Political Figures: What next for Rochester and Strood?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects casts his eye over Rochester and Strood, and ponders what lies ahead for the constituency..

Ah, 2015, the year the World Health Organisation declared that rubella had been eradicated from the Americas, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born, and, awkwardly, I’ve run out of positive events to highlight (I really should have thought this intro through before writing the first article).

It was also the last time any of Medway’s parliamentary constituencies changed hands.

In recognition of this unbroken run of Conservative representation in parliament, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked me to look at what has changed between the three most recent general elections. So, for my latest three-part mini-series I’ll be looking at the results for each of Medway’s three constituencies in turn.

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Political Figures: What next for Gillingham and Rainham?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at Gillingham and Rainham, and ponders how easily the Conservative hold on the constituency could be broken..

Ah, 2015, the year Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger sold for $179.3m, a new species of early human called Homo naledi was discovered and Lithuania became the nineteenth member of the Eurozone.

It was also the last time any of Medway’s parliamentary constituencies changed hands.

In recognition of this unbroken run of Conservative representation in parliament, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked me to look at what has changed between the three most recent general elections. So, for my latest three-part mini-series I’ll be looking at the results for each of Medway’s three constituencies in turn.

Continue reading “Political Figures: What next for Gillingham and Rainham?”

Political Figures: What next for Chatham and Aylesford?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at Chatham and Aylesford, and ponders how easily the Conservative hold on the constituency could be broken..

Ah, 2015, the year (the Republic of) Ireland voted to introduce same-sex marriage, a NASA spacecraft visited Pluto for the first time and Queen Elizabeth II became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
It was also the last time any of Medway’s parliamentary constituencies changed hands.

In recognition of this unbroken run of Conservative representation in parliament, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked me to look at what has changed between the three most recent general elections. So, for my latest three-part mini-series I’ll be looking at the results for each of Medway’s three constituencies in turn.

Continue reading “Political Figures: What next for Chatham and Aylesford?”

Political Figures Predictions: Rochester and Strood

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at the third and final Medway constituency, Rochester and Strood, to see what the future may bring..

It’s November. It’s cold. And there’s another election looming. I have fired up my data projection model and already analysed the potential results in Chatham and Aylesford and Gillingham and Rainham. Now as I conclude this series it’s time to take a look at Medway’s third, and arguably most volatile, constituency. 

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Political Figures Predictions: Gillingham and Rainham

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects takes a look at what the General Election what might bring for Gillingham and Rainham..

They say that a week is a long time in politics, and in the time since my analysis for Chatham and Aylesford was published, the Brexit party have announced that they will not be standing in any seat won by the Conservatives in 2017. That means their three candidates in Medway have been stood down (whether they like it or not). 

This not only impacts on the projection which has already been published, but also on the remaining projections. The question is, how does one divide the projected vote share for the Brexit Party between the remaining parties? Contrary to prevailing belief, the Brexit party were not likely to just be a vote drain on the Conservatives. 

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Political Figures Predictions: Chatham and Aylesford

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects takes a look at what the General Election what might bring for Chatham and Aylesford..

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, but the one where almost everyone in Medway with access to the internet seems to cry out for change, only for the Conservatives to be re-elected by a wide margin.

So for this series of articles, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked their resident data nerd to run the numbers and try to predict, on the numbers alone, whether that mythical change might happen, or whether we will wake up on 13 December to the news that the three Conservative candidates have been re-elected.

To answer that question I shall be taking a look at what the data from the 2015 general election tells us about what might happen next month. No, I’ve not forgotten that we also voted in 2017. However, the election in 2015 presents an extra set of data which is infinitely more useful in comparing how the attitudes of Medway’s voters has shifted: the local elections. I shall, therefore, be taking a look at how the results in each ward for Medway’s three constituencies changed between 2015 and 2019, and using that to try and determine whether any of our three MPs are likely to be queuing up outside a job centre on 13 December.

I have form for this. A comparison of the shift in local election behaviour was one of the key principles behind the data model I produced in 2010 which, as I explained at the beginning of the year on this very website, was remarkably accurate. Whilst I have created a similar model for this year, it comes with its own caveat: there are additional parameters to account for both the 2015 and 2017 general elections, so essentially there is more data to go wrong in the projections that have been generated for each constituency. Just to fill you all with confidence…

That said, these have only ever been projections, not predictions, and the usual caveat that they are only a snapshot of where support likely sits, not a demonstrative prediction of what the vote will actually be, applies.

