Ah well, the people have spoken. In Stobhill, they were only local elections but already they have been analysed inside out, backwards and forwards and projected onto the national picture. This has been a really exciting election, in my opinion, leading to very diverse political colours across the nations of the United Kingdom. More of that later.
Beware of extrapolating election results however. Whatever anyone tells you about the mood of the electrorate, all they really show is that X people put an X in one or more boxes.
I have been following the hyper-local politics closely during the run up to the elections and have noted a few oddities along the way. What then have I found during this process?
Firstly, it was very difficult to find any electronic based information about those standing. Most of the candidates lacked a website or a way of getting in touch with them, such as through an email address. Some had a Facebook site but policy was certainly lacking. Even when there was a website it was poorly maintained. I even wrote several times to one of the parties to say that the links to its candidate was broken, yet never heard from them (surprisngly they did not get elected).
Secondly, again policy was very hard to find online. I suspect that this was on purpose. Not publishing a manifesto or information about policy means that you can’t be acused of not delivering it. You can’t be held hostage to fortune. This means it is very difficult to assess the merit of candidates or parties, which means you have to fall back on your (and mine) preconceived notions of what each party stands for. I don’t know whether this is good for the parties or not but it is certainly not good, in my opinion, for those who wish to take a serious look at what politicians are hoping to achieve.
Thirdly, I did get leaflets through the door for most, but not all, of the candidates. Nobody called, presumably on the back of COVID worries which is a shame as I was looking forward to some pithy conversations. Again I feel that this is dilution of the democractic process, with candidates seeming very remote and I hope that things go back once the pandemic is behind us.
Finally, turnout was low and candidates were elected without a majority of the votes. The latter is an ongoing problem with our First Past The Post system. I intend to cover the former in yet another blog.
What then happened in Morpeth Stobhill Ward? Firstly the County Council elections:
|Candidate||John Ace Benyon||Pat Fuller||Alison Byard||Margaret Helen Turner|
|Party||Conservative and Unionist||Green||Liberal Democrats||Labour|
|% of votes||47.5||6.1||27.2||19.2|
|% of electorate||23.3||3.0||13.3||9.4|
Total turnout was 1757 out of an electorate of 3591 (49.32%), down from 1954 in 2017.
Elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner are complicated in that it covers multiple constituenices:
|Candidate||Duncan Crute||Kim McGuinness|
|Party||Conservative and Unionist||Labour|
|% of votes||40.4||59.6|
|% of electorate||16.1||23.8|
Total turnout was 346,342 out of an electoirate of 868,243 (39.89%).
Elections for Morpeth Town Council:
|Candidate||Betty Bawn||Alison Byard||Jade Crawford||Pat Fuller||Shirley Peacock||Margaret Turner||Johnny Wearmouth|
No turnout figures are available.