diamond geezer

 Monday, May 26, 2014

I don't know what it is about Tower Hamlets and voting. A few years ago everyone else in London had normal MPs and we had George Galloway. Our Mayorship came about because a minor party fancied wresting control of local politics from Labour, and succeeded. Our Mayor isn't from one of the three main parties but a peculiar left-wing offshoot. Votes for certain candidates in certain wards are split on racial lines, or so it often seems. There have long been rumours of electoral fraud, and dodgy electoral registers, never quite substantiated. And we cannot organise a count of ballot papers to save our lives.

The plan was to have Tower Hamlets' local council results counted by Friday evening. There'd be a delay while votes were verified, but that was all part of the plan to make sure everything was above board and transparent and absolutely not in any way fraudulent. The Mayoral ballot was counted first, because he's the one who controls the budget in Tower Hamlets and the election of councillors is mostly for show. And the Mayoral count went on, and on, and on. At ten o'clock the caterers at the venue went home, because nobody had been expecting things would still be going by then. Crowds of supporters of the existing Mayor thronged the streets outside, forcing police to lock the doors of the count and keep everyone inside. Sometime after eleven o'clock came the announcement that the decision would be based on second preferences, so thousands of ballot papers were counted again. And finally at around half past one in the morning came the announcement of Lutfur Rahman's victory.
» election count liveblog from East London Lines
» Analysis from TH politics-watcher Ted Jeory


The plan had been to have all of Tower Hamlets' local council results counted by Friday evening. Instead the Mayoral election took precedence, and little had been sorted by the early hours of Saturday. Counting continued in the morning, with results of certain wards dripping through occasionally. But towards noon came the news that the task had been too huge, and the tellers were too tired, and the remaining six wards would be counted on Sunday. Every other local authority in the country had finished announcing everything by then, bar the occasional spectacular recount, but Tower Hamlets dribbled onwards into a third day.

Sunday was of course the planned day to count the European election results, so the leftover council wards had to be fitted in alongside this. Some of the six managed completion late afternoon, others into the evening, until by eleven o'clock there was only one persistent recount (in Bromley South) to go. And all this of course held up the European election count, which was perhaps not taking place particularly efficiently in itself, meaning that Tower Hamlets was soon the only London borough not to have its Euro votes tallied up. Our apologies to the rest of the capital for keeping you hanging on like this, but we cannot organise a count of ballot papers to save our lives.

Anyway, because the Tower Hamlets website doesn't have one, here's my map of which councillors from which party were elected in which ward .
(Updated as of Tuesday evening, but not yet complete because of the death of one of the candidates in Blackwall & Cubitt Town, to the bottom right of the map, where no election has yet taken place)
(n.b. we have a strange system this year where wards may elect one, two or three councillors depending on their size)




Tower Hamlets First is the Mayor's party, previously a grouping of councillors defected from Labour, now elected on their own personal mandate. You'll see the party has a particular stronghold to the west of the borough, specifically in and around Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Shadwell and Stepney. There's always a nagging feeling that Lutfur cares more for E1 and E2 than for E3 and E14, a feeling reciprocated by the distribution of THF seats, and it is perhaps not a coincidence that Tower Hamlets Town Hall is to move to Whitechapel, specifically the old Royal London Hospital site, in a few years time. Meanwhile Labour's heartlands are to the north of the borough, perhaps more specifically the northeast, where wards in Bow have yet to succumb to the Mayor's charms. And the Conservatives maintain a thin foothold along the Thames, which is where the majority of the borough's most expensive properties are, and of course Docklands and Canary Wharf.

What surprises me the most is how many wards split their vote to elect candidates from more than one party. You'd think it wouldn't happen. You'd think voters would cast their crosses along party lines, for example all three crosses for Tower Hamlets First, or all two crosses for Labour. The two Bow wards went roughly like this, with all the Labour candidates getting roughly the same number of votes, and well ahead of all the other parties. The vote in Whitechapel was even more consistent, with all the candidates from the same party polling very similar numbers of votes. But in about half the wards the honours have been split, with at least one candidate from the second party sneaking through to overtake. Bethnal Green (top centre of map) is a good example of this, with one of the THF candidates nudging out the third Labour candidate by a mere ten votes.

There are a number of cases where candidates on the same ticket scored very differently. The two Conservatives in Island Gardens polled 150 votes apart, allowing Labour to sneak through and claim the second seat. The two Labour candidates in Bromley North polled 400 votes apart, allowing THF to grab the second place. Meanwhile in St Peter's the THF candidate whose surname begins with Z was overtaken by the Labour candidate whose surname begins with H, as if alphabetical order really is a key factor in who gets elected. Indeed maybe some people never realised they were allowed more than one vote, so stopped after one cross, which is why several candidates further down the list never got elected even though their colleagues did.

I don't know what it all means, and there are enough mixed messages that any underlying peculiarities could be the result of suspicious practice or merely random. As I write there's still one more ward's election to go, as well as one more to count, and this could make all the difference to who finally comes out on top. On the bright side, there's so much other stuff going on in Tower Hamlets that UKIP are pretty much nowhere to be seen. But sheesh, it's now four days after election day and we still haven't announced our local election results yet. I don't know what it is about Tower Hamlets and voting, but we cannot organise a count of ballot papers to save our lives.

3am update: Tower Hamlets finally announce the results of their delayed European Election count, five hours after they were supposed to do so, and five hours later than every other London borough. Labour have 54% of the vote.
3am update: "The count for the Bromley South ward will resume on Tuesday at Mulberry Place – time to be confirmed later." (sigh)
Tuesday update: Five days after the election, the final ward has finally been counted. End result Labour 20, Tower Hamlets First 18, Conservatives 4


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sun 4 December (8am-10pm)
Tower Bridge fully closed
For one day only, cross the river by free passenger ferry!

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv