UK Local Elections – Councils

Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and loc...
Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and local elections. Picture taken in Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a bad night and day for David Cameron and the Conservatives last night. A bad night that the Liberal Democrats joined them in. Labour managed to surpass the modest target they had set. In the 181 councils across the UK that elected new councillors Labour gained 32 of them. The Conservatives lost 12 councils and the Liberal Democrats lost 1. Labour gained councils in the South and Midlands where they needed to regain ground if they are to have any hope of electoral success in the future.

In terms of councillors themselves Labour gained 823, while the Conservatives lost 405 and the Liberal Democrats lost 336.

It was one of the worst nights for Liberal Democrats since they were founded in 1988 and of course the Conservatives took a battering also even David Cameron’s own Whitney constituency elected a Labour Councillor.

This is to be expected during a mid-term election with the Government taking tough economic decisions which are dislike on the ground.

Interestingly 9 cities rejected the idea of having a locally elected Mayor, while Bristol voted to have one and Doncaster voted to keep theirs.

This is again been seen as a defeat for the Government but it must be remembered that they were brought in by the Labour Government.

In Scotland both the Scottish National Party and Labour gained 2 councils each and gained a similar number of councillors. They failed to beat Labour and the end it was the other parties, especially the Liberal Democrats who lost out to Labour and the SNP.

In Wales it wasn’t a great night for Plaid Cymru who lost control of their only council, Caerphilly, and they lost 41 Councillors. Those weren’t the highest looses, as again the brunt was felt by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

In England, the Greens are now the fourth largest party on English Councils and they gained 5 seats in England alone (11 nationally). The BNP lost all the seats they were defending in England and failed. It is also unlikely that they will do well in the London Assembly. UKIP whose vote went up, but they have failed to convert that into seats as they may have allowed Labour victories by splitting the Conservative vote.

So a good result for Labour and the SNP, while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will have to reconsider their party strategies.

The Catholic Church in the UK to be the Vanguard against Gay Marriage?

English: A photo of the Cardinal Keith Michael...
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The Catholic Church in the UK has stepped up its opposition to Gay Marriage being introduced in the UK. Today mass-goers will be urged to oppose any moves towards Gay Marriage in a pastoral letter from Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Southwark Most Rev Peter Smith. They argue that they must save marriage for “Future Generations”. They of course join the hierarchy in opposing this move as Cardinal Keith O’Brien last week compared Gay Marriage to slavery.

Two polls also appeared in the UK this week on this issue. One for the Catholic Voice and one for the Telegraph.

In the poll for Catholic Voice by ComRes 70% of respondents said “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.” This poll seemed to have found opposite results to nearly every opinion on the subject in the UK. Thankfully Pinknews have done some analysis of the poll, which only had four questions, and shows what is wrong with the poll.

To set the record straight a poll in todays Sunday Telegraph has a poll showing 45% of respondents support Gay Marriage in comparison to 36% against. The rest had no firm view.  Excluding those with no firm view 55.6% are in favour and 44.4% against.

Interestingly only the Catholic Church and the Church of England are the only two religions to express their opposition to Gay Marriage while Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and just yesterday, Reform Judaism wish to conduct religious same sex marriages.

Also on Monday the Times became the first UK daily paper to back Gay Marriage. It said “It would enrich the institution of marriage, enhance social stability and expand the sum of human happiness. It is a cause that has the firm support of The Times.”

It continues ”

“Opponents accuse the Government of undermining the foundations of marriage and abusing the power of the State. It was predictable that some Conservative backbenchers would deride the proposals as (in the words of one of them) “completely nuts”. But more influential figures are deploying similarly heated rhetoric.

“Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, yesterday branded the Government’s position a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has accused the Government of acting like a dictatorship. More temperately, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, maintains that changing the law to allow gay marriage would force unwanted change on the rest of the nation.”

It finishes with “Earlier ages considered that allowing women to own property was against God and nature. Changing the law abolished a gross injustice and thereby enhanced the legitimacy of marriage. It is time to lift another form of discriminatory treatment. Reforming the law would enrich the lives of same-sex couples who wish to marry in order to affirm by rite that they love and are loved in return. By that commitment, they will enrich the society and culture that their fellow citizens share.”

