1.0%)
Harrow East - Sarajulhaq Parwani, 723 (1.5%)
Hartlepool - Thomas Dudley, 248 (0.7%)
Hastings and Rye - Philip Colley, 362 (0.8%)
Havant - Jennifer Alemanno, 211 (0.5%)
Hayes and Harlington - Rizwana Karim, 1,975 (5.2%)
Hendon - Imtiaz Palekar, 1,518 (3.7%)
Hornsey and Friern Barnet – Dino Philippos, 766 (1.6%)
Ilford South - Golam Tipu, 1,366 (3.3%)
Kingston and Surbiton - Ali Abdulla, 395 (0.8%)
Knowsley - Graham Padden, 245 (0.7%)
Leeds Central and Headingley - Owais Rajput, 691 (2.2%)
Leeds North East - Dawud Islam, 2,067 (4.6%)
Leeds South - Muhammad Azeem, 719 (2.3%)
Leeds West and Pudsey - Jamel El Kheir, 633 (1.6%)
Lewisham East - Steph Koffi, 577 (1.4%)
Lewisham North - Mian Akbar, 457 votes (1.0%)
Lewisham West and East Dulwich – Gwenton Sloley, 427 (0.9%)
Leyton and Wanstead - Mahtab Aziz, 1,633 (3.7%)
Lincoln - Linda Richardson, 479 (1.1%)
Luton North - Waheed Akbar, 3,914 (10.1%)
Luton South and South Bedfordshire - Yasin Rehman, 3,110 (8.1%)
Manchester Central - Parham Hashemi, 1,888 (4.8%)
Manchester Rusholme - Mohhamed Bilal, 3,660 (12.6%)
Manchester Withington - Elizabeth Greenwood, 1,774 (4.3%)
Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare – Anthony Cole, 530 (1.5%)
Mid Derbyshire - Josiah Uche, 150 (0.3%)
Middlesbrough and Thornaby East - Mehmoona Ameen, 2,007 (5.8%)
Mitcham and Morden – Mehmood Jamshed, 1,091 (2.4%)
Newark - Collan Siddique, 150 (0.3%)
Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend - Muhammed Ghori, 430 (1.0%)
Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor - Minhajul Suhon, 246 (0.6%)
North Durham - Chris Bradburn, 928 (2.2%)
North East Cambridgeshire - Clayton Payne, 190 (0.5%)
North Somerset - Suneil Basu, 133 (0.2%)
Northampton North - Khalid Razzaq, 1,531 (3.7%)
Nottingham East - Issan Ghazni, 2,465 (6.8%)
Nottingham South - Paras Ghazni, 1,496 (4.6%)
Nuneaton - John Homer, 967 (2.3%)
Oldham East and Saddleworth - Shanaz Saddique, 4,647 (11.6%)
Oxford East - Zaid Marham, 615 (1.6%)
Pendle and Clitheroe - Syed Hashmi, 336 (0.7%)
Peterborough - Amjad Hussain, 5,051 (12.1%)
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport - Guy Haywood, 311 (0.7%)
Poplar and Limehouse - Kamran Khan, 1,463 (3.4%)
Putney - Heiko Khoo, 433 (1.0%)
Queen's Park and Maida Vale - Irakli Menabde, 1,792 (4.7%)
Rawmarsh and Conisbrough - Robert Watson, 268 (0.8%)
Redditch - Mohammed Amin, 765 (1.8%)
Richmond and Northallerton - Louise Dickens, 90 (0.2%)
Rochdale - George Galloway, 11,587 (29.2%)
Rochester and Strood - John Innes, 245 (0.6%)
Romford - Zhafaran Qayum, 898 (2.0%)
Rossendale and Darwen - Tayab Ali, 491 (1.1%)
Rotherham - Taukir Iqbal, 1,714 (4.6%)
Salford - Mustafa Abdullah, 791 (2.0%)
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough - Mark Tyler, 1,437 (4.5%)
Sheffield Central - Caitlin Hardy, 656 (2.1%)
Sheffield Hallam - Mohammed Moui-Tabrizy, 281, (0.5%)
Sheffield Heeley - Steven Roy, 594 (1.5%)
Sheffield South East - Muzafar Rahman, 1,453 (4.1%)
Shipley - Waqas Khan, 269 (0.6%)
Slough - Adnan Shabbir, 1,105 (2.6%)
Smethwick - Nahim Rubani, 2,449 (7.0%)
South Northamptonshire – Mick Stott, 246 (0.5%)
Southampton Test - Wajahat Shaukrat, 775 (2.2%)
Southgate and Wood Green - Geoff Moseley, 833 (1.8%)
Stalybridge and Hyde - Audel Shirin, 1,214 (3.3%)
Stockport - Ayesha Khan, 1,630 (3.7%)
Stourbridge - Mohammed Ramzan, 1,067 (2.7%)
Stratford and Bow – Halima Khan, 3,274 (7.5%)
Streatham and Croydon North - Wasseem Sherwani, 910 (2.0%)
Stretford and Urmston - Khalila Choudhury, 4,461 (9.7%)
Sutton Coldfield - Wajad Burkey, 653 (1.4%)
Tamworth - Adam Goodfellow, 170 (0.4%)
Thurrock - Yousaff Khan, 691 (1.8%)
Tooting - Tarik Hussain, 807 (1.5%)
Torbay – Paul Moor, 234 (0.5%)
Tottenham - Jennifer Obaseki, 659 (1.6%)
Twickenham - Umair Malik, 347 (0.6%)
Wakefield and Rothwell - Keith Mason, 705 (1.7%)
Wallasey - Philip Bimpson, 462 (1.1%)
Walthamstow - Imran Arshad, 1,535 (3.3%)
Watford - Khalid Chohan, 2,659 (6.0%)
Widnes and Halewood - Michael Murphy, 415 (1.1%)
Wimbledon - Aaron Mafi, 346 (0.6%)
Windsor - Simran Dhillon, 621 (1.4%)
Wolverhampton South East - Athar Warraich, 915 (2.7%)
Wolverhampton West - Vikas Chopra, 576 (1.3%)
Worsley and Eccles - Nasri Barghouti, 466 (1.1%)
Wycombe - Khalil Ahmed, 3,344 (7.5%)
Wythenshawe and Sale East - John Barstow, 714 (1.8%)

