Lambeth A-Z

And finally…

A fairly pointless evening spent carrying out a fairly pointless exercise at the bequest of a fellow blogger, who reckoned that my analysis of the alphabetical voting pattern in the Oval ward could be transferred to the rest of the Rotten Borough.

The theory is that candidates with a second name higher up in the alphabet have a better chance of being elected, given the A-Z printing format of the ballot paper, and the supposed laziness of the electorate in ticking the top boxes.

Um, ‘fraid not…

Lambeth A-Z

This system of choosing Councillors *may* have been apparent in my Oval ward, but the data doesn’t suggest that it was repeated across the rest of Lambeth. The only logical conclusion I can draw out of the whole exercise is that the Rotten Borough has a higher proportion of potential candidates whose second name starts with a B.



A final, final qualitative look at the results for the local election results draws some far more interesting conclusions.

Gipsy Hill provides the perfect political backdrop to demonstrate the power of @LambethLabour in the borough right now. No one was expecting the existing three Tory seats to end up in the hands of Nu Labour.

With only four Conservative Councillors left in Lambeth, it is no surprise that the blue rinse mob has decided not to take up the offer of putting forward a candidate to become the new Mayor. This would only weaken the Tory group, which now barely exists, further still.

Congratulations to @LambethLabour’s Neeraj Patil, the Larkhall Councillor who has now become the new Mayor of Lambeth. I bet the good Councillor is pleased he didn’t ‘do an Edbrooke’ and offer himself up as a political careerist over in Surrey Heath.

Tough act to follow, mind.

Clap’ham Common meanwhile remains something of an anomaly in Lambeth. The SW4 patch is where the gentrification of the borough can be seen at its strongest. Oh the irony of a right wing Nu Labour cabinet supporting the private sector in the borough, and consequently letting in more affluent (and Tory friendly voters) into the ward.

It was expected that the previous one Labour and two LibDem seats would become a stronghold for @LambethLibDems. Instead we have two Tories and one LibDem now in control of Clap’ham Common.

This result only proves the point of how strong @LambethLabour’s candidates (and winners) are in the neighbouring Clap’ham Town ward. Election day saw blue rinse supporters bussed in from the leafy Surrey suburbs (seriously) in an effort to try and rally the Tory troops in SW4. It was like Royal Ascot comes to Lambeth, but thankfully with the return of three very strong @LambethLabour Councillors.

Much was made by the s***t stirrers party agents for @LambethLabour of the standing of former @LambethLibDems Mayor, June Fewtrell, in the Streatham Hill ward. This is traditional LibDem territory, as well as being the home seat of sitting @LambethLibDems leader Councillor Ashley Lumsden.

LibDems rocked!” screamed the sensational headline from the @LambethLabour website, upon hearing the news that Fewtrell was standing as an independent against Councillor Lumsden. So rocked in fact that all three @LambethLibDems candidates claimed their seats at the Town Hall, with Fewtrell coming last on the list with only 2% of the overall vote.

Vassall ward was also favourable for @LambethLibDems with Councillor Steve Bradley managing to hold his seat at the expense of a sustained attack by @LambethLabour. Vassall had the unholy alliance of two Labour and one LibDem Councillors. This LabLib alliance of sorts will remain for the next four years, with Councillor Bradley holding off the challenge of a Labour clean sweep by 47 votes.

It’s a similar situation in my Oval ward, with rival candidates during the election campaign now having to come together to work for the good of the area. @janeinlondon / East Hants and Jack the Lad Hopkins *may* have benefited from the alphabetical voting behaviour of the electorate, but there is no denying that @LambethLabour did incredibly well to take two seats off the opposition, in what is traditionally LibDem territory.

The LabLib Oval alliance is going to be intriguing to see how it comes together, given the hostile accusations made by @LambethLabour towards the opposition during the campaign.

The election literature twaddle here in SW8 may have been unwelcome, but at least it wasn’t as bad as the complete lies put out by @LambethLabour over in Herne Hill (the home patch of, um, @janeinlondon / East Hants…)

Pity the poor Greens, who suffered at the libellous hands of @LambethLabour, and the smear campaign of first denying the existence of the Green vote, and then the last ditch attempt to scare the good folk of Herne Hill with a horrid, horrid smear campaign that shows up the local Labour group in SE24 for the farce of an election winning machine that it has become.

With no real policies put forward by @LambethLabour in Herne Hill, the election beast has won the day, returning three @LambethLabour Councillors as fear of a “South London drugs supermarket” hit Herne Hill.

Lambeth Greens shouldn’t be too disillusioned with the result. Although the group has lost the one seat that it won in 2006, the share of the Green vote in the ward is actually up 25%. The ambitions of the Greens in fielding three candidates in Herne Hill, probably had the adverse effect of spreading the vote.

The share of the vote would have returned three Green Councillors in 2006, 2002 and 1998. Brixton Hill was also incredibly positive, with a 37% increase for the Greens, compared to the last local election.

In fact the Greens are intriguing in Lambeth – no Councillors, yet the Green vote has doubled borough wide to just short of 34,000. Even areas where *shhh* paper candidates were fielded, saw a healthy swing for the Greens.

My contacts tell me that this has been viewed as being extremely encouraging, and wards such as the Oval are now seen as being within reach for the Greens in four years time.

The next set of local elections may seem like a lifetime away in terms of Lambeth politics, but *eeek* – plans are already being put in place. Driving all of this of course is the dreaded C word.

Nope, not my opinion of *some* within Lambeth politics, but the Cuts issue that is facing both local and national politicians. Expect the blame game to be in play here, with the ConDem national coalition being held responsible locally for the cuts that @LambethLabour will have to put in place.

The only optimism I see is that yep, *every* vote counts. Watching the sheer panic on the face of some candidates during the Town Hall count last week, and I finally realised what the game is all about.

Win, win, and win, at any cost.

That cost has come at a high price for local democracy and the progression of our community, but the results are now in place, and so are the new Councillors after their induction session at the Town Hall over the weekend.

Time to hold the buggers to account.

One thought on “Lambeth A-Z

  1. Some quick points. (Declaration of interest – I helped draw up the ward boundaries for the Lib Dems after Lambeth officers came up with laughable official boundary proposals a decade ago.)

    1. I think your analysis is too simple, and you would need to build a multivariate model that includes individual votes the relative shares of the core party votes.

    If a ward is “safe” then the differential from a party’s core vote attributable to the candidate’s name won’t affect the result. In marginal wards it become crucial.

    2. Actually, lots of people were expecting Gipsy Hill to change hands – but it was in neither the Tories nor the Liberal Democrats interests to talk up Labour’s prospects.

    Ballot Box sample counts by party activists at every General Election, Mayoral election and Euro election in the last ten years showed that when local factors aren’t in play the area has a Labour majority. However, on local election turnouts, the hard work of the local Tory councillors meant they were able to get elected to Lambeth Council.

    3. Clapham Common’s demographics mean that it has a natural anti-Labour majority at national level. The property market has accelerated the rate at which “small l liberal” professionals (consultants at Guys/St Thomas’s, academics etc) have been priced out and “Abbeville Village” has become dominated by city types. One of the Liberal councillors who retired from the seat was pretty scathing in her contempt for the blinkered selfishness of many of the people she had to represent.

    Ruth Ling – who was first elected to the former ward of Clapham Park which had more estates and more Labour voters – had done enough work over the years to build up personal following amid the middle classes who would otherwise vote Lib Dem to be elected in local election turnouts. On a General Election turnout, she was swept away.

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