Friday, 14 July 2017

My analysis of by-elections from 13/7/17 and my tribute to Liu Xiabao

Readers, the results of yesterday's local by-elections were as follows:

Middlesbrough UA, Ayresome: Labour 414 (59.7%, +14.3%), Conservative 252 (36.3%, +21.7%), Liberal Democrats 15 (2.2%), Green 13 (1.9%).

Middlesbrough UA, Park End & Breckfield: Independent 505 (56.9%, +3.2%), Labour 304 (34.0%, -3.6%), Conservative 59 (6.6%, -2.0%), Green 12 (1.4%), Liberal Democrats 10 (1.1%).

Moray UA, Elgin City North (1st preference votes): Conservative 923 (40.0%, +7.0%), SNP 895 (38.8%, +6.1%), Labour 365 (15.8%, +3.8%), Independent 124 (5.4%). Conservative gain from Independent at stage 3.

North Warwickshire DC, Coleshill South: Conservative 571 (60.1%, +14.2%), Labour 379 (39.9%, +5.3%).

South Oxfordshire DC, Didcot South: Labour 621 (43.2%, +12.7%), Conservative 528 (36.7%, +3.9%), Liberal Democrats 289 (20.1%, +3.4%).

South Oxfordshire DC, Didcot West: Conservative 429 (43.2%, +3.5%), Labour 393 (39.5%, +13.5%), Liberal Democrats 172 (17.3%, +0.8%).

Three Rivers DC, Chorleywood & Maple Cross: Liberal Democrats 1428 (63.7%, +4.6%), Conservative 597 (26.6%, -2.0%), Labour 162 (7.2%, +0.1%), UKIP 28 (1.2%, -4.0%), Green 27 (1.2%).

Across the board, two-horse races were the order of the day, and they say local by-election results often do not follow national trends. The squeeze in many contests was considerable, to the point where parties or independent candidates not competitive in a particular by-election often struggled to obtain more votes than the number of signatures required for a valid nomination (i.e. 10). It bodes well for Labour in the competitive and expanding town of Didcot, where substantial developments in the west of the town will demographically help them, and did help them achieve an 8.5% swing against the Conservatives in the Didcot West by-election, and an 8.3% swing in the Didcot South by-election. Elgin City's by-election marked the only gain (Conservative gain from Independent) this week, marked by a heavy squeeze of the former independent councillor's considerable personal vote by the SNP and the Conservatives.

Passionate human rights campaigner Liu Xiabao sadly died yesterday, aged 61, having spent nearly 25 years of his life in prison simply for standing up for freedom in China, one of the most repressive countries in the world. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his long peaceful struggle for human rights in China and his determination to end the authoritarian single-party rule that dominates China and has done since 1949. He at least got to spend his last few days free after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer the month before his death. For him, we must fight against increasing authoritarianism and oppression wherever it may be, because basic freedoms must be available to everyone, everywhere; without them we cannot be a decent human society.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Why the Green Party must never affiliate to Labour or ally with it

Earlier this week, Left Foot Forward made a suggestion that the Green Party should consider affiliating with Labour:

This is something that, for the sake of our environment, humanity's future, and genuinely progressive causes, must never happen.

Labour have no real respect for our environment or for co-operative politics. They were happy to take advantage of the failed 'Progressive Alliance' for their own gain, even in seats where victory was already assured, but were unwilling to ally when they could not win or where a different party had a better chance of winning the seat from the Conservatives (especially in the case of the Isle of Wight). They were also unwilling to put key environmentalist policies, or even electoral reform, on their manifesto or in their broadcasts. They are also still focused on a pro-growth policy, which cannot be sustained in the long-term as the planet's resources are not infinite (and many are not renewable), and that technological development can only go so far. Sustainability is an important watchword we must take note of, as is stability.

The Greens are not a socialist/social-democratic party and were not designed as one. Green politics and values have always been distinct from Labour's, due to their focus on environmental wisdom, peace, grassroots democracy, and indicators other than economic productivity. Happiness and health are also important to humanity, and other political parties simply do not accept these as primary indicators of human performance. The Green Party was founded to build a new ecologically sustainable and fair society, not modify one that is a fundamentally part of a failed system (which is Labour's aim).

My three words in response to the question 'Is it time for the Green Party to affiliate to Labour? within the article are: no, nay, never.