Saturday, 10 June 2017

Election 2017: Young hearts run free as May clings on


GENERAL ELECTION

OVERALL SUMMARY
CON318 (-13)42.4% (+5.5%)
LAB262 (+30)40.0% (+9.5%)
SNP35 (-21)3.0% (-1.7%)
LD12 (+4)7.4% (-0.5%)
DUP10 (+2)0.9% (+0.3%)
Others136.3%
RESULT CON minority government 
Turnout 68.7% (+2.6%)

THERESA MAY has desperately clung onto her position as Prime Minister following a failed gamble on another dramatic General Election night.

Mrs May's Conservatives won the most votes and most seats in Thursday's poll but they fell short of retaining even the narrow majority which they had previously held.

Consequently, Mrs May has been forced into doing a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party who won 10 seats in Northern Ireland, though it is only a loose arrangement and not a formal coalition.

Certainly, it is not the strong and stable government which Mrs May had set her heart on when she called the election seven weeks ago.

In all, the Tories lost a net total of 23 seats against Labour in England and Wales, and only gains from the Scottish Nationalists provided any solace.

The SNP had won 56 out of the 59 Westminster seats in 2015 but, with their own record in the devolved Holyrood government to defend, they were always likely to go backwards.

Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon's party lost 13% of their previous share of the vote in Scotland, resulting in almost 40% of their MPs being unseated.

The defeated included their former party leader Alec Salmond in Gordon and Angus Robertson, who had been their leader in the House of Commons during the last Parliament.

But the biggest name of the night to lose his seat was former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who finally got his comeuppance as Labour gained Sheffield Hallam from the Liberal Democrats.

Despite this, the Lib Dems at least had a mixed night, rather than a totally disastrous one. 

There were modest gains in Scotland at the expense of the SNP and in London against the Conservatives as former ministers Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson all returned to Parliament.

Overall, though, the party's vote share was down slightly, and there was little sign of a revival in their former heartland in south west England.


Elsewhere, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas defied a slight decrease in her party's overall vote to retain her Brighton Pavilion seat.

However, the UKIP vote collapsed massively just about everywhere, down from 12.6% to just 1.8%. 


Paul Nuttall was humiliated in the Boston and Skegness constituency, taking only just over 3,000 votes, and he became the only party leader - so far - to resign.

At the time of writing, Mrs May has not followed suit despite this having been a huge personal humiliation for her.

After all, just a few weeks ago, the polls suggested that she was on course for the massive landslide victory which she craved heading into the Brexit negotiations.

In Jeremy Corbyn, she faced a supposed relic of an opponent, a man who had struggled to keep his party united during the course of his leadership.

But, with the launch of the manifestos, the tone of the campaign changed. 

The Conservatives' policy on social care became dubbed the dementia tax and, generally, the discussion moved away from Brexit and towards the provision of services.

Historically stronger ground for Labour, Mr Corbyn was able to point out that - even after seven years of austerity - Mrs May was set to make even more cuts.

Worse still in the eyes of many of the public, the Tories did not even appear to be prepared to defend their policy positions.

For, while Mr Corbyn toured the country holding mass rallies, Mrs May organised small private events with a particularly memorable instance of her hiding away coming in a barn in Aberdeenshire.

Rarely can there ever have been a lazier, more arrogant, more insulting campaign in a General Election in Britain.

Terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, which killed a combined total of 30 people, naturally left a sombre backdrop to the election, and campaigning was briefly suspended twice.

But, on its resumption, Mr Corbyn went straight back on the offensive, criticising Mrs May for cutting police numbers during her six-year tenure as Home Secretary.

Suddenly, it was Mrs May who was having to defend her political past - and there is a certain further irony in her eventual deal with the DUP.

The DUP's past links with loyalist paramilitary groups are more well-founded than anything connecting Mr Corbyn to the IRA - and yet, as it stands, their 10 MPs now hold a significant stake in determining Britain's future.


That, of course, includes the Brexit negotiations. There, a diminished Mrs May, previously a Remainer herself, will head to the table aware that she only retains any sort of power courtesy of MPs from Scotland and Northern Ireland, areas which both voted to stay in the EU.

