Saturday, May 07, 2005


Regrets I've had a few...

But then again too few mention...

Alas, it's all over and The Blogonian must say farewell for now. But I shall be back for the local elections next year, which might be fun one year into the city's bright Lib Dem new dawn.
Also, my friends at The Bristolian have asked if I can use the site during their 3 month summer holiday to break any urgent news over the summer. I am, of course, more than happy to oblige. So keep an eye out...
And finally, for old time's sake, here's that Galloway/Paxman transcript in full.


Friday, May 06, 2005


Results at a glance

Here's Bristol's election results at a glance. The Blogonian will offer some analysis later.

General Election

Bristol East -
Lab Hold (majority 8,621) Blogonian prediction - Lab Hold majority 7,000 - 9,000

Bristol North West -
Lab Hold (majority 8,962) Blogonian prediction - Lab Hold majority of at least 5,000

Bristol South -
Lab Hold (majority 11,142) Blogonian prediction - Lab Hold majority of 8,000

Bristol West -
Lib Dem Gain (majority 5,128) Blogonian prediction - Lib Dem Gain majority 2,000

Local Elections: Unspectacular stuff apart from a significant Green vote and a personal humiliation for Robin Moss in Easton.

Lib Dems are now the biggest party with 32 seats. Labour 27. Tories 11

Ashley -
Lib Dem Gain (plus strong Green result with 22% of the vote!)

Avonmouth -
Lab Hold (With Independent Steve Norman nowhere and unable to split the Lab vote)

Bishopston - Lib Dem Hold

Cabot - Lib Dem Gain (Independent Roy Tallis hammered with just 8% of the vote)

Clifton - Lib Dem Hold

Clifton East - Lib Dem Hold

Cotham - Lib Dem Hold (Greens 4th behind Tories)

Easton - Lib Dem Gain (Moss personally humiliated by huge swing against him, Greens take 3rd place and 16% of the vote)

Eastville - Lib Dem Gain

Frome Vale - Lab Hold (by 40 odd votes!)

Henbury - Lab Hold

Henleaze - Lib Dem Hold

Hillfields - Lab Hold

Horfield - Lab Hold

Kingsweston - Lab Hold (by 24 votes only! Independent Terry Thomas took 10% of the vote)

Lawrence Hill - Lab Hold

Lockleaze - Lib Dem Gain

Redland - Lib Dem Hold

Southmead - Lab Hold

St George East - Lab Hold

St George West - Lab Hold

Stoke Bishop - Con Hold

Westbury-on-Trym - Con Hold

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The Blogonian's election day message


The Blogonian will return briefly on Friday to make a series of excuses for the poor quality of his predictions.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Some stuff for the last time

A great piece from "the Popular Front for the Liberation of Dinner Parties - Fraktion Merlot" called 'Fuck Your Misgivings' telling you why you should not vote Labour. A must read.

Here's one for the Evening Post's Devil's Advocate... Overheard at one regeneration project today were some of the workers discussing the fact that if Labour didn't get in they'd be out of a job! Another reason not to vote Labour there folks.

Any video maker out there who wants a copy of Galloway's “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability,” speech to Saddam can find it here. It's about 40 minutes into last night's episode of Newsnight in a report by Salaam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger, on the Bow campaign.

I see that the Guardian's US whizz-kid reporter has done a piece on Bristol West for the paper proper. Read nothing new about the campaign here. And just who the hell is Councillor Bill Rogers????


Wishful thinking meets blind ignorance

Well here goes... Admittedly I know nothing about general elections and I'm more familiar with talking bollocks in Totterdown pubs than trading political gossip in the bars of Westminster, but here's the Blogonian's general election predictions...

