Tag Archives: General election

3 ways Labour can still win back Gloucester

Gloucester
A new poll of Labour/Conservative marginal seats by Lord Ashcroft has found that my home city of Gloucester will be held, by the skin of their teeth, by the Conservatives.

This will come as a blow to the Labour party who placed Gloucester 38th on the list of must win key battlegrounds.

Significantly though, the poll finds some key variations between the national picture and that of local voting intention in Gloucester that provides some clues to how Labour can still win back Gloucester…

Local Labour need to win over former Lib Dem voters

The latest national YouGov polling reinforces a key trend that many, including those within the Labour party, have spotted and that is that there lead in the polls is based on picking up former Lib Dem voters. The latest national figures suggest 38% of 2010 Lib Dem voters are planning to vote Labour in 2015, compared to just 26% Lib Dem and a meagre 11% Green and 10% UKIP.

Locally however in Gloucester, just 16% of 2010 Lib Dem voters are planning to vote Labour compared to 25% Lib Dem and 20% UKIP.

This suggests that although the Lib Dem vote has collapsed in Gloucester like other parts of the country local Labour have failed to capitalise. UKIP are, as well as picking up ex-Conservative voters, also taking chunks of key demographics that Labour need to be claiming!

The size of the former Lib Dem vote share should not be underestimated in Gloucester…

In 2010 the Lib Dems picked up close to 20% of the vote in Gloucester (9,767 votes). Assuming that they retain 25% of this (approx. 2,500 votes) that leaves 15% of the total vote share in Gloucester up for grabs (approx. 7,500).

Interestingly Greens have also failed to capitalise on this. The poll predicts they will pick up just 7% of 2010 Lib Dem voters. This, combined with the higher than national average ‘don’t knows’ among 2010 Lib Dem voters in Gloucester, suggests that there are still a significant number of key floating voters in the constituency.

The campaigning will be important…

Local Labour must battle apathy and ensure a high turnout

Nationally the above mentioned YouGov poll suggests 6% of people will not vote and 13% do not know who they will vote for.

Locally however in Gloucester, Lord Ashcroft found that, 13% would not vote and 14% do not know who they will vote for. In short, according to this poll, Gloucester has more than double the national average of people planning on not voting in May 2015.

In 2010 Gloucester had a 64% turnout rate, marginally lower than the 65% national average. If this drops further this will in itself prove to be crucial as high turnouts traditionally favour Labour while low turnouts tend to support the Conservatives.

If Labour wants to defeat the Conservatives they must ensure a high turnout, especially among key demographics such as the 18-34 age range who typically are more likely to back Labour but also are much less likely to vote.

The 24 hour lead up to the election will be key in terms of Labour getting their supporters out and voting…

Labour need to get out there and knock on doors and deliver leaflets  

With just over 6 months to go until the election it is interesting to note that the poll found 70% of those surveyed said that they had not heard from any local political party in the last few weeks. Marginally more however had heard from the Conservatives than they had from Labour.

Being active locally and being seen to be champions of your local area remains an unmovable part of the path to electoral success. With so many floating voters in Gloucester this only reiterates the need for Labour to be getting out onto the door steps making the case for why they think voting Labour is the best thing for Gloucester.

The question though is not only will local voters hear them but, but will they believe them?

 

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A Green reflection on the General Election

Anya Whiteside, celebrating Caroline Lucas' victory

In Stroud, Green Councillor Phillip Booth kept his council seat with a whopping 68% of the vote.   Sadly, this result could not be matched at the general election.  Due largely to the squeeze on the Green vote due to the marginal nature of Stroud constituency, the Greens picked up about 1,500 votes (2.7%).  For the full results click here.

Nationally however, the Greens picked up their first ever MP.  This is a truly historic moment for the Green Party.  To sum up how important this is I copy out here the transcript of Caroline’s acceptance speech (If you can’t be arsed to read it all shame on you, but watch it on you-tube here)

“The emphatic support of voters in Brighton Pavilion show that they do want to support a party whose values represent fairness, social justice and environmental well-being. They have shown that they are prepared to put their trust in the Greens, despite the overwhelming national media focus on the three largest parties and a voting system that is fundamentally undemocratic. I feel humbled by their trust in me, and I am excited by this vote of confidence and I’m looking forward to the challenging task of fully representing the voters of Brighton.

“This victory is no accident: it is the result of the hard work and commitment of thousands of Green Party members and supporters not only in Brighton but from right across the country over the past months and years. It is their work and support that has helped deliver this win, and the victory is as much theirs as it is mine.

“Thanks to the confidence that the voters of Brighton Pavilion have shown, Green principles and policies will now have a voice in Parliament. Policies such as responding to climate change with a million new ‘green’ jobs in low-carbon industries, fair pensions and care for older people, and stronger regulation of the banks will be heard in the House of Commons. I will also use my influence as an MP in the city of Brighton & Hove to push for affordable housing for the city, a new secondary school for the city, and greater backing for the city’s creative industries.

“Finally, as this election shows, the first-past-the post voting system used for general elections is utterly discredited. I will be strongly backing calls for a referendum to replace it with a form of proportional representation that properly reflects the needs and views of 21st century voters. If a form of proportional representation is introduced, the Green Party is confident that its true level of support nationally can be represented properly.”

