A further analysis of the electoral statistics for Thurrock show grim reading for the Labour Group.
The Labour vote in Thurrock slumped from 8098 in 2004 to 5589, a massive 31% decline in their vote.
In 2004 they were by far the most popular party but now have slumped to third.
The Tories will be celebrating topping the poll but their vote declined as well, going from 7628 in 2004 down to 6946. A decline of 682 votes.
Clearly the votes went to two parties:
UKIP’s vote increased from 6201 to 6626. UKIP will be delighted at coming second adding 425 votes.
It was the BNP who have the biggest reasons to celebrate: With a high profile campaign, launched at the Council-run Thameside Theatre and a major advertising campaign with the Thurrock Gazette, they saw their vote rise from 3419 to 5369. A massive 57% increase.
Indicators are from the exit polls conducted by yourthurrock.com indicate that many of the 2509 voters from 2004 deserted the Labour Party in favour of the BNP while the disaffected Tories went over to the UKIP.
Local Elections are now only ten months away and a General Election, well who knows.
There has to be questions levelled at both parties:
The leadership of Gordon Brown, expenses and the recession were bound to have an effect on the Labour vote but does the Chair, Carl Morris have the strength in depth to fight on a number of fronts
a. Does he have too many Councillors who are doing the minimum and need to step up their game?
b. Unlike the Tories with Conservative Future, there seems to be no Young Labour at all.
c. Will the acquisition of Terry Hipsey back-fire with them seen as lacking principles.
d. Does Andrew Mackinlay have the stomach for a long campaign in the constituency?
As one political commentator said: “Labour’s traditional vote is deserting them in droves. This is a crisis for Andrew Mackinlay and Angela Smith as well as the sixteen councillors up for election next year.
“There is a real real threat that they could be wiped out.
“As distasteful and frightening as it sounds, the BNP’s message is far more in tune with the Thurrock voters than what the Labour and Tories have to offer.”
Their campaigning began and ended in Orsett. No that is inaccurate, they went to Bulphan as well.
The recent controversy regarding their links with the BNP may well return to haunt them. In the political ring, you can run but you can’t hide.
The Tories may be delighted that Labour voters are flocking to the BNP. That may see votes split in the General Election and the Council Election with the Tories winning some key seats such as West Thurrock.
The major question is whether they have the political, emotional or intellectual ability to combat the forces that face them?
Prospective Tory Candidate for S.Basildon and East Thurrock Steven Metcalfe is working hard while Tory Candidate for Thurrock Jackie Doyle-Price appears to be on the witness protection scheme.
Let us make no mistake, Emma Colgate has the borough just where she wants it: A firm firm ally of Nick Griffin, she has laid the foundations for a considerable campaign in 2010. Now in Europe, they have the millions to present a real campaign. Believe me, they have the zealots in cyberspace and in the nooks and crannies to back this up.
Ms Colgate has tapped into the zeitgeist of the Thurrock people. She sits in Council Meetings and her speeches regarding bureaucratic waste leave many of the other 48 in her wake. Launching the Euro campaign at the Thameside Theatre was a highly significant moment as was running an advert on the Thurrock Gazette website.
She was also shrewd enough to inveigle herself on the General Services Committee. YourThurrock will be watching her performances in the committee with great interest.
You have the feeling that things are going to get heated and dirty in the Chamber and out on the streets. Council Leader Garry Hague will be under great scrutiny. Some within his party are concerned that Cllr Hague cannot take the pressure of scrutiny.
These are important times politically in Thurrock. YourThurrock makes no apology for asking the difficult questions. That is the job of the free press. The press benches are getting pretty lonely, but we are sure you agree that someone has to be out there, asking the difficult questions not just cutting and pasting press releases.
We make no apology for interviewing the BNP. Some say we are making free films and giving them the oxygen of publicity. Don’t think we haven’t thought about it. But Emma Colgate knows that we would not take a penny in advertising revenue.
Interesting, frightening, challenging and demanding times.