Two-thirds red – Cheryl wins it for Labour in Milton ward

In my victory speech in 2012 I said: “one down, two to go”. This could have been said in reverse by Cheryl Nevin in her speech in the early hours of Friday morning, her fabulous victory means that wonderful Milton now has two Labour councillors.

Cheryl has worked very hard for her success, and whilst she has had the support of Southend’s Team Labour, Cheryl has lead from the front for months and months.

It was obvious from the start that Cheryl was having a real impact, and I have no doubt this will continue now that she is Councillor Nevin, and I am absolutely delighted to have a Labour comrade in Milton to assist in making Milton better.

A big thank you to all who voted Labour this year – I hope we can repay your trust. However you voted, Milton’s Labour councillors are there for you.

The result:

Cheryl Nevin Labour 848 36.1%
Vic Lee Conservative 582 24.7%
Edward McNally UKIP 486 20.7%
Mark Sharp Independent 259 11.0%
Bob Howes Liberal Democrat 156 6.6%
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7 Responses to Two-thirds red – Cheryl wins it for Labour in Milton ward

  1. Milton is fast on its way to having the most hardworking and campaigning councillors in the borough.

    I know which party my money is on come 2015.

  2. Cheryl says:

    I’m overwhelmed by your support. Thank you.

  3. Rob Brown says:

    Bring on 2015. Turnout up in our traditional supporter base. University students more likely to turn up. Hopefully some of Sharp’s supporters will back us if he doesn’t stand and some of the UKIP voters more likely to return at the GE. It will be a big target for the Tories to beat.

    Well done Julian and Cheryl.

  4. In my victory speech in 2012 I said: “one down, two to go”. This could have been said in reverse by Cheryl Nevin in her speech in the early hours of Friday morning, her fabulous victory means that wonderful Milton now has two Labour councillors.

    You seem to have resolved being torn between an electoral reformer and an all out tribal politician, preferring potentially all red in Milton (and possibly all blue, purple etc. elsewhere) to Milton’s representatives reflecting the diversity of political opinion in the ward. Probably the effect of spending too long at a count!

    The figures you present would tend to indicate that (on the basis of Thursday’s vote) the ward “wants” one Labour, one Conservative and one (probably) UKIP councillor.

    Under the PR system used for Euro Elections (d’hondt counting of closed party lists) you would get one Labour, one Conservative and one UKIP councillor [3]. But I think you and I prefer STV as it more closely follows the preferences of all the electorate – and allows voters to choose people rather than parties.

    We can only speculate about what would happen under STV because we don’t know the second preferences of the voters (but wouldn’t it be useful to know!). We also don’t know about the acceptability / attractiveness of second and third candidates from each party who would be standing in a full STV election.

    But, with a quota of 583 (total vote / [number of councillors (3) +1], rounded up), we can be:
    * certain that Labour would easily get at least one and
    * the Conservatives would be a racing cert to get one (either from transfers of excess Labour vote – want to place bets on even one or two Labour supporters having the Tories as a second choice? – or from transfers of eliminated Liberal Democrat or Independent Votes.
    * then (eventually) it would probably boil down to who would first gather sufficient second preferences:
    — would Labour find a touch over 318 second preferences for a second councillor [1],
    — or would UKIP find the extra 97 second preferences for a first councillor [2].

    Interesting call (for PR geeks!)

    [1] from eliminated candidates (probably Lib Dems, and Independent) to add its excess (assuming most voting is heavily tribal and that second preferences stay overwhelmingly with the party) on the first count. Labour is 318 votes short of achieving 2 quota’s worth of votes. 848+318= (2 * Quota) 1166 – for two councillors
    [2] again from Lib Dems and Independent first preference voters. UKIP is 97 votes short of achieving the quota. 486+97= Quota 583 – for one councillor
    [3] 484 > 848/2

  5. You can be both a tribal politician and an electoral reformer. My views on reform are unchanged, but I have to work within the confines of the system as it is now. Besides, where FPTP works for us this year in Milton, there are many places where we suffer because of it.

  6. Rob Brown says:

    Enfranchise me, interesting evaluation there. Under STV it seems fairly certain to me that UKIP would get the third seat. But this is all dependent on the councillors being elected on the same day. If we took an average of the last three elections (when all the councillors were voted for rather than just Cheryl) I think it becomes much closer.

  7. Rob,

    Any STV projection is a guess – as we do not know where individual voter’s second and subsequent preferences lie. I do not know the preferences of Southend’s Independent supporters and they would probably hold the key in this situation.

    The “all up” point raises some interesting issues. A benefit (arguably) of “by thirds” is that you get gradual evolution of a council rather than dramatic changes depending on the political temperature on one day in every four years. Multi-seat wards and First Past the Post leads to more violent swings especially in “all up”. To those who believe that STV (i.e. transferable preference voting in multi-member wards) is valuable because it offers a scope for a council that reflects diversity of opinion, “by thirds” presents a challenge.

    Electing “one in each ward” at each “by thirds” election defeats the diversity objective as the majority (however narrow) would always win (STV in single member elections is effectively AV) effectively disenfranchising the minorities. Swings in that majority would remove some of the gradualness of the evolution of council control.

    To maintain multi-member wards with diversity of representation and “by thirds” gradual evolution you have to determine that a third of wards comes up for re-election in totality for all councillors in that ward at each election. Choosing which wards come up in which years offers nasty opportunities for gerrymandering and would need to be decided according to some agreed national process (akin in integrity to (normal) boundary commission considerations).

    Alternatively you could argue that since STV allows for minorities to have a role, “all up” elections would be less likely to lead to disruptive changes.

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