The New UK Government

{{en}} East entrance of HM Treasury {{fr}} Ent...
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Taken from the StephenSpillane.com Facebook page notes:

Here is the cabinet as it is announced. The Liberal Democrats are expected to get 5 posts, 3  are confirmed (Clegg, Laws, Cable), but 2 others have been mentioned (Huhne (Climate and Energy) and Alexander (Scotland) . So far only one woman as been appointed. (13:20 update)

The Full Cabinet as Announced:

Prime Minister – David Cameron (Con)

Deputy Prime Minister – Nick Clegg (LD)

Chancellor of the Exchequer – George Osborne (Con)

Foreign Secretary – William Hague (Con)

Secretary of State for Education – Michael Gove (Con)

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Iain Duncan Smith (Con)

Secretary of State for Health – Andrew Lansley (Con)

Secretary of State for Scotland – Danny Alexander (LD)

Secretary of State for Defence – Liam Fox (Con)

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – Chris Huhne (LD)

Secretary of State for Home Affairs and minister for Women and Equality – Theresa May (Con)

Secretary of State of Justice and Lord Chancellor – Kenneth Clarke (Con)

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills – Vince Cable (LD)

Chief Whip – Patrick McLoughlin (Con)

Chief Secretary to the Treasury – David Laws (LD)

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Eric Pickles (Con)

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Caroline Spelman (Con)

Secretary of State for Transport – Philip Hammond (Con)

Secretary of State for International Development – Andrew Mitchell (Con)

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – Jeremy Hunt (Con)

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Owen Paterson (Con)

Secretary of State for Wales – Cheryl Gillan (Con)

Leader of the House of Lords, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Lord Strathclyde (Con)

Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal – Sir George Young (Con)

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General – Francis Maude (Con)

Minister of State, Cabinet Office – Oliver Letwin (Con)

Minister of State (Universities and Science) – Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills – David Willetts (Con)

Minister without portfolio – Baroness Warsi (also Conservative Party chairman) (Con)

Attorney General – Dominic Grieve (Con)

Appointed:

Prime Minister: David Cameron (Con)

Deputy Prime Minister: Nick Clegg (LD)

Chancellor of the Exchequer: George Osborne (Con)

Foreign Secretary: William Hague (Con)

Health Secretary: Andrew Lansley (Con)

Defence Secretary: Liam Fox (Con)

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary: Ken Clarke (Con)

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality: Theresa May (Con)

Chief Whip: Patrick McLoughlin (Con)

Business Secretary: Vince Cable (LD)

Schools Secretary: Michael Gove (Con)

Chief Secretary to the Treasury: David Laws (LD)

Scotland Secretary: Danny Alexander (LD)

15:15 Communities and Local Government Secretary: Eric Pickles (Con)

15:35 Work and Pensions Secretary: Iain Duncan Smith (Con)

Possible Appointments:

Attorney General: Dominic Grieve (Con)

Environment and Climate Change Secretary: Chris Huhne (LD)

Culture Secretary: Jeremy Hunt (Con)

Conservative Party Chairman: Baroness Warsi (Con)

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Caroline Spelman (Con)

Cabinet Office: Francis Maude (Con)

Still to be Appointed:

Welsh Secretary

Northern Ireland Secretary

Transport Secretary

International Development Secretary

Paymaster General


Baroness Warsi – Conservative Party chairman
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UK Election

UK 2010 election: actual results for comparison
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I know I haven’t blogged about the UK General Election since before it, that is because of two reasons. One is work and life in General and the other was I wanted to see how the coalition talks were going.

So as you know, the end results of the General Election were as follows:

  • Conservatives 306 (+97)
  • Labour 258 (-91)
  • Liberal Democrats 57 (-5)
  • DUP 8 (-1)
  • SNP 6 (NC)
  • Sinn Fein 5 (NC)
  • Plaid Cymru 3 (+1)
  • SDLP 3 (NC)
  • Green 1 (+1)
  • Alliance 1 (+1)

Conversely in the Local Elections in England, Labour were the winners in terms of increases, but the Conservatives still control the most councils. The Main results were as follows:

  • Conservatives suffered a net loss of 8 councils and lost 121 councillors.
  • Labour gained control of an extra 14 councils and gained 393 councillors
  • Liberal Democrats suffered a net loss of 3 councils and lost 119 councillors
  • Independents lost 106 seats
  • The British National Party lost 26 seats.

