2011 Election Night Liveblog
Tonight we’re going to try something different (well, for us) here at Bright Green and attempt to live blog the results of today’s elections as they come in. It’s not something we’ve done before, though we have live tweeted one or twice, so bear with us if the technology doesn’t always quite work or if it takes us a while to get the hang of it.
Several of our contributors will be at counts around the country and we’ll aim to bring you all the news and gossip from those as the night progresses.
So sit back and enjoy, or, preferably, sit forward and join in in the comments.
Final motion of the day is on a written constitution for an independent Scotland. Key elements include the insistence on a Bill of Rights, and the random selection of citizens to contribute to drafting the constitution.
It is overwhelmingly carried.
Motion on borders, immigration and citizenship. An amendment is offered by James Mackenzie and Martin Ford to delete support for the Schengen passport-free area plus an open border with the UK, and replace it with “open borders as far as possible with other European countries.”
It’s passed overwhelmingly after a pretty unedifying debate in which conference scared itself into believing that a motion explicitly calling for a an open border with the UK would inevitable mean checkpoints at Gretna and Berwick.
The full motion, which also commits to a liberal definition of Scottish citizenship and the right to hold dual nationality, is passed overwhelmingly.
A motion supporting Scottish membership in peaceful transnational bodies like the EU and Nordic Union and Commonwealth is passed unanimously.
Patrick Harvie: “A constitution is a document which constitutes who we are as a society. The possession or deployment of weapons of mass destruction is every bit as offensive to who we are as dictatorship.”
The Mackenzie/Ford amendment is rejected overwhelmingly, so conference retains the commitment to a constitutional ban on WMD in the motion.
Vote on the whole post-indy defence motion passes unanimously.
James Mackenzie and Cllr Martin Ford have placed an amendment to the motion on post-independence defence, deleting a call for “a constitutional prohibition of weapons of mass destruction”. They argue that “policies” such as rejecting WMD are “inappropriate” for a constitution.
This seems a highly conservative view of what a national constitution can be about. I would argue that if the US can award itself a constitutional right to have weapons, we can award ourselves a right not to.
Peter McColl also proposing the motion to replace the monarch as Head of State with a titular, Irish-style President. Carried unanimously.
Vote: delegates vote overwhelmingly to develop a roadmap to a separate Scottish currency.
Peter McColl arguing for a commitment to “develop a pathway” to a separate Scottish currency. Without control of your own currency, he says, it is difficult to manage fiscal policy and impossible to keep control of asset bubbles. The needs of the City of London mean Sterling is overvalued from the point of view of industry in general and particularly Scotland. Local control of currency would open up the possibility of more radical approaches such as local currencies and scrip money.
The motion in support of the Radical Information Conference is passed unanimously.
Motion on dropping support for a multi-option referendum is rejected, narrowly but conclusively enough not to require a card count.
Mark Ballard argues that “the ship has not sailed yet,” at two years from the referendum: “I don’t know whether we’re getting independence with or without the Pound, independence with or without the monarch, independence with or without Europe. When I hear SNP people talking about independence, the independence it sounds like Devo Max. It is still all to play for. We are two years away from a referendum; let’s not change our principles just because the other parties are conspiring against what we believe in.”
Danny Wight speaks in opposition to the motion, accusing Patrick Harvie of “putting pragmatism ahead of our principles.”
Patrick Harvie proposes motion 2, dropping support for a ‘third option’ in the referendum: “The ship has sailed for a second question. I regret that it has.” He says not only is there unlikely to be one, it is now so late in the day that any third option would be vague and not well understood, not “an honest prospectus”.
Vote on motion 2, to establish a distinctive Green Yes campaign, also passes overwhelmingly.
Vote on motion 1a: Yes Scotland — overwhelmingly carried with less than a dozen votes against.
Lothians MSP Alison Johnstone, like most here I think, will be voting both for Yes Scotland membership and the creation of a Green Yes campaign: “We can vote out the Tories here until we’re blue in the face, but if our neighbours want to vote them in we will continue to bear the brunt of their policies.” She was on a panel with SSP and SNP politicians recently and was able to articulate a distinctive Green approach.
Andy Wightman: “I agree with Maggie [Chapman]… Yes or no, this is an unprecedented opportunity to get over to the people of Scotland a message about the kind of Scotland we want to see.” People are “hungry” for an alternative to the corrupt, broken UK system.
Edinburgh councillor and BG ed Maggie Chapman: “let’s be very clear here, if we do not join the Yes campaign, we can jump up and down as much as we like on our own and we will be ignored. If we want to change it, we have to be a part of it.”
Alastair Whitelaw opposes Yes Scotland membership on the grounds that that campaign will be for an SNP vision of Scotland on issues of head of state, EU membership, militarism etc – an allegation rejected by Yes Scotland’s Deputy Comms Director Stan Blackley at the fringe this afternoon.
Chair (Edinburgh councillor) moving general debate on to specific motions, starting with those on Yes Scotland membership and on the establishment by the Scottish Greens of a “distinctive Yes campaign”.
Patrick Harvie speaking for Yes membership, which he says gives Greens the opportunity to engage the whole coalition in a discissuon about a radical, progressive vision for Scotland.
Former South of Scotland MSP Chris Scotland opposes, saying he worries a Green message within Yes Scotland would “confuse” the public.
Member from Glasgow notes the relative lack of young members at conference. Boldly ignores the ensuing sussuration from the assembled geriatrics to declare: “I’m an Englishman, living in Scotland, and I vote yes.”
