Hackney Central election result

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 15:41

A really good result for us in Hackney. I got 260 (11%), Charlie got 161 (7%). I beat the Tories. Full result below.

We have held up the socialist vote from four years ago despite the sad demise of the Socialist Alliance (and despite extensive gentrification of the ward, and the Labour council not making any cuts this year).

Moreover, we met loads of good people, and plan some good follow-up in the area. Oh, and I think comrades who canvassed really enjoyed themselves too!

Booth (Socialist Unity) 260
Fawkes (LibDem) 543
Frost (Tory) 246
Gallagher (Green) 598
Kelsey (Tory) 229
Laing (Labour 1233
Ledger (Tory) 205
Lloyd (Labour) 1259
McDonald (Socialist Unity) 161
Snaders (LibDem) 343
Stops (Labour) 1061
Thompson-Wood (LibDem) 320

PS. The Greens only got so many because they were every protest voter's third vote.


Submitted by lost tango on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 16:43

...but beating the Tories in Hackney is not that much of an achievement. Your leaflet was really good and it's a shame you didn't do better, but after a war, mass privatisation and the most right wing labour government ever, it's extremely dispiriting that socialist candidates in working class areas are polling so badly.

Meanwhile, "Respect" seems to have had all of its councillors in Tower Hamlets elected on a sectarian Bangladeshi vote (all of its white and female candidates appear to have lost to male Muslim Labour candidates) and we have 11 BNP councillors in Barking.

I don't know what the next step is, but if we face the facts, this election has been a disaster for the proper left.

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 06/05/2006 - 11:02

In reply to by lost tango

I'm not sure how well you know Hackney, and particularly this part of it. Hackney Central has had some serious 'gentrification' over the last four years. That, combined with the upturn in their fortunes nationally, led to the Tories doubling their vote from four years ago. But we still beat them. Perhaps that's more of an achievement than you realise.

Submitted by martin on Sat, 06/05/2006 - 09:20

Sure, if we're asking whether the proper left is about to win mass support and score great triumphs, our Hackney result is another bit of evidence that we're not.

But we knew that already. That is why we have mass privatisation and all the rest of it.

In the general election last year, in Nottingham East, our comrade Pete Radcliff got less than half the vote he got in 2001, despite a good campaign, a good response on the doorsteps, and a good outcome from the campaign in terms of new contacts and supporters for AWL.

Part of the reason there was a "squeeze" from a strong leftish-looking Lib-Dem campaign. But a lot of it was down to the demise of the Socialist Alliance.

That in Hackney we managed to overcome all those countervailing influences, and maintain the vote Janine got in 2002 on the back of a good, big campaign against recent council cuts and as part of a high-profile Hackney-wide Socialist Alliance effort, seems to me pretty good - on the scale of what's possible for us immediately, with our actual resources, in the actual situation we face.

In my experience on the doorsteps, the problem in working-class political consciousness is not so much "selfishness" as lack of confidence.

Plenty of working-class voters like what we say. The variation in responses in different parts of Hackney Central ward, between council (or recent ex-council) estates and "gentrified" street houses, was as if designed to give an over-simplified lesson in vulgar economic determinism: the poorer the street or estate, the better the response.

But would people who liked what we said vote for us? Often they wouldn't. They liked what we said. But who is this Socialist Unity? Can we rely on them? Why not stick with the devil we know? Or vote for a party which has a real chance of gaining control of the council? Or just not bother?

The next step? Surely it must be to see how many of those socialist voters we can convince to go beyond voting and become socialist activists.

Martin Thomas

Submitted by Pete on Sat, 06/05/2006 - 11:36

Just been comparing the Hackney 'left' votes. Local results are always difficult to compare especially in multi-seat wards. Although it is slightly easier in the Hackney seats because both RESPECT and our candidates (Socialist Unity) all stood two candidates in three seat wards.

These can be expressed as a percentage of the votes cast (not as % of people voting which I don't have). For parties standing less than the full complement of candidates (as with the Hackney 'left' candidates) this underestimates their popularity. Multiplying up by 50% might give a fairer extimate so I've put those figures in brackets.

RESPECT (do they still have themselves down on the ballot paper as 'The George Galloway Party' btw) polled of the total votes 7.1%(10.6%) in Cazenove, 5.7%(8.6%) in Clissold, 9.1%(13.6%) in Leabridge, 7.8%(11.7%) in Queensbridge and they polled 5.7% in the Mayoral election in Hackney.