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The (Non-)Elected Mayor of Medway

Once a month we hand over to Alan Collins from Medway Elects who digs into the Medway electoral data to try to tell us what it all means. This month we sent him the fun task of looking at the murky world of Medway’s Mayoral system…

A cursory glance at the Medway Conservative Group website this past weekend would have you believe that this blog’s favourite (or is it the other way around?) councillor Steve Iles is the “elected mayor” of Medway.


Except, he’s not. And not just because he handed over the reigns (chains?) to his former deputy Habib Tejan at last month’s annual council meeting.

The fact is that neither Cllr Iles nor Cllr Tejan are the elected mayor of Medway for the very simple reason that Medway does not have an elected mayor, or at least not an elected mayor as provided for in section 9H of the Local Government Act 2000, which states that an “elected mayor” is:

“an individual elected as mayor of the authority by the local government electors for the authority’s area in accordance with the provisions made by or under this Part.”

An elected mayor is the executive leader of the local authority, elected by the people under the supplementary voteelectoral system. In (very) simplified form, in Medway it would be the equivalent position to that currently occupied by Cllr Alan Jarrett, but elected by a larger support base than being given the position on the nod by councillors who were elected by just 34% of the 31% of voters who turned out. Instead of a leader chosen from among the councillors and a cabinet, it would be a mayor who could not simultaneously be a councillor and a cabinet. Similar functions as a leader, but with more power balanced by direct democratic accountability for their policies and decisions.

According to that great font of knowledge Wikipedia, 15 local authorities in England and Wales currently have an elected mayor, while a further 9 mayors represent a multi-authority region (such as Greater London). Three local authorities (Hartlepool, Stoke-on-Trent and Torbay) used to have an elected mayor, but decided it wasn’t for them and reverted to a leader and cabinet system after local referenda. Of those 24 mayors, none represent Medway, which perhaps makes the discussion in this article so far purely academic. So why bring it up?

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The ghost of European elections future

Once a month we hand over to Alan Collins from Medway Elects who digs into the Medway electoral data to try to tell us what it all means. This month we sent him the fun task of looking at data from previous European elections..

Just when you thought it was safe to open the mail without fearing a party political begging letter from the [insert name here] party, fresh off the close of #MedwayElects19, you are now likely to instead be bombarded with campaign literature for the elections no one gives a fig about – and if the politicians in Westminster had pulled their fingers out (or something) wouldn’t be taking place.

So in the spirit of getting everyone excited for #MedwayElects19version2 (other hashtags are available), Jennings and Keevil have pulled me out of data analysis retirement to look at the ghost of European elections past.

Strap in!

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Political Figures: Can independents win?

Once a month we are going to hand over to Alan Collins from Medway Elects who is going to dig into the Medway electoral data, and try to tell us what it all means..

This week marks Medway Elects’ fourth anniversary and, in that time, like this very blog, it has gone from strength to strength. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped and supported the project – and will continue to be open to ideas for new features over the coming months and years.

But given this important milestone, it is, perhaps, fitting that this is the week I post my last article in this series, on the very blog I launched Medway Elects four years ago. If you thought Jennings’ analysis of the candidates in each of Medway’s 22 wards was long, strap in tight: you ain’t seen nothing yet…

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Political Figures: Changing the ballot

Once a month we are going to hand over to Alan Collins from Medway Elects who is going to dig into the Medway electoral data, and try to tell us what it all means..

Short of 30 pieces of silver, what does it take to influence a vote?

Three years ago, the authors of this blog shone a spotlight on Mike Franklin, the Conservative councillor for Luton & Wayfield, for sharing unseemly tweets. Last month, following the intervention of Baroness Sayeda Warsi, he was finally suspended as a Conservative councillor and member of the party pending an internal investigation.

Of course, one does not wish to prejudge the outcome of such an investigation, but it is likely the local Conservatives will not wait for its results, and instead select a new candidate for the ward – as despite these claims being brought to their attention what feels like a lifetime ago, he continued to sit as a Conservative councillor and was slated to stand for re-election in May.

Everyone enjoys reading about a good scandal (what, just me?), but do they have any effect on the outcome of subsequent elections? And are there any other major events happening which could also impact the result this May?

Today I am going to be looking at scandals and farces during the 2007-2011 council term, all with their own hints of scandal, and also trying to guess (emphasis on the word “guess”, as data alone is insufficient for this purpose) whether Brexit will have any effect on this year’s elections.

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