Workers Revolutionary Party
Hackney South and Shoreditch - Carol Small, 310 (0.7%, +0.5)
Hammersmith and Chiswick - Scott Dore, 216 (0.5%)
Liverpool Garston - Frank Swinney, 112 (0.3%)
Oxford East - Brandon French, 197 (0.5%)
Peckham - Mariatu Kargbo, 355 (0.9%, +0.6)

Image Credit

Thursday 4 July 2024

The Creaking Duopoly

As the get the vote out operations are finishing off knocking up their promises and stuffing letter boxes with voting reminders, it's worth thinking about the character of the general election campaign and what it says about politics in Britain.

Considering how seismic the result will be, the putative scale of Labour's victory and the promise of annihilating the Tories for at least a generation, if you're outside the hurly burly of campaigning and following politics on social media this has been the lowest key election for some time. Probably since 2001. Those around back then will remember that the result was also a foregone conclusion, and it was a low effort affair where the main parties were concerned. Even so, window posters and sign post placards were a common feature of election season. These days, local authorities are precious about their "street furniture" and far fewer people advertise their voting intentions. Just from my experience living in Derby, around where I live and on the route to work I've seen one Labour sign (tucked away down a back road) and one Vote Green board plonked on an arterial route in and out of the city centre. Not even the local Tory councillor or prominent Tory activists have signs on their properties. Similarly, unlike previous elections where the doormat has been buried under small mountains of party literature, it's been conspicuous by its absence this time. We've received every Tory leaflet, two direct mails from Labour, and that's it.