Edinburgh party member Dominic Hinde: “I really hope that whatever happens, this referendum becomes a chance for every single person in Scotland to re-evaluate who we want to be as a country.”
Glasgow councillor Martin Bartos appeals for a conciliatory campaign approach which doesn’t risk splitting the party or alienating those who would campaign on the other side of the referendum.
Glasgow Green Party co-convenor Stuart Clay: “It comes down to what you think is more likely – Westminster reforming or Scottish independence? What’s going to see the reform that our country deserves? I don’t see Westminster reforming anytime soon.”
Applause for former Lothians MSP Mark Ballard: “I expect to vote for independence. But one thing is for sure: the status quo is not an option… When Westminster benefits policy makes people destitute, who will have to pick up the mess? We need to be clear: this is a ‘change’ debate, it is not a status quo vs independence debate.”
Former Lib Dem councillor, now Green councillor, Martin Ford says “I do not expect to vote for independence,” though he says he can’t be sure he won’t be persuaded by the public debate.
Edinburgh University Rector (and BG editor) Peter McColl says even conservative university management are desperate “to get away from a British immigration system that is outright racist.” Students have been forced queue overnight to register with police “and you can tell this is racist because the students that most overstay are Australians and New Zealanders, and Australians and New Zealanders don’t have to register with the police.”
Former party convenor Robin Harper says he is unconvinced by the independence case, and warns against an over-centralised Scotland which does nothing but move absentee rule over rural Scotland from distant London to distant Edinburgh.
The party’s female co-convenor, Glasgow councillor Martha Wardrop, says its essential that the independence debate recognises the opportunity has to clean up its act in human rights compared to the UK, for example with regard to the UK’s shameful treatment of asylum seekers in Glasgow and beyond.
Patrick Harvie making the case for the Greens joining Yes Scotland. He says Greens in particular have a responsibility to reach out on behalf of the campaign to voters who are not convinced merely by “a Saltire on one side or a Union Flag on the other,” and that involvement does not mean signing up to a policy agenda but will give Greens a platform for their distinctive vision for Scotland.
Mark Ruskell, formerly MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife and now councillor for Dunblane ward in Stirling, has used his speech to lay out an argument for active, preventative spending in local government to reduce the need for later spending on, for example social services.
“We have to be careful in this,” he recognises, because while Greens would want to reinvest any savings, others would see them as an excuse to constrain the ambition of local government, to be more laissez-faire.
That warning notwithstanding, the example he gives of the Big Noise project in Stirling’s impoverished Raploch area is compelling. The music project, based upon Venezuela’s successful Sistema, has noticeably facilitated not just artistic expression but community cohesion. “I have no doubt,” says Ruskell, “that five or ten years down the line we will see reduced pressure on social services as a result.”
Namechecking Cllr Maggie Chapman’s influential £eith Decides community budgeting project in Edinburgh, he notes that in his canvassing he has found locals willing to pay more tax if it meant extending Big Noise. The lesson is that taxpayers want more control and visible results, not just government small enough to drown in a bathtub.
Conference has just passed a broad-brush economics motion replacing a policy commitment to a “social market economy” with four rather more explicit political-economy principles: sustainability, equity, community control and a wider definition of progress.
It includes this uncompromising commitment to greater equality:
If people are to enjoy a true and better quality of life, there is no alternative to dividing resources more evenly.
…and under “community control”, interestingly uses language commonly associated with constitutional debates about state power to oppose the concentration of economic power in corporate hands:
Under the current system, most economic decisions are made remotely from the communities they affect. Vast sums are spent on enticing multinational companies or rich individuals to locate in Scotland. This often leaves communities vulnerable and over-dependent on the whims of the global market. Greens believe that, to achieve ecological, political and economic self-reliance, policies must ensure that decisions are taken as far as possible at community level.
I am updated by Peter McColl on Andy Wightman’s speech earlier:
Andy opened by speaking about the Maryhill Borough Hall we are in today. Maryhill became a borough in 1856, and was annexed into Glasgow in 1891. For 35 years the Borough governed itself from this building very capably.
Scotland government has become uniquely distant and centralised. Scotland has the lowest number Councillors in Europe per head, the lowest number of local authorities, and unusually only one tier of local government. As a result, Scotland’s turnout is at 35%, the lowest in Europe apart from England.
In Scotland we would have around 871 municipalities if we had retained our parishes, towns and boroughs. Historically we had always governed ourselves.
Even Westminster has conducted reports on how local government has had its power substantially reduced. This has not happened in Scotland. SNP’s Council Tax freeze would not be allowed in Germany, for instance, because local government has the right to set its own taxes.
Scottish Government has replaced statutory local government with voluntarism, which benefits the richer communities. It rarely works for the poor.
We don’t exercise power at the level closest to the people. We have an over centralised government. We need to give power back to communities.
The first energy motion was mostly an unremarkable omnibus of renumbering and updating, but conference did accept this amendment, which builds upon the community ownership theme of the morning:
“Ensure that public agencies facilitate community development of renewable energy installations on their estates, allowing use of forestry, water and other sites for renewables. This will include powers to compel PFI contract holders to prioritise the development of renewable energy installations where it has no direct adverse impact on the operation of the facility.”
My first entry…
I am told entries in pursuit of that Holyrood golf towel and ball cleaner are also being accepted at #renametrump.
