Posts Tagged ‘by election result’

“This just in”, as they say. Just an update for fellow election tragics.

jim-mcmahon-oldham_3508904bWe were right to predict that Labour would hold the seat, but they actually did substantially better than predicted, achieving a very creditable result based, for certain, on good postal vote collection.

UKIP did moderately well overall but by no means well enough, and never mounted the challenge that was expected, the Tories did poorly, and the Lib Dems, Greens and Monster Raving Loony Party did abysmally badly, losing their deposits.

This will be seen as a very good result for Jeremy Corbyn and will presumably quieten, temporarily at least, calls for his head.

Jim McMahon, the 35-year-old leader of Oldham council, will swap the town hall for Westminster after persuading 17,322 people to vote for him. Turnout was 40.26% – not an embarrassment on a very rainy Thursday in December but still depressingly low. McMahon increased Labour’s share of the vote to 62.27%, up 7.49% from the general election in May. UKIP’s John Bickley, a Cheshire-based businessman, was runner-up, on 6,487. It was his fourth second place in Greater Manchester in less than two years, having lost out to Labour in by elections in Wythenshawe and Sale East in February 2014 and Heywood and Middleton in October 2015, failing again there in May’s general election.

Dark mutterings from UKIP – who are being portrayed as having suffered a bloody nose – on the conduct of the postal vote will probably be investigated. Nigel Farage blustered on Twitter: Evidence from an impeccable source that today’s postal voting was bent.

The needle on the dial for the Lib Dems didn’t shift upwards even a millimetre, as we suggested would be the case, which again shows what a difficult situation they are now in. A lively debate is already underway as to future Lib Dem tactics.

Here are the full election results, with all the percentages, from the Press Association.

Jim McMahon (LABOUR) 17,322 (62.27%, +7.49%)

John Bickley (UKIP) 6,487 (23.32%, +2.71%)

James Daly (CONSERVATIVE) 2,596 (9.33%, -9.65%)

Jane Brophy (LIBDEM) 1,024 (3.68%, -0.00%)

Simeon Hart (GREENn) 249 (0.90%, -1.05%)

Sir Oink-A-Lot (LOONY) 141 (0.51%)

Labour Majority 10,835 (38.95%) – 2.39% swing UKIP to Lab

Electorate 69,009; Turnout 27,819 (40.31%, -19.32%)

Result in 2015: Lab maj 14,738 (34.17%) – Turnout 43,137 (59.63%) Meacher (Lab) 23,630 (54.78%); Arbour (UKIP) 8,892 (20.61%); Ghafoor (C) 8,187 (18.98%); Harkness (LD) 1,589 (3.68%); Hart (Green) 839 (1.94%)

About two hours into the count, and early booth results imply a swing away from Labor to the Greens, but its patchy: it looks like it’s probably enough for the “third party” to take the seat, but it also definitely looks like it will be close.

This confirms my prediction of a very narrow Greens victory, on preferences. However, preference flows will be crucial, and they are fiendishly difficult to predict with a field of 16 candidates, and at least two of the minority candidates being well known. Of the popular independents, one is a Liberal member and preferencing Labor, and one, the Sex Party candidate, is also preferencing Labor. So the ALP could squeak in, too, with the help of a curious collection of friends. (Update, as at Sunday morning, it appears that this is the most likely result.)

Photograph of Malcolm Turnbull, New South Wale...

Malcolm Turnbull, New South Wales Liberal politician.

But in my opinion, whatever the final result is it will show no great enthusiasm for either the Greens or Labor. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see “Others” polling 20-25% of the first preference votes, and possibly even more.

Which leads me to conclude, once again, that there is plenty of room in Australian politics for a new party that is neither as mired in factionalism, corruption and lack of respect as Labor, as fanatically right wing and rat-baggery as the Liberal-National Coalition, nor as niche marketed as the Greens.

If Australia had a centrist, reformist, business-friendly, social-justice aware party which essentially believed in a mixed economy and high standards of public accountability, in my opinion it would be swept to power by a grateful public and with massive financial backing – and BOTH old parties would be swept aside.

What it needs is a leader.

Step forward, Malcolm Turnbull.

History awaits.