Bristol East
A Labour majority of nearly 14,000 means an ultra-safe seat. But let's look at a few facts: The Labour candidate is from Luton and arrived in Bristol only a month ago. The Labour candidate has run a lacklustre campaign, hiding from the electorate and hoping the huge majority will see her through. The Labour candidate is an out-and-out New Labour yes-women parachuted into Bristol at the last possible moment. The former Labour MP - Jean Corston - was invisible in Bristol East.
And this constituency has a significant moslem vote that many predictions say will go elsewhere but the Labour Party. The Lib Dems have been courting the Moslem vote. The constituency has a significant anti-war vote. The Lib Dems have been courting the anti-war vote. The constituency has many disgruntled old Labourites. The Lib Dems have been courting the disgruntled old Labour vote.
But let's look at a few more facts: Little effort has been made in the constituency to organise or promote tactical voting. The Respect candidate could draw a significant anti-war vote and old Labour vote as could the Greens. Plus the Tories came second last time.
Overall Blogonian prognosis: Lab Hold with 7,000 - 9,000 majority (Lib Dems second, Tories third, Greens, UKIP and Respect lose deposits). A missed opportunity.

Bristol North West
A Labour majority of over 10,000 means an ultra-safe seat. Not many ifs and buts to this either. The Tories are traditionally second and will remain so with an increased vote. A bit of an anti-Labour vote to the Lib Dems will further reduce the majority.
Overall Blogonian prognosis: Lab Hold with at least 5,000 majority (Tories second, Lib Dems third, UKIP, Socialist Alternative and English Democrat lose deposits). If you want Labour out then you have to vote Tory. A depressing seat.

Bristol South
A Labour majority of over 14,000 means yet another ultra-safe seat. No organisation or promotion of tactical voting in the constituency means a significant anti-Primarolo and anti-New Labour vote is likely to be divided between the Tories, the Lib Dems and the Greens.
The Tories stance on immigration is said to be playing well in some areas...
Overall Blogonian prognosis: Lab Hold with 8,000 majority (Tories second, Lib Dems third, Greens just keep their deposit, UKIP lose deposit). If you want Labour out then don't vote Green, vote Lib Dem and pray loads of Tories think the same thing. Basically impossible for Primarolo to lose but a substantially reduced majority might get her worried.

Bristol West
To be honest I haven't got a fucking clue. It seems to be a battle between the Lib Dems and Labour with the Tories trailing third. The anti-war vote will put the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories but will it be by enough? And how much will Davey's vote collapse and where will it go?
Overall Blogonian prognosis: Lib Dem Gain with 2,000 majority (Labour second, Tories third, Greens, UKIP, Save Bristol North Baths and Socialists lose their deposit). If you want Labour out or you're anti-war then don't vote bother voting Green, vote Lib Dem or you might let the Tories in. This is the one to watch on the night.

Er, Tony Blair to be forming a government with a majority of around 100. Depressing innit? Although there might be a few entertaining thrills and spills on the night.


Why I'll never be a journalist (part 2)

Well done Blogonian, correcting The Guardian's claim that 20 seats were up for grabs by saying there were 21 seats being fought in Bristol. The correct number is 23 seats.
Straight out of the The Guardian's Corrections and Clarifications column or what?
No matter, no one else has noticed.


Why I'll never be a proper journalist

Bristol West is featured in today's Guardian Blog in a piece written by overpaid and over here US blogger Markos Moulitsas. The brilliant journalist and election expert helpfully explains that 20 seats are up for grabs in the local elections and the Lib Dems could win 16 of them!
The Blogonian obviously has a lot to learn about this election prediction lark...


