This week’s by-elections: a Lib Dem hold and a near miss

Amongst the crop of this week’s by-elections are a convincing hold in Todmorden Town Council’s Stoodley ward:

LD Zaheer Abbas 203 (39.9)
Lab 123 (24.2)
Ind 71 (13.9)
National Front 59 (11.6)
Ind 53 (10.4)
Majority 80
Turnout 19.12%

In Cardiff’s Splott, we came within 102 votes, and raised our vote by 3.5%, of taking a seat from Labour.

 Lab 706 (39.1; -8.7)
LD Jamie Matthews 604 (33.5; +3.5)
UKIP 209 (11.6; +11.6)
Ind 94 (5.2; +5.2)
Con 86 (4.8; +0.5)
TUSC 80 (6.1; +3.2)
[Communist (0.0; -3.3)]
[Green (0.0; -4.5)]
Majority 102

Glasgow Shettleston has never been our strongest area, but I can report a 0.6% rise in our vote in the ward for our candidate Jamie Spiers. 53 local residents gave him their first preference and he finished fifth in a list of twelve candidates. This was trumped by a 4.3% increase in Liverpool’s Riverside ward. (Update:  we didn’t stand there last time, which I hadn’t realised, but that’s not a bad result from a cold, standing start).

It was particularly depressing, though, that so many wards didn’t have Liberal Democrats standing in them. I was particularly annoyed when I found out that the Caithness Landward ward, for the second by-election it’s faced had no Liberal Democrat candidate. This is in a held seat, for goodness sake. We also failed to contest seats in Dartford and Nuneaton.

The lessons we can extrapolate from by-elections is that where we have previously not been strong, our small vote is picking up a little bit, but where we have a record of activity and are keeping it up, then we’re seriously back in the game. We need to make sure that we don’t throw away any chance to make progress.

Thanks as ever to ALDC for their excellent results service.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

38 Comments

  • Glad to see Zaheer get in so convincingly. Was pretty positive for us on the doorsteps too; people appreciate the work our local lot put in. Now to build on it.

    * takes off chairing hat *

    Wow… I HAVE gone establishment :/

  • Ruth Bright 7th Dec '13 - 1:20pm

    A mention please also for Pam Jones who has just regained her seat on Alton Town Council (East Hampshire). Pam is one of those community politicians who just sticks at it with warmth, integrity and sheer doggedness. Wonderful news.

  • Tubby Isaacs 7th Dec '13 - 5:33pm

    There’s trying to rally the troops, and there’s pulling the wool over their eyes. The results were terrible.

    A town council up top? Couldn’t mean you did badly in the more important elections, could it? Yes it could.

    There were 2 seats in Cardiff up for grabs- you got less than 3% and beaten by TUSC in the other. Last, with 58 votes.

    That improved vote in Liverpool Riverside amounted to 64 votes (though you beat the Tories).

    In Ancoats and Riverside (Manchester) you got 31 (1.8%). Someone standing as a Liberal hammered you.

    In Chelmsford South Woodham, you got 24 (last)

  • I am sorry to have to agree with Tubby, who I suspect is not a supporter of the party, but with the occasional exception our local by-election results have been appalling for some time now. I had thought that this may reflect a lack of effort in seats where we have at least put up a candidate but do not have the resources to even put out a leaflet (and it would be interesting to know what was done, for example, in the Riverside wards), but some evidence appears to suggest that even where we are putting in some effort the electorate is now actively hostile to us or just completely indifferent to anything we have to say. The buck for that stops at the top.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Dec '13 - 5:58pm

    Tony, I think that people are more receptive to us in areas where we can put the work in. Two years ago, they were furious with us. A year ago that was starting to melt a bit, but now they are ready to engage with us again. They’re not really aware of what we’ve brought to the Coalition. I know that people up here are quite impressed when we tell them that Nick Clegg, far from being some sort of heartless monster in London is giving schools extra money for disadvantaged kids and providing more mental health support,

    Really important to get more of that message out between now and the Euros.

  • Caron,

    I know that people up here are quite impressed when we tell them that Nick Clegg, far from being some sort of heartless monster in London is giving schools extra money for disadvantaged kids and providing more mental health support,

    I do hope you’ve not been telling voters in Scotland this, both health and education are devolved matters so Nick Clegg has no influence on these.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Dec '13 - 6:17pm

    No, g, I’m not stupid and neither are Scottish voters. Of course I tell them that that’s what he has been personally responsible for pushing forward in government in England – that, and the nursery places for the poorest 2 year olds. People like to hear it and they also are aware that the SNP government isn’t interested in doing these things up north even though they have the powers to do so. On childcare they say that’s got to wait for independence.