The hack obsession with "cut through" doesn't extend to why the election hasn't cut through. There are, of course, long-term reasons that trouble most liberal democracies. And it's also true that the main parties almost collaborate over what the salient issues are going to be. This election is no different. The pollsters show that the cost of living crisis and the NHS are right at the top of people's concerns, with immigration coming a distant third. But you wouldn't know that from the dreary debates and the press coverage. Except this time, a certain weariness has set in. People worried about how to pay their bills, or fed up with the 8am rush for emergency GP appointments are not hearing any solutions to the problems that make everyday life difficult, if not an ordeal. Renters are hearing nothing about housing. Disabled people nothing about making life easier. Parents worried about cuts at their kids' schools, people of all ages despairing at the dearth of mental health support, the hope of action on climate change, the collapsing transport infrastructure, climate change, and the outright indifference/support of Israel's massacre of the Palestinians. The conspiracy of silence about these issues have turned millions of people off.

As such, both the mainstream parties have run awful campaigns. The Conservative campaign has proven far worse than Theresa May's ever did in 2017. Not even John Major's doomed effort in 1997 plumbed the depths of Rishi Sunak's incompetence. What the Tories needed was something that could have changed the course of the campaign and ceded them the initiative. They thought they had this with their stupid conscription scheme, but in a campaign where even the base of mass conservatism is feeling the pinch, attacks on young people were not going to convince. Especially when Nigel Farage's posh bloke authenticity is a more convincing repository for punters who are motivated by spite and fear. But there was almost a master stroke at the beginning of their campaign. The Sun excitedly announced that under the Tories, pensioners could look forward to an extra £2,000/year. This was how they chose to announce Sunak's promise to raise the tax threshold so the state pension didn't fall into it, which led to some weak attacks against Labour's plans to impose a "pensions' tax". And this £2k was cumulative up to 2030. If instead they'd gone for an uncomplicated £2k uplift, politically it would have been a big hit. Probably stemming the bleed in Reform's direction and forcing Labour onto the back foot, maybe even inducing Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves to attack it from the right. No, it wouldn't have fit the fiscal framework both main parties are abiding by, but Sunak wouldn't have to implement it anyway. An opportunity to salvage a few dozen more seats, lost.

Labour's has been a weird twin track campaign. The leadership have tried dampening expectations and have pushed messages about not being complacent. And to be fair to teams on the ground, in the main candidates haven't been. Fewer bodies than 2019 has meant longer sessions and harder work. Again, locally here in Derby North, given the hard yards she's put in for a couple of years no one could accuse Labour's Catherine Atkinson for treating the election as a foregone conclusion. Judging by the spread of social media reports, the same has been true nearly everywhere. That, however, cannot be said for Starmer and co. Despite their warnings, this has been the most complacent campaign run by Labour since 2005. Not just because of its thin manifesto, assuming anti-Tory voters will back Labour come what may, but because of its faux pas. No one forced the Labour right to chance their arm at purging candidates in full public view. Or openly admitting to lying for factional reasons. Or singling out Bangladeshis as the sorts of refugees they should be deported. These were th actions of a party unconcerned about their electoral consequences, and were took place under zero pressure from the media, are contributing toward the decomposition of Labour's base which will be increasingly felt over the course of their first term, and also suggest they will come to grief when the media does turn the heat up on their government.

This election then has almost entirely been defined by the duopoly domination of British politics. Reform were covered because its campaign plays direct into their use of immigration as displacement activity. The daft stunts by Ed Davey to try and get the Liberal Democrats noticed, particularly their emphasis around fixing social care, and the strong challenge of the Greens and the stress on climate change has bounced off the shielding Labour and the Tories have built to shelter themselves. How long this will last after the election with a severely weakened Tory party and leading Labour figures taking to their ministerial motors, no one yet knows. But also with a press in long-term decline and their ability to set the agenda going with it, the narrowness that typically defines British politics might be about to get wrenched open.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Vote as Left as You Can

Everyone's doing their voting recommendations. The Sunday Times begrudgingly came out for Labour. The FT were more enthusiastic with their endorsement. And always wanting to associate themselves with success, The Sun are endorsing Keir Starmer too. But ... what about this place? Having spent the last six weeks prattling on about scandals and stupidities, no recommendation has been forthcoming from these here parts.

