Sunday, May 14, 2006


Not beaten yet

While I'll admit that election night wasn't much fun - Ponds Forge sports hall was full of Labour activists boistrously cheering every result, including the narrow defeat of Mohammad Azim by the Greens - a detailed analysis of the results gives us more cause for cheer than the headlines suggest.

This is the good news for Lib Dems in Sheffield:

We were defending 8 out of 10 of the most marginal seats in Sheffield

Obviously it would have been nice to take one of the two rather than lose any of the eight, but in the event we'll have to settle for what we've got. Defending Dore and Totley (by 1,100 votes!) and Walkley were pleasing results, particularly given the disaster that the other parties were predicting for us in those wards. As these are split wards, we have a chance of a gain in each of them in 2007.

Sheffield Central - the only seat to change hands in the event - was an odd result. Because of the three-way split of the seat in the 2004 election - and the poor showings of our other candidates - we were placed in the peculiar (but unenviable) position of having lost the seat despite our vote going up by nearly 4 percentage points. For reference, Labour's vote went down 1 point, and the Greens' went up 1 - enough to take the seat. Continuing this trend next year would put us in 1st place, the Greens in 2nd, and Labour in 3rd.

In the two vulnerable seats that Labour were defending, their majority was more than halved.

Our vote has increased across the city

More people voted for the Lib Dems than any other party in Sheffield on May 4th. Labour are now in second place - it is only a matter of time before this is reflected in the number of seats held.

Other parties are vulnerable next year

This is how hard a fight that Labour, the Greens and the Tories will have on their hands next year:
We have a plan to win (and a year in which to do it)

We won't be idle in the next year. Cllr Paul Scriven will be leading a detailed policy review to ensure that we keep in touch with the views of all Sheffield people - I doubt very much that Labour will be doing the same. Labour have been in back in control of the council for 3 years now, and we're starting to see the same old arrogance and swagger, particularly in the way they treat the other parties.

People in Sheffield are fed up of the "old model" of politicians sniping at each other across the Council chamber - we will change this and run a positive, issue-orientated campaign in 2007.

I'm personally convinced that Sheffield is changing into a vibrant, modern city that needs modern politicians, and that the last three years are a blip in the fortunes of a Labour party that's been on its way out for decades.

We'll see whether they're still cheering this time next year!

Friday, May 05, 2006



We didn't take control of the council, in the end Labour's vote held up and the anticipated Tory revival didn't materialize. With hindsight we could have targetted differently. Labour only won in half of the wards, and next year they will be defending more marginal seats, so they need to do better to hang on.

Anyway a phenomenal result in Dore and Totley:

Dore & Totley
Name: BIRAM Dawn
Party: Green Party
Name: CHAPMAN Janet
Party: The Conservative Party Candidate
Name: HILL Keith Leonard
Party: Liberal Democrat
Name: HUSSAIN Mohammad Altaf
Party: The Labour Party Candidate
Name: LAURIE James Douglas
Party: U.K.Independence Party

An unfortunate loss in Central. But the Greens worked hard in the ward. Working hard to win is a poor man's PR. Parties win seats in proportion to the work they are prepared to do.

Name: AZIM Mohammad
Party: Liberal Democrat
Name: BRYAN Nicholas Christopher James
Party: The Conservative Party Candidate
Name: LITTLE Bernard James
Party: Green Party
Name: MAROOF Mohammad
Party: The Labour Party Candidate

Worryingly high votes for the BNP in one or two places. Mostly thanks to Margaret Hodge cynically talking them up in order to frighten Labour's disaffected core support into turning out. But no councillors this time.

But the government needs to start taking seriously disaffection in deprived areas - not just those that have elected BNP councillors, as some kind of perverse reward for peeing in the tent.

And the solutions need to be provided in a way that unite communities, rather than dividing across racial or religious lines.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


On the air

Radio 4's The World Tonight have just run a piece on the election in Sheffield - these are the highlights:
You can listen to the show by clicking here - click on Tuesday's show under "Listen Again".


Local kitchens for local people

We wish that all Labour leaflets used Sheffieldish as well as this one does.

More power to them, I say.

(Don't they know it's spelt "reight", though?)

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The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and may not represent those of or the Sheffield Liberal Democrat Group.