With an 18.4% majority, Labour MP Harry Morris took Sheffield Central from his Conservative predecessor, and began an 80 year reign for Labour over the constituency. Last time around Paul Blomfield barely hung onto the Labour ‘safe’ seat by 165 votes. Can he stick around for one more term? Will the Lib Dems find those extra 165 votes (spoiler warning: probably not)? Or will the #GreenSurge be more than just a Twitter gimmick?
Put simply, not thrilling. Since 1997, Labour has won gold, Lib Dems silver and the Tories bronze. The Greens have been 4th every time they’ve ran, winning a still-underwhelming 3.8% in 2010. UKIP (and its predecessor, the Referendum Party) maxed out at 2.4% and a 5th place in 1990. So yeah, not much to write home about.
Happily, for me at least, the more extreme parties offer some amusing footnotes at the bottom of the results tables.
In the red (and I mean really red) corner, we have (take a deep breath):
- the Revolutionary Communists,
- Communist Party of Great Britain,
- Red Front,
- Communist League,
- Workers Revolutionary,
- Socialist Alternative,
- Socialist Labour
- and finally the Socialist Alliance!
(And who said factionalism amongst the far-left was a problem?)
In the opposite (and frankly awful) corner, we have the British Nationalist Party and the Pro-Life Alliance! Bloody immigrants, coming over here, aborting their babies.
Your referee this evening is M. Clarke, one-time candidate for End Unemployment Vote Justice for Jobless! Amusingly, he won 0.6% of the vote, which is only 0.3% less than the Lib Dems won in the Rochester and Strood by-election last year.
There are seven candidates running to be MP for Sheffield Central this time. And a quick checklist to begin: is there a Communist running? Is one of them a pirate? Is one of them younger than me? Yes, yes and yes!
- Paul Blomfield (Labour)
- Joe Otten (Lib Dem)
- Jilian Creasy (Green)
- Stephanie Roe (Conservative)
- Andy Halsall (Pirate Party UK)
- Steve Andrew (Communist Party of GB)
- Thom Brown (Above and Beyond)
The Not-Going-To-Be Winners
Stephanie Roe is the Tory candidate which normally means a decent shout of election. Unluckily for her, she is running in a fabulously left wing part of a fabulously left wing city where 40% of the voters are students. Combine that with the lack of Tory growth in the area (and a frankly embarrassing website), and it’s fair to say she’s not going to win.
Andy Halsall is Sheffield’s first Pirate Party candidate, a party which focuses on surveillance and copyright issues. He is fairly senior within the party, being their national campaigns officer. Whilst I can see him picking up some votes from out-there students, and generate some interest in Pirate Party positions, he’s not going to top the podium.
Steve Andrew is the candidate for the Communist Party of GB. Since WWII, far left parties in Sheffield Central have gathered 2725 votes in total. As much as I’d love an openly Communist MP to sit in parliament solely for the expression it would garner from Jacob Rees-Mogg, it’s not going to happen. In fact, if Mr Andrew betters his performance from Sheffield South East in 2010, I’ll be surprised
Thom Brown is the candidate for the Above and Beyond party. He turned 20 in January. Safe to say, he won’t be challenging for the top spot. Above and Beyond are a single-issue party dedicated to creating a ‘None of the Above’ slot on ballots. Will it work? Maybe not. Is it an interesting thought? Almost certainly. Does he deserve praise for standing? 100%. Students are fabulous at complaining about politics but rarely do much about it. It’s nice to see Thom doing what he can to change things.
That’s it for today, stay tuned for another exciting post in the coming days where I look at the three candidates who might actually win the seat. Yes, I know I’m playing fast and loose with the word ‘exciting’. Any comments/shares on social media are appreciated.