Saturday, 8 May 2010

First Reaction

Congratulations to Alok Sharma. I may disagree fundamentally with many of his party's policies but he fought a good clean campaign and I genuinely wish him all the best as the MP for Reading West... well, at least until the next election!

On the other hand, Labour were quite disreputable. Naz Sarkar when picked up on his lying leaflets actually admitted that he didn't like it either and that it was Pete Ruhemann's doing - something that despite all the evidence pointing to him as the author he has denied in public and in print. Maybe the local Labour party would like to tell us which one of Naz or Pete Ruhemann is not telling the truth. They both cannot be right.

The local election results are interesting in that it seems to back up my thoughts that the Tories highwater mark was in 2007. There was much bluster from the Tories in 2008 about taking over the town but their failure to defend their gains of Minster and Park that they made in 2006, 2007 meant that in actuality they were going backwards even then. There were also a lot of bullish pre-election taunting from Tory commentators (and Tony Page) about taking Tilehurst from the Lib Dems. It's what happens when you start believing your own hype. Local Lib Dems continued their steady progress since 2006 by ending up at the end of the election with more seats than when they started.

The mathematics of the election always meant that Reading would remain in no overall control.

I'm analysing the results so I will post a more detailed update later.

[Update] Just had an enormous giggle at a blog post predicting a Labour meltdown in Reading. Labour lost Katesgrove and Park... but gained Minster from the Tories and effectively gained Battle from Independent, so Labour held steady. Lib Dems and Greens moved forward and only one party went backwards. Any prizes for guessing which?


Anonymous said...

Wait until there's been a Tory MP in Reading West for a year or two, using the benefit of their office and staff to help local campaigners. They don't have to do anything too illegal to achieve it either.

Just look at the results between 1997 and this year for Council seats in the two Reading constituencies. Hardly any lost by Labour in either between 1997 and 2005. After 2005 meltdown for Labour in the East but only one loss in the West, gained back on Thursday. In the next year or two seats like Minster and Southcote will go back to the Tories and, who knows you may have a chance again in Kentwood if you squeeze the Labour vote.

Was said...

And Labour has never used the benefit of Martin Salter's office or union facilities have they?

The Tories don't really have many local campaigners. Labour's attack that they were busing in hunt supporters is, rather shockingly given that their campaign was based on lies, actually true. Southcote saw members of the Aldershot Hunt wandering around delivering leaflets.

The fact that the number of Labour councillors hasn't slumped is a testament to the engineering of ward boundaries rather than any great affection for the Labour Party.

In 2002 they had 49% of the vote and 79% of the council seats. In 2010 they have 31% of the vote and 44% of the council seats.