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UK Shires only Local Election Results
May 3, 2013 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Local Elections in the Shires of England took place yesterday. With the results now counted, the gruaniad's panel of Simon Jenkins, Jonathan Freedland, Polly Toynbee and John Harris review the results.
David Cameron : "pledges 'to work hard to win back' voters", and (on UKIP) : 'No good insulting party people have chosen'.
Nigel Farage (UKIP): "a 'game changer'".
David Milliband : "pleased with local election results."
Prior to the election :The gruaniad speculated.
posted by marienbad (54 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's up with the gruaniad/Guardian switch?
posted by Aizkolari at 11:29 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nevermind, sorry, should have googled.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:30 AM on May 3, 2013


Yeah, I've never seen Grauniad misspelt like that before.
posted by edd at 11:31 AM on May 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


Wrong Milliband Brother* - link should read Ed.

I kept an eye on the live update for East and West Sussex (Brighton wasn't voting) and was extremely depressed unsurprised that UKIP got a council seat in East Sussex. Urgh.

*ymmv
posted by halcyonday at 11:38 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


While were on the topic of typos...

I noticed that the acronym "UKIP" is capitalized as "Ukip" througout this article. Is doing that a thing, or just a weird choice by the (perhaps aptly-named) Grauniad?
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:39 AM on May 3, 2013


A UKIP candidate got voted in as a councillor in my constituency, having not campaigned or even bothered to turn up at the count.

When people vote for that,

.

indeed.

I hope it's a wake up call for all the main parties, but they need to respond to this without letting this bunch of incoherent, policyless twits drag UK politics further to the right.
posted by dowcrag at 11:41 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cosmic.osmo - it's the Guardian's house style to use sentence case if the acronym can be said as a word, so Ukip (U-kip) joins things like Nasa.

(I had a boss who subscribed to the guardian house style for our internal acronyms so that bit of their style guide is emblazoned on my retinas at this point.)
posted by halcyonday at 11:47 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


cosmic.osmo: I noticed that the acronym "UKIP" is capitalized as "Ukip" througout this article. Is doing that a thing, or just a weird choice by the (perhaps aptly-named) Grauniad?
Style guides of British institutions (e.g., here's the one for the Guardian/Observer, here's the one for the BBC) tend to specify that acronyms are printed in all caps only if each letter is pronounced. Where it's pronounced as a word, only the first letter is capitalized.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 11:47 AM on May 3, 2013


- Though it's different in subtitling. I used to compile the style guide for live subtitling, and we always spelt the name of the supermarket as ASDA not Asda, as it was an acronym (if that is still accurate for a word formed from the first two letters of each word: ASsociated DAries).

Thanks to that job, I still insert a hyphen into Al- surnames: Al-Megrahi not Al Megrahi and so on.
posted by mippy at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2013


The BNP are so laughable for so many reasons, it's scary that Ukip aren't seen in quite the same why. Class related? BNP are working class racists vs Farage et al?
posted by billiebee at 12:04 PM on May 3, 2013


I read their policies as disguised trickle down economics, not libertarianism. Inheritance taxes should be great for my idealized libertarian because taxing dead people annoys the living less.

Also, I'm personally anti-marriage for anyone, and understand who some gays fear going beyond partnerships only legitimizes that cultural institution, but frankly the separate-but-equal stick sounds suspicious whenever a politician says it.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:13 PM on May 3, 2013


The BNP are so laughable for so many reasons, it's scary that Ukip aren't seen in quite the same why. Class related? BNP are working class racists vs Farage et al?
I'm laughing. The Ukip is unelectable to the majority yet they're wedging old folk and the narrow-minded away from the Conservatives. If the Conservatives flit to the right they will be out of power for a generation but if they don't they'll have an endless reactionary chorus singing their ills. If Farage did not exist it would be necessary for Labour to invent him.
posted by Jehan at 12:19 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heard on the news earlier that if the vote in Boston (rural town with a lot of immigrant farm workers, reported problems with local schools and other services not being able to cope/under funded) was replicated in the next general election then they'll have the first Ukip MP. They've already got a mother her two daughters as 3 Ukip councillors... very democratic. Heil Farang!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:19 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Being an immigrant in this country is increasingly more depressing. I have to apply for a new visa soon, and I'm not looking forward to it. Plus, there's now a steady trickle of people who hear my accent and ask 'Sorry, but isn't there anyone here who could do this job?' (I went up against UK and EU citizens in the interview process, so no.)