We’ve just had Andy Wightman’s speech – which Peter McColl will update us on later – and are now onto the motions, beginning with proposals on energy and economy.
So we’ve just had Patrick Harvie’s speech, which like Ed’s was delivered without notes but, unlike Ed’s, this appears to be because there actually wasn’t a script – press staff are fielding requests for a transcript as best they can but as far as anyone can tell it’s all in the Glasgow MSP’s distinguished head.
Harvie’s not a showman by nature; it was an understated performance that suited the 120-seater hall. But for my money it was one of the best Green leader speeches I remember, certainly outshining GPEW leaders past and present for radical ideas communicated simply in clear, moral language.
The most notable passages focussed on today’s debate topics: independence, and energy and economy. Harvie raised his voice only once, to condemn the SNP’s betrayal of the nuclear disarmament campaigners who have been the heart of the independence campaign for decades, executing an “offensive” u-turn and advocating Scottish membership of NATO.
After railing against Donald Trump, a folk enemy of the Scottish Green Party, he moved into am interesting and quietly radical passage that acknowledged what he sees as rather more reasonable objections to wind farms than The Donald’s. It is not surprising, he said, that people take issue with wind turbines or any other corporate development when it is driven through an undemocratic and corrupt planning system, and then impacts upon there lives without them having had any say in the decision or any stake in the returns.
His solution – of an energy economy which is owned by the people as well as being low-carbon – foreshadowed the speech by land reform campaigner Andy Wightman which is happening now.
During the speech we were given an attractive offer which it would be unforgivable not to share with you. Trump, during his Local Hero-esque battle to destroy a north-eastern beauty spot, renamed the RSPB the “Royal Society of the Killing of Birds.” Harvie invites you to return the favour and rename Donald Trump, with the best suggestion receiving “a full set of Scottish Parliament-branded golf accessories, or if you speak to me nicely the equivalent value in alcohol.” We will, of course, pass on any submissions we receive here, or you can tweet them to #sgpconf.
Right, there’s going to be some delay on reaction here because you can’t actually hear the speakers from the press room so I have to run up and down. We’ll be tweeting from the hall though – follow @brightgrn.
Welcome to an uncharacteristically sunny Maryhill for Scottish Green Party Conference 2012. We’re just about to hear the welcome from the co-convenor of the Glasgow branch, Moira Crawford, followed by Patrick Harvie MSP.
Today’s highlight is undoubtedly the party’s debate on independence, which will close out teh day from about 3pm. Before that there are motions on energy and the economy, and speeches from land reform campaigner Andy Wightman and Stirling councillor and former MSP Mark Ruskell.
I’m asuming, by the way, that eveyone has seen quite how much the AV referendum has fallen by – it’s currently looking like it’s 69% to 31%. Pleased to say though that my current home town, Oxford, voted yes by 54%. Even Brighton voted no (49% to 51%).
Interestingly, apparently the only Scottish contsituencies to go yes in the end were Edinburgh Central and Glasgow Kelvin – big student/academic filled seats. This is despite early polls showing big leads for the yes campaign in Scotland.
My experience from Cardiff on polling day was that lots of poeple were voting no because they didn’t really understand the system, or why it was better – a good number said that they wanted PR, but this wasn’t PR, and they didn’t really understand why it was better. Which is a shame. If there is any solice for the yes campaign though, it seems unlikely that anything they could have done could have significantly swung a vote of this scale. People, whether or not they would like PR, just didn’t seem willing to take the risk of changing a system when they didn’t really understand why it was better.
In other news from the Assembly elections, it looks like the DUP have finally got the hang squeezing the maximum number of seats out of their vote through effective vote management. They are maximising their vote in a way that might allow them to pull away from Sinn Fein as largest party.
Elsewhere it looks like Dawn Purvis is in a bit of trouble. Dawn’s a bit of a favourite of mine, bringing a unique working class voice for social justice and feminism to the Assembly. She very bravely left the loyalist-linked PUP over their feuding. Currently she’s in seventh place and may be relying on transfers from the PUP’s Brian Ervine to get elected.
In Foyle long-time radical Eamon McCann is in with a better chance of getting elected. He’s in sixth place out of six on first preferences. It all depends on where SDLP and Sinn Fein transfers go. McCann would add a very distinctive voice to the Assembly. He’s a veteran of the Civil Rights marches in the 1960s and 70s.
It’s not so clear where the Alan McFarlane votes will go. This story all goes back to the alliance between the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists before the last election. The spectacularly mis-named UNCUF imposed Conservative candidates in a number of constituencies in the north of Ireland. North Down was one.
Sylvia Hermon, the local UUP MP refused to take the Conservative whip (she normally votes with Labour) and was kicked out of hte party. She ‘ran on her record’ and scored a huge victory. McFarlane left the UUP in sympathy with Sylvia, so may well not pick up the transfers from disaffected UUP voters. These votes may transfer to the (already elected) DUP members, or simply stop. Some independent-minded voters may well transfer to the independent-minded Greens.
It will be interesting to see how these votes do transfer, but it’s not over for Aggie yet…
OK, so, let’s have a proper look where we are in the North Down seat where Northern Irish Green leader Steve Agnew is hoping to hold on to the AM post Green had before here. Brian Wilson was already a popular local politican when he stood for the Greens, with a big personal vote, so Steve will do well to hold on here. Also, one of the Alliance candidates – Anne Wilson – is Brian Wilson’s wife. Results taken UTV:
|Party||Count Elected||1st Pref||% 1st Pref.|
Remember, this is an STV election, where 6 candidates will be elected. By my calculations, quota is 4014 – you need 4014 votes to be elected (this is a turnout of 29098/(6 seats +1).
