Month: May 2006

Where were these people on election night?

Once again, the Sheffield Star comes up with bizarre journalism:

The Liberal Democrats, who were hoping to take over the reigns at Sheffield Council for the first time since 2002.

In reality: The Lib Dems never expected to gain control of Sheffield City Council. It is true that Labour could have lost overall control if they had lost just two seats, but the Lib Dems never seriously expected to take control, and they never said they would.

The Green Party also came close in Broomhill where Rob Cole came second to Lib Dem councillor Mohammed Shaffaq.

In reality: Shaffaq Mohammed’s majority in Broomhill increased and won by 500 votes. Not that a marginal when compared to other seats in Sheffield.

The Star also included a large feature on how well the Tories had done across the country. Although they did say that the Tories had failed to gain Dore & Totley they made little of the fact that the Tories had been the big losers across the city. The Tories failed to gain anything and failed to gain the 3rd seat in the ward where they held the other two councillors.

The reality of the night was that in an election when the Lib Dems were defending more seats than any other party, they lost just one to the Greens. In that seat, the Lib Dems came third, and yet still were just 100 votes from holding the seat. The Lib Dems also came within 50 votes of gaining Gleadless Valley from Labour. Perhaps the Lib Dems should have done a bit better, but it was far from a disaster and actually sets the party up for a very good result next year.

The most significant event of the night was the increase in the Green vote. Many people who voted Green did so to try and get a rid of Labour, but in reality just helped Labour to hold on. They voted Green and got Labour. If these people had switched to the Lib Dems in the seats where the Lib Dems were challenging Labour they would have actually succeeded in beating Labour. As it is Labour keep control for another year and most of those Green votes changed nothing.

Across the UK, the Lib Dems had mixed results and so coming up with a simple interpretation is very difficult. Again, the party should have done better but it wasn’t a disaster.

SHEFFIELD STAR: Labour defy all
SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL: Sheffield City Council Election Results