In conclusion, urgh. And I too hope this gets the major parties to wake up and do something to hold back the tide of UKIP.
posted by kalimac at 12:22 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still I was cheered to see the Lib Dems losing their deposit and smashed into 7th place in the S Shields by-election and only 150 votes ahead of the Loonies! Clegg was bleating that their vote was holding up in their MP's strongholds, but we'll see.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:24 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Weren't the last UKIP/BNP wins predicated by Brown/Labour falling to bits?
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on May 3, 2013


Ed Balls
posted by Webbster at 12:42 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many of the UKIP votes were the protest or tactical votes that would otherwise have gone to the Lib Dems were they not entirely discredited? The local and EU elections have often seen significant protest votes before results return to 'normal' in the general, but can the Lib Dems recover their place as the 3rd party. If not there's a real possibility of a Cons/UKIP coalition government. Farage for Foreign Secretary?
posted by IanMorr at 12:45 PM on May 3, 2013


...drag UK politics further to the right

In the 2012 local council elections in Scotland, Ukip lost their only council seat in the country. This contrast hasn't been mentioned by the Yes Campaign, possibly because there's no really classy way of saying "dear god, do you really want to be attached to these right-wing nutjobs"?

I realise there are a lot more complex pro and anti independence arguments than this, but it seems every election really cements the complete gulf between Scottish and English politics.
posted by Coobeastie at 12:45 PM on May 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


"A Cornwall county councillor who quit after saying disabled children should be "put down" has been re-elected..."

"Mr Brewer said the comments, made to a Disability Cornwall member at a stall at County Hall in Truro in 2011, were only to 'provoke debate'. He said disabled children should be put down because they cost the authority too much money."
posted by Wordshore at 12:52 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow... That is quite some comment by Mr Brewer. I hope it provokes the debate that just because you have children you are not automatically entitled to keep them (ie: he is not fit to be a father, IMHO).
posted by el io at 1:08 PM on May 3, 2013


UKIP reminds me of the Reform Party in Canada, a populist centre-right party that developed out of "Western alienation" to central Canada in the late 1980's.

It took Reform just over 10 years to take over Canada's Conservative Party, and just over 15 years to form a minority government. It took Reform twenty years to form a majority government (as the reborn and rebranded Conservative Party of Canada).

They aren't the most sophisticated bunch.

One similarity between the UK and Canada is devolution. The withdrawal of Quebec from federal politics in Canada has allowed the right to dominate, and I can see the same thing happening if Scotland gains independence - a UKIP government.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:16 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those no-good, insulting, party-people have chosen.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:17 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of the UKIP votes were the protest or tactical votes that would otherwise have gone to the Lib Dems were they not entirely discredited?

Ehh, I see what you're saying, but isn't that what the Loony party is for? It'd be easy to do a protest vote and not wind up with us all having to look at Farage's face all the time for the next few news cycles.
posted by kalimac at 1:29 PM on May 3, 2013


At the moment, it looks like Labour will win the next election. However, if Rupert Murdoch does make good on his hints of backing UKIP the next election and throws The Sun behind mashalling support for them (with covering fire from the Times, pounding the talking point that they're worthy of serious consideration), their support could rise to the point where a Tory/UKIP coalition would be possible.

The thought chills me. I moved here from one country taken over, seemingly permanently, by the red-meat Right (Australia), and the idea of Coalition Britain with the Lib Dems replaced by the foamers sounds potentially as bad as Cardinal Abbott's Mining Colony.
posted by acb at 1:33 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


On one analysis it was the SDP that split the mainstream left and gave us the Thatcher era. It's conceivable that UKIP could split the right and give us a prolonged Labour government..?
posted by Segundus at 1:36 PM on May 3, 2013


OTOH, one thing that the papers don't mention is that the Green Party has more councillors than UKIP.