So far, Alex Easton, a DUP candidate, has been elected as he had more than 4011 votes in the first round. His surplus (the portion of each vote that he didn’t need) is now being redistributed. Presumably these will go to the other 2 DUP candidates, who came 2nd and 3rd. At this point, Gordon Dunne will be elected, and then Peter Weir.
The surpluses from will then be redistributed mostly to the UUP. But no one else will have enough votes, and so first the Sinn Fein candidate Conor Keenan, and then Fred McGlade (whose UKIP) will have their votes transferred. SF votes will probably mostly go to the SDLP, though some will go Green. Then the SDLP candidate goes, and will mostly transfer his votes (+ the votes that have come to him) to Steve, our friendly Green (and he is lovely). This should take Steve up to somewhere around the 2800 mark (our resident expert Peter reckons almost all the Republican votes will go this way).
This is when it will get hair raising for Steve. because at this point, the UUP candidates will both be eliminated. As Independent member Alan Mcfarland is a former UUP Assembly Member, he is likely to pick up nearly all of these transfers, meaning he could well leapfrog those ahead of him and be the 4th person elected – though it isn’t clear how much he’ll have to split these tranfers with the other independent candidate, and it isn’t clear if Steve will pick up a few of them too.
If these UUP votes all go straight to Mr McFarland, and very few go to Steve, then this could mean he’s in trouble. Once McFarland is elected, it seems likely that many of those votes will then go to the 2 Alliance candidates (they are seen as a unionist party), potentially squeezing them ahead of Steve. However, as Steve will likely pick up a few transfers at each of the above rounds, this could keep him in the game long enough for Ann Wilson to be knocked out, and her transfers would likely then send him in. We shall see as the rounds develop over the next few hours – you can follow the live action over at UTV, if I’m not managing to keep you updated.
– our NI and psephology expert Peter has revised his projection and say he now seems to stand a very good chance – likely to be 3 DUP 2 Alliance and 1 Green… we’ll see.
You can follow the count in NI as it happens here: http://www.u.tv/election2011/Constituency.aspx?id=8
+ I hear from Northern Irealnd that it’s not looking like Steve Agnew is going to make it. Likely that he will lbe bumped out by the 2nd Alliance candidate – who happens to be the wife of former Green Assembly member, Brian Wilson. This is a huge shame.
Also, it’s been confirmed that we’ve only got the 2 seats back in Holyrood – Patrick in Glasgow, and Alison Johnson replacing Robin in the Lothians. Alison has been a cllr in Meadows and Morningside for the last 4 years, and was Robin’s assistant in Parliament throughout his time there.
OK, just to wrap this up, a few final things from me:
Lots of Green gains in councils across the country, and I thik it looks like we’ve held all of our seats. The below is from the party website. Well done to all of our councillors, and particularly to everyone in Brighton, who have become the first local Greens to be the biggest party on a council:
Results to be posted here as they come in (last updated 16:50, 6 May 2011)
– Bradford (Kevin Warnes – Shipley – 42.94% – 2208 votes)
– Braintree (James Abbott and Bob Wright – Bradwell, Silverend and Rivenhall – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Geoffrey Bowden, Ben Duncan and Stephanie Powell – Queens Park – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Ania Kitcat and Jason Kitcat – Regency – 55.6%, 1696 and 1629 votes respectively)
– Brighton and Hove (Matt Follett, Bill Randall and Liz Wakefield – Hanover and Elm Grove – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Alex Phillips – Goldsmid – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Amy Kennedy – Preston Park – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Ian Davey, Lizzie Dean and Pete West – St Peter’s and North Laine – awaiting figures)
– Kirklees (Derek Hardcastle – Kirkburton – awaiting figures)
– Kirklees (Julie Stewart-Turner – Newsome – awaiting figures)
– Liverpool (John Coyne – St Michaels – 50.48%, 1978 votes)
– Middlesborough (Joe Michna – Park – awaiting figures)
– Mid Suffolk (Rachel Eburne – Haughley and Wetherden – re-elected unopposed)
– North Somerset (Tom Leimdorfer – Congesbury – 58%, 825 votes)
– Norwich (Amy Stammers – Mancroft – 42.77%, 1355 votes)
– Norwich (Denise Carlo – Nelson – 55.98%, 2059 votes)
– Norwich (Stephen Little – Town Close – 44.30%, 1763 votes)
– Norwich (Lucy Galvin – Wensum – 43.72%, 1375 votes)
– Scarborough (Dilys Cluer – Stepney – awaiting figures)
– Scarborough (Nick Harvey – Hertford – awaiting figures)
– Sheffield (Jillian Creasy – Central – 43.61%, 2530 votes)
– South Hampshire (Robert Vint – Tones Town – 25.51%, 674 votes)
– Stroud (Catherine Farrell – Nailsworth – awaiting figures)
– Stroud (Simon Pickering – Slade – awaiting figures)
– Stroud (Martin Whiteside – Thrupp – awaiting figures)
– Stroud (John Marjoram – Trinity – awaiting figures)
