Saturday, 30 November 2013

Council by-election results

Council by-elections held yesterday showed a very large swing from the Conservatives and Labour to UKIP


Winkfield and Cranbourne on Bracknell Forest (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 582 (53%), UKIP 318 (29%), Labour 139 (13%), Liberal Democrats 69 (6%)
Conservative HOLD

Caddington on Central Bedfordshire (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 738 (40%), Independent 560 (30%), UKIP 334 (18%), Labour 209 (11%), Liberal Democrats 24 (1%)
Conservative HOLD

Landward, Caithness on Highland (SNP Defence)
Result: Independent (Reiss) 1,150 (44%), Independent (Sutherland) 593 (23%), Scottish National Party 546 (21% +6%), Conservative 171 (7% +4%), Independent (Irving) 128 (5%) (Combined Independent Vote: 1,871 (73% unchanged))
Independent GAIN from SNP on the fourth count on a swing of 3% from Ind to SNP

Vassall on Lambeth (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,319 (60%), Liberal Democrats 468 (21%), Conservative 153 (7%), Green 113 (5%), UKIP 87 (4%), TUSC 44 (2%), Socialist 22 (1%)
Labour HOLD

Billinge and Seneley Green on St. Helens (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 936 (50% -13% on 2012), UKIP 442 (24%), Conservative 248 (13% -6% on 2012), Green 94 (5% unchanged on 2012), BNP 73 (4%), Liberal Democrats 52 (3%)
Labour HOLD on a swing of 19% from Lab to UKIP

Horbury and South Ossett on Wakefield (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,041 (40% -1% on 2012), UKIP 856 (33% +23% on 2012), Conservative 504 (19% -4% on 2012), Liberal Democrats 212 (8% unchanged on 2012)
Labour HOLD on a swing of 12% from Lab to UKIP

Friday, 29 November 2013

5 reasons why the UK should not leave the European Union.

David Cameron's gamble on a referendum for Europe could cost the UK economy dearly, experts warn.

As some of you may have heard, today the Government managed to pass a law confirming that a referendum on British membership of the EU will be held in May 2017 if the Conservatives win a majority at the next General Election. Whilst it may be in the interest of democracy to give people a say, research suggests that British public opinion at the moment points to the UK exiting the EU. This is largely due to misinformation and scaremongering about issues such as immigration and a lack of education as to what the benefits of EU membership are.
So, let us consider the consequences. What would happen if Britain voted "Yes" to leave the European Union in 2017 if a referendum was held? Here are 5 reasons why leaving the EU would be a disaster for the United Kingdom.

1: International diplomacy: The US sees Britain as a gateway to the EU, due to the special relationship and historical ties between the two countries. Being in the EU also gives the UK a voice in foreign affairs and a platform where we can raise our views and try and make the world a better place. In a world which is changing and evolving, with new opportunities and very real dangers, this is not the right time to leave the EU and become an isolationist country. Leaving the EU would damage Britain's international standing, and the US, being such a major economic world power, would no longer see us as an ideal trading and commercial partner, which would have serious implications for foreign policy.

2: Business uncertainty: Since the services sector plays such a large role in the UK economy (It contributes toward around 50% of our GDP) a lot of these businesses are only in the UK because of the unique opportunities they have from Britain being in the EU, such as easier trade with fellow EU countries and cheaper taxes. Leaving the EU would mean that, for these businesses, staying in the UK is no longer a viable option, and they would relocate, possibly making millions of people redundant whilst doing it. It is estimated that leaving the EU could cost the UK economy up to £100 Billion, a price that we simply cannot afford to pay in the current economic climate, and that would have to be paid by mass spending cut slashes and NHS privatization. Sir John Major has already warned that Britain would pay a severe price economically if we were to quit the EU.
This could also have implications for students who are studying F.E courses, or University courses, as Tuition fees are kept relatively low due to E.U funding. Without that funding, it would be much harder for people from poorer backgrounds to go into higher education, and would worsen our skills deficit crisis.
3: Foreign Trade deficit: At the moment, UK businesses get unique tax breaks and cheaper trading with the rest of the EU because of our membership of it. Leaving the EU would once again cause an unsustainable foreign trade deficit, where the UK would be forced to continue trading with Europe, but without the tax breaks and cheap trading, which UK businesses would be unable to compete with because of levies in exports and would have to close, once again costing millions of jobs in the process.

4: Skilled immigration: Immigration is a very real and serious problem that none of the major party leaders seem likely to want to tackle seriously any time soon. The fact of the matter remains, however, that there simply are not enough workers in the UK with a specific skills set to work in areas such as Manufacturing. The myth of benefit tourism however seems to have made people largely forget about the good things that immigration brings. For example, Right now this deficit is offset by the arrival of skilled immigrants, but leaving the EU would make it much harder for immigrants to come into this country from Europe, which would harm the British manufacturing industry and possibly cost 100s of thousands of jobs across the UK, once again leading to further economic ruin.

