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Author Topic: Bradford West by-election - 29th March  (Read 9439 times)
Sibboleth
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« on: March 03, 2012, 01:41:38 pm »
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Caused by the resignation of Marsha Singh on the 2nd of March 2012.


Bradford West covers the north western third of the Yorkshire city of Bradford, a former centre of the textile industry that once gloried (?) in the nickname of Worstedopolis. It is a working class constituency with a huge Asian population (mostly from Azad Kashmir) and a long and utterly depressing list of social problems. There are some more suburban (and whiter) middle class areas in the west of the constituency, but these don't greatly alter its general tone. Bradford West is, as you would expect, currently a safe Labour constituency (majority of 14pts in 2010) and the by-election is not expected to be all that competitive. Most of the interest is likely to surround the battle to be selected as the Labour candidate.

Attentive readers will have noted the word 'currently'. Bradford West's status as a safe Labour seat dates from 2010 when Singh nearly doubled his majority. This is not a particularly common state of affairs and requires some explanation, meaning that the past must be explained before the present can be described.

The current constituency of Bradford West only really dates from 1974, but the name is much older. Bradford West was the name of ILP leader Fred Jowett's Manningham-based constituency from 1906 until 1918, and also of a largely suburban and generally Tory constituency that existed from 1955 until 1974. Bradford lost a seat in the early 70s and the resulting remap threw together the Labour incumbent for Bradford East (Edward Lyons) and the Conservative incumbent for the old Bradford West (John Wilkinson) triggering a tight contest - an important one given the closeness of the February 1974 election - that was won by Lyons, who went on to more than double his majority in a re-match in October. Lyons, who very much on the Right of the Party, was an attentive constituency MP and greatly increased his majority again in 1979 as Asian voters turned out in unprecedented numbers in reaction to certain comments made by Margaret Thatcher on the issue of immigration. Lyons might have been popular with his constituents, but had a difficult relationship with most Party activists in the city and defected to the SDP in 1981. He was defeated in 1983 (polling 27% of the vote; the SDP ran someone else in 1987 and polled 11%) with Max Madden (formerly the MP for Sowerby) reclaiming the constituency for Labour. It is probably fair to say that Madden was not an especially high profile MP even in his own constituency, but by 1992 Bradford West looked like the rock-solid seat its demographics would suggest it to be. But things took a turn for the surreal before the 1997 election:

Quote
'In Bradford West the replacement of retiring MP Max Madden was also fractious. Although one of the first Labour MPs to announce his intention to retire, Mr Madden later  reversed his decision ostensibly because he feared the seat would fall to an ex-Labour councillor, Mohammed Riaz, who had been selected by the Conservatives. However he failed to win a single ward nomination, allegedly because of an 'Islamic pact' to veto non-Muslim candidates. With the NEC controlling the shortlisting procedure he reached the shortlist, but the vote saw him trounced as the selection went to the Sikh Marsha Singh, whose closest rival was the Muslim Mohammed Taj. This was a case of the overwhelmingly predominant Pakistani Muslim minority losing out to a member of a far smaller ethnic group'.*

Bradford West ended up being one of only two constituencies to record a swing to the Tories in 1997, with the Labour majority falling from 19.4% to 8.5%. The constituency spent the next decade on the list of marginals, though was never truly close. Exactly why this happened is something of an open question, but certain facts can be established with a degree of certainty. The first is that unusual electoral patterns began to manifest themselves in parts of the constituency before the selection farrago was resolved (Toller ward was something like the only Tory gain from Labour in the entire country in 1995). The second is that both things were clearly linked to the existence of biradari (spellings vary) networks (essentially male kinship networks) amongst the Kashmiri community in Bradford. The third is that the selection of a Sikh was perhaps slightly controversial to some people in the constituency. The fourth is that poll rigging has been an issue in Asian communities in Britain since the early 1990s at least, while the fifth is that the extent of this is hard to prove one way or the other.

Normality (or something that looked like it; perhaps not quite the same thing) began to return with a minimum of obvious fuss in 2006 as most Asian wards in the city started swinging towards Labour (despite national conditions) a process that continued with the General Election result in the constituency. At which point it becomes possible to describe the present.

