Archive | May, 2018

8 random facts about the 2018 election

21 May

Turnout 2018

Turnout in Newham was down for the second election in a row, although the number of registered voters was the highest ever

1. A record mayoral share

Rokhsana Fiaz won the mayoral election with 73.43% of the valid votes cast. That beats Sir Robin’s best of 68.2% in 2010.

2. A big backward step for the Tories

The Conservative mayoral candidate got 8,627 votes (an 11.9% share). That’s way down on the 13,976 (18%) Stefan Mrozinski got in 2014. In fact it’s the worst Tory result since 2002, when Graham Postles got 11.55%.

By contrast, the Liberal Democrats enjoyed their best ever result, with Gareth Evans polling over 9% and saving their deposit for the first time.

3. Highest personal vote

Mariam Dawood, a first-time candidate in Manor Park ward, got the highest individual councillor vote, with 3,112.

4. Lowest vote

Hugh Robertson of the Communist League, achieved a fairly miserable 52 votes in Plaistow South. The only other candidate to fail to hit three figures was TUSC’s James Ivens in Royal Docks with 94.

5. Lowest winning score

The lowest vote achieved by a winning candidate was Tony McAlmont’s 1,292 in Royal Docks.

Two losing candidates, Gareth Evans (Liberal Democrat, Stratford and New Town) and Andrius Kavaliauskas (Conservative, also S&NT) got more votes than that. In fact, Gareth Evans’ 1,478 was better than five winning Labour candidates. Obviously, that counts for nothing in our stupid  first-past-the-post election system.  

6. Massive majorities

Labour held all 60 council seats with ease. Across all 20 wards the average majority (the gap between the 3rd placed Labour candidate and the 4th placed candidate) was a whopping 1,636 votes. Labour biggest win was in Little Ilford, with a majority of 2,434. The smallest was 788 in Royal Docks.

7. Average votes

The aggregate votes for the parties don’t really tell you anything interesting because only Labour and the Conservatives stood a full slate. But the averages (total vote divided by the number of candidates) are revealing.

The average Labour candidate was 5 times more popular than the next nearest party, which was (slightly surprisingly) the Liberal Democrats.

Party Average vote No. of candidates
Labour 2418 60
Liberal Democrat 502 14
Conservative 499 60
Green 480 11
Independent 479 2
UKIP 256 2
Christian Peoples Alliance 208 25
Democrats and Veterans 186 2
TUSC 159 4
Communist League 52 1

8. Mind the gap

There was some speculation on social media as the results were announced about the difference in votes between Labour candidates in the same ward and whether this was significant. On my Twitter timeline this focused on the Forest Gate North result, where Rachel Tripp topped the poll with 355 more votes than fellow incumbent Anamul Islam, who came third.

Looking across all 20 wards, the widest gap between first and third was in Canning Town North: Ann Easter polled 576 votes more than Delphine Touhoura. The smallest difference was 55 votes in Forest Gate South.

The average first-to-third gap was 308 votes. So while the Forest Gate North result was above average, it wasn’t by very much and the difference is probably accounted for by Cllr Tripp’s very visible local profile.

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And then there were 59

11 May

Where s Rahman

Someone has learned how to use the airbrush tool in Photoshop

Well, that didn’t take long.

Barely a week since the election and already the 60-strong Labour group on Newham council is down to 59.

Mohammed Muzibur Rahman, elected in Green Street East last Thursday, has been suspended by the party.

Trouble may have been brewing even before the vote. The party’s election leaflet (PDF) doesn’t mention him at all and he was airbrushed out of the photo of the Green Street East Labour Action Team on the cover (see above).

Cllr Rahman is the husband of former councillor Rohima Rahman, who was suspended back in 2015. She was briefly re-instated in April, long enough to be selected for Plaistow South, then re-suspended before the ink was even dry on the nomination papers. 

The reason for Cllr Mohammed Muzibur Rahman’s suspension is not known.

They are us

3 May

West Ham MP Lyn Brown spoke in yesterday’s Windrush debate in parliament:

I want to talk about trust and how it has been violated, and I want to start with the cases of my constituents Gem and Jessica, both of which I raised in Monday’s debate in Westminster Hall.

Gem arrived here from Jamaica, Jessica from Dominica. Both have worked here, paying taxes and raising families, for nearly 50 years, and both have fallen victim to the Government’s hostile environment. Jessica has served our community in West Ham, working for a charity helping refugees and migrants, so what an irony that in March she was fired from that job because she could not prove her right to work. The lesson of the Windrush scandal is that the hostile environment strategy is, in and of itself, a breach of trust. The betrayal of people like Gem and Jessica will not end until that strategy changes.

The hostile environment violates the rightful, reasonable, normal expectations that the people of Britain share. We expect not to be treated with suspicion, like criminals, without very good reason. We expect not to be threatened with destitution, or to be divided from our families or communities, without very good reason. We expect that our voices and our contributions to our country will not be dismissed by our Government without extremely good reason. But those expectations were violated for our British Windrush citizens—their trust was violated. These citizens were stopped at the GP reception, the police station, the bank counter, the workplace, the jobcentre—all those places became hostile environments for Jessica, Gem and many others.

Papers are demanded—papers that many do not have—and when Windrush citizens cannot produce these papers, they are plunged into a nightmare of hostile demands and constant suspicion, and behind it all is the threat of deportation and the destruction of their lives, with jobs, housing and healthcare yanked away. We all know the consequences: homelessness, detention, depression, mental illness, suicide and bereavement. People like Jessica and Gem have been denied the decent, dignified, fair treatment that all of us have a right to expect. They have been treated like criminals without reason and denied redress without reason. Legal aid, tribunals, access to justice—all cut. Their trust in their country has been breached and cannot easily be restored.

There is massive anxiety in my community about immigration removal flights that may have British Windrush citizens on board. In particular, I am told of flight PVT070. I have asked about this in recent days, as have my colleagues, but despite ministerial assurances, anxieties remain. Can Ministers at the Home Office imagine just how badly they will have further betrayed the trust of generations if they fail to get a grip on this and British citizens are again deported?

Let me finish by echoing what my right hon. friend Mr Lammy said. The Windrush generation are British. They have always been British. Recognising their rights is justice. It is not generosity. I am tired of hearing that “they” came here to help “us”. In the community in which I grew up, there is no “us” of which Gem and Jessica are not a part. The Windrush generation did not come to help “us”; they are “us”. In serving our country all their lives, they have helped to build the communities that we share.

On Monday, in Westminster Hall, I spoke about how personal this is—and it is. Lucy and Cecil are my brother-in-law’s parents. They are good people. They are Windrush people. Lucy served for decades as an NHS nurse. They and their family, including me, are furious about the way in which the Government have treated British citizens. Sometimes when we are in this place talking about personal stuff, we struggle to find the right words and the right tone, but I hope that I have done them justice today.