Local elections: what it all means

In the unlikely case that the Blogonian's predictions are correct, the city council will look like this by the afternoon of May 6: Conservative 13 seats, Labour 24 seats, Liberal Democrat 31 seats.
For the first time in the city's history the Lib Dems will be the largest party in the city. Barbara Janke has already stated at the last full Council Meeting on 5 April that if the Lib Dems are the largest party they will form a minority administration.
So far so bad. But The Bristolian, The Evening Post and the BBC, in remarkable display of unanimity, have all predicted the fall of current Lib Dem leader Janke in an internal coup to Deputy Leader Gary Hopkins.
But will this really happen? Will Hopkins - still relatively inexperienced - want to run a minority administration that has to deal with the council's multiple financial cock-ups and the social services situation which is spiralling more out of control by the day? And will he want to do this in a party clearly divided, where his support and power base is derived from a collection of inexperienced and not terribly bright Lib Dem councillors from south of the river?
Hopkins is undoubtedly a competent - if uninteresting - politician with a taste for the detail of road calming and waste management. But as with all Bristol Lib Dems, he falls short when it comes to "the vision thing". The Lib Dems are a formidable election fighting machine but what for exactly?
They have no apparent plan or vision for the future of the city. They just seem to want to take Labour's dubious Thatcherite legacy and attempt to manage it better. That means more PFI, more city centre development and regeneration, more strip malls in South Bristol, more social services cuts, more privatisation, more voluntary sector incompetence, more traffic jams, the same old crap public transport and so on and so on.
The Blogonian has searched in vain for an original Lib Dem policy for the city and has failed. This is consensus politics gone mad. What's the point of voting if everything will stay exactly the same, just managed by different - and more inexperienced - personalities? Moreover, what the local Lib Dems plan to do hardly chimes with the national Lib Dems election campaign. This has consistently pitched itself to the left of the Labour Party. But where is the evidence of this reforming zeal from the Lib Dems in Bristol? Nowhere. They're exactly the same as the other two parties.
As for the Labour Party, expect some ritual bloodletting. Hammond having failed to deliver his own budget speech through sheer cowardice and having taken one of the worst decisions in Bristol's political history by taking control of the council back in October will be dumped as leader. Rumour suggests that John Bees will take over...
And the Tories? Who cares?


The final four wards

St George East
The Tories got within almost 100 votes of Labour in this historically safe seat last time in 2003. However the general election should favour Labour in this ward. But it could still be close, although the Tories are not likely to benefit from any tactical voting that happens in the general election. Expect to be welcoming Labour's Charles Price on 6 May.
Blogonian Prediction: Lab Hold

St George West
The Labour Party consistently poll double the Lib Dems and Tories who are neck and neck here. Ron Stone will be returned to the Council House with a thumping majority again.
Blogonian Prediction: Lab Hold

Stoke Bishop
A rare beast in Bristol these days - a safe Tory seat! Last time out in 2002 John Goulandris got two-thirds of the vote and even in the general election year in 2001 the Tories managed an absolute majority in the ward.
It's Tory leader Peter Abraham up this time. Expect him back in the Council House, pomposity intact and proposing ammendments for another four years.
Blogonian Prediction: Con Hold

A former safe Tory seat where the Lib Dems have gained a lot of ground over the last couple of elections. They may get a boost from the general election too but will it be enough to win? The Blogonian thinks not although it could be close.
Councillor Geoffrey Gollop is the Tory candidate here and it might be good for the city if he is returned as he's one of only about three councillors who actually appears to understand the city's finances!
Blogonian Prediction: Con Hold

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Tough on crime unless it's Labour crime ...

A frantic phone call reminds me of another example of "Red" Dawn and her Bristol Labour Party's tough no-nonsense attitude to anti-social behaviour in South Bristol.
Back in the day, Dawn was of course married to the equally dim and even lazier Mike Primarolo who taught at Hartcliffe School.
Until, that is, the lazy sod failed to do a load of marking and got bawled at by the pissed off Head Teacher. And Mike's response? Was it to pull his socks up and get his work done on time? Er, no. Instead he went into the school the next day and beat the Head teacher up!
To avoid too much embarrassment to his wife, the sitting MP, and their Labour Party colleagues Mike was quietly shunted out of his job. But fear not, his Labour Party chums did not desert him, let alone allow him to be publicly humiliated in the pages of the Post as Dawn is so eager to do with South Bristol's anti-social teenagers these days.
No, instead, the Bristol Labour Party have always ensured that a constant stream of lucrative voluntary sector consultancies in South Bristol have been passed his way ever since... Many of them in Hartcliffe. So who says crime doesn't pay?
You begin to wonder what exactly Dawn thinks anti-social behaviour is don't you? Drink driving - that's fine. Leaving the scene of accident - that's fine. Assault - that's fine. It's all fine if you're involved with her Labour Party it seems.
But if you're a teenager, under-18 and live on a council estate... Well that's different innit?


2 more wards...