Already, the lack of authority which Mrs May commands, even within her own party, has been exposed by the resignation today of her two top aides Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

But, rather than shoring up Mrs May, their departure undoubtedly makes her weaker still - and, far from delivering her a massive landslide majority, this whole election has turned into a complete mess.

By contrast, things are looking up for Labour. True, the party still finished 56 seats short of the Conservatives - but there has been some excellent progress, especially in the south.

Seats like Peterborough, Enfield Southgate and Reading East - all won in the 1997 landslide under Tony Blair - have returned to the Labour fold after an intervening period of Conservative control.

More astonishingly, Labour gained Canterbury, a seat which had been held by the Tories since its inception in the 1800s.


And then, in the final result to declare, Kensington - the richest constituency in the country - fell to Labour after a third recount.

Overall, Mr Corbyn won over 12 million votes, more than Mr Blair in his "quiet" landslide in 2001 as Labour polled at 40% for only the third time since 1970.

The return of two-party politics has undoubtedly helped - though it has also assisted in keeping the Conservatives in power.

Nevertheless, if there is now going to be a period of binary politics, a strong opposition must now focus on presenting itself as a government-in-waiting. 

That means more support for Mr Corbyn from his own side, less sniping against him and certainly no embarrassingly pointless and diversionary leadership elections.

It seems inconceivable that the Conservatives will not, at some point in the near future, tear themselves apart over Mrs May's continued leadership after her failed gamble. Meanwhile, the arrangement with the DUP is tenuous in the extreme.

This General Election, when it was called, seemed incredibly unnecessary - and yet perhaps the greatest irony of this result is that it has necessitated another. 

Strong and stable times, indeed.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Election 2017: the full results


GENERAL ELECTION

OVERALL SUMMARY
CON318 (-13)42.4% (+5.5%)
LAB262 (+30)40.0% (+9.5%)
SNP35 (-21)3.0% (-1.7%)
LD12 (+4)7.4% (-0.5%)
DUP10 (+2)0.9% (+0.3%)
UKIP0 (-1)1.8% (-10.8%)
GRN1 (-)1.6% (-2.1%)
PC4 (+1)0.5% (-0.1%)
Others8 (-10)2.4%
RESULT CON minority government 
Turnout 68.7% (+2.6%)

EXIT POLL CON short of a majority.
CON 314 LAB 266 SNP 34 LD 14 PC 3 UKIP GRN OTH 18


REGION-BY-REGION
NORTH EAST ENGLAND
Conservative
Berwick-upon-Tweed - Hexham - Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland
Labour
Bishop Auckland - Blaydon - Blyth Valley - Darlington - City of Durham - North Durham - North West Durham - Easington - Gateshead - Hartlepool - Houghton & Sunderland South - Jarrow - Middlesbrough - Newcastle upon Tyne Central - Newcastle upon Tyne East - Newcastle upon Tyne North - Sedgefield - South Shields - Stockton North - Stockton South - Sunderland Central - Tynemouth - North Tyneside - Redcar - Wansbeck - Washington & Sunderland West

NORTH WEST ENGLAND
Conservative
Altrincham & Sale West - Blackpool North & Cleveleys - Bolton West - Carlisle - Cheadle - Congleton - Copeland - Eddisbury - Fylde - Hazel Grove - Macclesfield - Morecambe & Lunesdale - Pendle - Penrith & The Border - Ribble Valley - Rossendale & Darwen - South Ribble - Southport - Tatton - Wyre & Preston North
Labour
Ashton Under Lyne - Barrow & Furness - Birkenhead - Blackburn - Blackley & Broughton - Blackpool South - Bolton North East - Bolton South East - Bootle - Burnley - Bury South - Bury North - City of Chester - Chorley - Crewe & Nantwich - Denton & Reddish - Ellesmere Port & Neston - Garston & Halewood - Halton - Heywood & Middleton - Hyndburn - Knowsley - Lancashire West - Lancaster & Fleetwood - Leigh - Liverpool Riverside - Liverpool Walton - Liverpool Wavertree - Liverpool West Derby - Makerfield - Manchester Central - Manchester Gorton - Manchester Withington - Oldham East & Saddleworth - Oldham West & Royton - Preston - Rochdale - St Helens North - St Helens South & Whiston - Salford & Eccles - Sefton Central - Stalybridge & Hyde - Stockport - Stretford & Urmston - Wallasey - Warrington North - Warrington South - Weaver Vale - Wigan - Wirral South - Wirral West - Workington - Worsley & Eccles South - Wythenshawe & Sale East
Liberal Democrats
Westmorland & Lonsdale