5: Free movement: If we suddenly left the EU, what would happen to British expats in foreign countries, who would most likely lose their jobs or would face problems in going abroad in the future? Surely we cannot be expected to abandon our commitment toward fellow Britons by leaving the EU? The numbers simply do not stack up.

Leaving the European Union is not the correct way forward. As an institution, the best way is to reform it from the inside. UKIP, if they wanted right now, could try and pass legislation through the EU to limit the rights of unskilled workers to go and work in other countries, and they would likely receive support from the Far-right, Eurosceptics, Conservatives, and perhaps even some Socialists within the European parliament. The best way is to stay within the EU, receive the benefits of staying within the EU, and reap the benefits whilst trying to reform it, instead of leaving and plunging the country into economic ruin and subsequently ruin the lives of millions of ordinary hardworking people. This is an issue that the Eurosceptics have not considered, and that they will need to consider going forward if they are to have a significant electoral impact at G.E 2015.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Council by-elections: 29th November 2014

Voters are going to the polls in a couple of interesting by-elections tomorrow

Council by-elections preview:
Credit to for preview.

Winkfield and Cranbourne on Bracknell Forest (Con Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 40, Lab 2 (Conservative overall majority of 38)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,308, 1,250
Green 269
Labour 255, 252
Candidates duly nominated: Paul Birchall (Lib Dem), Janet Keene (Lab), Ken La Garde (UKIP), Susie Phillips (Con)
When people think of “one party states” in local elections, they often think of the Labour heartlands such as Knowsley (Lab 63, Opposition 0), Sandwell (Lab 68, Opposition 4) and Rotherham (Lab 58, Opposition 5). However the Conservatives are just as capable of producing one party states and Bracknell Forest is a classic example of a Conservative one party state.
In 2003, there were seven opposition councillors against the Conservative grouping of 35 but over the years that opposition has been slowly wittled away. In 2007, the sole Liberal Democrat and three Labour councillors lost their seats and in 2011, Labour lost another seat meaning that technically speaking although there are two councillors elected under the Labour party banner, there is not a Labour grouping on the council.
Therefore, this is the sort of area where UKIP might expect a breakthrough but will they be able to muster enough anti Conservative feeling and attract non voters, well, we’ll find out soon enough.
Caddington on Central Bedfordshire (Con Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 48, Lib Dem 5, Ind 4, Lab 1 (Con overall majority of 38)
Result at last election (2011): (Emboldened denotes elected)
Conservative 2,215, 2,134
Labour 711, 424
Liberal Democrats 404, 213
Candidates duly nominated: Kevin Collins (Con), Ian Lowery (Lab), Christine Smith (Ind), Steven Wildman (UKIP), Alan Winter (Lib Dem)
A lot has changed since Mike was a councillor in this neck of the woods. For starters, the district councils of Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire have been replaced by a unitary authority called Central Bedfordshire (and as you might expect, it’s another Conservative heartland). But as in Bracknell Forest, there is an anti Conservative opposition force, however unlike in Bracknell Forest it is split between UKIP and an Independent.
With thoughts rapidly turning to the next general election and the small matter of the constituency of Mid Bedfordshire, will UKIP realise that perhaps an electoral alliance with Independents would give them the best chance of winning at that election?
Landward, Caithness on Highland (SNP Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Ind 35, SNP 22, Lib Dem 15, Lab 8 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 6)
Result at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Non Party Independent 1,015, 638, 244, 42 (55%)
Independent 651 (18%)
Scottish National Party 550 (15%)
Labour 302 (9%)
Conservative 109 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ed Boyter (SNP), Kerensa Carr (Con), Tina Irving (Ind), Matthew Reiss (Ind), Winifred Sutherland (Ind)
For details about this ward, please visit
Vassall on Lambeth (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2010): Lab 44, Lib Dem 15, Con 4 (Labour overall majority of 25)
Result at last election (2010): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 2,533, 2,308, 2,146
Liberal Democrats 2,193, 1,793, 1,617
Conservatives 706, 593, 525
Greens 542, 477, 476
Candidates duly nominated: Kelly Ben-Maimon (Con), Paul Gadsby (Lab), Elizabeth Jones (UKIP), Danny Lambert (Socialist), Rachel Laurence (Green), Steven Nally (TUSC), Colette Thomas (Lib Dem)
“Anytime you’re Lambeth way, Any evening, Any day, You’ll finding them all voting for Lambeth Lab, OI!” Yes, I know that I have probably committed the act of sacrilege on a song known around the world from the musical “Me and My Girl” but with the exception of the 1994 and 2002 local elections that is precisely what Lambeth has done.
This council is so Labour that when ahead of the 1986 local elections the Labour grouping on the council refused to set a rate and where therefore all sacked they still stood on the ballot and were re-elected with thumping majorities. That’s not to say that the Liberal Democrats (the main challengers) have not been able to stick one to Labour (twenty gains in 1994 and eleven gains in 2002) but with next year’s elections likely to be another drubbing for the Liberal Democrats in London (with even heartlands such as Kingston upon Thames and Sutton under threat) it’s safe to assume that Labour’s domination of Lambeth will continue for sometime yet.
Billinge and Seneley Green on St. Helens (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 40, Lib Dem 5, Con 3 (Labour overall majority of 32)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle:
2010: Lab 2,954 (50%), Con 1,795 (30%), Lib Dem 1,216 (20%)
2011: Lab 1,896 (53%), Con 964 (27%), Ind 556 (16%), Lib Dem 170 (5%)
2012: Lab 1,802 (63%), Con 536 (19%), Ind 371 (13%), Green 140 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Laurence Allen (UKIP), Alan Brindle (BNP), John Cunliffe (Con), Noreen Knowles (Lib Dem), Dennis McDonnell (Lab), Sue Rahman (Green)
St. Helens just screams Labour that you might think it was rather on the boring side. Yes, I agree that from 1990 to 2005 Labour racked up so much of a majority that you might as well as crossed it off the list of Labour holds before nominations had even closed however in 2006 something rather odd happened. Labour lost eleven seats and lost overall control.
In 2007, another set of Labour losses and people were given serious credence to the idea that maybe, unbelievable as it may have sounded, the Liberal Democrats (already controlling Sheffield, Rochdale and Stockport at the time) could add St. Helens to their list. Sadly for the Lib Dems it was not to be and since then Labour have been re-establishing their rock solid control of the council.
Horbury and South Ossett on Wakefield (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 52, Con 11 (Labour overall majority of 41)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle:
2010: Con 3,034 (38%), Lab 2,932 (36%), Lib Dem 1,517 (19%), BNP 558 (7%)
2011: Lab 2,433 (47%), Con 2,048 (39%), Lib Dem 473 (9%)
2012: Lab 1,660 (41%), Con 934 (23%), Ind 732 (18%), UKIP 429 (10%), Lib Dem 340 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Rory Bickerton (Lab), Mark Goodair (Lib Dem), Angela Holwell (Con), Graham Jesty (UKIP)
Whilst St. Helens was flirting with the concept of changing hands, Wakefield was having none of it. The only time that Wakefield even considered the idea of changing hands was in 2008 when Labour held onto the council by just a single seat (Lab 32, Con 23, Ind 6, Lib Dem 2) but then came the general election and normal Labour service was resumed.
But with all of the councils voting today in England being rock solid councils and unlikely to change hands, will these elections give UKIP and other non aligned Independents a chance to say “The council cannot change hands, vote with your hearts and not your head”?
 There are certainly some intriguing battles up ahead.

