General Election 2017: Stoke-on-Trent North

Background

Stoke-on-Trent North constituency was established in 1950, since which time it has been a safe Labour (or Labour Co-op) seat. Only since 2015 has its status been considered to have become marginal.

For the first 29 years of the existence of the constituency, the Labour vote did not dip below 60% and was often above 70%, peaking at 75.49% at the 1953 by-election

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoke-on-Trent_North_(UK_Parliament_constituency)#Elections.

Only in 1970 did Labour fail to secure over 60% of the vote, coming in with 59.36%. That was also the first election at which 4 candidates stood. In fact, only once before that had there been more than 2 candidates (October 1974: Lab, Con, Liberal). In 1979 the Labour, Conservative and Liberal candidates were joined by one from the National Front (the NF lost their deposit, securing less than 1% of the vote).

In the 1980s, there were commonly 3 parties in contention, but from 1992 others joined the fray. There were 7 candidates in 2005, 5 in 2010 and 7 in 2015.

Joan Walley, the MP for 28 years (1987-2015) had vote shares above 50% and even 60%, peaking at 65.2% in 1997. Her final election, however, in 2010, was achieved on a lower level: 44.3%.

The MP from 2015-2017, Ruth Smeeth, was elected on a vote share of only 39.9%, the lowest Labour vote share ever in Stoke-on-Trent North. There may have been a number of causative factors: long-term decline in the Labour vote; also, the number of candidates contending (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green Party, UKIP and 2 Independents). The Labour candidate herself may have been another factor in the lacklustre Labour performance.

Ruth Smeeth

Ruth Smeeth is not from the West Midlands. Her origins (as far as the UK is concerned) lie in Edinburgh and London. Her Jewish mother came from a background in East London where her immediate family members in the 1930s were engaged in crime and gangsterism: the era of razor gangs and the like. They were violently opposed to the English people who supported Oswald Mosley and were engaged in streetfighting or worse.

Ruth Smeeth has described herself as “culturally Jewish” and worked for years for the “Britain Israel Communications Centre” [BICOM], a public relations or propaganda outfit working on behalf of Israel and Zionism:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain_Israel_Communications_and_Research_Centre

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Smeeth#Early_life

In 2009, Bradley Manning, the American whistleblower, made available to Wikileaks a cable in which the American Embassy described Ruth Smeeth as “a source” whom the Embassy staff should “strictly protect”. It is largely a question of definition whether such a person is called “a confidential contact”, “an agent of influence”, more simply “an agent” or (brutally? unfairly?) “a spy”. The diplomatic cable simply used the words “a source”.

Despite the above, the Labour Party machine was determined to get Ruth Smeeth adopted as the candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North and she was, after an all-women shortlist was imposed on the selection procedure. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), her activity for the American and Israeli governments seems not to have barred her from becoming the candidate.

As an MP, Ruth Smeeth has taken part in some minor campaigns (see the Wikipedia article, above), but has also spent much time attacking the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn; she has been vocal (on occasion, near-hysterical) about alleged “anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party and generally.

Analysis

Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green Party are all putting up candidates. The obvious absentee is UKIP. In 2015, Labour’s vote was 39.9%, Conservative vote 27.4%, UKIP 24.7%, the LibDems 2.9% (down from 17.7% in 2010 and 14.8% in 2005); Green Party secured a vote share of 2.8%.

The constituency voted about 60%-40% for Leave in the EU Referendum.

It would be too easy to add together the 2015 vote shares of the Conservatives and UKIP (combined, 52.1%) and assume that UKIP votes will be transferred to the Conservatives. The chances are that a high proportion will either not vote or will go elsewhere than to the Conservatives. However, we can probably guess that half of 2010 UKIP votes will be gathered in by the Conservative candidate (particularly bearing in mind Brexit etc), making a possible Conservative vote share of perhaps about 40%, possibly several points higher. Then there is the (open) question of how many 2010 Labour voters will go Conservative.