YORKSHIRE & HUMBER
Conservative
Beverley & Holderness - Brigg & Goole - Calder Valley - Cleethorpes - Elmet & Rothwell - Haltemprice & Howden - Harrogate & Knaresborough -  - Morley & Outwood - Pudsey - Richmond - Scarborough & Whitby - Selby & Ainsty - Shipley - Skipton & Ripon - Thirsk & Malton - York Outer - East Yorkshire
Labour
Barnsley Central - Barnsley East - Batley & Spen - Bradford East - Bradford South - Bradford West - Colne Valley - Dewsbury - Don Valley - Doncaster Central - Doncaster North - Great Grimsby - Halifax - Hemsworth - Huddersfield - Keighley - Kingston-upon-Hull East - Kingston-upon-Hull North - Kingston-upon-Hull West & Hessle - Leeds Central - Leeds East - Leeds North East - Leeds North West - Leeds West - Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford - Penistone & Stocksbrige - Rother Valley - Rotherham - Scunthorpe - Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough - Sheffield Central - Sheffield Hallam - Sheffield Heeley - Sheffield South East - Wakefield - Wentworth & Dearne - York Central

EAST MIDLANDS
Conservative
Amber Valley - Boston & Skegness - Bosworth - Broxtowe - Charnwood - Corby - Daventry - Derbyshire Dales - Mid Derbyshire - North East Derbyshire - South Derbyshire - Erewash - Gainsborough - Grantham & Stamford - Harborough - Kettering - North West Leicestershire - South Leicestershire - Loughborough - Louth & Horncastle - Mansfield - Newark - Northampton North - Northampton South - South Northamptonshire - Rushcliffe - Rutland & Melton - Sherwood - Sleaford & North Hykeham - South Holland & The Deepings - Wellingborough
Labour
Ashfield - Bassetlaw - Bolsover - Chesterfield - Derby North - Derby South - Gedling - High Peak - Leicester East - Leicester South - Leicester West - Lincoln- Nottingham East - Nottingham North - Nottingham South

WEST MIDLANDS
Conservative
Aldridge-Brownhills - Bromsgrove - Burton - Cannock Chase - Dudley South - Halesowen & Rowley Regis - Hereford & South Herefordshire - North Herefordshire - Kenilworth & Southam - Lichfield - Ludlow - Meriden - Nuneaton - Redditch - Rugby - Shrewsbury & Atcham - North Shropshire - Solihull - Stafford - Staffordshire Moorlands - South Staffordshire - Stoke-on-Trent South - Stone - Stourbridge - Stratford-on-Avon - Sutton Coldfield - Tamworth - Telford - North Warwickshire - Worcester - Mid Worcestershire 
Labour
Birmingham Edgbaston - Birmingham Erdington - Birmingham Hall Green - Birmingham Hodge Hill - Birmingham Ladywood - Birmingham Northfield - Birmingham Perry Barr - Birmingham Selly Oak - Birmingham Yardley - Coventry North East - Coventry North West - Coventry South - Dudley North - Newcastle-under-Lyme - Stoke-on-Trent Central - Stoke-on-Trent North - Walsall North - Walsall South - Warley - Warwick & Leamington - West Bromwich East - West Bromwich West - Wolverhampton North East - Wolverhampton South East - Wolverhampton South West