– Stroud (Molly Scott-Cato – Valley – awaiting figures)
– Torridge (Peter Chrisie – Bideford North – awaiting figures)
– Watford (Steve Rackett – Callowland – 58.57%, 680 votes)
– Waveney (Graham Elliott – Beccles North – awaiting figures)
– York (Andy D’Agorne and Dave Taylor – Fishergate – 52.39%, 1632 and 1422 votes respectively)
– Brighton and Hove (Phelim Mac Cafferty and Ollie Sykes – Brunswick and Adelaide – 37.06%, 1140 and 1135 votes respectively)
– Brighton and Hove (Chris Hawtree – Central Hove – 33.21%, 1006 votes)
– Brighton and Hove (Sven Rufus and Christina Summers – Hollingbury and Stanmer – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Ruth Buckley and Rob Jarrett – Goldsmid – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Mike Jones and Leo Littman – Preston Park – awaiting figures)
– Brighton and Hove (Sue Shanks – Withdean – awaiting figures)
– Bristol (Gus Hoyt – Ashley – 42.65%, 2206 votes)
– Herefordshire (Felicity Norman – Leominster North – 28.69%, 607 votes)
– Mid Suffolk (Sarah Mansell – Elmswell and Norton – awaiting figures)
– Norwich (Jo Henderson – Thorpe Hamlet – 41%, 1328 votes)
– Reigate (Sarah Finch – Redhill East – 44.14%, 1281 votes)
– Reading (Melanie Eastwood – Park – awaiting figures)
– Solihull (Karl Macnaughton – Chelmsley Wood – 51.29%, 1349 votes)
– Solihull (Alison Walters – Smith’s Wood – 45.93%, 1066 votes)
– South Hampshire (Jacqi Hodgson – Dartington – 51.2%, 404 votes)
– South Hampshire (Alan Gorman – Totnes Town – 25.51, 639 votes)
– Stafford (Tom Harris – Forebridge – awaiting figures)
– St Albans (Simon Grover – St Albans – awaiting figures)
And more positive news from Bristol
Gus Hoyt has gained 42% for the Green Party defeating the Lib Dems and taking a seat in Ashley ward Bristol, where the conflict over the Stoke’s Croft Tesco has occurred.
So I’m back up and still lots of results not in. Here’s some disappointing news from Adam in Cardiff though:
Ok, Labour have won Cardiff Central by 38 votes. That basically means we can’t get in on the list – we aren’t ahead of the LDs.
Right, I’m off. But first, news in of further Green holds in Mancroft and Nelson wards on Norwich City Council, with record-breaking majorities.
Green group in Norwich now largest ever at 15 (with 7 County Councillors bringing total of Norwich elected Greens up to 22) according to @RupertRead in uppercase on twitter. Very good news!
Salmond says “Scotland has outgrown negative campaigning”. And certainly it seems as if Labour have paid the price for having no positive vision for Scotland.
Rupert Read has stood down from Norwich council at this election but the party has retained his seat:
Wensum (my ward) result: Green 1375 Lab 1208. Hold with increased majority
In Norwich, Greens hold Wensum ward with increased majority, and also hold Town Close, with a solid majority of 772. Results coming in quickly from the city now…
Right, that’s me signing off for now. Need to get to UCU training at 9am. I’ll leave you all in the very capable hands of Gary and Siân though. Goodnight.
And another Lib Dem comes fourth in Norwich, again a former councillor. This time in Mile X ward.
And we’ve a result from Norwich:
Green GAIN – majority 625 – Lib Dem sitting councillor comes fourth!
Lib Dems in England now on 40 councillors, down 81! Including 9 lost in Sheffield and 11 in Liverpool.
Just had BG editor Peter McColl on the phone, projecting Malcolm Chisholm (Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith) to be the last non-SNP constituency MSP standing in Lothians – all eight other seats to go Nat.
We reflected that we’ve both seen voters dish out out punishment beatings before, but here Labour don’t seem to be have done anything special to deserve it. It’s what they haven’t done – they haven’t given anyone a pressing reason to vote for them. That indicates a breaking down of reliable tribal voting and a raising of voters’ expectations of their politicians. Both good things in my view.
Iain Cumming Gray – Labour – 12,536 (elected)
David Berry – SNP – 12,385
Derek Scott Brownlee – Conservative – 5,344
Ettie Spencer – Liberal Democrat – 1,912
Lab HOLD. Swing of 3.1% to SNP from Lab, but Lab actually up 4.5% there. Massive Lib Dem collapse again.
Iain Gray holds on to his East Lothian seat by 151 votes. This is such a Labour bloodbath that he may come to wish he’d lost.
Hearing that Gray may have just held on in East Lothian after a partial recount.
Lib Dems conceding unofficially they’ve lost all 3 Edinburgh seats: Western to SNP; Southern: knifeedge SNP v Lab; Central: SNP vs Lab
After 25 councils have declared in England:
Conservative 154 cllrs down 22
Labour 218 up 57
Liberal Democrat 23 down 25
British National Party 0 down 5
London’s only local election tonight is a by-election in The Lane ward (Peckham Rye), Southwark. @Rowenna_Davis, as expected, wins for Labour; but Lib Dems beaten by 1 vote by Green Anna Plodowski.
So after 6 results:
SNP 41.8% +13.6%
Lab 41.2% -0.1%
Tory 14.2% -3.4%
Lib Dem 2.2% -8.1%
Hearing that the SNP might have taken Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and Glasgow Shettleston.