Labour is unlikely to do as well this time as it did in 2015 after five years of Conservative-led coalition government. Any persons who support Labour generally but are anti-Israel (or anti-Zionist or, indeed, “anti-Semitic”) will not vote for Ruth Smeeth and will probably either vote Green or even LibDem, or just stay home, “voting with their feet”. Likewise, any Labour members who are strongly pro-Corbyn may well decide that what they have to do is abstain or vote elsewhere, simply in order to get rid of Ruth Smeeth and then get a more suitable Labour candidate for next time.

Realistically, only Labour and Conservative have a real chance. That means that the LibDem and Green votes, even if as small as they were in 2015 (under 3% each) are of importance.

Prediction

Both Labour and Conservative candidates are likely to be in the 35%-50% range, with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party contending for the remaining 10% or 15% of votes.

I assess the likely outcome as follows: Conservative Party to win Stoke-on-Trent North for the first time over Labour, with the Greens (possibly) third and LibDems (perhaps) bringing up the rear.

Press Coverage

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/general-election-2017-stoke-north-13066893

Bookmakers’ Odds

At time of writing, the Conservative Party is odds-on to win:

https://www.oddschecker.com/politics/british-politics/stoke-on-trent-north/winning-party

 

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12 thoughts on “General Election 2017: Stoke-on-Trent North”

  1. I think it is going to be a very close-run thing, but she might just scrape through.

    It’s clear from looking at the demographics for Stoke North [sources below] that she is going to be reliant on white British voters to see her over the line.

    Stoke North is split between Newcastle-Under-Lyme (‘NUL’) and Stoke City Council (‘SCC’).

    There are four NUL wards, all of which had approximately 97% white British populations according to the 2011 Census. That will have changed, but even so, the NUL wards will still be overwhelmingly white.

    There are 13 SCC wards, in which the demographics in 2011 were more varied. Seven of these had white British populations in excess of 90%, in all-but one ward comfortably so. Another three had white populations comfortably over 80%. Of the remaining three, the white British populations were 74.94% (Tunstall), 57.45% (Etruria and Hanley) and 54.98% (Moorcroft) respectively.

    The constituency-wide population in 2011 was 125,313. If we go on the 2010 general election turnout figures, the total voting population for the constituency was 72,035, leaving 53,278 too young or otherwise unregistered (which worrying leaves us with about 15,000 voting age adults who have slipped into a black hole).

    Taking the percentages above, we can make a rough house calculation that the white British population in the constituency was 87.64%, based on a mean average across the 17 wards (or by borough breakdown, it would be 97% in the NUL wards and 84.76% in the SCC wards).

    Of course, the figures will have changed from 2011, so let’s err on the side of caution and round-off the white British percentage for the constituency at something closer to the SCC figure, 84%. We also don’t know what the age distribution is across the ethnic groups (though this could probably be figured out with more time for research), but again let’s err on the side of caution and assume that the age distributions approximately mirror the ethnic distributions at a ratio of 1:1. We can then say that Let’s also allow for an increase in the population by 3.4% (an ONS figure for the West Midlands region).

    This gives us a constituency population of 129,573 and a voting population of 74,484, of which we are saying 84% are white, so that means roughly a white British voting population of 62,566 and a non-white voting population of 11,918.

    The simple conclusion is that she’s going to have to fight for every vote. Not all of those non-whites will turn out. If we assume only half will, then she is heavily reliant on the goodwill of the white British population.

    The NUL wards are white working class and all vote Labour. If you also look at the industry employment categories for Newcastle-Under-Lyme, the major employers are in education, health and retail. The first two will be public sector and therefore Labour voters.

    The SCC wards are politically more varied, but do contain a lot of socially-liberal voters.