At the core of Bradford West are three inner city wards; City, Manningham and Toller. All three wards are extremely working class and heavily Asian, all three wards now vote heavily Labour. City is slightly different to the others as it includes the University and large numbers of students, but that's just a detail. When people think of Bradford, they're usually just thinking of these three wards. The other wards in the constituency have less in common. Clayton & Fairweather Green is basically a working class residential area and is still pretty white; it's an essentially Labour ward that has sometimes been lost in dreadful years (though not always). The BNP have polled well in the past. Heaton is a bit of an odd duck; it used to be utterly middle class and very Tory, but has changed a great deal in recent years. It had a brief spell as a Green stronghold in local elections, but has been solidly Labour recently. Thornton & Allerton is a slice of middle class white flight suburbia and has normally been a rock solid Tory ward, though the BNP mounted a shockingly close challenge in 2006.

Time for a few random statistics.

Past Results

2010: Labour 45.3, Con 31.1, LDem 11.7, BNP 3.4, RUC 3.1, Green 2.3, UKIP 2, DN 1.1
2005: Labour 40.1, Con 31.7, LDem 18.2, BNP 6.9, Green 3.1 (notional Lab 39.7, Con 31.4, LDem 19)
2001: Labour 47.9, Con 37.1, Green 6.9, LDem 6.3, UKIP 1.1, AL 0.5
1997: Labour 41.5, Con 33.0, LDem 14.8, SLP 3.4, Ref 2.9, Green 1.9, BNP 1.8, Trot 0.5

Majorities before 1997

1992 Lab 19.4, 1987 Lab 15.2, 1983 Lab 6.8, 1979 Lab 17.2, 1974O 11.3, 1974F 4.6

Will add majorities for previous constituencies in the same area at a later date.

2001 Census Stats

% Muslim - 37.6
% Pakistani - 34.9
% White British - 49.9
% in Managerial Occupations - 10.8 (England figure was 15.2)
% in Professional Occupations - 9.4 (England figure was 11.2)
% in Process, Plant & Material Moving occupations - 12.4 (England figure was 8.4)
% in Elementary Occupations -  16.4 (England figure was 11.Cool
% Employed in Manufacturing - 17.6 (England figure was 14.Cool
% Socially Rented - 19.5 (about average)
% Born outside EU - 21.9 (much higher than average, obviously)

Unemployment Statistics

Unemployment Rate: 9.0
JSA Claimant Count: 7.4
JSA Claiments per Vacancy Available: 7.3
Total Economically Inactive: 41.8

Earnings

Gross weekly pay for full time workers: 394.6p (national average: 503.1p).

Candidates

Early days yet, so all is speculation. Well, the name of a certain Manchester councillor has been linked with a possible vacancy here for months. The Deputy Leader of Bradford Council (Imran Hussain; represents Toller) is also known to be interested. And by 'interested' I mean that all the Labour councillors in Bradford West have already endorsed him. I think we can be fairly sure that the candidate will be Asian and will be Muslim.

Don't know for other parties.

*The British General Election of 1997, p. 192.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 12:35:06 pm by Comrade Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 02:21:43 pm »
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The current constituency of Bradford West only really dates from 1974, but the name is much older. Bradford West was the name of ILP leader Fred Jowett's Manningham-based constituency from 1906 until 1918, and also of a largely suburban and generally Tory constituency that existed from 1955 until 1974.  
Where "generally" means except 1966.

Quote from: you in the other thread
I'll put together the usual profile (maybe in a new thread; it's easier if that post is the first one) soon. Or most of it. Or something.
You're the moderator here; you could have just edited your profile into the opening post. That would keep the discussion in one place.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 02:23:42 pm by Minion of Midas »Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 02:47:18 pm »
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Labour will probably select their candidate during the next weekend. Deadline to send applications is on Monday.

Ralph Berry (Wibsey ward which is in Bradford South) is also going for the Labour nomination. It has been confirmed on twitter by Labour Peer Glenys Thornton (it's her brother in law, apparently).