One half of the appalling Lib Dem millionaire property developer couple. This is hubbie Jim White's safe seat. Unfortunately he cannot and will not lose. His missus ran transport to little effect in Janke's farcical "rainbow coalition" junte last year. Would the Lib Dem's let a White near any power ever again after that? Probably!
Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Hold


Labour leader Hammond's ward. He's done very little campaigning but is openly claiming that the increased general election turnout will see him through. Seems a reasonable possibility... But is the reason that there is no Hammond campaign more because no Labour activist is prepared to waste their time or efforts on spineless Hammond, the man who threw a sickie to avoid having to present his own budget?
This might be tighter than Hammond expects, especially with day care campaigner Andy Richardson running as an Independent. Richardson has been courting the Labour vote, but with the Tories and Lib Dems running neck-and-neck in the ward Hammond will still take the seat pretty much by default.
Blogonian Prediction: Lab Hold


Today's crap

Think again before calling Blair a poodle. "The poodle is a belligerent, disobedient, hyper-aggressive brute, with a very large mouth full of extremely nasty fangs," explains Spinoff.

If you're interested in the ins and outs of tactical voting there's a big public discussion about it all on The Guardian's blog.

"28,20,23,27,31,24. What are these numbers?" Asks Themos also in The Guardian blog. "They are percentages of the electorate that were motivated to go out and cast a vote for Labour in '79, '83, '87, '92, '97 and '01. To hit the "unelectable" low of '83, Labour would have to gather 38% on a 54% turnout. From today's viewpoint, that does not sound so outlandish," he points out rather well

The Conservatives, it must be said, have used the web really well in this election. Here's a game now on their site.

Gorgeous Watch: George Galloway stormed off the ITV Lunchtime News today, saying the presenters were “liars” and the interview was a “set-up”. Read all about it here.
Meanwhile William Hill bookmakers have Oona King at 4/9 with George Galloway at 15/8. Loosely translated, they have her down as favourite in what is effectively a 2 horse race.
See for more election betting stuff.


Red-faced Dawn P

No doubt the Daily Mail readers of South Bristol that seem to make up the rump of "Red" Dawn Primarolo's New Labour vote these days were suitably impressed with her stand on anti-social behaviour in her latest election leaflet.
The famously dim Treasury minister was photographed next to various stalwarts of South Bristol Neighbourhood Watch schemes condemning in no uncertain terms the scourge of anti-social behaviour in her constituency.
The effect was only slightly spoilt by the fact that one of the gentlemen photographed next to her has just been prosecuted for drink driving and not stopping at the scene of an accident.
Oh well. Presumably some behaviour is more anti-social than others in Dawn's brave new Daily Mail world.

Monday, May 02, 2005


More wards

Lawrence Hill
A tough call. Historically this is inner-city Labour territory but the Lib Dems have been slowly overhauling them. Labour incumbent Brenda Hugill got back easily last time thanks to the general election but she could struggle this time.
The significant moslem vote could go to the Lib Dems as could the many disaffected Labour voters in the area. The Lib Dems' candidate is former Oxfam worker Fi Hance who has decided to hitch her wagon to the local Lib Dems for reasons best known to herself. She may be repenting that decision at her leisure should she find herself caught in the middle of their soppy squabbles and backstabbing in the Council House.
Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Gain

Current Labour councillor, the execrable Arthur Massey is retiring and will not be missed. He's allowed the school to close, the day centre to close and open space to built on during his most recent tenure.
The other councillor, the equally execrable Lib Dem Sean Emmett - currently mired in scandal - pulled a huge vote here in 2002. Hard to call this one. It's the Lib Dems who are on the up here but it's Labour that should benefit from a high general election turnout.
Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Gain


Another few wards

Another safe Labour seat. It's currently held by the invisible Noreen Daniels. To be honest I know nothing about her and care even less.
A vaguely interesting fact is that Graham Davey is the Green candidate. He's the awful Val's old man. He has no chance of winning though.
Blogonian Prediction: Labour Hold

A Labour-Tory marginal currently held by Labour's Rosalie Walker. Last time round in 2002 the Tories won this with virtually 50% of the vote. Walker won on the back of a general election in 2001 with 40% of the vote to the Tories' 33%. Walker is unlikely to do as well from the general election this time and the Tories should squeeze in.
Blogonian Prediction: Con Gain

Should be an ultra-safe Labour seat. This is the stomping ground of former docker and Trotskyist John Bees, touted to take the Labour leadership next weekend. Judith Price currently holds the other seat for Labour, which is up for grabs this time.
The Lib Dems are beginning to perform well here but they're unlikely to take the seat this time, although Bees could have the mother of all battles to hold on to his seat next year.
Also running as an Independent is former old Labour councillor, Terry Thomas. He's unlikely to win but could pull a significant personal vote and attract a lot of disaffected Labour supporters. It looks like the pressure is on for Labour in this seat.
Blogonian Prediction: Lab Hold


More wards...