    Sources:

    https://www.streetcheck.co.uk/constituency/stoke-on-trent-north

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjdt4G05obUAhUBIsAKHWFBAs8QFggtMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwebapps.stoke.gov.uk%2FJSNA%2FDownload.aspx%3FDocumentID%3D87&usg=AFQjCNHxFkpC049PjufKojjo67-xdzYgGg&sig2=L5qe3Wwo0j1kl73L93y8HQ – shows ethnicity in Stoke on page 8

    http://moderngov.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/documents/s7616/NewcastleBoroughDistrictProfile2013.pdf – page (iii) shows employment categories

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration

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    1. Thank you. That really is number-crunching! There is one other factor, which is that the Pakistani/Bangladeshi Muslim voting population (across the UK) is more organized that the English/white population: more likely to vote and more likely to vote as a bloc. That would be to Labour’s advantage usually, but bearing in mind Ruth Smeeth’s Israeli and Jewish links generally, might not be in this election.

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      1. I agree that the turnout among the non-whites will be proportionately higher and more organised and I also agree there’s the J-factor to consider with Moslem voters. Unfortunately, I think the first factor will outweigh the second, as Moslems tend to put aside such things and vote for the Labour candidate regardless. This is especially so when, as here, there isn’t an alternative pro-ethnic candidate from one of the fringe Leftist parties. Bear in mind also Smeeth’s background, as a former deputy director of More Hope, Less Soap and professional ‘anti-racist’, which gives her credibility even among Moslems.

        For those reasons, I think she could just about scrape it, as she will have that solid ethnic voting bloc, plus the solid bloc of white working class Labour voters who might have abandoned her for a stronger UKIP proposition but now won’t. These working class whites mostly won’t be able to bring themselves to vote Tory (although the Conservative candidate is reasonably local, has stood before and did respectably, and seems quite credible). They won’t see her as Jewish; they’ll just see her as another white woman from east London. Most of them that bother to vote will vote for her.

        But it’s going to be close. Just for the heck of it, let me offer a prediction:

        I think Labour and the Conservatives will be about equal at roughly 15,000 votes each, with Labour just clinching it by the skin of their teeth. There may be a recount or two.

        The Lib Dems will be on around 5,000 and UKIP will be at 3,000. The Green Party will be on 1,000, with another 1,000 votes shared between the Independents. That makes for a turnout at just over 50%,
        consistent with every election since 2001.

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      2. I agree with you that it might be close in Stoke on Trent North. Labour may cling on, though as you know my analysis favoured Conservative (first victory there since 1950 when the seat came into being).

        On the other hand, there seem to be many likely to vote ABS (Anyone But Smeeth) or abstain. Many Corbyn-Labour supporters may not turn out even to vote for Ruth Smeeth. They would not vote Con either, though, (probably and despite that being the best way to get her out). The LibDems and Greens are very much also-rans here. I imagine that some disaffected Lab supporters might vote Green, as a protest.

        You seem to believe that UKIP are standing again. I think not:

        Most 2015 UKIP votes will go to Con.

        I also think that you may be overestimating the LibDems.
        Only 2 weeks now and we shall know.

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  2. I think you should study some sort of constitutional law…not certain of its correct name.

    But it is treason for a Prime Minister to put troops on the street without parliamentary approval.

    May should recall parliament not act out the fascist dictator role she has always dreamed of!

    In the Act of Union, (it has another name in Scotland), it clearly states that no private army is permitted.

    Since May requires the approval of parliament to put troops on the streets, these troops are legally May’s private army.

    This is a breach of the Act of Union and May is now nothing more than a common fascist dictator.

    May, Rudd, Farron et al are now criminals before the law of the land. The Act of Union takes precedence over every other law no matter what its origin or design.

    The police should be arresting May, not supporting her and her false flag.

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    1. Again, I have approved your comment, purely in the interest of free speech.

      You recommend to me the study of Constitutional Law. You are perhaps unaware that to become a barrister (as I was) you have to have passed an exam in that subject (in my case in the first year of my law degree). I also passed similar exams in relation to US Federal and New York law, in order to be admitted to the Bar of the State of New York.

