By-election news: Conservatives hold Sitwell, Rotherham

Just one by-election this week, in Sitwell ward on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, following the death of Conservative Councillor Michael Clarke.

The Conservatives held the marginal seat, although the council remains under Labour control.

The Liberal Democrat candidate Abdul Razaq came fifth (possibly as a consequence of the Liberal Democrats not putting up a candidate in May, so the party’s support may have ebbed away to Labour?)

The result was as follows:

Con 1213
Lab 864
Independent 252
UKIP 241
LD Abdul Razaq 98

The turnout was 28.22%.

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41 Comments

  • Labour Troll 6th Aug '10 - 3:54pm

    Look at your support ebbing away! Haha.

    Oh wait, you give a reasonably good reason why: no candidate in May.

    Sorry, my mistake, I must have just gone on to auto-pilot with my fingers in my ears and posted about all the evil things you are doing. How could you cut ID Cards? and ContactPoint? and how come you have made more progress over Trident than we did in 13 years? and the House of Lords. Still you must all be Tories. That is the only way I can rationalise politics.

  • @Labour Troll..Oh wait, you give a reasonably good reason why: no candidate in May….good try but was that the best you could come up with..why is there always a but when you have poor results?can’t you just admit you are cuckolds and the public know it,the tories love lib dems for one reason only ,you give them the adequate cover they need,you can mock labour all you like but you will come back begging for our vote when you need your AV referendum because tory members are aginst AV by 9 to 1 so its up to you to get labour on side and not to mock us you buffoon.

  • Labour Troll 6th Aug '10 - 4:22pm

    Yes but the point I was making is a) that I was expecting such noble insults as ‘cuckold’ – pretty offensive, and 2) that all parties suffer like this in recent by-elections, Labour got a fifth with 52 votes I think (can’t remember exactly) and I didn’t jump on it and crow as I expect many to do.

    The reason I would not put it down to ‘and the public know it’ as you seem to want to is because there have been plenty of election where your memo seems not to have reached the voters.

    I am merely frustrated by each point of interesting election / campaigning / policy debate suddenly having a random post announcing ‘you are all Tories’ when that is evidently not the case, and mentioning a bunch of not-relevant issues for the particular debate. I will not resort to further tribalism, but your glee at using the words ‘begging’ ‘cuckold’ and ‘buffoon’ have made the point.

  • Declining – yeh, in Sitwell Rotherham! It just goes to show where we are smart and defend our positions with properly fought campaigns (I doubt if any literature went out) as in Radstock we win.

  • I am amazed that anyone in the Labour Party can put a positive spin on this result. Labour did worse yesterday than in May, when nationally they got one percentage point more than Michael Foot did in 1983. Yes, it is one result in isolation, but unless Labour can come up with a plausible local factor, I am not going to take their spin seriously.

    BTW, we get a majority Lib Dem government long before we win Rotheram

  • @Labour Troll ..Oh please!!We in the labour party have been called all sorts of names but they are just names,you may well be frustrated but that is what being in government is i’m affraid,i could use all sorts of more colourful anglo saxon language but i don’t so buffoon is hardly an insult in this day and age is it,maybe if it was the 1950s they would be,if i really wanted to insult you i would have called you a geoff hoon,so lighten up ;o)

  • I’m often called a Labour troll, and I don’t think you’re all Tories. I think you’re Liberal Democrats. As bad each other in (sometimes) differing ways.

  • Just as an aside,i don’t dislike all liberal democrat members but i do detest their leaders in government and i expect some in their heart of hearts do too.

  • Andrea Gill 6th Aug '10 - 5:12pm

    @Olly – rubbish. The Tories have lost several seats in local by-elections to Lib Dems and Labour in the past few weeks.

  • Olly wrote:

    “Lib Dems are taking the flak ”

    Not in real elections where real people vote, they are not. Haverstock? St Albans? Billericay? Kidlington? Torbay? Radstock? Keynsham? Haywards Heath? Crewkerne?

    “Labour are recovering steadily (Polling back to 34-38% in every poll)”

    Though not in Rotherham.

    Opinion polls are not real elections. They don’t count. Real elections do count. And the real elections that have taken place since May do not in any way indicate substantial loss of support by the Liberal Democrats.

    Simply repeating what these trolls are saying doesn’t make it fact.

  • @olly ..please try not to think for yourself as it is scorned upon in lib dem ranks,no please keep calm and carry on

  • The comments are no longer worth reading because of the Labour trolls. I suppose that’s what they set out to achieve.

  • Jane Elwood 6th Aug '10 - 6:08pm

    Not sure what’s worse.

    Being a libdem supporter and being called a Tory, or
    Voicing concerns over actions of this coalition and being labelled a Labour Troll.