Janine and Charlie polled 6.5%(9.8%) despite no national party profile; no dropping of explicit calls to class politics and socialism; no concessions on the faith agenda or to 'anti-war unity'.

This rather backs up our principled refusal to be part of RESPECT from a more practical point of view.

Well done, Janine and Charlie! Good luck on Tuesday, Janine.

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 06/05/2006 - 17:27

In reply to by Pete

Pete, you'll be pleased to know that on Hackney Council's website, you can link to the figures for each ward, including the number of ballot papers cast.

So you can do some more maths, if you like!

Submitted by Tim on Mon, 08/05/2006 - 18:41

In reply to by Janine

well done Janine and Charlie it does seem like a good result.
How do we measure it? For most ordinary people it will be seen as a poor result but then virtually every result by marxists standing as socialists (outside the Labour Party)in the last 100 years would be seen as poor.
For marxists it's not just quantities it's qualities aswell. Getting about 10% vote Janine says it was a good result and worthwhile-that is important as whether activists feel good about what they did and inspired to do more is important and the fact that nobody active in the campaign has contradicted that feeling is another indication the campaign was worthwhile.
Martin compares it to the Nottingham East result which he says was succesful(good campaign,good response,supporters and contacts for AWL etc).But the Nottingham result was only about 1%.Activists felt it was poor .It was only about the same vote across a whole constituency as in the one Hackney ward.And that was with a free state mailing of all households(worth thousands of pounds) and the loss of thousands of pounds in deposits,printing,rooms etc. The handful of supporters or contacts gained was similar to those lost by the way the campaign was run.
The difference could not be simply explained by Liberals or Greens standing (they stood in a single ward in 2003 and the SA still managed 800 votes-over 10%)
No -the one thing Martin gets right is the demise of the Socialist Alliance. In 2001 it brought together virtually all the activists who called themselves Marxists in Nottingham which meant on the streets we had more activists than the bourgeois parties.We were visible and the campaign was difficult but democratic and importantly activists felt it was a good result(over 1100 votes-not far from saving the deposit)and drew in other people inspired by the campaign.The 2005 campaign drew in few outside AWL.In 1979 and 1987 the IMG and the RCP had stood and got criticised by AWL for doing so and they got.. 1%. But now Martin justifies on the same grounds as the RCP did theirs-we got some contacts and stuff what effect it has on other activists or the working class.The mistakes in the campaign we're typified when the May Day event advertised as open to all was cancelled and effectively restricted to AWL members.
Winning seats catches headlines but does not necessarily mean an advance for working class organisation.In the Kidderminster seat won by the doctor in 2001 against local hospital closure, deals were done with local tories.The seat won by the SP's doctor was not on the basis of being socialist but on a "Save Huddersfield NHS ticket" and the other non doctor candidates on the same ticket got a fraction of her votes.We had a Communist councillor in the 80's and 90's in Nottingham that held the balance of power on the council but that was built on 40 years of standing and doing "drains and dustbins" work that was the same as a good liberal or labour councillor, failing to build a group of socialists to carry on the work.
It's not easy to win 10% of the vote for a socialist-Tom Mann was the most famous trade unionist and socialist in Britain when he stood in the Nottingham east constituency in 1924 but only got 10%.
A socialist's name is not enough- Ken Coates(the ex MEP for Notts) got just 1% in 1999 by having just one or two people round him control the campaign and Arthur Scargill's SLP has similar results. Significant factors seem to be is the candidate known and trusted locally,does the campaign draw in activists who feel they will not be ignored by those who run the campaign,do the issues connect with the voters, is the campaign visible-all factors which seem to have been more the case in Hackney in 2006 than Notttingham in 2005.
Tim Cooper

Submitted by Tim on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 17:23

So you didn't get your knowledge through living,working or visiting Huddersfield and despite your two closest friends being "deeply involved" and you knowing ALL about the campaign through the Socialist Party you were not inspired to get involved!
. As I suspected you easily jump to the wrong conclusions from the scantiest knowledge of things.I was not inspired to go to Huddersfield for election tourism or by the Socialist I was born and brought up there and have many of my family there whom I was visiting!I guess you're not meeting your organiser friend in Huddersfield -by any chance are you an SP appartchnik? I'm sorry I saw no evidence of her or the campaign (but Huddersfield is a big town)and of course she will be busy getting advice from you and your great knowledge of the place-perhaps you could also talk to the Tory candidate for Nottm east that spoke on your friends platform.Anyway enough of this constructive dialogue. Tim Cooper

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