      It is not treason for a Prime Minister of the UK to order troops around. The Army swear individual allegiance to the Monarch. In her name, the Secretary of State for Defence gives orders. In UK Constitutional Law, any Secretary of State can perform any and all functions of the other Secretaries of State (in practice, they don’t, for sake of convenience). The PM is of same rank and in fact primus inter pares, so can order troops onto streets.

      I do not think that I need to continue.

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      1. Interestingly, although May does not require parliamentary approval, she can be injuncted by the courts, even in the exercise of prerogative powers. So somebody could – at some due point – bring proceedings to stop this on the basis that no “imminent” terrorist threat has been made out. Of course, in practice, this would be very difficult to demonstrate as the relevant material would, one assumes, be treated as classified and protected from legal disclosure under public interest immunity. I have in mind here the Shoreham Aerodrome Case (1915) and The Zamora Case (1916) – two cases that incidentally came up during discussions I have had elsewhere about the Brexit ruling.

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      2. The Prime Minister can only be restrained by the courts in circumstances where she has acted illegally, i.e. and in this situation, beyond her powers. An ultra vires act. I see nothing here that is beyond her powers. A Prime Minister can order troops here and there so long asthe ordering-about is not for a purpose which itself is beyond her powers (e.g. deposing the Monarch). There is no need for the Prime Minister to prove that there is or was an “imminent threat” or indeed any thret. It is prima facie within the powers of a Prime Minister of the UK to order troops onto the streets.

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      3. In my opinion, the deployment of troops has nothing to do with terrorists. It is to protect the elite from us and it is also meant as a demonstration to us of who is in charge. I think logically this can be recognised when you consider that they have not needed to deploy troops so extensively in the past (I think Blair did once in response to terrorism, and only for a day or so), and they don’t need the troops anyway. The Army adds nothing to the situation from a security point-of-view.

        My interpretation of the law differed slightly from yours when I was thinking about this earlier. I read the relevant cases as going further than what you state, as they seem to indicate it would be possible for troops in the streets to be challenged in circumstances where it could no longer be ‘justified’ (perhaps the right word would be ‘proportionate’), not just where it is “illegal”, unlawful or “ultra vires”. To be fair, I think this sort of thing is probably what the commenter above was getting at, he/she just doesn’t have the legal language to articulate it.

        All of this is likely academic of course, and in any case, let me assure you that I bow to your greater credentials.

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  3. Ah well, us political/legal dimbos know our place! (Doffs cap)! But I assure you that it is illegal under both English and Scottish law for May to put troops on the streets without parliamentary approval according to the Act of Union.

    Have just watched Corbyn on the Canary with Peston on itv, (Tuesday am). There is no comparison. May is like a freaky self righteous but deluded Sunday School teacher compared to a competent, assured, intellectual Labour leader.

    Peston is clearly out of his depth with Corbyn too. Also the Corbyn meet with motorcyclist on the road somewhere. If it had been May, the motorcyclist would have been pinned to the ground with armed thugs!

    But I assure you Millard, should May ever get arrested and tried in a court, the illegality of her actions under the Act of Union will be a major factor. It is the act of a desperate dictator who knows she has lost all credibility.

    I agree with the other commentator. The troops are only there to protect the Establishment and the Westminster parliamentary con artists from us. They know their nasty little game is up.

    With Cresida Dick running the Met and May running the country, the only thing that is clear is that incompetence rules. Britain is now very close to a dictatorship. The troops on the street are typical of desperate dictators.

    The interesting thing about Hitler when he came to power was that he disarmed the German police. They were not even allowed to carry truncheons, but they kept law and order because the police respected the public.

    We are told we live in a free country. Our rulers are liars. In free countries the police do not need arms. Our police are armed, and the troops are in the streets, only to protect the thriving, two faced, paedophilie Establishment and their parliamentary lackies.

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