Tonight was Crawley Labour’s constituency meeting and, unsurprisingly, the mood was good. I enjoyed congratulating Peter Smith, Colin Moffatt and Chris Mullins on winning their seats and others for holding onto theirs. There was also a new leader of the Labour group to congratulate.
Some people who have been crunching the numbers came up with some good statistics. My personal favourite, and a small consolation for not winning a seat I didn’t expect to win, is that the Labour to Tory swing in Maidenbower was over 19% and therefore the highest in the town and one of the highest in the country. I haven’t checked just in case the maths is wrong.
I did have a little look at the old Maidenbower results though. In 2010 (which had a high turnout obviously) Peter Smith got Labour got 1289 votes for Labour, so there are at least 1289 people there who would consider voting for us. If only we knew who they were and got them out to vote this year it would have been enough to win!
Another interesting statistic was the overall vote. In the past the Tory leader has always taken great pleasure in pointing out that the total Tory vote was higher then the total Labour vote. Meaningless in local elections really, and distorted during elections by thirds depending on which 2-seat wards didn’t have an election that year. This year the total Labour vote was nearly 900 higher than the total Tory vote. Still meaningless in my opinion, but at least it is meaningless in the right direction.
These results don’t help predict which county seats are most winnable next year because the county seats are not just combinations of borough seats: some are combinations of parts of borough seats. There are a couple of pleasing direct comparisons though.
Broadfield. In the last county elections the Tories won 1367 to 963. Add together this year’s Broadfield North & South results and you get Labour ahead by 1383 to 802 so that is looking good for next year.
Tilgate and Furnace Green. Assumed to be safe by the Tories. In the last county elections they won by 1600 to 871. Add together this year’s Tilgate result and last year’s Furnace Green result (there was no election there this year) and you get Labour on 1600 and the Tories on 1518 – and remember that a lot of that is based on last year’s Furnace Green result before the coalition really fell out of favour. It could well have been worse for them if they had an election there this year, so that seat could well be winnable too.
Since the last county elections Labour have won seats back in Ifield, Northgate and Gossops Green and shrunk the gap in Three Bridges so we could have our eye on the Gossops Green + Ifield West seat and the Northgate + Three Bridges seat. At the moment Labour only have two seats on the whole of the county council so having four potential targets in one town is very encouraging. The fact that some of those seats are occupied by this blog’s least favourite Tories is just a bonus.
Best of all, it is possible the Tories were faloling into our old trap of feeling over-confident or complacent. At the very least they may find themselves having to work hard to try and protect seats they may have taken for granted before. If that means they are not able to concentrate a lot of their resources on Southgate like they seem to have done this time, maybe we will finally crack that nut as well.