St Albans Labour Party has been trumpeting their narrow 32 vote margin in holding their London Colney parish council seat as the greatest news since the second coming. Of course their candidate Maria Aguado is to be congratulated on her victory. But the real news was the trouncing of the BNP and the barnstorming performance by LibDem first-time candidate Vibs Nazeri.
It was the last opportunity for real voting anywhere in the St Albans constituency before the imminent General Election. Leaving aside the BNP, both Labour and particularly the Conservatives saw their vote share fall compared with the huge surge in support for the Liberal Democrats. As recently as 2008, district councillor Dave Winstone, the Conservative candidate on Thursday, polled 48 percent of the vote to win London Colney village in the last district election. On Thursday he came in third place, with his 181 votes representing a dramatically reduced 27 percent vote share. It’s yet more evidence of the damage done to the St Albans Conservative Party by months of local in-fighting.” Vibs polled 29 percent of the vote, a massive increase from the six percent polled by the LibDem candidate in London Colney in 2008. The Labour victory was achieved on a markedly lower vote share than they achieved when they lost the village in 2008. The momentum going forward into the General Election is clearly with the Liberal Democrats.
And the best news has to be the humiliation of the BNP with a fourth place 61 vote finish. (Incidentally they contested three other by-elections on the same day in other parts of the country and came fourth in all of them.) I hope the Review newspaper will forgive me for reproducing a quote they got on polling day from voter Jane as she went into the polling station: "I have voted Lib Dem. "I always vote, but I think it is particularly important because of the BNP. "I don't want a bunch of fascists on my doorstep." Amen to that.