It has taken me a bit of time to get this posted, apologies for those who have been waiting on tenterhooks!
The election result on March 8th in Speke Garston was a spectacular and magnificent triumph.
Local people turned out in their droves to elect a new Labour Councillor, Colin Strickland and bring within a finger's touch the prospect of an all-Labour ward in just 12 short months.
With a turnout of 28.76% which was very respectable for a byelection in that area, and about 5% higher than I thought it would be, the votes cast were as follows
Colin Strickland (Lab) 1,984;
Lynnie Williams (LibDem) 1,218;
Steven Greenhalgh (BNP) 281;
Cherry Fitzsimmons (Green) 68;
Brenda Coppell (Cons) 54;
Mark Bill (UKIP) 49.
This was a mirror image of the 2004 election when the LibDem majority was 760 (see below).
Carrick,Raymond (LAB) 1417
Hughes, Danny (LD) 2368
Keaveney, Paula (LD) 2313
Knight, Doreen (LAB) 1608
Nuttall, Denise (CON) 169
Roderick, Frank (LD) 2211
Strickland, Colin (LAB) 1506
I dont know what that makes the swing, I was never very good at working that out. But it must be vast. I will let a dear reader work it out and put it in the comments. (It was Danny Hughes' seat you need to consider this byelection against and you should use Doreen's vote as the top Labour polling candidate that year). Doreen Knight became the first Labour Councillor in the new ward in May last year when she beat Frank Roderick with another enormous swing.
It was good to see the Tories stuck on such a rubbish vote, the candidate probably did her chances in when she had a photo of herself with Michael Howard on her leaflet. She was pointing out he was a Liverpool FC supporter. Somehow not enough to swing the voters behind her, methinks. You will recall that David Cameron has said that they need to do well in the big cities like Liverpool and Manchester if they are to take back power in Westminster, not much chance of that on this form.
I was gutted to think that some people in the area voted for the BNP. Their leaflets were full of the usual lies about old ladies in penury dying of starvation and hypothermia while asylum seekers dine out on gold plate and are chauffeur driven. I dont suppose there are any asylum seekers in Speke Garston, but that is usually where the BNP do best, in places where a threat is imagined and never real. I dont think they did any campaigning other than a few leaflets though, nobody reported seeing them on the streets - and there were lots of people anxious to meet up with them, preferably in a dark alley. The right and far-right parties will take no succour from this election result.
A shame about the Green Party though, I would have liked them to be a bit more respectable. Someone did say something about them running a paper free campaign (although I might have dreamt that) in which case they were always going to find it difficult to do well. Perhaps they should come and talk to Nick Small about Labour's Green policies and see if they can come in with us instead?
I always knew we would win, although young Daniel kept telling me to keep it to myself as he was frightened people would not work so hard if they felt it was "in the bag". He was probably right although then again, we dont need people to have sleepness nights when it is not necessary either.
I wonder if Paula Keaveney will now consider moving to a safer council seat (if indeed there are any of those left in Liverpool). She is the PPC for the LibDems in Liverpool Garston, perhaps she could stand in Childwall ward (which is not in the Parliamentary constituency but not far away) but then there might be a lot of competition there from lots of other top LibDems anxious for a seat they could win.
All I can say is that it is good to see the boot on the other foot for a change and if I am gloating, well, I deserve it, we all do, you have to celebrate your victories as that feeling has to nourish you through all the hard times too. As long as it doesn't go on too long and stop us from maximising our opportunities in May. It has filled us all with great hope for our campaign, we could see another raft of new Labour councillors elected, many of them women, which fills me with immense pride and satisfaction.
Thanks to everyone who helped, from all over Liverpool and elsewhere in the region, we really appreciated your support. The people of Speke Garston will reap the benefits.