  • Mind you, Jamie wouldn’t have had to fight a council election in Cardiff if Leeds Labour didn’t resort to dirty tricks.

  • Last 2-3 weeks seem to be doing a wee wee bit better against Labour but poorer against the Conservatives. That is a very bad omen for the G E, when we are on target to be massacred.
    I have completely written off the Euros, we will finish 6th behind the Greens on votes.

  • Jayne Mansfield 7th Dec '13 - 7:27pm

    There are some posters on here that I would enthusiastically vote for in local election.

    Come the General election , it will be a different matter. I really felt that your party was correct to enter into coalition with the Conservative Party, especially as we were led to believe that David Cameron had de-toxified his party. Sadly, I now believe that the good things that you say that you have achieved are far far outweighed by the fact that your leaders have supported a government that can only be described as nasty as any Conservative party in my living experience.

    I am also unconvinced that on the matter of the economy, the coalition as been as competent as it states, I am inclined to believe that any economic growth has been despite its policies not because of them.

    In my opinion, it is the turn-out at these elections rather than who wins that gives a more vivid picture of the attitudes of electors like myself, this sadly, when initially, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for a coalition.

    I ac’t see how Caron can be criticised for talking-up the achievements of the government, I would imagine that rallying the troops and trying to keep up spirits is what activists are supposed to do.

  • Peter Watson 7th Dec '13 - 8:20pm

    “Glasgow Shettleston has never been our strongest area, but I can report a 0.6% rise in our vote in the ward for our candidate Jamie Spiers. 53 local residents gave him their first preference and he finished fifth in a list of twelve candidates”
    Actually it looks like he was 6th, with the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition trouncing him with 68 votes, though he managed to hold off the Bedroom tax – No Welfare Cuts party on 50 votes.
    I notice that in Manchester Ancoats and Clayton the LD candidate languished in 8th place (behind BNP and Pirate) but a ‘Lib’ candidate was 2nd. Is there a story there?

  • What can we take from a 12% turnout in Todmorden? Virtually nothing.

    I agree with Tony and Tubby and I would guess with any rational person who is not guilty of grasping at straws –

    tony hill 7th Dec ’13 – 5:45pm
    evidence appears to suggest that even where we are putting in some effort the electorate is now actively hostile to us or just completely indifferent to anything we have to say. The buck for that stops at the top.

    Clegg and his coterie are killing the party, either by design or by incompetence.
    Once we have got rid of Clegg we have a chance to recover, but not before.

  • “… I’m not stupid and neither are Scottish voters.”

    Quite possibly that’s why Lib Dem support in Scotland is currently at 6% according to the polls.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Dec '13 - 11:43pm

    Actually, Peter, we have AV for by-elections up here (another Lib Dem achievement) so he finished ahead after transfers taken into consideration.

  • Tubby Isaacs 8th Dec '13 - 12:47am

    As Tony Hall says, I am not a supporter of the Lib Dems, but I have voted for them at local level. And I will consider doing so. My local councillor, in Tower Hamlets, is very able and good. (Stephanie Eaton). I voted for her in 2012,

    I admire Caron as a grassroots Lib Dem. But she’s been let down at Parliamentary level.

    Sorry chaps, you’re toast. Like we were in 2010.

  • Paul in Twickenham 8th Dec '13 - 8:07am

    To my shame I must admit that I had to use Google Maps to discover the location of Todmorden. On the plus side, I know exactly where Cardiff, Chelmsford, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester are.

  • Lib Dem Voice should either report all of the by-election results or none at all, not just cherry pick the best – even Conservative Home report them all

  • Lib Dem Voice should either report all of the by-election results or none at all, not just cherry pick the best – even Conservative Home report them all!

  • “Actually, Peter, we have AV for by-elections up here (another Lib Dem achievement) so he finished ahead after transfers taken into consideration.”

    Ah – the merits of AV. Fifth instead of sixth.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Dec '13 - 9:05am

    Colin, I picked the ones where we had candidates in the main and those which night be significant, but that’s a fair point. I’d quite like to know the story of the Manchester one myself.

