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Rotherham election analysis: UKIP win the popular vote in Labour disaster No 1

ballot boxThe election result in Rotherham declared in the early hours of this morning was a disaster for Labour. UKIP  won 10 seats (+9) to Labour’s eleven, but UKIP won the popular vote with 46% compared with 43% Labour, 10% Conservative, and 6% other. It would take a further swing from Labour to UKIP of only 4.5% for it to win every seat at the next election, to become the largest party on a hung council.

If this result was repeated in the general election, UKIP would stand a reasonable chance of taking all three seats in the district – Rotherham, Rother Valley and Wentforth.

Rotherham district has been Labour controlled since it was created, Rotherham constituency has been Labour since 1933, Rother Valley and Wentworth since 1918.  In the 2012 by-election, UKIP was in second place with 21.7% to Labour’s 46.5%.

The full result is as set out below:

Rotherham Wards Con Lab UKIP Other Winner Lab majority
Anston & Woodsetts 555 1339 1308 251 Lab 0.9%
Boston Castle Ward 424 1428 1267 521 Lab 4.4%
Brinsworth & Catcliffe 1651 1611 Lab 1.2%
Dinnington 1195 1293 579 UKIP -3.2%
Hellaby 552 1150 1825 UKIP -19.1%
Holderness 361 1064 1061 883 Lab 0.1%
Hoober 377 1362 1151 Lab 7.3%
Keppel 426 1258 1658 UKIP -12.0%
Maltby 1183 1120 524 Lab 2.2%
Rawmarcsh 227 1220 1563 UKIP -11.4%
Rother Vale 1097 1444 177 UKIP -12.8%
Rotherham E 1460 1240 236 Lab 7.5%
Rotherham W 248 1528 1567 217 UKIP -1.1%
Silverwood 425 1133 1672 UKIP -16.7%
Sitwell 1101 1084 1776 223 UKIP -16.5%
Swinton 286 1464 1405 Lab 1.9%
Valley 1387 1572 UKIP -6.3%
Wales 601 1386 1108 Lab 9.0%
Wath 303 1558 1409 Lab 4.6%
Wickersley 392 1685 1482 Lab 5.7%
Wingfield 204 1161 1552 0 UKIP -13.4%
Total 6482 27793 30084 3611
Total (%) 10.0% 42.9% 46.4% 5.6%

In the Euro elections, votes for most parties were higher (unsurprising in a PR election) with the notable exception of UKIP whose lead almost doubled from 3.5% to 6.8%:

Conservative Party 7472 11.0%
Labour Party 23299 34.2%
UK Independence Party (UKIP) 27949 41.0%
Others 9399 13.8%


  1. David Ellis says:

    Farage successfully turned the Euros into a referendum on `In-Out’ of the EU. Referendums as opposed to plebiscites are only held when opinion is split equally otherwise they would not be needed to end a dead-locked debate. Not surprisingly then given the unpopularity of the neo-liberal economics that underpin the EU as is UKIP attrated a lot of working class support elbeit probably mainly from the aristocratic end of the spectrum.

    Labour lost core support to UKIP because it refuses to address their concerns with the EU which is that it is driving a race to the bottom in terms of wages, welfare and health care for working people.

    Come the election Labour can keep the pro-Europe voters it has gained from the Tory wets, Lib Dems and which it normally enjoys from the ranks of the labour movement by being staunchly pro-Europe but can steal back any support that has gone to UKIP by pleding not a referendum, that would play into Farage’s hand, but by promising to renegotiate the founding treaties of the EU in accordance with socialist principles such as an EU-wide Living Wage and EU-wide full-employment by sharing the productive work with each school and college leaver who cannot find their own job bought into the local workforce to share in the available productive work. That should give Labour a healthy majority in the next election which is why they are not likely to adopt such a plan as it would oblige them to confront capial’s dictatorship over the lives of working people and they are only there to feather their own nests.

    1. PoundInYourPocket says:

      We’ve heard already the Labour response, from Balls. It’s to cave in to the anti-immigration sentiments of UKIP supporters. He’s suggesting he’ll be “tougher thaan the Tories” on this issue by lambasting Cameron for not meeting his (impossible) immigration target. Again this is blurring the lines between EU-immigration and non-EU immigration.
      This is Labour’s aproach, to undermine UKIP by assimilating their stance on immigration.
      There’s no bold EU reform on social issues here just more anti-immigration rhetoric.

  2. David Ellis says:

    One of the most revolting aspects of these elections was watching the stupid SWP chaining themselves to the wretched Westminster cart to condemn all those who are not 100% OK with the neo-liberal EU.

  3. PoundInYourPocket says:

    These are disturbing though perhaps not unpexcted results. I don’t know Rotheram or the specific local issues but we really need to try and undestand voters motivation when voting UKIP. Hopefuly someone will take Rotheram as a case study and do a “drill down” so we can answer the questions that it throws up. What was the primary motivation for voting UKIP ?
    Was it, general dissafection from politics and politicians. (don’t vote – syndrome)
    Was it, general anti-immigration/immigrant sentiment (racial/ethnic discrimination)
    Was it, unrepresented pre-Blair working class.
    (ignored working-class)
    Was it, traditional working-class Thatcherite Tories (Sun reader)
    Was it, the intolerant old-tories (Godfrey Bloom brigade)
    Difficult to address this issue without knowing the motiations for voting UKIP that seem incomprehensible to anyone that knows what UKIP stand for.