Conservative line tonight is all expectation management – successive government spokespeople have set Labour the bar of matching the Tories’ 2007 gains. Labour resurgence very unlikely to reach that level, so Tories will then spin it as a disappointing result for Labour.
In the Greens’ other stronghold of Brighton and Hove City Council, votes won’t be counted until tomorrow, starting 9am.
However, independent sources observing the verification of votes tonight are cautiously predicting the possibility of a dead heat on the council between the Tories and Greens, after a huge effort by Labour to take the key Green-held seats in Queens Park ward, while the Greens look set to take a number of new seats elsewhere, including from the Tories.
The results in Brighton and Hove *might* therefore be:
Greens 22 seats
with first place hanging on the knife-edge result in Queen’s Park. Something to look forward to following tomorrow!
More news of the fascist vote collapsing:
It seems that Peter Tierney has achieved the lowest ever BNP vote on Merseyside, polling a fantastic 44 votes.
The BNP vote is falling all over the country. Just heard that the BNP has also slumped in South Tyneside.
BNP’s Martin Vaughn in Hebburn North ward, south Tynside has scored 1.86%. In 2007 he polled 15.5%.
@gary The liberal party ran here as “Liberal Party – against coalition cut backs” and called for “common ownership – nationalisation is not a four letter word”, making the bankers pay, LVT, citizen’s income,more railways and no new roads or bridges.
Aileen Campbell – SNP – 14,931
Karen Macdonald Gillon – Labour – 10,715
Colin John McGavigan – Conservative – 4291
SNP GAIN – 8.9% swing to SNP from Labour
Hope the Liberal Party have held their 2 Liverpool seats or gained, so that they’re ahead of the Lib Dems.
There had been a worry among some people that holding the AV referendum on the same day as the Welsh and Scottish elections could have caused some confusion to voters. While voting on one electoral system, we’d be voting using an entirely different system, and where Greens were running with the slogan Second Vote Green. Fortunately, that fear seems to have been unfounded. Adam’s spotted just one ballot so far that’s numbered the regional ballot and put a 2 next to the Greens. We heard earlier that there were a very low number of spoilt ballots in the Scottish constituencies that have come in so far; it looks like we’ve avoided any of the problems that happened in 2007.
Lib Dems have lost every councillor in Manchester, reports @NaomiMc, while BG’s favourite Scouser @GeorginaRannard says they’re on course to lose 12 of their 13 seats in Liverpool, which they ran until a year ago.
Iain Gray’s line is “Labour up but SNP up more”. Certainly not true on results so far (down 2%) – but possible nationwide. Will watch vote shares with interest for that story.
Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse
Christina McKelvie – SNP – 12202 – 48.1%
Tom McCabe – Labour – 9989 – 39.4%
Margaret Mitchell – Conservative – 2547 – 10%
Ewan Hoyle – Lib Dem – 616 – 2.4%
SNP GAIN from nominal Labour
News from Norwich!
Green group optimistic that they’ll emerge from tonight with the largest ever group of Green councillors in the UK. Things looking “very promising” according to our source.
The first Green councillor in Liverpool has been re-elected, according to @Jim_Jepps. John Coyne, a former LibDem Councillor, moved to the Greens in 2006 and has regained his seat in St Michael’s ward for the second time as a Green candidate. Well done John!
SNP take Hamilton and Larkhall with an 11% swing! wow.
Lib Dems on 2% again, they haven’t held a deposit yet.
The new Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse constituency, made of bits of two safe-as-houses Labour seats, goes to Christina McKelvie.
Hello – my cat and I will be updating any extra info we can glean from our sofa in Kentish Town. Only new news I have at the moment (via @Scott_Redding – of GP media team) is England and Wales Green Deputy Leader Adrian Ramsay being briefed for something on national news soon. Hope it’s to discuss massive Green surge in various places, and hope not Sky!
Rumour Labour have lost Glasgow Kelvin.
Linda Fabiani – SNP – 14359 (elected)
Douglas Herbison – Liberal Democrat – 468
John Houston – Independent – 414
Andy Kerr – Labour – 12410
Graham Simpson – Conservative – 2260
SNP GAIN from Labour
Andy Kerr, once tipped as the next Scottish Labour leader, loses his East Kilbride seat. Tragically, just a few hours before that job becomes available.
Good news from Stoke!
BNP lose ALL 4 councillors they had in Stoke! #vote2011 – well done all
Speak for yourself Dunion, I’m stone cold sober. As hard as that is to believe.
Joining the liveblog shortly — 2008 Green candidate for Mayor of London, Siân Berry! She hasn’t had as much to drink as us.
First Scottish result :
Labour – 12489 (elected)
SNP – 10710
Tory – 2096
Lib Dem – 1194
Ind – 633
LD down 14.8% SNP up 16.3% Lab up 1.5% Tory down 0.9%
And from Glasgow, the familiar refrain of Lib Dems getting a kicking:
Lib Dems have crashed and burned. On box count some westend areas grn vote 30%. Think Labour/SNP vote will decide list seats.
Should have said, we’ve now had the first council result in England. Sunderland. Where Labour are up 4 to 56 and the Tories down 4 to 14.
Also hearing that the Lib Dems have lost 12 of 13 seats in Sheffield, though that’s not declared yet.
@psbook reporting that Galloway’s election in Glasgow now looks “highly likely”.
Have to say I wasn’t expecting that today.
A Lib Dem loss in Cardiff Central would be dreadful for them, they’ve held that seat since it started in 1999 and in 2007 got 51% of the vote, to Labour’s, who came second, 22%.