Another part of the once solid Labour Party inner-city heartlands, this is social services boss Robin Moss's ward. During in his four years in office Moss has seen his personal income triple but his ward has considerably deteriorated. Crime has shot up, little effective regeneration has taken place, an unpopular New Labour academy has been built, the area's last piece of open space is to be privatised and developed and even its community centre has gone bankrupt
Despite the area's urgent need for regeneration little has happened. Funding going into the area is low, sporadic and ineffective. There has also been a massive displacement of crime from St Pauls, which has obtained high levels of investment recently due to the Broadmead development.
Moss's personal popularity in the ward is therefore at an all time low. This combined with his ineffective and unpopular management of the social services budget means he is almost certain to lose his seat. He has privately admitted as much.
The Lib Dems have been campaigning hard in the ward. Their candidate Abdul Malik has been particularly targetting the moslem vote and the Lib Dem anti-war message should be highly effective here.
Sadly there's no Independent candidate running this time, despite The Bristolian's Jane Nicholl picking up 15% of the vote and coming in third last time. The Greens may benefit from this.
The Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Gain


Tough one to call. the Lib Dems won this last time in a low turnout election. The Labour Party scraped it in 2001 with a high turnout from the general election. The Lib Dem candidate in 2001, Tony Locke, is now running as an Independent and may get a large personal vote, thanks to his tireless campaigning on the prostitution issue in the area.
On balance, the Lib Dems should take the ward. The combination of their local campaigning skills and the poor quality of the previous Labour Councillor, Judy Patterson should be enough to get them in. But it depends on Locke, how many votes he takes and who he takes them from. A very tight call.
The Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Gain

Frome Vale
The Conservatives fancy this one. They took it last time in 2003 with 45% of the vote. Ineffective Labour Councillor Alun Davies has done his party few favours here and even with the boost of a high turnout from a general election they have little chance.
The Blogonian Prediction: Con Gain

A solid Labour Ward where they regularly poll double the main challengers - The Tories. Labour have selected a dubious South Bristol Party fixer - Derek Pickup - for the seat. He might not get much of a personal vote but he should walk it. It'll be interesting to see how his past reputation plays once he's in the Council House.
The Blogonian Prediction: Lab Hold

The Lib Dems regularly receive over 50% of the vote in this ward. They should do again especially as the ward falls in the Bristol West constituency. Like him or loathe him, Dennis Brown will be back.
The Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Hold

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Local elections: three more wards


Also Barbara Janke's ward, this has been a solid Lib Dem ward for well over ten years. Their candidate and sitting councillor, Brian Price, will win this and probably land over 50% of the vote.
A waste of time the other candidates turning up.
Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Hold

Clifton East

The ward of failed actor turned failing mayor and indifferent politician, Simon Cook. There's little chance of the snob being given the boot though. He should romp home with a thumping majority on the back of the general election. The main challengers are the Tories but they can't do it this time.
Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Hold


Yet another safe Lib Dem seat. Their accountant, Barrington Dodd, is up this time and looks unbeatable. The Green candidate, Geoff Collard, has been slowly building support in this ward but he's still got a long way to go to win it. It looks like he'll get swamped by the larger party machines in a general election year in a marginal parliamentary constituency.
Blogonian Prediction: Lib Dem Hold


Today's stuff

The Sunday Times reports that Galloway's Palestinian wife is divorcing him. She blames the split on a series of extra-marital affairs and claims that Galloway has tried to smooth things over by telling her it is a plot by an unnamed intelligence service to discredit him!

The awesome UKIP election broadcast can viewed on their website.

Here's some political ads funded by Channel 4 for the three main parties. Much better than the real ones.

The Scotsman has kindly supplied the times we can expect to hear from key wards on Friday morning.

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