Stoke-on-Trent’s electorate went to the polls on Thursday 6th May to vote in both the local and General Elections.
There had been a lot of hype about the General Election.
The BNP claimed that they were targeting the seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central and would surely benefit from the alleged imposition of Labour Party PPC Tristram Hunt and the very public departure of Gary Elsby from the Party he supported for 27 years.
It so did not work out that way. Elsby lost his deposit with a humiliating 399 votes. He must surely be now contemplating life after the Labour Party and giving his wounds a serious licking.
BNP Deputy Leader Simon Darby gave his campaign a serious amount of time and effort. His blog site was getting a massive amount of hits and his video diaries told the viewers everything that is wrong with parts of Stoke-on-Trent, but were void of any positive ideas on how to improve the lives of the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central.
Stoke BNP Group Leader Mike Coleman’s campaign never really took off. I kind of get the impression that Mike knew it was going to be an uphill struggle bordering on mission impossible to get the electorate switched on to the BNP message.
Melanie Baddeley was no more than a paper candidate for the British National Party and any minute chance she had was wiped out the moment her husband was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis. He was later charged with the offence and will appear before magistrates on 14th May.
All three of the BNP PPC’s were effected by the revelation that there was a vein of holocaust deniers in the far right party.
The revelation came from former Stoke BNP Group Leader Alby Walker after he quit the party. He was quickly followed across the council chamber by his wife Ellie.
These actions angered some of the party supporters, but effectively killed any chance the BNP had in returning a BNP MP in this City.
Locally, the BNP lost two of their sitting councillors. They failed to get any of their candidates elected, often finishing in 3rd place or lower. They have the embarrassing record of never successfully defending a council seat in this City.
Nationally the BNP were mauled. The nations electorate turned their backs on the policies of the far right. They lost all of their 12 seats on east London’s Barking and Dagenham Council.
Nick Griffin was pasted in his attempt to get elected as an MP for Barking. He came 3rd with just 6620 votes in a result that saw sitting Labour MP Margaret Hodge double her vote.
There are a number of far right websites that are calling for Griffin to go, they are demanding a change in leadership.
The BNP leadership [Darby & Griffin] polled just over 9000 votes between them which is no where enough to get them elected anywhere in the country.
Their total number of votes across the country amounts to 563,743, which equates to just 1.9% of the total number of votes cast at the election.
The fact that the mainstream parties are now willing to talk about immigration issues may well be the reason that people are turning their backs on the far right.
Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems have tabled policies to deal with the concerns of people who are worried about the impact the number of people who are coming into this country is having on the economy, jobs, housing, and public services.
The Labour Party nationally has been rejected and it would seem that Gordon Brown’s days are numbered.
Locally the Labour Party are resurgent.
They have taken 17 of the 20 available council seats. They have smashed the BNP and critically injured the Independents.
Labour have made a mockery of those who moaned and hit out at the candidate selection process. There were a number of people that left the party in protest. Is the Labour Party vindicated now?
Two candidates Mick Williams locally and Gary Elsby nationally, stood against their party and were unanimously rejected at the ballot box.
Stoke Central CLP needs to re-group and re-build and elected new officers who will take the constituency forward and ensure it becomes progressive. There may be a way back into the party for some it would seem. Tristram Hunt MP is committed to uniting the party and bringing ex members back to the fold. Somehow I can’t see that happening in Gary Elsby and Mick Williams’s case.
Our own Nicky Davis urged people to reject Labour at the ballot box, She wrote:
Mark Meredith’s Labour, continuing after he was kicked out, do not deserve to win an election in the city. They will do the city no good, their track record says it all.
The council’s Labour group screw over communities then just before an election pathetically say they have not listened enough but will now. No ““ LABOUR CAN NOT BE TRUSTED!
Well, It seems our Nicky got it wrong. This election saw the voters turn to mainstream parties and reject the Independents that Nicky favours so much. She has hailed the work of some of the BNP councillors and yet the electorate has shown them the door.
As one prominent Party politician put it: ‘Is there any such thing as an Independent?’
But, the Labour Party in Stoke-on-Trent need to to tread very carefully now. They need to understand that they have been given an opportunity by the electorate. If they get it wrong this time it could well lead to another rise in the BNP’s popularity.
Why? – simple, the Labour Party started to go down hill faster than Franz Klammer when they formed a three party coalition with the Conservatives and the Lib Dem’s. This robbed our City of the individual party voices. We were robbed of the inter-party debates. The electorate were unhappy that they had voted Labour and got Conservatives and visa versa.
Yes, there is a need for all the parties to work together for the good of the City but the different parties MUST retain their individual party voices. Nothing else is acceptable.
The Labour Party hold 26 seats in the chamber, just 5 short of the 31 they need for an outright majority. If they were to form an alliance with the 4 ex Labour members, PKB, Mick Salih, Mike Barnes & Pauline Joynson, they would be just 1 short of the required majority.
Would the Party turn towards Ellie Walker, or maybe Gavin Webb? The City Independents are known to have a growing number of members who are discontented with the direction of the Groups Leadership. Could Dave Conway be enticed back?
There will be interesting times ahead of the Annual Council meeting on May 27th.
I am proud of the coverage that PnP have given both the General and Local Elections. All the 500 word articles went on unedited. Video and Audio interviews went on untampered with.
Every candidate and Party got equal treatment, including the BNP. That is the way this site will continue. We want to work with all parties to get their message out but we will continue to scrutinise every council decision and will never shy away from reporting what is going on, no matter how uncomfortable that makes certain individuals.
We wish every success to those candidates who were successful and commiserations to those who were not.
A politician text me yesterday [Friday] and congratulated me on our coverage. He said that we had helped some people to make up their minds which way to vote and that we provide an essential service to the politically interested in our City.
If that’s the case I’m more proud of that that anything else…..