EAST ENGLAND
Conservative
Basildon & Billericay - South Basildon & East Thurrock - Mid Bedfordshire - North East Bedfordshire - South West Bedfordshire - Braintree - Brentwood & Ongar - Broadland - Broxbourne - Bury St Edmunds - North East Cambridgeshire - North West Cambridgeshire - South Cambridgeshire - South East Cambridgeshire - Castle Point - Chelmsford - Clacton - Colchester - Epping Forest - Great Yarmouth - Harlow - Harwich & North Essex - Hemel Hempstead - Hertford & Stortford - North East Hertfordshire - South West Hertfordshire - Hertsmere - Hitchin & Harpenden - Huntingdon - Maldon - Mid Norfolk - North West Norfolk - South Norfolk - South West Norfolk - Norwich North - Rayleigh & Wickford - Rochford & Southend East - Saffron Walden - St Albans - Southend West - Stevenage - Central Suffolk & Ipswich North - Suffolk Coastal - South Suffolk - West Suffolk - Thurrock - Watford - Waveney - Welwyn Hatfield - Witham
Labour
Bedford - Cambridge - Ipswich - Luton North - Luton South - Norwich South - Peterborough
Liberal Democrats 
North Norfolk

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Conservative
Aldershot - Arundel & South Downs - Ashford - Aylesbury - Banbury - Basingstoke - Beaconsfield - Bexhill & Battle - Bognor Regis & Littlehampton - Bracknell - Chatham & Aylesford - Chesham & Amersham - Chichester - Crawley - Dartford - Dover - Eastleigh - Epsom & Ewell - Esher & Walton - Fareham - Faversham & Mid Kent - Folkestone & Hythe - Gillingham & Rainham - Gosport - Gravesham - Guildford - East Hampshire - North East Hampshire - North West Hampshire - Hastings & Rye - Havant - Henley - Horsham - Isle of Wight - Lewes - Maidenhead - Maidstone & The Weald - Meon Valley - Milton Keynes North - Milton Keynes South - Mole Valley - New Forest East - New Forest West - Newbury - Portsmouth North - Reading West - Reigate - Rochester & Strood - Romsey & Southampton North - Runnymede & Weybridge - Sevenoaks - Sittingbourne & Sheppey - Southampton Itchen - Spelthorne - East Surrey - Surrey Heath - South West Surrey - Mid Sussex - North Thanet - South Thanet - Tonbridge & Malling - Tunbridge Wells - Wantage - Wealden - Winchester - Windsor - Witney - Woking - Wokingham - Worthing East & Shoreham - Worthing West - Wycombe
Labour
Brighton Kemptown - Canterbury - Hove - Oxford East - Portsmouth South - Reading East - Slough - Southampton Test
Liberal Democrats
Eastbourne - Oxford West and Abingdon
Green
Brighton Pavilion
Speaker
Buckinghamshire

LONDON
Conservative
Beckenham - Bexleyheath & Crayford - Bromley & Chislehurst - Chelsea & Fulham - Chingford & Woodford Green - Chipping Barnet - Cities of London & Westminster - Croydon South - Finchley & Golders Green - Harrow East - Hendon - Hornchurch & Upminster - Old Bexley & Sidcup - Orpington - Putney - Romford - Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner - Richmond Park - Sutton & Cheam - Uxbridge & Ruislip South - Wimbledon
Labour
Barking - Battersea - Bermondsey & Old Southwark - Bethnal Green & Bow - Brentford & Isleworth - Brent Central - Brent North - Camberwell & Peckham - Croydon Central - Croydon North - Dagenham & Rainham - Dulwich & West Norwood - Ealing Central & Acton - Ealing North - Ealing Southall - East Ham - Edmonton - Eltham - Enfield North - Enfield Southgate - Erith & Thamesmead - Feltham & Heston - Greenwich & Woolwich - Hackney North & Stoke Newington - Hackney South & Shoreditch - Hammersmith - Hampstead & Kilburn - Harrow West - Hayes & Harlington - Holborn & St Pancras - Hornsey & Wood Green - Ilford North - Ilford South - Islington North - Islington South & Finsbury - Kensington - Lewisham Deptford - Lewisham East - Lewisham West & Penge - Leyton & Wantstead - Mitcham & Morden - Poplar & Limehouse - Streatham - Tooting - Tottenham - Vauxhall - Walthamstow - West Ham - Westminster North 
Liberal Democrats
Carshalton & Wallington - Kingston & Surbiton - Twickenham