Election 2015 it stands according to opinion polls

17 Months to go until G.E 2015, and the Conservatives have a mountain to climb to try and clinch a majority, or even succeed in forcing another hung parliament. The most likely election result still looks to be a Labour majority. On current opinion polls, which put Labour 7 points ahead of the Conservatives, this would be the election result:

Labour is predicted to win a 94 seat majority, but the calculations do not take into account the "UKIP effect."

The results show that Labour (At the moment, I stress) is well on course to get a thumping majority of 94 seats, but even this result is understating Labour. This is because of some intriguing possibilities:

1: The "UKIP effect" needs to be taken into account. This calculation is assuming uniform swing across all 650 UK Constituencies. It does not take into account the hypothesis that UKIP take 3 times as many votes from the Conservatives as they do from Labour, and that the UKIP vote will be concentrated in certain specific areas, nor does it take into account regional variations with different people in different areas voting in different ways. They are not likely to win any particular seat, but are likely to win some seats, most likely all gained from the Conservative party, and the two seats they are most likely to win are Montgomereyshire (25%). and South Thanet (20%) but they are also likely to win seats in areas where their support was concentrated in the 2013 Local Elections, notably in Kent and Lincolnshire. The split in the right, especially in CON-LAB marginals, will also cause the Conservatives to lose some seats that they would otherwise have held, and thus the Labour majority, even with a modest vote share of 39%, could be as high as 110, 120 or perhaps even similar to the scale of Tony Blair's election victory in 1997. 

