So, the election is all over, with the result everybody had predicted, with Tony Blair returning to Downing Street. While compared to the results in 2001 and 1997 Labour has lost a large number of seats – their majority having dropped by more than 50% – the majority of 67 is one that would have been considered good in previous years.
The only party to significantly increase their proportion of the vote was the LibDems – the Conservative vote remained almost static, so the general analysis seems to be that the Conservatives failed to win the election. That is largely the impression I got from friends and workmates – although they didn’t much like Labour, the prospect of a Conservative government appealed even less.
Peter Snow had some snazzy new graphics, this time highlighting the three-way battle between the major parties. Each mark represents a seat, with the positioning based on the relative votes of the three major parties. What is worth noting from the picture above is how few seats there are along the Labour/LibDem line compared to the Conservative/LibDem line, and yet the Labour/LibDem line is the line over which many LibDem gains were made.
On a local level, as expected Wokingham returned John Redwood as MP. In terms of the big parties Labour remained in third place, loosing 2.2% of their vote, 2% going to Redwood, and 0.2% to the UKIP candidate, who did somewhat better, but still got less than 1000 votes. In fifth place the Monster Raving Loony party achieved 1.2% of the vote, beating the BNP candidate by 193 votes. In last place, the Telepathic Partnership candidate got a grand total of 34 votes.
Whilst most of the campaign seemed pretty bland and predictable locally, the BNP candidate was at the centre of probably the most interesting event. As part of the process, local churches often hold debates between the various candiates. This time round, Rose Street Methodists held just such an event, however they refused to admit the BNP candidate. This is the classic debate between free speech and standing up for what you believe, and people I have spoken to about it are pretty equally split over whether or not the church was right to act as it did.