Before leaving Labour, I was minded to make an argument not dissimilar to that (disingenuously) pushed by the Jewish Labour Movement and The New Statesman in 2019 I.e. No recommendation of a blanket Labour vote. Their positioning was driven by an overall desire to see the left defeated so the right could salvage Labour from the post-election wreckage. This time, there is zero chance of electoral calamity. As always, the left's position should be in mirror image of what they did then. That is mobilising from a desire to strengthen the position of left wing politics.

As we know, Labour are going to win and win big. But the projected low turnout, the Green Party's positioning, the strong challenges from independent lefts in a handful of seats and George Galloway in Rochdale, plus the traction these are getting on social media has led to a few furrowed brows. The higher ups read the same polls as everyone else. Regardless of the coming vainglorious outpourings post-election, harder heads know there's no love for Starmer or "changed Labour". They understand that many of the seats delivered on Friday morning are partly because of a split on the right and the generalised anti-Tory mood. And that the right will possibly be neutered as an oppositional force for a while has led to the finger wagging "if you want change, you've got to vote for it" slogan.

Millions do want change thank you very much, and have absolutely no faith a Starmer government will deliver it. Therefore, as per the arguments made by Owen Jones and many others, under these circumstances Labour needs to feel electoral heat from the left. This begins with rejecting outright calls for a comprehensive anti-Labour vote. It remains likely that the only socialists who will stand up to Starmer on the backsliding from the few decent commitments in the policy-lite manifesto, on his failures over Gaza, on racism, and on climate change are those elected on a Labour ticket. But electing Labour left wingers is not enough, seeing as recent experience has shown they can be cowed by whip removal/deselection threats. So the returning of Green MPs and independent lefts, such as the disgracefully discarded Jeremy Corbyn and Faiza Shaheen, would serve as a reminder that the left has more heft than street mobilisations. In this context and in nearly all cases, votes for socialist/communist/far left groups are wastes of time. Not because I'm an incorrigible sectarian, but because they generally mean nothing to their recipients and don't lead anywhere. Regarding the petit bourgeois and populist character of the Workers' Party of Britain, my recommendation for those contemplating supporting them depends on the political character of the candidate.

What about tactical voting? As left wing votes should be guided by strategic thinking, and that building left pressure in parliament is guiding most of the extra-Labour left's campaigning efforts, that logically entails minimising pressure from the right. To be sure, having the Tories come third won't be a magical cure-all for the baleful influence the right has, but it would constitute a historic defeat of the most class conscious and reactionary sections of British capital. As a rump Tory party gets on with its civil war with Farage's Reform, the greater the opening for left and Green positions to steer oppositional politics to Starmerism. That doesn't just mean putting on the nose peg and voting Labour in the raft of marginals the Tory collapse is opening up, but also doing the same in straightforward Liberal Democrat/Tory and SNP/Tory fights.

Image Credit

Monday 1 July 2024

What I've Been Reading Recently

Three months since the last list of books read. A mix of SF, litfic, there's something for everyone!

The Dying Earth Omnibus by Jack Vance
Hermsprong by Robert Bage
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
Signs and Machines by Maurizio Lazzarato
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein
This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald
Alien Embassy by Ian Watson
Nightfall by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg
The Ice Schooner by Michael Moorcock
Crash by JG Ballard
Malevil by Robert Merle
War With the Newts by Karol Capek
Protector by Larry Niven
The Saints of Salvation by Peter F Hamilton
Fury by Henry Kuttner
The Inhabited Island by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
The Doctor is Sick by Anthony Burgess
Mindplayers by Pat Cadigan
A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne
Planetfall by Emma Newman
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Destiny's Road by Larry Niven
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
Fugue for a Darkening Island by Christopher Priest
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
Moving the Mountain by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
Sorrowland by Rivers Soloman
Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
Wise Children by Angela Carter

Shall we get the not-great out the way first? The second Niven on this list was overlong, dull, and didn't add anything to the partially regressed space colony genre. It's here because I remember seeing it in bookshops in the late 90s and thought it might be worth a punt. Ho hum. Hermsprong and A Sentimental Journey were not up to the 18th century standards I've grown accustomed too, both of which committ the sin of boring the reader senseless.

