The Seats of the Stoa, One

I’d like to know more about the demographics of the vote in Bethnal Green and Bow than I do. Glancing at the results, Oona King’s vote only fell by 5,000, or a quarter, since 2001. So the easiest way to account for Galloway’s 15,000 votes is to say that 5,000 were people switching from Labour, 5,000 were people switching from the Lib Dems or Tories (whose combined vote was around 15,000 in the 1992, 1997 and 2001 elections, but which fell to c.10,000 this time round), and 5,000 were the extra votes cast in 2005 compared with the 2001 total (these are rough numbers, obviously). But Tories and Lib Dems might have been tactically switching to Labour, and replacing a larger number of Labour voters going to Galloway. Or they might have been staying at home, being replaced by a larger number of first-time voters. Who knows? I certainly don’t. And what happened to the racist vote — 3,000 in 1997, 2,000 in 2001 (split between two parties, the BNP and the rather tiny NBP)? We heard a lot about the campaign for Muslim / Bangladeshi votes in the press, but Muslims were only (I think) 40% of the electorate. Lots of accusations of communalism have been thrown around by both sides: do we have — or will we have — voting breakdowns by ethnic group to help make sense of some of the claims? It’s been such a controversial contest that it’d be good to have a bit more solid data to chew on.

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