I guess who will be selected will depend on who will make the shortlist (decided by the NEC panel put in charge). In normal circumstances you can be pretty sure certain names will make to the final shortlist but if it's the NEC to do the work there can sometimes be some interesting omissions.

George Gallaway is apparently set to announce he will run for Respect.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 04:18:02 pm by Andrea »Logged
YL
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 04:23:11 pm »
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Here are the 2011 (from the Council website, repeated from the other thread), 2010 (also from the Council website) and 2008 (from Andrew Teale's website) Council election results in the constituency:

City
2011: Lab 64%, Con 28%, Green 5%, LD 3%
2010: Lab 64%, Con 21%, LD 8%, Respect 4%, Green 3%, UKIP 1%
2008: Lab 64%, Con 21%, LD 9%, Green 6%

Clayton & Fairweather Green
2011: Lab 56%, Con 30%, Green 8%, LD 6%
2010: Lab 40%, Con 27%, LD 17%, BNP 11%, Ind 6%
2008: Con 37%, Lab 31%, BNP 21%, LD 9%, UKIP 2%

Heaton
2011: Lab 48%, Con 26%, Green 21%, LD 4%
2010: Lab 37%, Con 30%, Green 17%, LD 11%, Respect 4%
2008: Con 37%, Green 32%, Lab 21%, LD 10%

Manningham
2011: Lab 72%, LD 20%, Green 5%, Con 3%
2010: Lab 60%, LD 28%, Con 8%, Green 5%
2008: Lab 43%, LD 40%, Respect 7%, Con 5%, Green 4%, Norman Scarth 1%

Thornton & Allerton
2011: Con 47%, Lab 38%, Green 12%, LD 3%
2010: Con 39%, Lab 30%, LD 15%, BNP 11%, UKIP 4%
2008: Con 42%, BNP 25%, Lab 20%, LD 11%, Democratic Nationalist 1%

Toller
2011: Lab 81%, Con 12%, Green 5%, LD 2%
2010: Lab 57%, Con 31%, LD 6%, Respect 3%, Green 2%
2008: Con 36%, Lab 36%, LD 24%, Green 5%.  (Con majority was 8.  The Tory councillor elected has since defected to Labour.)

Going further back, it gets weirder; as I said in the other thread, in 2004 (which had all up elections, so each ward elected three councillors) all six wards in the current constituency elected at least one Tory.  (Thornton & Allerton and Clayton & Fairweather Green elected three Tories each; Manningham elected one each of LD, Lab and Con; City and Toller both 2 Con, 1 Lab; Heaton 2 Con, 1 Green.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 07:40:09 pm »
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You're the moderator here; you could have just edited your profile into the opening post. That would keep the discussion in one place.

But that would have made sense. By which I mean that I thought about more complicated things that wouldn't have worked, but missed the obvious answer.
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 05:24:08 am »
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"George Gallaway is apparently set to announce he will run for Respect."


Oh god, really?

He's becoming an electoral novelty act.


I said "becoming".
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 05:38:11 am »
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"George Gallaway is apparently set to announce he will run for Respect."


Oh god, really?

He's becoming an electoral novelty act.


I said "becoming".
That happened in 2010. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 08:00:17 am »
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He's becoming an electoral novelty act.
Not this Novelty act.  What platform is he running on?
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2012, 09:41:03 am »
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The proposed boundary review moves this seat further West, moving out of the city centre and taking in Shipley and Cullingworth

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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2012, 12:26:09 pm »
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If Galloway runs, he'll push the Liberals into 4th.
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YL
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2012, 02:41:02 pm »
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If Galloway runs, he'll push the Liberals into 4th.

Given what happened in the last Yorkshire by-election, the Lib Dems might be quite pleased with that.

On the other hand, if they were beaten by Norman Scarth...
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2012, 03:53:13 pm »
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If Galloway runs, he'll push the Liberals into 4th.