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
Conservative
Bournemouth East - Bournemouth West - Bridgwater & Somerset West - Camborne & Redruth - Cheltenham - Chippenham - Christchurch - North Cornwall - South East Cornwall - The Cotswolds - Devizes - Central Devon - East Devon - North Devon - South West Devon - West Devon and Torridge - Mid Dorset and North Poole - North Dorset - South Dorset - West Dorset - Filton & Bradley Stoke - Forest of Dean - Gloucester - Kingswood - Newton Abbot - Plymouth Moor View - Poole - St Austell & Newquay - St Ives - Salisbury - North Somerset - North East Somerset - Somerton & Frome - North Swindon - South Swindon - Taunton Deane - Tewkesbury - Thornbury & Yate - Tiverton & Honiton - Torbay - Totnes - Truro & Falmouth - Wells - Weston-Super-Mare - North Wiltshire - South West Wiltshire - Yeovil  
Labour
Bristol East - Bristol North West - Bristol South - Bristol West - Exeter - Plymouth Sutton & Devonport - Stroud
Liberal Democrats
Bath

SCOTLAND
Conservative
Aberdeen South - Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine - Angus - Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock - Banff & Buchan - Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk - Dumfries & Galloway - Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale - Gordon - Moray - Ochil & South Perthshire - East Renfewshire - Stirling
Labour
Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill - East Lothian - Edinburgh South - Glasgow North East - Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath - Midlothian - Rutherglen & Hamilton West 
Scottish National Party
Aberdeen North - Airdree & Shotts - Argyll & Bute - Ayrshire Central - Ayrshire North & Arran - Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East  - West Dunbartonshire - Dundee East - Dundee West - Dunfermline & West Fife - East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow - Edinburgh East - Edinburgh North & Leith - Edinburgh South West - Falkirk - North East Fife - Glasgow Central - Glasgow East - Glasgow North  - Glasgow North West - Glasgow South - Glasgow South West - Glenrothes - Inverclyde - Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey - Kilmarnock & Loudoun - Lanark & Hamilton East - Linlithgow & Falkirk East - Livingston - Motherwell & Wishaw - Na h-Eileanan an lar - Paisley & Renfrewshire North - Paisley & Renfrewshire South - Perth & North Perthshire - Ross, Sky & Lochaber
Liberal Democrats
Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross - East Dunbartonshire - Edinburgh West - Orkney & Shetland

WALES
Conservative
Aberconwy - Brecon & Radnorshire - Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire - Clwyd West - Monmouth - Montgomeryshire - Preseli Pembrokeshire - Vale of Glamorgan
Labour
Aberavon - Alyn & Deeside - Blaenau Gwent - Bridgend - Caerphilly - Cardiff Central - Cardiff North - Cardiff South & Penarth - Cardiff West - Clwyd South - Cynon Valley - Delyn - Gower - Islwyn - Llanelli - Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney - Neath - Newport East - Newport West - Ogmore - Pontypridd - Rhondda - Swansea East - Swansea West - Torfaen - Vale of Clwyd - Wrexham - Ynys Mon
Plaid Cymru
Arfon - Carmarthen East & Dinefwr - Ceredigion - Dwyfor Meirionnydd  

NORTHERN IRELAND
Democratic Unionist
Belfast East - Belfast North - Belfast South - East Antrim - East Londonderry - Lagan Valley - North Antrim - South Antrim - Strangford - Upper Bann
Sinn Fein
Belfast West - Fermanagh & South Tyrone - Foyle - Mid Ulster - Newry & Armagh - South Down - West Tyrone
Independent
North Down

Election 2017: In the hands of the youth?

