1968 and 1971 Lambeth council elections- what happened?

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Slo-mo, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    and more to the point, why?

    I was nattering to ViolentPanda on another thread about your upcoming elections this year and if anyone could mount a serious challenge to Labour. Going back 50 years (a long time I know) Lambeth produced two big swings in successive elections.

    In 1964 Lambeth was solid Labour but in '68 the Tories made 43 gains across the board, nearly wiping Labour out. A certain John Major was one of the councillors elected in Brixton. Lambeth London Borough Council election, 1968 - Wikipedia

    It didn't last, because only three years later, Labour made 48 gains and firmly took back control with Major narrowly losing his election Lambeth London Borough Council election, 1971 - Wikipedia

    What produced such big swings in such a short space of time?
  2. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    Not sure it was specific to Lambeth - seems to have been similar across much of London - see London local elections, 1968 - Wikipedia - Labour only held three London councils in 1968.

    Think it may have reflected the popularity (or otherwise) of the Wilson government and national issues - the 'pound in your pocket' devaluation was in 1967, and sounds like the 1968 budget was not all that popular (article here)

    Some people use local (and in more recent years, European) elections to register a protest vote against the national government of the day more than to vote for particular local politicians / on local issues.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  3. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    I agree with you. There was the devaluation of the pound late in 1967, the the reintroduction of prescription charges in the 1968 budget. There had already been the introduction of SET (Selective Employment Tax) which small businesses such as barbers tended to show on their price list as a separate tax surcharge. It was basically a tax-payers revolt based on national issues in my opinion.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  4. happyshopper

    happyshopper Well-Known Member

    There’s no doubt that it was the change in the national popularity and otherwise of the two main parties, coupled with the inherent instability of first-past-the-post. Nothing specific to Lambeth.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  5. toblerone3

    toblerone3 Grrrrr

    Yes 1968 London local elections disastrous for Labour, But I did notice Labour swept the board in Tower Hamlets apart from three seats which went to the Communist Party.
  6. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Ok, fair enough. Thanks for the replies :)
  7. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    There used to be some proper old school genuine left-wing Labour councillors up to the late 80s/early 90s in Lambeth but dirty tricks by Kinnock's henchmen did for them and it's never been the same since.
  8. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    That is true - but if you back back to the 1970s it was Wandsworth which was considered radical Labour and spendthrift/profligate whereas Lambeth Labour ran a tight ship.

    Rares were 60p in the £ were in Lambeth, but 64p in the £ in Wandsworth.

    At that time Labour were in government, but not in majority - there was the so-called Lib Lab pact, so generally government did not interfere in local political actions, but at the 1978 council elections the voters gave their verdict - and Labour retained Lambeth, but the Tories took Wandsworth, which they have held ever since.
  9. toblerone3

    toblerone3 Grrrrr

    When Labour recovered its positions in local government in London, it was a new generation of local politicians that came to the fore. London was still moving to the left in 1979 when the rest of the country was voting in Thatcher.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  10. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    An outside chance that could change in May, maybe?

    By the way, why can't you be radical Labour and still run a tight ship?
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    tim likes this.
  11. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Possible - Labour need to gain 12 to get a majority, which must be acheivable. Presumably the Wandsworth Tories will be holding out the threat of Labour council tax rises.

    I'm wondering if our current Lambeth Labour council is cutting services more than the Wandsworth Tories? Just asking.

    You don't hear people complaining about library cuts in Wandsworth for example. Wandsworth have 11 libraries listed on their website whereas Lambeth has 10 - one of which is closed being turned into a bookish gym.
  12. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    You may have a point here. The left-right spectrum doesn't apply quite so much to local government as it does to national and some Tories have done good things on a local level.

