Sheffield slaughter? Not this week

Labour pundits were eagerly predicting the Lib Dems would be slaughtered in a Sheffield local by-election yesterday, and would simply be hoping to avoid coming last.  The reality was a little different.

Labour comfortably held on to their safe Woodhouse seat, with both them and UKIP taking votes from the Conservatives, who were pushed into fourth place, just a few votes ahead of the BNP.

The Lib Dems came a clear second place, with the party’s vote down just 0.5% on the May result, and well up on every other election in the last few years, as Labour struggled to make any headway against the party.

Congratulations to Lib Dem candidate Joe Otten on proving the Labour doom-mongers wrong.  Anders Hanson has more details on his blog.

Full result

Labour  1,855  52.3%  +5.4
Liberal Democrats  757  21.3%  -0.5
UKIP  491  13.8%  +4.3
Conservatives  154  4.3%  -10.1
BNP  143  4.0%
Green  83  2.3%  -0.4
Independent  58  1.6%

Turnout: 26%

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32 Comments

  • Gosh.

    It really is desperation isn’t it – “We were second! We were second!”

  • yes, losing by over 1000 votes, decreasing your vote as Labour’s vote increased by 5% is usual for Lib Dems in by elections isn’t it?

  • Minor result from last night

    Burgess Hill TC Victoria ward ( Mid Sussex DC )
    LibDem gain from Conservative
    LD 662 Con 453

  • Mike(The Labour one) 27th Aug '10 - 11:03am

    It could be different in a seat that’s not already majority Labour, and the Lib Dems must surely have benefited from lost Conservative voters, rather than keeping voters- it looks a lot like the supporters of the coalition as a whole threw their weight behind the Lib Dems rather than split that vote.

  • Oh come off it.At any other time the LDs would be going hell for leather to win this seat.They bombed.They can take Tory seats because the Tories are sharing the burden of government.Roll on next May and the massacre.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 27th Aug '10 - 11:54am

    @Dave Page: It’s possible. I really don’t think it’s likely though that the Tories would overwhelmingly change their vote to Labour. I think the ex-Tory votes were split between UKIP and the Lib Dems.

    The coalition combined lost 10.6% of the electorate in a seat where their vote was already on the low side. If I had to guess I’d say the Lib Dem vote will hold where the Tories fall and the Tories will hold where the Lib Dems fall in future. There’ll be a consolidation of the two groups of voter into one block that will vote for whichever coalition party is likeliest to beat Labour.

    You could end up trapped with the Tories for the long-term, for fear of losing those votes- though I guess for your party that’s not the horror scenario I’d see it as coming from a Labour background.

  • I still dont see anybody from a Labour perspective explaining how they intend to deal with their £20 Million debts or even some examination of how you got into the mess in the first place.
    LDV can you remove Daves comment above.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 27th Aug '10 - 12:03pm

    When I say “It’s possible” I didn’t mean that to be a snarky reply to the “it’s impossible to say” bit, rather that it’s possible that the Lib Dems won’t face electoral demise. I think they’ll have no future apart from the Tory party, and they’ll need to rely on Tory tactical voters.

    Rather than meeting their demise I think the Lib Dems are on life support with the Tories in control of the switch.

  • Gosh these Labour trolls are desperate.they go on and on about how hated we are in Sheffield/have condemned the north of England to poverty yada yada and then when an actual ele tion happens they can’t deal with it.
    Maybe people in Sheffield like the idea of a party leader who doesn’t put party and personal advantage above his principles.
    I don’t expect labour people would understand that, their only principle was to spend as much money as possible in their own constituencies

  • Smcg you do realise that the LibDems didn’t actually win the by-election don’t you?

  • Mike(The Labour one) 27th Aug '10 - 12:58pm

    @Joe Otton: We’d all love it if opposition parties would bend at the knee and say we’re right. To think that such a thing is the “honest” approach is just ignorant. Typical Lib Dem attitude that all opposition is dishonest.