So looking back at my predictions how did i do?

Vote Share

The Conservatives will win the most votes, followed by the Liberal Democrats. Labour will come third.

Well I got the first place right. But thats it.

Seats

Conservaties will have about 270, Labour, 260, Liberal Democrats 90.

I was close on the Labour number as they ended up on 258. I was out on the other two.

Other Parties

Greens will win their first seat. My money is on Brighton Pavillion.

Correct!

BNP will not win a seat.

Correct!

UKIP will win two seats. Buckingham and one other

Wrong. They won none

SNP will increase their seats by 2

Wrong, they didnt increase their seats.

PC will also increase their seats by 2

Wrong, they only took an extra seat.

So it was an interesting at times election. I stayed up until 4am Friday morning and I was bored at times.

The negotiations between the Conservatives and Lib Dems are coming to a close as I type and it will be up to the parliamentary party of each party now.

I wonder where it will go. Full coalition or Supple and Confidence Pact? What do you think?

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Seats I will be watching!

counting the votes
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So here is a list of seats I will be trying to watch closely. They should give an indication to the wider picture.

England

  • Barking: Nick Griffin is the BNP candidate here, will he win?
  • Brighton Pavillion: Green’s possible gain?
  • Buckingham: Will the speaker hold on? (Counted on Friday though!)
  • Dagenham and Rainham: Will the BNP gain a seat? Or will the Tories take Cruddas’ seat?
  • Eastbourne: Can the Lib Dems take from the Tories also? 0.7% swing needed
  • Finchley & Golders Green: This is a notional Tory seat, Labour need a 0.35% swing to hang on, will they?
  • Luton South: This was Margaret Moran’s seat. Highly implicated in the expenses scandal. Has it damaged Labour beyond repair? Esther Ratzen is running here. Should be interesting!
  • Morley and Outwood: Ed Balls seat. Will he hang on?
  • Oxford East: One of the Lib Dem swings. All it takes is 0.2%, will they do it?
  • Poplar and Limehouse: Will George Galloway remain an MP?
  • Rochdale: The Bigotgate have an effect? Will the Lib Dems get in?
  • Stockton South: Conservatives need a 6.5% swing to win here, its also just under the 7% they need. Should be a good indicator.
  • Sunderland Central: Tory Target but needs a 10.5% swing
  • Watford: One of those three way marginals! Let see what happens!
  • Wyre Forest: Independent, Richard Taylor, held since 2001, Lib Dems are challenging here this time out. Can he hold on?

Scotland

  • Dundee West: If things go really bad for Labour in Scotland, on an 7.29% swing, the SNP could gain this seat.
  • Ochil and South Perthshire: SNP need a 0.74% swing from Labour.

Wales

  • Arfon: Plaid target, this time from Labour. They need a 0.91% swing!
  • Ceredigion: Plaid target from the Lib Dems. Need 0.31% swing
  • Ynys Môn : Another Labour seat targeted by Plaid, they need 0.75% swing here.

Northern Ireland

  • Belfast South: The DUP want to gain this from the SDLP. They need a nearly 2% swing though.

Other lists of ones to watch from the Independent, FT, Wikipedia and Ekklesia

What constituencies will you be watching?

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UK Election Predictions

Propaganda
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So tomorrow will see the polls opening for the UK General Election. I have been following the campaigns in my spare time but not really blogging about it. Mainly as I didn’t know where I stood. I do now.

I am hoping for a Liberal Democrat surge tomorrow.

But enough of who I want to do well, on to some predictions. Some of these are random, others are obvious. I will be up late into the night on Thursday watching the results on the telly and if anything interesting happens, it will be blogged about!

So, on to the predictons!

Vote Share

The Conservatives will win the most votes, followed by the Liberal Democrats. Labour will come third.

Seats

Conservaties will have about 270, Labour, 260, Liberal Democrats 90.

Other Parties

Greens will win their first seat. My money is on Brighton Pavillion.

BNP will not win a seat.

UKIP will win two seats. Buckingham and one other

SNP will increase their seats by 2

PC will also increase their seats by 2

Northern Ireland is too close to call for me.

They are my predictions. A hung parliament is in the offing. Have you got any predictions?

