CHRIS Roberts, newly re-elected leader of Greenwich council, reacted to his victory at last week’s polls with characteristic grace. “Chicken run, my arse, that’s my comment for greenwich.co.uk!” he shouted, according to site contributor Darryl Chamberlain. (Mr Roberts, as we revealed here last year, performed a moonlight flit from his previous ward, Peninsula, to safer territory in Glyndon.)
We need not dwell on Mr Roberts’ arse in this space – we already see more than enough of his fine, manly jaw in the pages of Greenwich Time – but close analysis of the results shows some interesting patterns.
In the council elections, across the borough as a whole, the Labour vote share was 46 per cent. This delivered them nearly 80 per cent of the seats – ah, the joys of first-past-the-post!
The Labour vote rose by 4.7 per cent in the borough as a whole, though some wards in the east of the borough showed rises of up to 12.6 per cent. Such a rise is not that surprising given that 2006, the last time the council was fought, was a shockingly bad year for Labour in London.
Fascinatingly, however, all three wards covered by greenwich.co.uk – Greenwich West, Peninsula and Blackheath Westcombe - saw falls in the Labour vote.
Not huge falls, for sure – Labour dropped by 5.6 per cent in Peninsula, 2.6 per cent in Blackheath Westcombe, only 0.2 per cent in Greenwich West - but still very much against the trend. It does seem as if the residents of SE10 and SE3 are growing gradually more sceptical of the council’s general wonderfulness. Perhaps Mr Roberts was right to be cross with this website after all!
There does also seem to be a bit of an anti-Olympic vote. As well as the three wards around Greenwich Park, the two Woolwich wards, Common and Riverside, both very solidly Labour, also saw a drop in the Labour vote, against the trend. Woolwich Common is, of course, the place where the Olympic shooting events will be held. (The new Royal Arsenal development, with its influx of middle-class residents, will have been another factor in the Labour drop in Woolwich Riverside.)
The only other ward in the borough where the Labour vote fell a bit was Glyndon. There are no Olympics there, no bolshy websites. But Glyndon was the ward where Chris Roberts was standing.
Greenwich will be even more of a Labour fiefdom for the next few years, even though the majority of voters did not vote Labour. But relief may soon be at hand. One of the “political reform” proposals being batted around in the Lib-Con coalition talks this week was changing local council elections to a form of proportional representation. That feels like the kind of thing the Tories could give the Lib Dems to make up for opposing PR for Westminster.
Maybe, just maybe, the next few years will be the swansong of the Greenwich one-party state. Remember that, councillors, won’t you, in the hugely unlikely event that you’re tempted to behave arrogantly?
Labour vote share - 2010 council elections by ward
|%||Change on 2006|
Seats: Labour 40, Conservative 11