    FWIW personally I'm in the strange situation of having voted for Corbyn in 2 labour leadership elections and a national general election but I'm now considering voting Tory in my local election because my local Labour council are so frickin awful. I'm well outside London but some people in Lambeth possibly have a similar dilemma .
  13. toblerone3

    toblerone3 Grrrrr

    My cousin reckons that Labour could win all the London local authorities bar four in May 2018. Tories to hold Havering, Hillingdon, Bromley and one other. Labour to win control in most of the others.
  14. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Well I think Westminster is going to be Tory forever. And it's hard to see Labour taking K and C, although obviously Grenfell will be a massive factor against them.
  15. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    Oh ffs. Get fucked. Seriously. I don’t give a monkey’s shit how bad your local CLP might be. To consider voting Tory (as opposed to the alternatives, spoiling ballot, going down the pub etc) is fucking stupid. Beyond stupid. Beyond inexcusable.
    Gramsci likes this.
  16. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Then there is Kingston, where Labour only hold two seats, and Sutton where they don't have any. It's hard to see Labour taking either of them.

    So I conclude your cousin can't count :D ;)
    CH1 likes this.
  17. toblerone3

    toblerone3 Grrrrr

    I think he was suggesting that Labour might take Kingston with the Tories to hold onto Sutton.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  18. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Right, first up calm down.

    Secondly it's my local council I'm angry with not my local CLP.

    Thirdly as I stated above I don't live in Brixton. Where I live it is basically a two horse race. And the current horse is pretty awful hence I'm considering the other.

    Fourthly I *am* considering spoiling my paper or staying at home as stated above.
  19. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    inclined to agree. although there are some blairites who out-tory some of the less extreme tories. but just no to voting for the vermin.

    and bear in mind the blairites think a good election result shows public confidence in them moving to the right and they should keep going, and a bad result shows they aren't moving right far or fast enough.


    sutton is lib dem in quite a big way. no i'm not quite sure why.

    Also think Kingston is more likely to (like the parliamentary seat) go lib dem rather than labour.

    a few councils could go 'no overall control' depending on lib dem / others getting seats.

    the All That's Left blog has done some analysis of what it thinks will happen with the London elections
    toblerone3 likes this.
  20. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Interesting stuff. They are predicting 2 Lib Dem gains in Lambeth with Tories and Greens wiped out but we shall see.

    By the way I still stand by my assertion that the left right spectrum doesn't apply well to local politics but I don't know enough about the Tories in Lambeth to know how that applies there.

    Either way it's hard to see Lambeth as anything other than a very easy Labour hold.
  21. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Where are the 2 potential Lib Dem gains? Do you mean wards or seats?

    Tory wipe-out seems unlikely to me - they have a history going back decades in the Clapham/Clapham Common/Clapham Park area and there is always the possibility of a resurgence in the Thurlow Park area.

    I'm not particularly in touch with Lambeth Lib Dems - but if they are expected to win 2 wards, that indicates a lot of campaigning going on totally below the radar. When will it start to become visible?
    Slo-mo likes this.
  22. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    They ( not me) seem to suggest Streatham as a LibDem gain and then distance themselves from their own projections, even suggesting Labour might manage a clean sweep?!?

    I too think total Tory wipeout is unlikely.

    A look forward: 2018 London elections (part 2)
    CH1 likes this.
  23. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Very interesting as a whole - but Bishops ward has 3 seats, which means if the Lib Dems won there they could get 3.
    That said there have been "split wards" many times in the past - including in Bishops.

    Can't see why they ignored the Green member for St Leonards. Unless he is performing badly, which seems unlikely given his high profile on signature issues (libraries and council estate clearance), and given the incumbency effect I would have thought it quite possible we could see Greens +2 in St Leonards and also picking some up elsewhere.

    This "All that's Left" blog seems very generalised to me. I think there is some personal vote for the Tory brigands of Clapham Common ward. Also note that this ward is particularly prone to split results - having been Labour/Tory Lib Dem/Labour and Lib Dem/Tory in the past. So assuming the Tories lose on Brexit grounds seems premature for Clapham Common ward at least for now.