    1. John says:

      Rotherham Labour party took a pounding because all the bad things you hear about scrounging eastern europeans is happening in Rotherham.

    2. Lee Harris says:

      So in your world what is it that UKIP stand for?And please don’t give me the same tired old lies that Labour, the Unions and the other two parties have been peddling throughout this election campaign.

      1. John says:

        Well UKIP to me stands for an alternative party that is scaring the living daylights out of the other main party in Rotherham. They are so arrogant they think they are untouchable, Rotherham has been abandoned and run into the ground by a council only interested in personal gain. Let’s hope more people in Rotherham vote UKIP at the general election.

    3. Library Boy says:

      To reply to the points raised by Pound In Your Pocket. I live in Rotherham and the main reason why UKIP has done so well in the borough is because of the general perceived complacency and lack of apathy from elected members within the party.

      Don’t mistake the swing to UKIP being a swing towards the far right. In my opinion it’s about challenging the status quo. Despite the long association and hold that Labour has enjoyed in the town, the party is far from popular – in my experience, there is a strong resentment of the incompetence of the local council, weak leadership and bad decisions at a local level. There are many examples of this I could cite.

      In a council where there has been 65 out 66 elected councillors all belong to the same party, there is very little scrutiny given to the decisions made – aside from the local newspaper.

      I would argue that the main reason why we have seen such a swing towards UKIP is because of complacency and indifference towards the electorate. The Rotherham Labour party have always felt that it is their given right to govern and then thrust their personal and often unpopular pet projects upon the electorate, regardless of public sentiment or feeling.

      However, UKIP are the only political party that have stood up to Labour in the town: The Conservative opposition is weak and ineffective, independents, when they have stood have only resulted in splitting an opposition vote, meaning that Labour has succeeded by default.

      Yes, it’s a worrying trend, but I would argue that the people in Rotherham aren’t racists, or disenfranchised. Nor are they in the Godfrey Bloom school of politics. They just want to be listened to, have their concerns dealt with and to see the political party in power actually standing up for the town, rather than rolling over to the national whip!

      I think the MPs will probably be safe in their seats, but only if they don’t take the local electorate for granted. Remember there is a lot of bad blood between the party and the town, particularly following the forcing of universally unpopular career politicians such as Denis MacShane on the town.

      There are a LOT of bridges that need to be repaired…. And this starts with the basics, like listening to the electorate and responding to their concerns!

      1. PoundInYourPocket says:

        Thanks for the local view, it prompted me to spend a very edifying hour reading up on Rotherham and it’s recent Labour Party turmoil. Apolgies for my previous ignorance. I now realise that my question was quite wrong. I should have asked “Why was the UKIP vote so low”. From what I’ve just read of Rotherham’s recent past the whole Labour Party machine should be swept out and the stables burnt to the ground. The tragedy is that the oppossition party has come from the right and not the left, but I now understand why residents would storm the polling booths in protest. It is very telling when you look at MP Sarah Campions website, whilst I’m sure she is very caring and does great charity work, it must seem very alien to local ex miners and factory workers that need better housing, pay, services, training and jobs. However all of these aspects are abscent from her website. My area had a major UKIP surge that almost led to a landslide. There are some ex BNP voters but most votes I believe were cast as a protest and in ignorance of UKIP’s local manifesto.

  4. Matty says:

    I suspect that Rotherham might not be that representative of the nation as a whole. Eg From Kevin Maguire “Despite its vote Ukip didn’t win a seat on Sunderland and lost a Cllr to Lab on South Tyneside”.

  5. Annette says:

    A bit of background about Rotherham then;

    Like so many places round here a town based on mining and engineering which never recovered when the pits were shut. No work , no prospects , no hope.

    Used to be represented by people who came through the trades union ranks via their education programmes…the Oxbridge elite in all the main parties seem to have nothing in common with the people they are seeking to represent in places like Rotherham – Labour front benchers have seats in Yorkshire and they should be very worried.

    Don’t underestimate the effect of the Labour Party not backing the miners – lots of events to mark the 30th anniversary – lots of injustices never addressed.

    When someone complained about Thatcher at a recent even a striking miner said Thatcher worked for her class – it was Kinnock he was still angry about. The loudest response of the day…

    I suspect turnout has been very low – there is a big reservoir of disaffection with the main parties- my surprise is that UKIP have done so badly.

    And my fear- suggestions last night by Tory MPs that instead of Conservative and Unionist there was now scope for Conservative and UKIP.

