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Further trends from the London Mayoral election 2016

By: James Kanagasooriam

Although the recent Mayoral election produced a virtual rerun of the 2015 General Election as far as the Conservatives and Labour were concerned, some interesting details emerged from how some of the smaller parties fared. One of these, the Women’s Equality Party “WEP” gained an impressive 3.5% of the London assembly vote. The question is: can they now build on this performance? One of the hurdles the WEP faces, is that its supporters would seem to be demographically near-identical with those of the Green Party. The graph below shows that at electoral ward level, the Green Party and the WEP advanced or retreated in almost complete lockstep. They both drew their support predominately from the young, highly educated professional classes, and co-habiting couples without children. The question is whether there are enough of these people to support both parties.

WEP chart 1

At the other end of the political and social spectrum Britain First used the London elections for its first major electoral outing. A Fascist party committed to policies like encouraging those of “foreign” descent to leave and the re-introduction of capital punishment, Britain First is made up largely of ex-BNP members at least at its leadership level.

WEP chart 2

Again looking at London ward level data Britain First’s performance is closely related to UKIP’s showing in the same areas. This statistical relationship  isn’t just confined to London this year. At the last General Election the best predictor of how high or low the UKIP vote share would be in any given UK parliamentary seat was how well the BNP had performed there in 2010 if it had stood a candidate.

These trends matter because they help shed light on the demographic and political drivers of Euroscepticism. Although UKIP is a party whose primary purpose is to campaign for the UK to leave the EU, its political support is rooted in social authoritarianism, which has less to do with the European Union, and is much more about how certain communities feel left behind and insecure in modern Britain.

WEP chart 3

Come the Referendum on 23rd June you could do worse than estimate how Eurosceptic or Europhile each ward in London is likely to be by collapsing together the UKIP, BNP and Britain First vote shares together, and comparing these with the combined votes of the Greens and the WEP. The relationship is stark and instructive and explains why the capital is likely to vote heavily in favour of Remain.

WEP chart 4

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