26 April 2016

Can Joe Anderson be beaten? #liverpoolmayor

While I write as a Green candidate (albeit a non-target one), the source for all the figures in this post come from the Liverpool City Council website. The figures don’t constitute spin. They are factual.

The starting point for this is to look at the results of the last Mayoral contest and the last two local elections. In 2012, on local election turnout levels, Joe Anderson got around 58,000 votes in Liverpool. Liam Fogerty as an independent managed over 8,000. Richard Kemp as a Lib Dem got 6,238 and John Coyne, standing for the Greens managed 5,175. With nearly 60% of the vote and no allocation of preferences, Mayor Anderson had an overwhelming mandate.

After four years, it could be said that the Mayor has not universally endeared himself to a large portion of the Liverpool public. I also think it is a reasonable expectation that he will not gain more than 50% on first preferences this time. That might mean 40,000 to 45,000 first preference votes being cast in his favour.

So who can realistically mount a challenge? Well in 2014 it was a combined Local and European Election. The results were as follows:

The Greens, with nearly 10,500 votes were 1,256 ahead of the Lib Dems in 2014.

In 2015, it was a combined Local and General Election, with a much higher turnout. The results were as follows:

The Greens, with nearly 20,000 votes were 3,228 ahead of the Lib Dems in 2015.

So going into this election, it is Tom Crone as the Green candidate (and leader of the opposition) who has the best case to make about being able to challenge Anderson. But to beat him, which is a very tough proposition, I think we as Greens need to achieve the following:

- The great many Labour supporters who like Corbyn and don’t like Anderson, casting their first preference vote for the Greens in Liverpool
- A strong turnout from Green voters in areas of the city we are strong
- Voters from other parties looking realistically at who can best challenge the current Mayor, and drawing their own conclusions

Richard Kemp, as Liverpool’s longest serving councillor, is still trying to make the “two horse race” argument between Labour and the Lib Dems, despite his horse having bolted during the coalition years. He may benefit in South Liverpool from his profile and the campaign tactics they are using, but they have failed to even stand local election candidates in 10% of the city wards.

It is difficult to make the case that they can attract sufficient 1st preference votes to overhaul the Greens to gain 2nd place. Is Richard really convinced of his own view that all the Liam Fogerty voters are going to switch to the Lib Dems? Surely that would have happened before? While the Lib Dems are no longer in coalition nationally, the cuts that have been made in Liverpool’s budget this year were agreed under that coalition government.

What I would hope is that more widely, voters in the city will be using their 1st and 2nd preferences wisely. As election day approaches, I also hope there is some real discussion in the media that looks at what will happen if votes go to a second round this time.

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