Back to Cardiff, where tallys putting us at 5% in the Vale and 10% in Pontypridd, which is “really pretty good”. And, as seems to be a theme, bad news for the Lib Dems, who might lose Cardiff Central, which could actually be bad for us if they take a list seat instead.
Hearing very bad things for the Lib Dems from Edinburgh. Tallys putting them at 10% on the list in Central, a constituency they notionally hold. We’re looking like 12-13% in central, that’s a little below last time. If that pattern holds up I’d expect Alison to get in in Robin’s seat but it looks unlikely for a second Green.
Herald political reporter @paulhutcheon says the Lib Dems’ economy spokesman will soon be experiencing the coalition’s unemployment boom firsthand:
I’m hearing that Jeremy Purvis needn’t bother asking for a recount. #sp11
And some first news from Norwich, where there’s a chance we’ll see the first Green council – very provisional but looks like we might gain one seat and lose none. Labour have pushing us very hard there so that would be a good result, we won’t take the council but we keep moving forward and the Lib Dems get further marginalised.
Simon Hughes and Harriet Harman blamestorming the predicted referendum No vote on the Beeb. Lib Dems should have picked another day, says Harman; Labour failed to rally their troops, says Hughes.
Having spent the last few days on the Yes campaign, I can tell you neither has nailed it – the biggest blame lies with the Yes campaign leadership appointed by Nick Clegg, who have been appalling. The Yes field operation were lions led by donkeys.
But some good news from Cardiff for us:
Looks like we’re ahead of the Lib Dems in the ward held by the Lib Dem leader of the council
Some early news from Cardiff for the AV referendum:
Looks like the referendum is going as predicted – 50:50 in the ‘best’ bits of Cardiff, I’m told
Hearing that the turnout in Edinburgh Central might be surprisingly low. Not sure what that means for who’s going to win. Presumably that the get out the vote effort is going to have been even more important than usual, but is that good for Alex or Sarah?
Couple more updates from our Cardiff corresponent:
Some good samples for us in surprising corners of Cardiff… Still early doors, but nice for now #2ndvotegreen
Apparently Labour don’t think they’ll get an overall majority in Wales, & they aren’t looking that happy about Cardiff central – good sign.
@STVRutherglen reports that “MSP for Rutherglen expected to be unveiled at 12.45am”. Very safe Labour seat, should see James Kelly re-elected easily.
Ian Martin, at the WSJ, says he’s hearing well informed predictions of SNP 58 seats, Lab 40, Tories 14, Greens 8, LDs 7, Margo 1 and Galloway 1. Which would, indeed, put pro independence parties over 65. Would that actually result in a referendum, though? There’s little evidence it would pass, though more powers might well, so why risk losing? If I was the SNP I’d arrange the it to coincide with the next SP election, even if they lose, it’ll motivate their voters and 40% of the electorate who really want independence, say, won’t win the referendum but would give the SNP a good number of MSPs.
Just had my Dad on the phone. He reckons the SNP might even get a majority, which would of course be the first single-party majority since devolution. More likely still, he points out, is the SNP, Greens and Margo MacDonald getting to the 65 seat mark between them, which would put a pro-referendum majority in Holyrood chamber for the first time.
I can now attest that Gary’s game is indeed uber-geeky fun. I got 14/16. Can you beat that? I would hope some of our readers could, I’m disappointed with myself to be honest.
Gary, who’ll be along in a bit to join me on the live blog tweets us “some uber-geeky election fun” A ‘contested ballot’ game for training #yes2av count agents: http://bit.ly/kdeCwn. Let us know what you think.
Edinburgh university’s The Student reports that
LibDem for Ed Central Alex Cole-Hamilton tells The Student he’s feeling very confident, and that the LibDem vote has been “rock solid” #sp11
Interesting if true. Alex has been out doing a lot of canvassing for months now, and has made a big deal of his opposition to fees and the Lib Dem leadership in London (despite running Nick Clegg’s leadership campaign in Scotland), maybe it paid off for him.
Turnout reports starting to come in now, could be very important for AV
London turnout looking like 20% in places hearing reports of 70% in some NI polling stations. #AVRef not over til it is all counted. #Yes2AV
So apparently we caused a bit of confusion with our description of the Welsh (and Scottish voting systems earlier). So here’s a brief attempt to explain them to our English readers.
Each voter gets two ballots: one for a constituency seat and one for a regional list.
The constituency seats are elected by first past the post as at Westminster. The regional lists seats are elected from party lists and are designed to make the overall distribution of MSPs proportional. So if a party wins lots of constituencies they probably won’t get any regional seats and if they get lots of votes but no constituencies they get regional seats to balance that out.
The precise method to calculate the regional seats is called D’Hondt and is the same way we elect members of the European Parliament. This video from two years ago explains the list part very nicely I think.
Our friend the Lallands Peat Worrier has an interesting breakdown of the last YouGov poll over on his blog. Why not take a look while you wait for the real results.
From twitter I’m hearing the ballot boxes are swiftly approaching the Edinburgh count at Ingleston.
And that we have a competitor: Better Nation
For some reason Question Time seems to be on ten minutes later in Scotland than in England today. Seems somewhat appropriate then that one of the guests is Armando Iannucci.
A bit of gossip from earlier I may as well repeat while not much is happening.