This election will go down in history as the moment when the Greens broke through to the UK parliament!

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Vote for what you believe in

Caroline Lucas, the Odds on favourite to be elected at the General Election

I have just filled out the survey on the “vote for policies” web site.  It said I should vote Green.  I could have told it that before I started.  What is amazing though, is that it is telling 30% of the other 11,000 users to vote Green.  It breaks down the common misconception that the Greens are just about the environment.

Over and over again, I hear people who will talk about politics and agree with what the Green Party stand for.  They agree with us when we say we must raise the state pension to £170, they agree with us when we say we must scrap Trident, and they agree with us when we say we must raise the minimum wage and invest heavily in job creation schemes.  Yet, at the last General Election in 2005 the Greens averaged about 1% of the vote across the country.  Why?

In Brighton in 2005 22% of the electorate voted green.  They came third. Yet, at this election, all the pollsters are putting Caroline Lucas and the Greens as odds on favourites to win.  Why? The pollsters know, that most people agree with Green Party policies, all they need is to have a circumstance where they do not feel as though they are “wasting” their vote (this would have happened if New Labour had lived up to its promise of electoral reform in 97).  This is why we can see at European and local elections, Greens consistently do well, thanks to the PR voting system.  If at this 2010 election, the Greens pick up one, two or possibly three MP’s, it will spread hope and belief into constituencies around the country. 

At this election, if you vote in Brighton, Norwich or Lewisham, vote Green and you might well end up with a Green MP.  If you live elsewhere, you can vote to build for the future.  You can vote to give others the confidence to vote Green in the future. More to the point, you can vote for what you believe in. You do not have to back the other grey parties.

If you do not vote Green, you will tacitly be giving your support to the politics of the status quo.  You will be saying that you are happy to keep thing as they are.  If you do not vote, do you honestly belive things will change? The Greens represent the change that this country so badly needs.  It represents the future. If you do not believe that change is possible, we are in a pretty bleak situation. You have to believe that change is possible.

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Taking politics to the pubs…

collecting signatures for the closure of Guantanamo Bay

With less than two months to go before the General Election, I find it shocking to discover that 57% of 17-25 year olds are not registered to vote.  This is a fundamental failing of our democratic system. Check that you are registered here

For me, as a young person I find this worrying.  It is my future that politicians are juggling with and yet my friends seem disenfranchised.  This is different from saying disinterested.  Go to any pub, on a Friday or Saturday night and you will find (as well as the highly publicised “yobs”) young people engaging and debating. Young people care!  Anyone who says differently is probably not going out and talking to us.

I have decided to dedicate the next 2-3 months in the lead up to the election to get young people in Stroud engaged, specifically with progressive politics.  I have started with social networking Facebook groups such as the “Green MP for Stroud” group.  I want to encourage young people to register to vote and to be active.  I want to take politics to the pubs…

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Martin Whiteside – The First Green MP for Stroud?

Martin Whiteside, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud.

Stroud has been a marginal seat now for as long as I can remember.  At the last election, Neil Carmichael (the Tory candidate that has now lost the last few elections for the Conservatives) ordered two re-counts of the papers.  In the end he lost to David Drew (the Labour and Co-operative candidate) by a difference of just 0.6% of the vote.  So with New Labour’s slow self-destruction, many people from my home shire are rightly worried that we might end up with Mr Carmichael representing us. 

With a Tory County Council and District Council, it is highly questionable whether Stroud would benefit from more of the same with a Tory MP.  I tried to find out if Carmichael represented something new within the Conservatives; well judge for yourself: http://neilcarmichael.co.uk/about.  As far as I can tell, it essentially says nothing. Stroud needs now, more than ever a fresh vibrant approach. 

Both nationally and locally, the Conservatives and Labour have put me off politics.  I find it hard work and dull to follow their increasingly blurring statements.  This is why I believe that voting Green makes sense.  Some people see it as a wasted vote (“he will never get in anyway”).  I think, it’s a wasted vote if you end up voting for someone (or a party) that you disagree with on really fundamental issues. 

I could vote Labour (David Drew) at the next election, but then I would be throwing my vote behind a party that has started illegal wars, increased tuition fees and have caused more chaos with our finances that any other post WW2 government. 

I could vote Conservative (Carmichael), but then I would be showing support to a party who is happy to sit in political alliances with other parties who support the death penalty and are openly homophobic.  I would be tacitly saying, that it is OK (and successful) for politicians to act and behave in the same smarmy way that Mr Cameron does.  I would be saying good bye to public spending on vital services.  I do not want to do this! I want to vote for what I believe in, both locally and nationally.

The Greens, are the only party who have always been opposed to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (see http://younggreens.greenparty.org.uk/AboutUs/Policy/WaronIraq). They are the only party with a real economic policy that tackles the core of the economic crisis (see http://www.greennewdealgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/The_Cuts_Wont_Work.pdf).  They are the only party who have a real progressive social policy, that will work to reduce inequalities (see http://younggreens.greenparty.org.uk/AboutUs/Policy/CitizensIncome). 

This combined with a candidate that I know and trust, means that on 6th May Martin Whiteside (http://www.glosgreenparty.org.uk/content/view/12/69/), the Greens candidate will be getting my vote.  I hope he gets yours too. 

Join the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=268102979503&ref=nf

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