Monday, May 05, 2008
...of Sean Parker-Perry. That's what Longdendale voted for last Thursday. Or did it?
To give Sean some credit, after our lambasting him for not campaigning on the bypass issue, he did talk about it in his statement which appeared in the local Reporter Group Newspapers publications. Whether or not he went door-to-door on the issue, we have no information. But we have been told that James Purnell was seen delivering leaflets in Longdendale 6 days before the election - when was the last time you heard of a Government Secretary of State out helping a local councillor to retain his seat?
This tells us 3 things - that the Government is in the shit. That Parker-Perry is in the shit. And that James Purnell is also in the shit. Indeed, on Thursday night's election programme, there was a report that projected that were the same voting patterns repeated at a General Election, Purnell would have lost his seat. Amen to that, the sooner he's back in Islington, the better.
So Sean will probably now claim that he has a mandate as a councillor, and that those electing him voted for the bypass. Apart from the fact that people vote for all kinds of reasons, and that his leaflet mentioned ASBOs, IKEA and cheap Council Tax and not the bypass, how do the stats stack up?
Firstly, his majority. Sean had 259 votes more than his nearest rival (Sue Barker, the Tory candidate with 1057 votes to Sean's 1316). Hardly a convincing margin of success. Indeed, if 130 of those people had voted for Sue, Sean would have been out.
Secondly, the turnout. A total of 2895 people turned out, with 7 spoiling their ballot papers. This is 37.6% of the (registered) Longdendale electorate. Hence, 6376 people didn't vote for Sean (or anyone else) - 83%. So if, as he alleges, all of Longdendale are screaming for a bypass and see Sean as the answer, he must be disappointed. Using these percentages, Sean's 'majority' is 3% of Longdendale's electorate.
Thirdly, following on from that, let's play devil's advocate. Let's pretend Sean's majority voted for him solely on the bypass issue. If it's the case that 83% didn't vote for Sean on any issue, then clearly only 17% may have voted for him on the bypass issue. How often are Longdendale Siege - of whom Sean is a member - quoting that 90-odd percent of people in Longdendale want a bypass? So often, we've lost count. The truth is that they're clearly neither motivated to vote for it, nor for a politician who has personally identified himself with the campaign for it.
So from now on, let's hear Siege quote their figures in the following way - 17% of people in Longdendale might be in favour of the bypass. Because that's the only thing they can say with any degree of certainty.
As for Sean, we're looking forward to the next 4 years. With his track record, he can only make things a lot worse, and you will read all about it here.