    1. PoundInYourPocket says:

      Thank’s for the local view on events in Rotherham.
      I appreciate that this was a significatnt protest vote similar to the one that ocurred in my area (West Midlands). Looking at the Rotherham UKIP web-site there’s no local manifesto and no mention of local policies. The only election leaflets I found were similar to those in my area, a confusion of non-costed impossible / populist and contradictory pledges. Similar events in Hartlepool as the non-Labour (independents/ putting Hartlepool first) and UKIP came close to sweeping out Labour in nearly all wards. Looking at the “Putting Hartlepool First” party website, their policies are just like those of UKIP at a local level. Populist, cost cutting, pot-hole filling etc. I know from my area that eleccted UKIP councillors are a disruptive menace. I hope the Local Labour parrty are taking this seriously as a UKIP council would be hell on earth.

  6. Rod says:

    Some commentators have suggested UKIP’s rise means that we now have a ‘four party’ system.

    But, in truth, we’ve gone from a ‘one party’ system to a ‘two party’ system. On one side there’s the LibLabCon and on the other there’s UKIP.

  7. James Martin says:

    Really Rod? So run this past me again. Take the NHS. I assume that you think it is a good thing rather than bad? And I assume you want to keep it as a socialised health service rather than a profit making privatised one?

    So assuming I have got that right (and really mate, if I haven’t then do us all a favour and bugger off somewhere else), then how do you square the official UKIP policy of completely privatising the NHS and auctioning off trusts, hospitals and GP services to profit making private health companies? Because you see for all Labour’s own faults in terms of PFI and the previously introduced internal market, currently Andy Burnham is I think doing a rather good job of trying to prevent this outcome (that the Tories and Lib-Dems share but are too scared to admit to right now).

    So a simple question for you Rod. Do you support the privatisation of the NHS, yes or no?

    If yes, then fine, carry on voting for a far-right party like UKIP (assuming of course you are also a nasty anti-immigrant racist). If the answer is no, then why do you come on here spouting such utter drivel?

    1. Rod says:

      I oppose privatisation of the NHS. That is why I resigned from the Labour Party.

      Have you read ‘NHS plc’ by Prof. Allyson Pollock?

      Have you read ‘The Plot against the NHS’ by Profs Leys and Player?

      Each provides an account of Labour’s NHS privatisation and contain truly shocking revelations.

      The difference between UKIP and Miliband’s Labour is that UKIP will never be in a position to implement their NHS privatisation policies. Labour has been and, probably, will be again unless we stop them. And if we’re in the austerity enforcing, neoliberal favouring EU, stopping NHS privatisation will be even more difficult.

  8. James Martin says:

    And one more thing Rod. On those councils where we now have newly elected UKIP councillors, which way do you think they are going to vote when it comes to the serious ongoing attacks by Pickles and his local goons on trade union facility time for elected reps in local authorities and schools? Do you really think any of them are going to support the unions (be they Labour affiliates or not)? Or are they going to line up with scum like the Taxpayers Alliance to try and break and marginalise their local workforce trade unions as much as they can?

    Because you see I know the answer to that. Anyone with any sense knows the answer to it. The question is, do you?

    1. Rod says:

      I would be very surprised if UKIP councillors voted in favour of retaining facility time etc.

      But remind me, which party was it that failed to repeal Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws? Which party leader cooked-up a fake crisis at Falkirk in order to provide cover for an necessary campaign against trade union involvement in politics? Which leader won the vote at a special conference in favour of ending the link between trade unions and the Labour Party?

      As Kevin Maguire recently wrote in the Daily Mirror: “The trade unions should walk proudly out of Labour’s front door now instead of being bundled out of the back door later.”

      Well, mate, I left the Labour Party by the tradesperson’s exit and they won’t be getting my vote again.

      1. Rod says:

        btw – *necessary* should have an ‘un’ in front!

  9. Esme says:

    In response to try to establish why people have voted UKIP; nothing but ignorance. People have no idea that what they are paving the way for the return of, is every ‘ism’ that as a country,we have fought to get rid of: ageism, sexism, fascism, racism etc. UKIP seem to think that controlling immigration will somehow help to improve health care, education, policing powers, poverty, national financial crisis…… People clearly have not noticed that UKIP don’t care about the issues that help to make a nation great.

    1. PoundInYourPocket says:

      There are seperate UKIP campaigns. There’s the national anti-EU campaign, but there are multiple local campaigns that target local grievances and issues. These are a hotch-potch of pledges that catch the local mode and are winning supporters. We can’t just dismmiss UKIP as an anti-EU party or a simple protest party or an anti-imigration party. Look at the UKIP pledges made by your local candidates and compare them with other independents such as “Putting Hartlepool First”. They pick up on local grievances and will continue to gain support irrespective of the EU issue and irrespective of traditional party (left-right) allegiances. The dissafested / left out / angry residents in Labour areas see an alternative and they will continue to take it wherever it crops up. Labour need to address the concers of local residents or continue to see declining votes.

  10. Chris says:

    God, you’ve got to be a bit of a retard to be northern working class voter and vote for UKIP. Sod UKIP voters I say, let’s just ignore the pathetic, childish fools and concentrate on talking to voters with brains.

    1. John says:

      So, northern working class voters who voted UKIP are retards and should not be allowed to vote?

  11. Tim says:

    Rotherham could return three UKIP M.P.s. People have only voted UKIP in this neck of the woods. Labour have betrayed Rotherham people.

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