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UK Election 2010

Lib Dems logo
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I haven’t yet blogged about the general election in the UK. For me this has been one of the most interesting ones to watch. The rise of Liberal Democrats is amazing to see, and the polls are all over the place. The only thing for certain is that Labour will not win the popular vote.

That is where watching UK elections get boring. No matter haw much you play with swing calculators and polls the Lib Dems even if they win the popular vote, will not be forming the next government. They may form part of it, or support the next government through some sort of pact, but it will not be what they want.

Of course this puts the Lib Dems in the best position to ask for and get electoral reform. Labour are willing to give the Alternative Vote, but the Liberal Democrats want PRSTV like here in Ireland. Now how exciting would UK elections be then?

The Conservatives are holding there own in this election, but of course the rise of the Lib Dems has caught everyone. No one was prepared for that. They are down slightly in the polls, but still are in the lead.

The night of May 6th is going to be a very interesting night. There will be heads rolling from the cabinet on a good day for Labour. The Brown campaign isn’t going well, but good campaigning by good candidates will see them do well.

One of the seats I will be watching will be Brighton Pavillion as there the Green Party has one of its best chances to take a seat. Another one to watch will be Norwich North. I will of course be also hoping that Barking doesn’t go to the BNP.

This election could mark a change in UK Politics, for that reason alone I will be up all night on May 6th!

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Von Rompuy wants a Euro Tax

So the Telegraph have a story on the fact that the new European Council President, Herman Von Rompuy, wants to bring in a new Euro Tax. This is to “bring transparency” to how the EU operates.

This hasn’t gone very smoothly for the new European Council Preisdent, and this really is his own fault! He made the announcement at a meeting of the Bildenberg Group, conspriacy theorists would know of this group very well, which isnt the most transparent of organisations, considering it meets in private.

Also the Von Rompuy seems to be overstepping the mark here. The Council cannot propose new legislation (or taxes), only the Commission can do this. While it is known that Borroso has an appetite for an EU-wide tax, but that appetite is not mirrored by the Member States. For tax all Member States must agree, and Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom have previously voiced opposition to any such tax. Also with the election of the FDP in Germany, I can’t see them being in favour of this as they were elected on tax cuts not more taxes.

It will be next year before any such idea comes to Council (possibly year after) and by then the UK Conservatives will be in power and they will definately be against the proposal!

So in essence this is the usual euro talk that could damage Von Rompuy and maybe lessen his influence as “chairman” of the European Council?

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Tories: No Referendum on Lisbon

Conservative Party logo
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ConservativeHome have a rough outline of the new Conservative Party policy towards the EU. While they will not look for the “unratification” of the Lisbon Treaty, they will seek to renegotiate the UK’s ties with the EU.

To be honest any renegotiation of ties will be a loss of influence for the UK. As areas that they opt-out on they cannot influence and they might have to go along with somethings due to access of the single market whether they want to or not.

Also if they do renegotiate then any future appointments of high powered posts could not be British, currently the UK have possibities for the two highest poistions. In two and half years they would have very little chance of getting anything that is availible.

The one thing this policy will do though, is keep the Conservatives united. A referendum on Europe or Lisbon could have split the Conservatives. This is the safest option availible to Cameron should he want to stay Prime Minister for a bit!

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Deadlock in the New Parliament?

Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt.
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The newly elected Parliament looks set to become deadlocked over the nomination of the next European Commission President.

Jose Manual Barrosso has the backing of the EPP, and thats about it. The new European Conservative grouping could be persuaded to back him too. I doubt they could persuade Ind/Dem to back him publicly but they may vote for him.

The other candidate Guy Verhofstadt has the backing of GUE/NGL, Greens-EFA, PES ASDE and ALDE.

Unfortunatley neither side have a majority in the Parliament.

This could mean a very long summer of talking and such to try and cobble together a majority or it could mean a compromise candidate with which no one will be 100% happy with.

Now I’m not sure if I want to see Barrosso re-elected. I have read a few things lately from him that I wasn’t happy reading.

Now I’m not sure if I want Verhofstadt elected either, mainly as hes a leftist candidate.

Its going to be a long summer, and I don’t think I’ll be happy with who ever is elected President of the Commission. I wonder will the Parliament feel the same?

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