On the great side, there are so many! Fury, Malevil, Mindplayers, Fugue for a Darkening Island are underappreciated SF classics that deserve wider readerships. I also enjoyed Soloman's Sorrowland, a queer decolonial condemnation of the United States. It attacks militarism and the racist exploitation of African Americans, and is one of the best novels from this decade I've read so far. And after taking an age, I finally finished Foucault's Discipline and Punish. This has been my most borrowed but never read library book of the last 20 years, and it's definitely stood the test of time. Not just because the analysis of disciplinary power still seems fresh (seeing as politics still operates with sovereigntist models). It's relevant: as our current forms of governance are breaking down, we have to pay attention to new efforts in this direction. Especially so when the UK is about to elect a government whose project amounts to the modernisation of the state.

If anything, the tbr pile has grown bigger during the month. Expect a few politics titles to crop up in three months time as I start working on stuff about the after effects of the general election. What have you been reading recently?

Five Most Popular Posts in June

And that's general election month out of the way. Did the uptick in politics interest alter the pattern of appeal where this here blog is concerned? Not really!

1. Leaving Labour
2. The Far Left and the 2024 General Election
3. Dismantling Labour's Base
4. Bottling Clacton
5. What if the Tories Come Third?

If you'd told me at the start of the campaign that my party membership would be one of its casualties, I might just about have believed you. The departure was a long time coming, but unlike those who wax lyrical about their leavings as a "liberation" I've experienced this as nothing of the sort. 'Independent socialist' is a contradiction in terms, and being a solo flier is not a good place to be. The reasons for going are outlined in the month's most read post, but tbh they're far from unique. In second are the candidacies of an array of revolutionary/socialist groups and those who seek that mantle. This is followed by the precipitating factor of my resignation - the dropping of Faiza Shaheen and the attempt to deselect Diane Abbott at the last possible moment. Zooming up the charts from the back end of the month is Labour's stupid and politically cowardly decision to pull resources from the campaign against Nigel Farage in Clacton. And coming last was a bit of crystal ball gazing. What happens if the Liberal Democrats become the official opposition?

Fishing around in June's posting pond, I've reeled in two more pieces. There's this one on Keir Starmer's hatchet man, Morgan McSweeney. And leaving off the neat politics, I've added the mixer of science fiction with Emma Newman's Planetfall.

It doesn't take a genius to see what's going to dominate next month's postings. At the top will either be something about the character of the results, the complexion of the first Starmer government, or (knowing this blog's audience) the round-up of the far left's election results. As ever, if you haven't already don't forget to follow the occasional newsletter, and if you like what I do (and you're not skint), you can help support the blog. Following me on Twitter and Facebook are cost-free ways of showing your backing for this corner of the internet.

Saturday 29 June 2024

Quarter Two By-Election Results 2024

This quarter 229,003 votes were cast in 101 local authority contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. 13 council seats changed hands. For comparison you can view Quarter One's results here.

Number of Candidates
Total Vote
+/- Q2 2023
Lib Dem
.   +0.9

* There were five by-elections in Scotland
** There were three by-elections in Wales
*** There were eight Independent clashes
**** Others consisted of Alba (107), Common Ground (573), Communist Party of Britain (47), Coventry Citizens Party (128), Fateham Residents (307), Heritage (36), Liberal (22), Party of Women (42), Peterborough First (1,307), Propel (292), Reform (417, 232, 212, 141, 128, 90, 88, 82, 18), Scottish Family Party (136), Scottish Libertarian (25), Socialist Alternative (86), South Devon Alliance (523), Sovereignty (41, 12), Tattenham and Preston Residents (1,318), TTIP (150), TUSC (151, 82, 72, 57, 48, 30, 33, 20, 19, 7), UKIP (259, 50), Workers' Party (198, 46, 20, 11)

And there is our final quarter before the general election. The commentary for June's by-election results applies here, though interesting to see the decline in Liberal Democrat support while the Greens, as forecast, continue to slowly increase the size of their footprint. The Conservatives are, of course, flattered by these results.

Next quarter there is a big bang of by-elections on 4th July with very little after then, including comparative few vacancies. Once July is out of the way, August and September are looking quite empty. It will be interesting to see how well Labour does as it takes office and how long a honeymoon, if there is one, will last.

Image Credit