Labour MEP David Martin was out in Edinburgh Western today and tweeted that votes were leaving (openly lesbian former MSP) Margaret Smith “like snow off a dyke”. He was questioned on the appropriateness of that remark on twitter by Edinburgh student paper The Journal and Edinburgh student Grum Smith, but so far doesn’t seem to have left the need to explain himself.
(see 19:20 http://storify.com/edjournal/2011-scottish-parliament-election)
No to AV!
And it begins.
And speaking of AV, here’s an amusing ballot courtesy of friend of Bright Green and one time contributor Ric Lander:
So I updated you all on when to expect results from councils, NI, Wales and Scotland but what about AV?
Well, it won’t even begin counting till tomorrow at 16:00. The final result should be declared around 20:00. By which time my UCU rep training will be done and I’ll be in the pub. Now which pubs in Edinburgh are likely to show live election results?
And here’re some of Adam’s thoughts on what to look out for prior to the SWC declaration tomorrow morning.
The feeling’s been good in Cardiff today. It’s very hard to extrapolate from my experience to a result across the region, but we’ve certainly had lots of people telling us they’re voting Green.
However, how well we do here will not just depend on the share of the vote we get. Because in Wales, each ‘top up’ list only has 4 places on it. So, how many votes we will need to win a seat on the list will depend on how many constituencies each party picks up. At the moment, it’s fairly balanced – Labour, Lib Dems, and Tories all hold seats in this region. But if the Lib Dems lose Cardiff Central (the seat held by fees rebel Jenny Willets at Westminster) to Labour, then they will likely be compensated with a place on the list unless their vote tumbles below ours. This will leave 3 places. Similarly, if the Tories lose Cardiff North to Julie Morgan – the former MP (until last year) and wife of popular former First Minister Rhodri – then they too could well be compensated by an extra place on the list – again, unless their overall share of the vote falls dramatically. However, throw into that the possibility of Tories picking up a seat elsewhere and things get more confusing.
To put it another way, if Labour win every constituency seat in South Wales Central, then Greens are in direct competition with Tories, Lib Dems, Plaid and the surprisingly strong UKIP for the 4 places on the list. We’d probably need about 20% to be sure of a place. And we aren’t gonna get that. If the constituencies stay roughly as they are now, split between different parties, then we will need around 6% or 7%. So, Green fans, if you want to be an armchair pundit, follow the announcement of the constituency results closely. For they could do more to determine our fate than our own vote will.
And here’s the first update of the night from one of our roving correspondents, and our first photo. Adam’s at the count in Cardiff where he’s spotted some fascists:
In Scotland the first result in may be in Iain “as interesting as the colour” Gray’s constituency of East Lothian, around 2:00. I can’t see him losing, but it’ll be interesting to see what sort of a majority he returns with. Last time he beat teh SNP by around 2500 votes, will his new found fame add to that total? Or will Lib Dems and Tories vote SNP to try to kick him out?
The regional results, where we’re standing won’t be in for a while, Lothian should be around 6:00, Glasgow 5:00, North East at 6:00 and Mid Scotland and Fife not till tomorrow afternoon (apparently after Highlands and Islands according to the PA !?).
How the constituency seats go will tell us a lot about what’s likely to happen, though. If Labour win all the seats in Glasgow or the SNP all the seats in North East so that they’re over-represented relative to their vote percentage that effectively raises the quota and makes things harder for us. In 2007 Patrick only just made it in the last place because the Nicola Sturgeon won Glasgow Govan. If Labour had won there the SNP would have had that list seat instead of Patrick.
It’ll be instructive too to see how the Lib Dem vote holds up, if they can keep seats like Edinburgh Southern, due around 4:00, that could be a bad sign for our hopes of overtaking them nationally.
In Northern Ireland we’ll be hoping Steven Agnew can overcome the unpopularity of the Irish Greens and hold onto the assembly seat of retiring MLA Brian Wilson and if the Greens can increase their number of councillors. Voting in Northern Ireland is by STV and with 6 member wards it could take some time to calculate the results, so we won’t see any results till tomorrow afternoon.
Also worth watching out how independent unionist left candidate Dawn Purvis and People before Profit Alliance (SWP) candidate Eamonn McCann do, with luck they’ll both be in Stormont soon.
In Wales our best bet, where we’re hoping to elect Welsh Green Party leader Jake Griffiths, is South Wales Central, covering Cardiff, the Vale and Glamorgan valleys. SWC should declare around 6:45; it’s going to be a long, tense night in Cardiff.
So that’s it, polls are closed, it’s all over for another year. Well, unless the coalition falls apart and we have another election in the Autumn (currently 4/1 at Ladbrokes, second favourite after 2015). Campaigners across the country will be toddling off to the pub for a well deserved pint before heading home to stare at a TV/computer till 6 in the morning or heading to a count to stare at a computer/TV till their result is declared at 6 in the morning. Here at Bright Green, though, we just getting started. Well not really, we’ve been campaigning for weeks (months) (years), but this live blog is just getting started anyway. Obviously not much has happened yet, so here’s rundown of when we might expect some of the most interesting results for Greens.
First up councils.
Not places I expect us to do very well, but should be among the first councils to declare
Tameside Council & Sunderland Council – 0:15
And some councils we might get councillors elected to
Liverpool Council – 2:00
Cambridge Council – 3:00
Norwich Council – 4:00
And further into the distance (after I’ll definitely have gone to bed, and got up again):
Kirkless Council – 12:30
Brighton and Hove Council – 15:00
Lancaster Council – 16:00