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Winning in the South: Jez we can.

corbyn reesThe election results from Bristol came in over the weekend, and it is worth reflecting the degree to which they demonstrate significant advance, particularly as Labour does need to win in the South of England.

Simon Woolley has already observed the enormous significance of a mayor of Afro-Caribbean heritage being directly elected in a city whose wealth was built on the crime of slavery, and where racial division has many times cast a long shadow over the city’s history.

The mayoral incumbent, the Independent George Ferguson, was swept aside by a tsunami of support for Labour. Marvin Rees (LAB): 63.5% George Ferguson (Bristol First): 36.5%

Elsewhere, Labour gained ground right across the city, winning seats from every party.

LAB: 37 (+7) CON: 14 (-2) GRN: 11 (-3) LDEM: 8 (-1) UKIP: 0 (-1)

Advances which gave Labour overall control of the council.

LAB: 37 CON: 14 GRN: 11 LDEM: 8

Bristol is a city with a distinctive political and social micro-climate, often non-conformist and individualist. The idiosyncratic George Ferguson fitted like a glove with the self-image and aspirations of the wealthier parts of the city.

But Ferguson’s administration has seemed deaf and blind to the needs of less affluent Bristolians. The landslide victory for Labour is therefore partially an assertion of class into politics, but at the same time the breadth of its success shows that the party has succeeded in reaching out beyond the core vote. This has been done by emphasizing that social justice and good governance go hand in hand.

While the press has focused upon divisions, whether real or imagined, between Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn; this substantial success in Bristol has clearly been associated with the Labour leader, showing that while we still have a long way to go before 2020, if the party unites behind Corbyn, we can win.


  1. Karl Stewart says:

    Excellent article Andy, a welcome anitidote to some of the ridiculous doom and gloom nonsense coming from the right.

    Scotland aside – where the unionist/nationalist polarisation has squeezed out the left – these elections have been very good for Labour.

    (Has Wight now taken over at SU?)

  2. Andy Newman says:

    Q: (Has Wight now taken over at SU?)

    A: No. But I have been doing less politics/blogging due to my son being ill

  3. Karl Stewart says:

    (Reason I asked is because I posted exactly the same comment in response to this same article on SU, but, surprise, surprise, Wight’s deleted it as usual)

    Good to read something from you on the elections. And important to give some attention to the Bristol mayor election, which is being ignored elsewhere.

    A decent candidate, and a great victory – as in London, Labour lost this one under Ed Miliband’s leadership in 2012 and won it under Corbyn’s leadership this time.

    Also, being ahead of the Tories across England is something Labour hasn’t managed for quite some time.

    (Best wishes to you and your son for a full recovery.)

  4. David Pavett says:

    Interesting. A Mayoral win by a Corbyn backer. We can set that against the one council loss (Dudley) where the MP, Ian Austin, has never let up on his stream of anti-Corbyn bile.

    Pundits are fond of saying that disunited parties don’t win elections but in this case they are trying to belittle the electoral achievement and to blame Corbyn for not being further ahead of the Tories. A clear example of this biased and ill-informed commentary was Andrew Rawnsley’s post-election analysis in The Observer.

    Yes, a united Party would make real progress. And it doesn’t even have to unite “behind” Corbyn but can unite “with” him. He understands the need for unity and has already shown willingness to make compromises (to the dismay of some left “purists”). The sure fire way of not achieving unity is a continuation of the raucous public dissension from a hard core of right-wing Labour MPs.

  5. John P Reid says:

    The comments in the Simon Wooley ,guardian, article destroy his view

  6. Andy Newman says:

    JOhn Reid:

    The comments in the Simon Wooley [sic],guardian, article destroy his view

    Ahh, comments under the line at the Guardian, a source of information only slightly less suspect than thr Fortean Times.

    If you know anything about Bristol, and I lived there for many years, you would know full well that slavery still casts a shadow over the city. The fact that there is still a statue up to Edward Colston, founder of the Trinagle trade, tells you everything you need to know.

    It is not for nothing that Nelson Mandela refused to visit Bristol

    1. John P Reid says:

      Not really,there’s lots of strong facts ,the idea that guardian readers, are some sort of far right guide readers is silly

  7. Andy Newman says:

    for those of you who don’t remember, in 2006 Nelson Mandela declined an invitation to visit Bristol on the 200th anniversary of abolition of the slave trade after local black leaders asked him not to legitimise the revisionist denial of Bristol’s role in the African holocaust.

    Simon Woolley’s article is bang on the money, about how the history of slavery is figuratively whitewashed out the city’ collective memory. There is quite a good book about the topic called “Slavery obscured”.

  8. Karl Stewart says:

    The Blairite Guardian’s getting more and more pathetic by the hour.

    Their lying anti-Corbyn spin has been rumbled and now they’re trying to accuse ‘social media’ of ‘misleading’ people for pointing out that Labour did actually win more votes, seats, councils, councillors than the Tories, and that Corbyn’s first national elections were actually better than Blair’s and Cameron’s.

    And the Independent’s John Rentoul apparently thinks the paid-for views of a 16-member ‘focus group’ apparently from Nuneaton on whether Corbyn is ‘scruffy’ is more important than the actual voters of Nuneaton who actually voted Labour.

    Problem for these people is, the basic fact is that Labour – under Corbyn – actually won, and the Tories actually lost.

    Doesn’t fit their pre-conceived ‘narrative’, but Labour – under Corbyn – actually won and the Tories actually lost.

    1. Paul Dias says:

      It’s sad, really. The Manchester Guardian must be spinning in its grave.

    2. John P Reid says:

      The charts in the guardian saying labour sis better in these elections that 1995′ rightly points out,the elections in 1995 were in areas like Surrey,and Sussex, of course the votes last week in working class areas would be better than in Surrey

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        There were elections all over Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and everywhere else JPR.

        And Labour won across England as a whole.

        1. John P Reid says:

          Yes for Police commissioners mBut not in the areas where we need to win,which is ,where the 1995 ones were

          1. Matty says:

            Except we also won in places like Harlow, Hastings and Crawley – areas where we do need to win.

  9. Karl Stewart says:

    It’s really bizarre how apparently senior desk editors on both the Independent (John Rentoul) and the Daily Mail (James Tapsfield) as well as the Guardian’s Heather Stewart have each put their bylines to this transparently fake ‘Nuneaton focus group’ non-story.

    The whole article is based on 16 anonymous individuals having been paid to call Corbyn ‘scruffy’.

    But it doesn’t seem to occur to any of these experienced journalists that Labour actually won in Nuneaton on Thursday.

    Yep, back in the real world, the thousands of actual voters, who actually went to the polls and cast their votes on election day, actually voted to elect a Labour council.

    Had last Thursday been a general election, based on the same voting pattern, Labour would have won the seat of Nuneaton.

  10. Chris says:

    Slavery wasn’t a crime – it’s just an outdated form of relations of production now.

    No doubt in a century we’ll see wage labour as just as bad.

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