Saturday, 13 February 2010

Hackney North, Lib Dems, and numbers

Through my letterbox, this morning, popped the latest piece of Liberal Democrat literature - complete with lots of graphs and stats, claiming to prove that Keith Angus is poised to sweep to victory over Diane Abbott.

Oh dear.

I haven't met Keith in person yet, but by all accounts he's a nice and personable chap. I think, however, that he's in trouble if he thinks he is convincing anyone that he is about to deliver Hackney North for the Lib Dems.

At the risk of indulging my inner electoral geek, lets take a quick look at some figures.


Labour Diane Abbott 14,268 (48.6%)
Liberal Democrat James Blanchard 6,841 (23.3%)
Conservative Ertan Hurer 4,218 (14.4%)
Green Mischa Borris 2,907 (9.9%)
Independent (politician) David Vail 602 (2.0%)
Socialist Labour Nusrat Sen 296 (1.0%)
Monster Raving Loony Knight Knapp Barrow 248 (0.8%)

It's already obvious from the figures above that the Lib Dems are way behind Labour in Hackney North. While they achieved a decent swing in 2005, they are still 7500 votes behind Diane Abbott - it would be easier for me to overtake them then it will be for them to defeat Labour this year. And the problem is, of course, that the situation is far worse for the Lib Dems than the above figures indicate. Take a look, for example, at these results, from the local elections a year later.


Labour - 38%
Green - 24%
Tory - 20%
Lib Dem - 17%
Others - 1%

Oh dear. The Lib Dems in fourth place. Well, OK, that could be a blip. How about something more recent....perhaps the figures across Hackney in the European elections of last year?


Labour - 34%
Greens - 23%
Others - 16%
Tories - 15%
Lib Dems - 12%

Twelve percent? Umm. Hmm. Doesn't quite feed into the 'Lib Dems sweeping to victory' meme that Keith is trying to get out there.

Now, don't get me wrong. People vote differently in different elections, and I'm not claiming that the Euros (with their different turnout, choices, electoral system and so on) are a perfect match for the way that people will vote in 2010's General Election. The Lib Dems are unlikely to come fourth. But they are even more unlikely to win, with only two councillors and an unbroken record in the last four years of getting nowhere in Hackney elections.

The difference between Keith's campaign and mine is that I am being honest. I recognise that, while it can be tempting to claim that you are on the verge of victory, if you aren't it just ends up looking silly.

What I'm committed to doing is clearly setting out my principles, talking about the issues which are important to me and the Green Party, and letting people know that they have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is radically focused on social justice and the environment.

Diane Abbott is likely to win the forthcoming election - but precisely because she is not threatened by someone to her right, the electorate in Hackney North have an opportunity to give their vote someone who is speaking out loudly and consistently against inequality, injustice, environmental destruction and war - and to make sure that Diane knows she needs to do the same over the next Parliamentary term.

With your vote in 2010, you can ensure that the main challengers to Labour in Hackney continue to be a radical and growing Green Party - rather than Nick Clegg's confused, wishy-washy and ultimately ineffective Lib Dems. The choice, of course, is yours...


  1. Indeed, well said! Round here the Tories are using the 2008 London Mayoral vote for Lewisham Deptford to try and convince people that they are convincing challengers to Joan Ruddock. Somehow, I think not. Hell will freeze over before Lewisham Deptford elects a Tory MP, likewise a Lib Dem or Tory MP in Hackney North!

  2. Hi Matt

    You seem to be saying a lot of nice things and doing a lot of good deeds - one might be tempted to vote for you.

    I've emailed you 3 questions regarding your policies for 2010 more than a month ago and a reminder a few weeks later. I haven't received a reply to either.

    Now I'm wondering: what does it say about the accountability of a politician to the electorate if they cannot be bothered to reply to 3 quick questions?


  3. Dear Matthias,

    I sent a reply to your first email on the 25th of January. I sent a second reply on the 3rd February, after you asked why I hadn't responded.

    I don't know why you wouldn't have received my replies. I will try to send them from another email address now, in case the problem is at my end - though others seem to have been receiving my emails without issue. Do you have an alternate email I could reply to?


  4. Hi Matthew

    I have now received the reply you sent from your other email account ok. Some glitch in your primary email account maybe?

    Thanks again and apologies for my impatience - I didn't take the possibility of a technical cockup into account.

    @ everyone else: Matthew has given me honest and interesting replies to all questions - I withdraw any comments that may have implied he couldn't be bothered to reply.