  • A C McGregor 8th Dec '13 - 9:35am

    John Tilley: “What can we take from a 12% turnout in Todmorden? Virtually nothing.”

    On the contrary; we can take from it that we won in a Labour facing seat, where a Labour gain would have given them overall control of the council, and for which they had two shadow ministers campaign for them. That’s encouragement number 1.

    The second is the comprehensive trouncing of the ex-LibDem councillor who finished 5th.

    And the third, obviously, is running an Asian candidate and beating the National Front handily.

    All in all, results like these tell us that in Yorkshire & The Humber we are making progress towards good results in 2014 & 2015.

  • The gain/loss figures for the 316 by elections held this year up to end of November
    Labour gained 29 lost 8
    UKIP gained 15 lost 3
    Cons gained 15 lost 44
    Lib Dem gained 14 lost 18
    For those on Twitter General Election @ UKELECTIONS2015 are well worth a follow as they provide all the results of local elections and polling results without the spin. Above figures taken from them

  • paul barker 8th Dec '13 - 10:18am

    The moaners are out in force again – “We are Doomed !”
    Lets look at the facts. I found 6 contests where I could compare changes in our vote, those changes ranged from a fall of 2% to a rise of 4%.
    Our main rival, Labour saw changes from a fall of 20% to a rise of 2%.

  • “Lets look at the facts. I found 6 contests where I could compare changes in our vote, those changes ranged from a fall of 2% to a rise of 4%.”

    It’s a question of what the baseline for comparison is. A glance down the ALDC by-elections page shows that nearly all the recent contests were in wards last fought in 2011 or 2012 (though even among those I see a -15.2 and a -17.7 in November).

    According to the national polls, Lib Dem support dropped dramatically in late 2010 and has stayed remarkably steady since then. Small changes up and down in wards last fought in 2011 and 2012 would be entirely consistent with what the national polls are saying – though even in those wards there are still sometimes big drops in support.

  • Acknowledging your point, Chris, about the position of the current polls, and adding that if you compare local election results in that period from 2010 with those before the 2005 election (and especially of course, with those in the mid 90s), we are doing very badly indeed. The main difference, I think, as we compare 2013 results with 2012 or 2011, is in areas that have suffered loss of activists and / or potential local candidates. Some areas with strong local caucuses have maintained reasonable results. What we have, and what we need to acknowledge, is that we have a political problem, associated with our drift to the right of politics over the last decade or more, and, of course, much more obvious and accelerated since 2010. This has lost us countless supporters, and as local groups and activists become more isolated, people are giving up, in one form or another.

    Those who support the party leadership wish to emphasise the areas in which we still have a presence, over areas where that has been lost. I think that until we have a leadership with an authentic radical edge, we will simply not have a meaningful electoral existence on any scale that will give us much influence. The commentary playing up good results, and leaving poor results unmentioned is simply playing that game. Another fallacy is that we are in a particularly bad situation because of our failure to stand candidates in too many seats. That is true, but would in most cases only have led to more results in the range of 1 – 10% had we stood in most! I have upset Caron before, and I am choosing my words carefully, and biting my keyboard fingers very hard!

  • paul barker 8th Dec ’13 – 10:18am
    The moaners are out in force again – “We are Doomed !”

    Paul Barker – I suggest that you look at the facts and not some rose-tinted spin based on a very selective use of those facts which are chosen because they support a particular case. See – Sophie 8th Dec ’13 – 10:10am
    The gain/loss figures for the 316 by elections held this year up to end of November.
    Sophie is not a “moaner” as you suggest, she is pointing you to the facts. If your analysis of the facts drive you to the conclusion that – “We are Doomed !” – as you put it, then so be it.

    At least A C McGregor 8th Dec ’13 – 9:35am makes a logical case for his conclusion that – ” All in all, results like these tell us that in Yorkshire & The Humber we are making progress towards good results in 2014 & 2015.”. He will know that region better than me. But I think he is wildly optimistic based on a turnout of 12%. The local elections in 2014 and 2015 will have turnouts hugely influenced by national elections with the consequent media hype.

    The 2014 local elections will be influenced by whatever the BBC and the Tory Media decide is the story in the European Parliament Election. Don’t be shocked if that includes constant repetition of references to UKIP.