    I can't remember what the situation is in Bishops currently regarding public/private housing etc.
    If George Truner was a candidate he would score highly with Remainers, but not sure what voters in places like County Hall think about his attempt to injunct the planners on the Shell Centre development (to stop it or reduce it). I think the voters would probably like that - after all we all like to pull the drawbridge up after us. Besides why would voters be worried about the profits of the Qatar royal family and Royal Dutch Shell?

    So my forecast (on the basis of the blog you linked) would be anything from the present situation - Lab 59 Con 3 Green 1

    to an optimistic Lab 51 Lib Dem 3 Con 3 Green 6.

    I wouldn't want to put my neck out further until we have signs of activity on the ground in say April.
    lang rabbie, Tricky Skills and Slo-mo like this.
  24. se5

    se5 Well-Known Member

    Its all about turnout though - last time the turnout figure was something like 35% so its the job of the political parties to get 'their' voters out and with Labour being better organised by virtue of already having councillors they will be best able to get the vote out.

    As an aside and returning to the original question does anyone know why the London elections were held in 1971, 3 years after the 1968 elections rather than 1972 as would be expected, 4 years afterwards as they have been since?
    Tricky Skills and Slo-mo like this.
  25. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    68, 71, 74 suggests that 3 years was the done thing at that time.

    64 could have been a year early for the new london boroughs that started in 65.
  26. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Guessing here - but most local authorities all over Britain have or had "election by thirds" - meaning there were 3 councillors in a ward, and each year one would retire from office and come up for election.

    There must have been a transition from this method of election to what we now have in London - a four year cycle.

    On the relevant government website it now say this:
    There are a variety of electoral cycles (times when elections are held) so not all councillors are elected at the same time.

    The 3 methods of holding elections to local councils are:
    by whole council (all of the councillors are elected every 4 years)
    by halves (half of the councillors are elected every 2 years)
    by thirds (a third of the councillors are elected every year for 3 years, with no elections in the 4th year)
  27. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    Yes - that's what I get out in the wilds of Berkshire (where there's still a county council, they get an election in the 'year off' from borough / district councils)

    Now I'm home, I've done a bit more searching - this page (on Battersea rather than the old Lambeth) says elections were every 3 years (although they got suspended during the wars and the 1951 one was delayed so as not to clash with LCC elections) but it was whole council each time, not 1/3 of the council every year.

    Presume the 1964 elections were for shadow councils for the new London Boroughs that started in 1965, running alongside the old Metropolitan Boroughs (and all manner of UDCs and so on in outer London) for their last year. (More about it all here. Mildly disappointed that the London Borough of Charlton didn't happen :( )
    CH1 likes this.
  28. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Yeah, my city, which is a unitary authority, does election by thirds. So elections in years 1,2,3 then no election in year four.
    (Off topic, but perhaps we should do this in Westminster. Sure would keep governments on their toes!)

    Either way, this doesn't seem to have happened in Lambeth. It was an all out election in 68 and another in 71.
  29. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I can assure you , as a long time resident of Lambeth, that the left / right spectrum does apply to Lambeth.

    However much they might not like Lambeth Labour the average person in my ward isn't even going to think of voting Tory. Green yes.

    Green party is the protest vote for Labour voters. Even Labour party members in Lambeth.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  30. tim

    tim Well-Known Member

    Why do you put faith in your cousin's opinion? It strikst me that me that they may well be psephologically challenged

    For what it's worth my sources suggest that that the Southwest London parakeet Mafia have formed an alliance with the Grey Squirrels and are using their combined influence and muscle to push for a Liberal Democrats clean sweep in Kingston and Richmond. This has been brought about by: the fear of the Green Party policy of culling non-native species; the Tories enthusiasm for shooting anything that flies or climbs trees; and rheir belief that the Labour Party will do a deal with developers to cut down all the trees in the Richmond Park and build flats with a token number of affordable nest boxes.
    Slo-mo likes this.

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