Image may contain: Troop, Team, Soldier, Military Uniform, Military, Army, Tuxedo, Suit, Overcoat, Coat, Clothing, Person, People, Human

It’s not all doom and gloom for Labour in Sheffield

Labour is still the voice of the people in Sheffield

After reading an article in The Tab Sheffield regarding Labour’s apparently poor results in the recent local elections, I feel like it’s up to me, a former Sheffield Hallam student on my gap year before starting my postgrad, to speak up for the party.

The recent local council elections in Sheffield have proved very little about the Labour Party’s position nationally, as local issues have been the driving factor for voting intention in the City and its overall outcome. It is clear that the party generally retained votes in most areas across the City, despite losing in some areas to the Greens and the Lib Dems.

Areas outside of the media glare have not performed as expected, with places like Graves Park returning a 3% swing to Labour. This ward
was not expected to be won, but the candidate put in a huge effort and it clearly paid off.

Whilst pundits across the City are awaiting further breakdown of the figures from the election, it cannot be suggested that the students in Sheffield have rejected the Labour Party, as suggested by the previous article on this subject.

Image may contain: Book, Package Delivery, Carton, Cardboard, Box, Person, People, Human

In general, voter turnout was down to 25% across the city, with some wards, such as City ward, down to 12%. So any notion that Labour votes from its core electorate must be taken with a pinch of salt.

Furthermore, as a student I have found that, in general, people I know are less likely to vote in local elections than they are in the seemingly more important general elections. Again, this must be taken into account before suggesting how students may or may not have voted.

I do agree that the issues surrounding the trees in Sheffield may have contributed to the outcome in swing areas such as Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, City and Crookes, which all elected non-Labour councillors. However, it must be noted that some pro-tree activists sought to take seats from Labour by promoting votes for the Lib Dems and Green Party.

I feel that these are much more obvious reasons for Labour’s results in the local election, rather than the ongoing antisemitism row that has affected the party nationally. In my experience, it was not mentioned once on the doorstep whilst campaigning.

It can be argued that Labour's stance is stronger than ever, especially under the backdrop of UKIP's capitulation across the city and the UKIP vote finding its home seemingly in the Conservative Party.

Sheffield has not turned its back on Labour. Yes, the party lost seats in areas that often do not vote Labour, but Labour’s homeland in the North and South of Sheffield have solidified enough to show that Labour is still the voice of the people in Sheffield.