  • @Caron Lindsay
    Re Manchester, the Lib candidate was ex-Lib Dem, sounds like a bit of old fashioned political disunity

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/manchester-councillor-quits-lib-dems-898033

  • David Hughes 8th Dec '13 - 1:10pm

    Its not only disappointing results that sometimes get overlooked. On Thursday we also recorded our second gain in as many months from the Tories in Shepton Mallet in the Wells constituency: LD 336, Ind (ex-Tory) 192 … no official Tory in a Con seat, once again demonstrating our resilience in our held seats and other areas if strength.

  • John Heyworth 8th Dec '13 - 1:23pm

    Sarah Noble perhaps you can please enlighten the rest of us on what Leeds Labour have been up to….”Mind you, Jamie wouldn’t have had to fight a council election in Cardiff if Leeds Labour didn’t resort to dirty tricks.”

  • The Chelmsford contest was in the Maldon constituency, one of the safest Tory seats in the country and one of the weakest Lib Dem local parties. The winner is a high profile Town councillor, former Mayor who used to be a Lib Dem, who has created an effective Residents Assoc. The Conservative candidate is also a known name, the wife of one of the other Councillors for the ward. In those circs it is good that anyone voted Lib Dem.

  • @John Heyworth 1.23pm

    I am a bit confused about the relevance of Leeds to a by-election in Cardiff, & like you, hope that Sarah Noble comes back to explain what she meant.

  • Peter Andrews 8th Dec '13 - 7:55pm

    The relevance of Leeds to a by-election in Cardiff is that Jamie Matthews is a former Leeds Councillor (Headingley Ward) who after narrowly losing his seat in 2012 (by 32 votes) got a new job and moved to Cardiff.

  • So what was Leeds Labour’s “dirty trick”? And I would assume that he wouldn’t have HAD to fight in Cardiff. And why did he get a new job as well as losing his Council seat?

  • Peter Andrews 8th Dec '13 - 9:28pm

    People need to make a living that’s why he had to get a new job. He is originally from South Wales so the move to a job in Cardiff where he went to Uni was a natural one for him to make and he evidently felt after a year of being down there that standing as a local councillor was something he wanted to do. Yes he didn’t have to do so but if he had won in Leeds in 2012 then its highly likely he would still be living in Leeds so would not have been standing in Splott.

    As to dirty tricks you will have to wait for the person who posted that to answer.

  • Mick Taylor 8th Dec '13 - 9:31pm

    The Todmorden turnout may not have been enormous but it was nearer 20% than 12%. It was probably the worst by-election day in a long time with driving wind and rain for much of the day.

    In 2011 we lost 2 seats in this 4 seater ward, one to Labour and one to the Conservatives. There have been 2 vacancies since, one when the Tory died, when only we got our nomination in on time and this one.

    It’s far worse for Labour than Alisdair suggests. Their candidate was Steph Booth (yes that one) the Calder Valley Labour parliamentary candidate in 2010. The Labour campaign was run by their new parliamentary candidate. So for Labour this result is a disaster, because this patch forms a goodly chunk of Calderdale’s Calder Ward, where we have every intention of regaining the seat lost when our councillor defected, when we told him he should resign after moving to Turkey.

    It is also nonsense to suggest that this was won on purely local issues. Here in Calderdale we don’t shy away from promoting the good things that our parliamentary team have achieved. On the doorsteps we did find that many more people are now willing to listen than was the case even a year ago.

  • Bill Chapman 9th Dec '13 - 5:12pm

    More interesting than the results are the non-results. There is a by-election for two seats to represent Mostyn Ward on Llandudno Town Council on Thursday 12th December. This is Lord Roger Roberts of Llandudno’s home patch but there is not a single LibDem candidate standing. There are two Conservatives, one Labour, one UKIP and three independents. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

  • In Leeds, Labour resort to just about any dirty trick in the book – and they were caught at it by the Sunday Times. The biggest dirty trick – the one the Sunday Times reported about – is postal vote fraud. Sadly the police don’t seem willing or able to get them into court. My wife was subjected to a whispering campaign of lies about her council and CoR payments and had a website set up about her , so vicious and unpleasant that ALDC advised her not even to look at it. I was also amazed to find that tendered ballot papers had been issued in the ward that she fought. For those not familiar with the term, tendered ballot papers (usually pink) are given when a voter turns up to vote and is told s/he has already voted, but insists s/he hasn’t done so. It is often an indication of personation. They are only counted if the result is challenged in an electoral court.

    I suspect that Jamie was subject to all this and more.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

    No recent comment found.