There seems to be a bias against the Greens; right-wing populists, as long as they're not actual jackbooted blackshirts, are deemed as acceptable (they're a bit ugly, but they're the voice of part of the silent majority, and we do live in ugly times, or something), but the Greens are beyond the pale, radical extremists who must not on any account be given the oxygen of publicity.
posted by acb at 1:37 PM on May 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Or... They're considered mostly harmless so nobody freaks out about them.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


OTOH, one thing that the papers don't mention is that the Green Party has more councillors than UKIP.

Erm, according to the BBC link in the FPP, UKIP gained 139 councillors and now have 147 vs the Greens' 22.
posted by junco at 1:45 PM on May 3, 2013


Tories not sufficiently unhinged, concedes Cameron
posted by Acheman at 1:48 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that must have been +22 surely.
The greens have at least 140 councillors along with a mayor, control of a council, 2 London assembly members and of course and mp. They have far greater support than ukip, but very little media cover.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:02 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


You'd think that the LibDem would realize that they've got an albatross around their neck, and that their best chance for survival is to dump the Conservatives.

Instead, they apparently love quasi-power so much, they're willing to throw away their party's future for it.
posted by markkraft at 2:03 PM on May 3, 2013


If each letter is pronounced, it's not an acronym; it is an initialism.
posted by Mister_A at 2:11 PM on May 3, 2013


After the success of the Green Party in the 1990s local elections there was great talk about a huge permanent change in British politics. The main parties co-opted various policies and everyone went back to voting Labour/Tory.

Expect more tough talking on immigration (to no great effect) and a referendum on EU membership (disaster.)

Ukip feels to me like the English version of the Scottish National Party, effectively: the SNP are often accused of being "Tartan Tories" because they were/are right-wing. The SNP's move left-wards may be more reflective of the economic changes in the UK economy and a legacy of Thatcher. But of course Farange is no Salmond: Salmond is a very good politician.
posted by alasdair at 2:13 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Junco, The 'about these results' link at the bottom of the (somewhat confusing) BBC results table says that they're baselining from 2009, hence the Greens' 22 and +/- 5 figure. As just that guy, y'know says, they have a lot of councillors in places that didn't have local elections today (inc. Brighton and Hove which is now separate to East Sussex, where they have 22 councillors and the majority of seats on the council)

I don't personally think that the lib dems will be able to resurrect themselves for a good couple years - a number of members are leaving the party in disgust. Hell, in 2010 I stood as a local council candidate for the Lib dems (a paper candidate in a Tory council area) and right now, I wouldn't pee on them if they were on fire and I'm not really alone in that sentiment.
posted by halcyonday at 2:18 PM on May 3, 2013


On one analysis it was the SDP that split the mainstream left and gave us the Thatcher era. It's conceivable that UKIP could split the right and give us a prolonged Labour government..?

This happened in Canada in the 1990's, when Quebec politicians deserted both the Progressive Conservative and Liberal parties to form the Bloc Quebecois, while the Right in Canada was fractured between the Progressive Conservatives and Reform, who could not stand each other. As a result, the Liberals were able to win 3 elections despite winning less than 50% of the popular vote, and the same thing has happened (to a lesser degree) under the Conservatives, who face two left-leaning parties (the Libs and the NDP) that each claim a large number of seats, but hate each other.

Given Reform's backwardness, I suspect joining with UKIP would be unpalatable for most Tories.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:19 PM on May 3, 2013


Ukip are, whether you like it or not, a bunch of nutjobs. Want a removal of all employment rights (all of them), a flat tax rate of around 24% for everyone (party on rich folks!), and removal of UK from its largest trading block. It's like lemmings voting to jump off a cliff.

But then periodically the UK loses its mind. Such as the Princess Diana funeral.

However, they are a really dangerous bunch of loonies I think. It's not a great time to be anything other than white, of long-term British stock. As the Bulgarian interviewer recently said to Farrage (look it up on Channel 4): (something like) - "but if it wasn't for foreigners, you would have all married your second cousins and your wives would have moustaches".

It's also a horrible sign of "anti-intellectualism". For instance: did immigration cause the banking crash which has crippled the UK? Did poor people or the disabled? No. But let's spend tons of time and effort worrying about them, and leave our banks de-regulated, recycling CDO's and other financial time-bombs.

And (sorry, I'm on a roll here), there's also this Sarah-Palin-like talk of the "elites". Honestly.