    Well done “labour troll” for living up to your name and derailing this discussion

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th Aug '10 - 6:28pm

    “… the real elections that have taken place since May do not in any way indicate substantial loss of support by the Liberal Democrats.”

    A decline from 22% of the vote in a by-election in 2008 to less than 4% in a by-election in the same ward yesterday? Not an indication of a substantial loss of support?

    Astonishing.

  • The devastation begins.

    98 votes.

    Nintey-bloody-eight votes.

    First Huhne says “Opinion polls don’t count” as the LDs hit 12%. Then a byelection where less that 100 souls bother to vote for us. The LD response? “It’s because there wasn’t a candidate in May”.

    As soon as our activist base, concentrated in local councils begins to evaporate – we lose our ability to fight.

  • Worth pointing out that Helen isn’t “The Lib Dem response,” she’s a blogger. Much as it might be difficult to process for some Labour supporters, LDV is not an front for Cowley Street. Not everything posted here or even very much of it at all) comes from The Powers That Be.

    It is certainly true that Lib Demmery in Rotherham has taken a bit of a beating to go from 867 in 2008 to 98 votes in 2010 – or more to the point, from that result to not even fielding a candidate in May. I’d have to hazard there are other problems than just the coalition.

    And certainly we are seeing good results in some areas and national polling is not giving a totally accurate picture.

    Nevertheless I think it would be foolish for Lib Dems to look at what is already a trend of poor results in inner urban areas (Bilston, Bloxwich, Rotherham) and ignore it. It may well be that the reason we are doing badly in such wards is that Labour’s new tactic of misrepresentation and “reverse love bombing” is proving effective and we need to work out how to combat it. It may well (and I suspect this is most likely) be that many of our local parties are exhausted, demoralised or just plain dysfunctional and in need of some intervention and campaigns training.

    One thing is for sure, pretending it isn’t happening is not a viable option.

  • @olly
    The reputable polls produce a pretty accurate snapshot of the current mood – otherwise how do you explain the Exit Polls being so accurate in May (Despite everyone dismissing them “because the LIB Dem vote could not possibly be so low”)

    I think you’re confusing two things here. Opinion polls do provide a snapshot of voting intentions. But, Exit Polls are based on who voters say they actually voted for. The latter are indeed remarkably accurate, given the extremely sophisticated methodolgy now used.

  • Benjamin wrote:

    “Nevertheless I think it would be foolish for Lib Dems to look at what is already a trend of poor results in inner urban areas (Bilston, Bloxwich, Rotherham) and ignore it.”

    Is there? You have missed out Haverstock, a ward filled with LA housing and people on low incomes.

    There have always been areas of extreme weakness for the party, and Rotherham is one of them. In areas where we have MPs, or came a close second in May, we are doing well: Torbay, Crewkerne, St Albans.

    The Coalition could damage us in three ways:

    (1) It prevents the Leadership proselytising the policies and values of the party. At the national, but not the local, level, the party is hibernating.

    (2) It could have the effect of dissuading Labour voters from voting tactically. This has not happened yet to any appreciable degree, but it could do.

    (3) If the government becomes unpopular, this will rub off on the Liberal Democrats, even though our influence is minimal.

    All of which tells me that we need an exit strategy.

  • Andrew Suffield 6th Aug '10 - 10:20pm

    A decline from 22% of the vote in a by-election in 2008 to less than 4% in a by-election in the same ward yesterday? Not an indication of a substantial loss of support?

    Oh please. It’s a new candidate and he obviously didn’t fight it much, if at all. I’m guessing he was just a token candidate because the party rules say to stand a candidate in every election where possible, unless there’s a good reason not to.

    Lib Dem local parties don’t have a huge chunk of money to throw at council seat campaigns, nor do they have a ready supply of good candidates. A lot of council seats go without a Lib Dem candidate because there just weren’t any applicants. This sort of thing is not unusual and is not evidence for some grandiose forecast of the future.

  • Labour Troll 6th Aug '10 - 10:43pm

    @Jane, You are welcome to voice your disagreement. Please go on. Having seen comments (I think) by you in the past, yours are sensible, and interesting, and – most importantly – on topic, valid concerns. The point is, you are a Lib Dem, not a Tory or Labour.

    I far from agree with the coalition, but was perhaps hoping to engender some more interesting debate. Republica got the point, Mike and Cuse did not, and Olly is on topic. The only point being made is the inevitable tribal comments that appear slamming us for everything bad under the sun in non-related threads.

    Apologies if I gave, ironically, the wrong impression.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Aug '10 - 8:51am

    “Oh please. It’s a new candidate and he obviously didn’t fight it much, if at all. I’m guessing he was just a token candidate because the party rules say to stand a candidate in every election where possible, unless there’s a good reason not to.”

    I find this quite astonishing.

