There were mixed results for Respect in two local
by-elections in Glossop, Derbyshire (High Peak District Council).
In Howard Town ward, the Respect candidate gained
an excellent 15% of the poll coming third
and beating both the Lib Dems and the 'Glossopdale Independents' (a local
'ratepayer' type party with 2 seats on the Council). Labour held the seat
with 270 votes, Tories second with 167, Respect 107, Glossopdale Ind 103 and
Lib Dems 88. Comparisons with the previous elections are difficult, as this
was fought as a multi-member ward and only Labour stood two candidates (both
winning). The Respect vote built upon a strong showing from the Socialist
Alliance, who got 132 votes last time to Labour's 400 and 399; however the
turnout was down from 31% last time to 23%, the Lib Dems didn't stand last
time and the SA previously came last, so the result was a successful increase
in the proportion of the vote and a higher ranking.
The success came on the back of the defection to
Respect of a Labour county councillor in Buxton (also in High Peak District)
one week ago.
However, in Simmondley Ward, Respect gained a
paltry 32 votes (3%) as the Lib Dems won the seat from Labour. Again
comparisons with last time are difficult as both Lib Dem and Labour won the
seats, standing one candidate apiece against the Tories two. There was no
Socialist Alliance candidate previously on which to build on.
Glossop is a small former working class market
town, but has become a more affluent commuter town for Manchester as a result
of the building of luxury homes in the town. It is virtually completely
white. Political activity is generally very low and it doesn't seem to be a
hot-bed of radical activity.
I attended the Respect public election meeting
with John Rees last week, which had a very small attendance (about a dozen)
but a lively discussion. Respect has grown out of the anti-war movement in
the town. There are several SWP members who have built a small periphery of
older anti-war and trade union activists. The interesting discussion at the
meeting was around the fact that traditional allegiances in elections have
disappeared and no-one really knew how the vote would go.