And finally ... a really worrying sign, apparently Rupert Murdoch has made positive noises about UKIP and Farrage.

So, if you're into worrying, like me, there's plenty to worry about.

And - where's that striding, voice of the left? Owen Jones yes, but that's about it.
Harry Perkins (A Very British Coup) oh how we so need you now.
posted by rolandroland at 2:22 PM on May 3, 2013 [8 favorites]



I don't personally think that the lib dems will be able to resurrect themselves for a good couple years - a number of members are leaving the party in disgust.


I'd bet on them not being able to resurrect themselves ever; there's a very natural faultline for the party to split on, where it was fused together from the Liberals (centrist/centre-right; right of Labour, but more progressive than the Tories) and the Social Democrats (an European-style centre-left party) in 1983 or so. And given that the Lib Dem brand is tainted, if not by nothing else then by their betrayal of the NHS, I don't think there'll be many people wanting to hold onto it.
posted by acb at 2:23 PM on May 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


abc, good point! In fact, I think the fault lines started to crack even more around about the last leadership elections (with hindsight, Clegg was still the lesser of two weevils when it came to him verses Hulme, just thinking about the perjury trial is Hulme had been leader, Christ!) then there was some patching over when there was the brief surge of Cleggmania in 2010 but all of that has been well and truly washed away by everything they've done since they joined the coalition and the fault lines are opening up again now.
posted by halcyonday at 2:32 PM on May 3, 2013


Junco, The 'about these results' link at the bottom of the (somewhat confusing) BBC results table says that they're baselining from 2009, hence the Greens' 22 and +/- 5 figure. As just that guy, y'know says, they have a lot of councillors in places that didn't have local elections today (inc. Brighton and Hove which is now separate to East Sussex, where they have 22 councillors and the majority of seats on the council)

Thanks for the explanation. I'm not sure I completely understand what they mean by "baselining from 2009", but in any case I'm very happy to hear that it is not in fact the case that the UKIP have 7 times as many seats as the Greens.

I also think that acb's original insight about the relative amounts of media attention given to far-right parties vs the Greens is insightful, and depressing.
posted by junco at 2:33 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I see; it must mean that e.g. the Greens held 17 seats out of those being contested in this election after the last election in 2009, and they have won 5 more of those this time round.
posted by junco at 2:35 PM on May 3, 2013


Green party all the way for me. I quite like my local MP, Lynn Featherstone, but the Lib Dems need a spanking and besides, it'd be nice to have someone who was a bit more representative of the area than a millionaire from Highgate.
posted by Drexen at 2:41 PM on May 3, 2013


there's a very natural faultline for the party to split on

The further we get from his leadership, the clearer it becomes that the Lib Dems were the Paddy Ashdown party. All his talk of allowing the constituent parties to express themselves really only boiled down to letting them shorten the name.

What has typically characterised Lib Dem activists, even more than their Labour and Tory counterparts, is their commitment to total, ruthless campaigning, and to victory at all costs. That can work while you have some sort of symbolic or idealogical centre, which Ashdown, for all his flaws, provided by working absolutely tirelessly for the party, not for Westminster. Without him, and with more actual seats, the Lib Dems were gradually sucked into the Westminster bubble. Co-option into the Coalition wasn't the beginning of the end, it was the end of it.
posted by howfar at 2:48 PM on May 3, 2013


Local Elections: BNP Down To Two Councillors

Nice tan
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:02 PM on May 3, 2013


I moved from Denmark back in the mid-2000s and I had a lot of reasons behind my decision. One of the main reasons was The Danish People's Party - a right-wing party that started as a protest party before gaining a landslide around 1999/2001.

DPP became the third largest party in Denmark on a platform of anti-immigration, anti-gay and anti-EU sentiments mixed with pro-nationalism and social conservative values. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? They became the kingmakers - they never held any government positions but they pulled the strings. All political parties moved to the right, the political discourse moved to the right, and DPP called the shots. They struggled with loonies inside the party - some had been members of various ultra-right parties linked to neo-nazism; others were .. well, there was a lesbian ex-porn star-turned-bellydancer who was anti-gay, pro-Family Values, and anti-immigration.. people who had to step down after being convicted of hate crimes. The right-wing government lost power at the last election, and DPP is less visible than it has been, but it is still hugely influential.