    Are you really saying that 80% of Lib Dem support is there only because of the campaign that takes place locally in the few weeks before the election, and will just evaporate if the election isn’t fought actively? And this in a ward where the Lib Dems were in second place only two years ago?

    Why is it so hard for some people to admit the obvious fact that the Lib Dems are taking a significant hit in popularity at the moment? Whatever people think of the coalition and the way the party is conducting itself, it’s no good just people just sticking their heads in the sand and pretending it’s not happening.

  • Rob Sheffield 7th Aug '10 - 10:26am

    @Johm

    Declining – yeh, in Sitwell Rotherham! It just goes to show where we are smart and defend our positions with properly fought campaigns (I doubt if any literature went out) as in Radstock we win.

    Ha ha ha-absolute corker of a point 🙂

    Not only offensive (‘liberal’ ?) but tactically naive. Oh and also the insipid ‘straw clutching’ over certain BE results: whilst downplaying those that don’t fit in with your blinkered script ! Priceless.

  • Rick Manchester,

    You could usefully explain why the Labour vote in Rotherham last Thursday was lower than it was in May, when Labour nationally scored only one percentage point more than Michael Foot in 1983. Your excuse for Radstock was that Somerset miners, unlike Yorkshire miners, are not real miners. Remind which historical county Rotherham is in?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Aug '10 - 11:02am

    “… so how do you explain the generally decent results when you look across all by-elections?”

    What’s the evidence that they are “generally decent”? All I’ve seen is people picking out some of the better ones to try to bolster their denial of the evidence of the opinion polls. There have also been a number of big swings away from the Lib Dems – particularly in urban areas.

    There is also the question of what you are comparing with. You have to remember that the Lib Dems’ opinion poll ratings were almost as low as they are now during quite a lot of the last Parliament. But then again, if you don’t believe in opinion polls, you have no point of reference, and the local results are meaningless in any case!

  • Conservative 7th Aug '10 - 2:16pm

    there does seem to be some disagreement in this comments section:
    fact of the matter is the LDs are suffering from lower popularity but have founght some good by-election campaigns so far. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of months to get a good picture. Labou appear to be bouncing back in the north and we (tories) are having good days and bad days.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th Aug '10 - 2:22pm

    Are you really saying that 80% of Lib Dem support is there only because of the campaign that takes place locally in the few weeks before the election, and will just evaporate if the election isn’t fought actively?

    Not exactly. It’s only there as support for the candidate, not support for the party, especially in by-elections. A brand new candidate who does not campaign will not transfer those votes. Everybody’s known that for years, it’s one of the many ways that Lib Dem voters differ from Tory and Labour tribalists. You must have seen us discussing it when you were trolling other election result threads.

    All I’ve seen is people picking out some of the better ones to try to bolster their denial of the evidence of the opinion polls. There have also been a number of big swings away from the Lib Dems – particularly in urban areas.

    The evidence for “big swings away from the Lib Dems” does not exist. There’s been fractionally more Lib Dem wins than losses, and overall there has been no significant change since May. There are no “big swings” or “collapses of support” of any kind. Turns out the voters don’t care about you or what you have to say (unsurprising, UK voters are usually apathetic).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Aug '10 - 4:40pm

    “There are no “big swings” or “collapses of support” of any kind.”

    Well, believe what you want to believe, but whatever your agenda I think you’d do better taking an objective look at the data rather than sticking your fingers in your ears, shutting your eyes tightly and repeating the mantra “I don’t believe in opinion polls.”

    “Turns out the voters don’t care about you or what you have to say …”

    Eh? Who said they did?

  • I can’t believe how much discussion this by-election has caused.

    It was a poor result.
    It was in Rotherham.

    therefore, you can’t read anything in to it all. As anyone who knows the local party there would confirm.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Aug '10 - 8:37pm

    “It was a poor result.
    It was in Rotherham.

    therefore, you can’t read anything in to it all. As anyone who knows the local party there would confirm.”

    This really doesn’t make much sense, you know.

    Why should the fact that it was in Rotherham mean that it can’t be compared with an earlier election in the same ward of Rotherham?

  • Olly,

    It is yourself you are fooling. If the Labour vote always drops in local elections, as you claim, how does Labour ever manage to win local elections? Try harder.

  • Olly,

    Why do you think Labour voters in Rotherham are more apathetic about local elections than general elections? I cannot see what difference a differential turnout makes in a Labour/Conservative contest. Do you have any evidence to support your claim that it does?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Aug '10 - 11:51pm

    “I cannot see what difference a differential turnout makes in a Labour/Conservative contest. “

    Surely that’s one of the oldest chestnuts in the political almanac – if it rains on election day, it will favour the Tories.

    In your terms, just imagine stealth planes piloted by CIA pilots seeding the clouds, to make sure that candidates favourable to the North-American military-industrial complex are elected …

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