  • Mark Senior 27th Aug '10 - 2:03pm

    You have to compare the Sheffield result with the 3 elections held in 2006/2007 and 2008 on simiar turnout . The Labour vote yesterday was LOWER than in all 3 of those elections , the LibDem vote was a little higher . Clearly there can have been no movement of LibDem voters to Labour but there may have been a small movement of Conservative voters to the LibDems .

  • Mike(The Labour one) 27th Aug '10 - 2:36pm

    @Mark Senior: Have you got a link to the figures for the past three elections?

  • Mark Senior 27th Aug '10 - 3:32pm

    They are all on the Sheffield City Council website but just for you
    2006 Lab 1966 LD 603 UKIP 574 Con 546 Green 278
    2007 Lab 2307 UKIP 681 LD 553 Con 514 Green 267
    2008 Lab 2041 Con 700 LD 661 UKIP 593 Green 291

  • Mike(The Labour one) 27th Aug '10 - 6:00pm

    @Mark Senior: Cheers, interesting that the Tories poor showing isn’t in character. The UKIP vote didn’t increase enough to account for the Tory voters who stopped, and those extra Labour votes must have come from somewhere. They’re more likely to have come from the Lib Dems than from the Tories- the Tories are more likely to have gone to the Lib Dems. And the turnout was between 32% and 36% in those elections, it isn’t a case of Labour having gotten less votes on a comparable turnout.

  • Mark Senior 27th Aug '10 - 7:03pm

    @ Mike ( the Labour one )
    What extra Labour votes ??
    111 votes fewer than in 2006
    452 votes fewer than in 2007
    186 votes fewer than in 2008

  • Under consideration – your hopeful pondering just doesn’t stand up to analysis. Why?
    1 The Woodhouse Ward is nowhere near the Sheffield Hallam Constituency Cleggy represents. Therefore why would there be a protest against him?
    2 Please point me to a single viable source who was claiming that in the Woodhouse by-election that Labour would wipe the Lib Dems out? Jack Scott is a small-time councillor who referenced a Tory – you know, the party who the Liberals are keeping in Government?
    3 The turnout is so small as to suggest that Party loyalists came out for their respective parties. You would expect the Libs to get the vote out if they were fearful of being scalped. And you would expect Tories to vote tactically for them. How is that working for you? Tories voting for Liberals
    4 The Lib Dems got 0.05% of the potential electorate to vote for them. 0.05%. And yet LDV is celebrating. Desperate doesn’t cover it.

  • @Mark Senior: Extra Labour votes for the turn-out. Larger percentage of Labour votes. In 2006 and 2008 there was roughly a 32% turnout, in 2007 there was 36%. 2010 it was 26%.

    The Tory vote collapsed. There is no way that Tory support has dropped from 14% to 4% when nationally the Tories are polling well and the Lib Dems suffering, unless some local issue made the individual especially disliked- and then for those to shift over to Labour? No chance. They will have lent the Lib Dems those votes in the hope that a coalition party would win rather than split the vote between Tory and Lib Dem.

  • A message to the Labour trolls: you’ll probably have plenty of opportunities to crow about our performance in the years to come: this isn’t one of them.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 28th Aug '10 - 12:35pm

    @tonyhill: I think it is. The coalition combined got, what, half of the Labour vote.

    With the Tories voting Lib Dem and what Lib Dems there are left voting Lib Dem, it is a dire result. I imagine in Lab/Tory marginals your vote will go the way of the Tories’ in this election, but you’ll hold up (for the short term) in Lib/Lab seats due to Tories lending their vote.

  • Joe Otten. That doesn’t surprise me.

    Look at the Coalition approval ratings – from levels touching New Labour in 1997 to negative within 102 days. And that’s without the opposition having a leader, never mind a consistent, national attack strategy.

    Cleggy will be Labour’s number 1 electoral aid for the next 10 to 20 years. “You just can’t trust the Liberals” will be the defining message of the next 3 or 4 election campaigns. The thing is – you can see the Tories using it too when the Liberals (and be under no illusion, it will come) break the Coalition.

    I think Mike “The Labour One” sums it up best for me. The Coalition parties as one polled less roughly half of Labour.

    Frightening, worrying times – under a headline of “Sheffield Slaughter – Not this week”

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