I think UKIP is England's DPP moment. The BNP was always going to be too batshit-crazy-insane but UKIP is polished enough to appeal to angry white people. I am glad to be snuggled up in Scotland where - as the saying goes - we have more pandas than Conservatives MPs (let alone UKIP support). Scotland and England appear to move faryer apart by the day. Next year's independence vote continues to look veddy, veddy, veddy interesting despite the big anti-independence media onslaught.
posted by kariebookish at 3:21 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hate my compatriots, sometimes. Wait... did I say "sometimes"?

Scotland. Yeah, I like Scotland. The weather suits me, too.
posted by Decani at 3:40 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I see; it must mean that e.g. the Greens held 17 seats out of those being contested in this election after the last election in 2009, and they have won 5 more of those this time round.
That's it.

For a slighter longer overview, the different local (that is, not Parliamentary or European) elections in England alone include:

55 Unitary Authorities
27 County Councils
201 District Councils
36 Metropolitan Boroughs
32 London Boroughs
London Assembly
16 Mayors
City of London*

In any one year a group of these (or even just a portion of the seats on some of them) come up for election, and there is multi-year cycle over which all seats on all bodies are renewed. This year was mainly County Councils, a handful of Unitary Authorities, and two Mayors. The 2009 local elections were broadly the same** hence the comparison with this year's outcome. The Greens will have won other seats 2010-2, and this year saw lots of Conservative seats come up for election in which Ukip have done relatively well and Greens relatively poorly, if they bothered standing at all.

*Just don't even ask.

**I'm not sure any two years of local elections in England are ever exactly the same. There is such a multitude of bodies and seats coming up at different times that there is never a flawless comparison.
posted by Jehan at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2013


There's a UKIP voter down our street; he's the only one I know. He's missing a reasonable chunk of his brain after a tumour operation in the early 1980s, has memory issues and has minor fits in the corner shop from time to time. Every week or so he goes to the hospital in an NHS patient transport bus for a check up, he gets daily home help provided by the local council (now Labour-run after the Tory bloc tried to cut home help for OAPs last year), and he gets on pretty well with his next door neighbours - who arrived fom Bangadesh three years ago - because the father of the family likes cricket.
posted by cromagnon at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's the Tory nightmare made manifest. UKIP impacted the Labour vote a little but ate big chunks out the Tory one and Adenoid Ed is now a shoo-in for 2015 on the bare minimum of continuing his head down, low profile approach. Lib Dems will be down to their three core seats.
posted by Abiezer at 11:30 PM on May 3, 2013


So, my little town in the South East managed to vote UKIP into all three seats. Low turnout (c. 24%) and margins as low as 17 votes - but seemingly UKIP fans are motivated to turn up and vote - and largely, amongst people I know, none of the "real" parties offer any useful, serious representation.

5 miles down the road the Greens took the Conservative seat. I need to move 5 miles down the road.
posted by Hobo at 12:09 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love your anecdote about your neighbour cromagnon. Many good people and vulnerable people have been basically tricked. If anyone here is a brit who watches the quiz show Pointless on BBC1, the level of understanding of political issues among the general public is rock bottom. People find politics dull I guess, impenetrable, worrying. More pleasant to ignore than to engage with. In any case, many perfectly decent people are no match for the narratives used to ensnare them.

Modern populist political discourse is a long trick which has kind of backfired on the Tories who instigated it.
posted by communicator at 12:42 AM on May 4, 2013


My dad votes UKIP. He consumes right wing media and believes the shit that he's told. It's not rocket science.
posted by fullerine at 3:58 AM on May 4, 2013


Modern populist political discourse is a long trick which has kind of backfired on the Tories who instigated it.

OTOH, Murdoch is a master of it. Watch him make the UKIP his own, as he has done with the Tea Party in the US and the hard-rightists who have taken over the Liberal Party in Australia.

UKIP as a political entity may not be successful, but even if it is not, it may be a training ground for an ideologically hardline, unabashedly populistic and spectacularly successful Conservative Party in 5-10 years' time. (Or even a neo-Blairite Labour Party, stripped of its vestigial left wing.)
posted by acb at 6:33 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


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