2: The strength of the Liberal Democrats in local government, and the fact that they can concentrate their support in areas where they have MPs even if they are getting wiped out in other place, means that the Liberal Democrats will be better protected against the Conservatives than they would be against Labour, as both Conservative and Lib Dem support is expected to fall, but the Lib Dem vote may hold up a little better in areas where they have lots of local Councillors such as Portsmouth.

3: The ethnic minority vote. Only 16% of Ethnic Minorities bothered to vote for the Conservatives in 2010, a paltry figure compared to the 66% figure for Labour. Many of these minorities are concentrated around Metropolitan areas, and in big cities such as Birmingham or London. This could seriously damage Conservative chances of getting even a hung parliament, as in marginal seats their tends to be a greater turnout with ethnic minorities as with the wider electorate, and Tory support amongst minorities is expected to plummet even further.

So there you go. Will Labour win a majority in 2015? I cannot say for certain: A lot of unknown factors and triggers, such as the fallout from a potentially disastrous result for the Conservatives in the 2014 Local and European elections that could force a drastic change in Conservative policy or a change for a more popular leader. So, the chances of Labour getting a majority are still uncertain. But for Labour supporters and activists, at this moment in time, it looks quite likely.

BAME people could decide the 2015 General Election

"Go home" vans have sparked controversy amongst BAME voters

With only 17 Months to go until the General Election in 2015, a significant problem for the Conservative Party's attempts to win a majority in 2015 is that they simply cannot connect with ethnic minority voters. On face value, this may not seem like such a big problem, considering that they make up only 3-4% of the UK Population. However, the ethnic minority population is expected to double by 2030, and in many of the Conservative's target seats, especially in places such as Birmingham where they would have to make inroads, there are a significant number of ethnic minority voters. This is not just a problem for Conservatives in Britain though. Look at how the result of the 2012 US presidential election would have been if only whites had voted:

 As you can see (The Republican party are red in the US and the Democrats are blue) the Republicans would have won a landslide if only white voters had voted as was customary before the US civil rights movement. In the UK, only 16% of ethnic minority voters voted for the Conservatives in 2010, whilst 68% voted for Labour. The attacks on illegal immigrants does not seem to be going down well with minorities either, as it makes the Tories look like the nasty party who dislike non-white voters. Indeed, Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote, says minorities feel that there is a "perception of demonisation of people of colour and that could have a negative effect at the ballot box". Especially for the Conservatives: their race deficit is expected to cost them 20-40 seats in 2015. It is why some senior Tories such as Boris Johnson favour the Lib Dem policy of having an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

But, at the moment, it seems unlikely that Cameron will be swayed by his party's poor showing amongst BAME voters, and this is likely to cost them in marginal seats at the General Election. Only time will tell if the Conservatives can reverse the "Whites only" image they have built up and try to diversify.

Labour's vote share appears to be very stable

The Labour vote share in opinion polls in the last week or so seems to be very stable. Latest figures from YouGov ( taken yesterday show that Labour remains on 39%, the Conservatives on 32%, and the Lib Dems and UKIP on 10% and 13% respectively.

YouGov is the only polling company to return daily polling figures, and for the last 7 days the vote shares have been roughly the same, apart from a variation of a percentage or two. The results spell bad news for Prime Minister David Cameron- All of the attempts to link the Reverend Flowers Co-Op scandal with the Labour Party seem to have failed, and David Cameron's attempts to get tougher on EU migrants over benefits in an attempt to win back some disenchanted UKIP voters also seems to have backfired- Nigel Farage's party has actually seen a slight increase in its share of the vote in polls this week, instead of a decrease . Certainly, an interesting poll came out this week from Thanet South, where the sitting Conservative MP is retiring- The Conservatives were in 3rd place behind both the Labour Party and UKIP. This poll could be an ominous sign of what is to come for the Conservatives- They could lose many seats to Labour because of UKIP splitting the vote on the right, and this could allow Labour to take some seats which they would normally have had no chance of taking. All in all, this makes for an interesting 17 Months ahead until G.E 2015.

The first post.

So! Whoever reads this, welcome to what I hope will be the start of a fairly successful political blog! I would like to introduce myself. My name is Mohammed Ahmed. I am 20 years old, and I am a student at the Manchester College. I will be going to University next year to study Journalism. But enough about me. Lets talk about the real reason why you are here: POLITICS! Politics right now is far more interesting than it has been for a very long time. For the first time, we have 4 party politics: UKIP and the Lib Dems have joined the list of parties that could potentially alter the result of G.E 2015. So, naturally, this a very interesting time to be involved in UK Politics, and I am looking forward to the next 17 months!