Really? Respect never have neverhad much support in Yorkshire, and GG's almost a liability these days IMHO

any news on Green, Ukip, fash etc candidates?
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2012, 03:57:13 pm »
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The proposed boundary review moves this seat further West, moving out of the city centre and taking in Shipley and Cullingworth



Interesting, that would make it the only constituency in the country to have both BNP and Green councillors (unless there's somewhere else in West Yorks. that does/will, or possibly Meriden at some point a few years ago)
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 04:33:17 pm »
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Meriden definitely did have BNP and Green councillors from 2008 to 2010 - BNP in Chelmsley Wood, Green in Smith's Wood.

Chelmsley Wood ward voted BNP in 2006 and Green in 2011.
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There cannot have been a by-election here, as I didn't see an Andrew Teale writeup on it. Or else that by-election's validity should be challenged on the grounds that it was held without Andrew's written approval
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2012, 04:40:50 pm »
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Meriden definitely did have BNP and Green councillors from 2008 to 2010 - BNP in Chelmsley Wood, Green in Smith's Wood.

Chelmsley Wood ward voted BNP in 2006 and Green in 2011.

ah yes, knew about Chelmsley wood but wasn't sure if they overlapped

\
anyway this should be a good byelection to see how various partyies' votes hold up, but I'm guessing Labour will win at a trot on this one
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« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2012, 06:32:10 pm »
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The proposed new Bradford West is essentially a different constituency to this one. And more of a joke than I realised at first; Toller with Bingley Rural? lol.
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2012, 06:51:09 pm »
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The proposed new Bradford West is essentially a different constituency to this one. And more of a joke than I realised at first; Toller with Bingley Rural? lol.

Just looking at the notional numbers. 40-34-13, that's the Tories at 40. That alone tells me it's a joke boundary.

Would probably go for Labour in a general tomorrow, mind. It's one of their "must wins" in 2015.
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2012, 02:13:36 pm »
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If Galloway runs, he'll push the Liberals into 4th.

Really? Respect never have neverhad much support in Yorkshire, and GG's almost a liability these days IMHO

Both true; I find it a bit surprising they never had much success in Bradford, but they didn't: the highest Respect share I can find in a Bradford ward is 11% in Little Horton in 2007.  They didn't even have that many candidates.

However he might not need that much to beat the Lib Dems.  Look at those 2011 results: pathetic everywhere but Manningham, and poor enough there given they were defending it.  I don't think their deposit is safe.
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2012, 02:40:50 pm »
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If Galloway runs, he'll push the Liberals into 4th.

Really? Respect never have neverhad much support in Yorkshire, and GG's almost a liability these days IMHO

Both true; I find it a bit surprising they never had much success in Bradford, but they didn't: the highest Respect share I can find in a Bradford ward is 11% in Little Horton in 2007.  They didn't even have that many candidates.

However he might not need that much to beat the Lib Dems.  Look at those 2011 results: pathetic everywhere but Manningham, and poor enough there given they were defending it.  I don't think their deposit is safe.

Yeah, the Libs have been down (on average) by about 6% in the by-elections this parliament. Easily far enough to fall to 4th here if Respect get a big name, and i'm assuming that there was a lingering (by that, I mean tiny) anti-war still with the LDs in 2010, left over from 2005.
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2012, 09:59:22 am »
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The writ was moved today

Polling day will be on 29th March - just 15 days from now.
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2012, 02:06:10 pm »
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Via UKPollingReport, UKIP have a candidate: one Sonja McNally, who was the Green (!) candidate in Heaton in 2010 and 2011.
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2012, 04:31:03 pm »
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Via UKPollingReport, UKIP have a candidate: one Sonja McNally, who was the Green (!) candidate in Heaton in 2010 and 2011.

we can be a fairly Eurosceptic bunch, with slight Libertarian streaks at times, but seriously?!
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2012, 05:35:20 pm »
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Galloway's candidacy confirmed according to Look Leeds North.
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2012, 05:44:51 pm »
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Galloway's candidacy confirmed according to Look Leeds North.

UKIP got 2% in 2010, they could possibly hold their deposit (or come close) here. Libs in 5th Wink
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« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2012, 05:40:04 am »
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LD candidate is Jeanette Sunderland, a Cllr for Idle and Thackley ward which is in Bradford East
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