GENERAL ELECTION 2017
 Preview - Results - Review


WinnerTurnout (change)18-24 (diff)25-34 (diff)65+ (diff)
1979Thatcher76.0%62.5% (-13.5%)72.4% (-3.6%)77.7% (+1.7%)
1983Thatcher72.7% (-3.3%)63.9% (-8.8%)67.6% (-5.1%)73.1% (+0.4%)
1987Thatcher75.3% (+2.6%)66.6% (-8.7%)74.0% (-1.3%)76.0% (+0.7%)
1992Major77.7% (+2.4%)67.3% (-10.4%)77.3% (-0.4%)79.2% (+1.5%)
1997Blair71.3% (-6.4%)54.1% (-17.2%)62.2% (-9.1%)77.7% (+6.4%)
2001Blair59.4% (-11.9%)40.4% (-19.0%)45.0% (-14.4%)70.1% (+10.7%)
2005Blair61.4% (+2.0%)38.2% (-23.2%)47.7% (-13.7%)74.3% (+12.9%)
2010hung65.1% (+3.7%)51.8% (-13.3%)57.3% (-7.8%)74.7% (+9.6%)
2015Cameron66.4% (+1.3%)43.0% (-23.4%)54.0% (-12.4%)78.0% (+11.6%)
Source (1979-2010), Source (2015)

LABOUR hopes of a spectacular General Election win today will rely on harnessing the votes of the notoriously unreliable younger voting groups.

Jeremy Corbyn's party holds strong leads in both the 18-24 and 25-34 age categories, according to the pollsters.

But, despite a difficult campaign for the Conservatives in which their overall poll lead has been at least halved, Theresa May retains a solid core of support among the far more reliable over-65s.

If ever, then, there was an election for younger voters finally to seize the narrative and determine their own destiny, it has to be this one.

At the most recent General Election in 2015, only 27% of under-25s voted Conservative - and yet David Cameron sneaked an unexpected overall majority.

It does not take long to work out that a big reason for that was because only 43% of under-25s actually voted, compared to approximately 78% of over-65s.

Of course, as a result of earning his majority, Mr Cameron had to honour his vow of holding a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

And so, just under a year ago, the vast majority of under-25s who actually voted were again left to watch on as the older age groups decided on Brexit.

Almost three-quarters of young voters who visited the polls in the EU referendum opted for remain - but, once again, they found quite simply that there were not enough of them.

Now, of course, this is hardly the fault of the older voters - as the above table shows, their turnout rates have remained consistently high, at or above 70%.

By contrast, though, turnout among under-25s fell from a respectable 67.3% in 1992 to just 38.2% in 2005. There was a slight recovery in 2010 before again less than half of the demographic went to the polls in 2015.

For the next age-group up - those aged between 25 and 34 - the numbers are not much prettier. In 1992, this age group had a turnout of 77.7%, a percentage which was pretty much in line with the overall figure.

But, in the 2001 and 2005 elections, less than half of this age group voted. Again there was a slight recovery in 2010 and this slight increase was largely retained in 2015. However, it means that there are still only just more than half of the eligible voters in this group actually voting.

Oddly enough, this will be the last General Election in which I will personally fall into the 25-34 age-group category - yes, dear reader, I am getting old.

My first reaction to the General Election being called by Mrs May on 18 April was pretty much in line with Brenda from Bristol who aired her total disbelief at the announcement of yet another major political event.

After all, this is the third General Election in just seven years, a period in which there have also been two nationwide referendums - in 2011 and 2016 - and a separate vote in Scotland on independence, in 2014.

Election fatigue had well and truly set in, and - to some extent - that still remains the case now.

I intend to follow the results during the night and I expect I will write up some sort of analysis of the eventual outcome - but do not expect a slurry of posts on here or on my social media. It is just not my style.

Having originally intended to sit this election out altogether, though, I have decided that I will cast a vote today.

For far too long now, the votes of the two youngest age groups have been suppressed by the sort of self-destructive attitude which I had at the start of the campaign.

But, this time, it might just be different - and that suggestion is not just a noise coming from the social media echo chambers.

Reports of much higher turnout among under 25s have been fuelled by actual confirmation in a record increase in registrations before the deadline on 22 May.

The Brexit vote last June was arguably swung by the registrations of previously disenchanted voters deciding to enter a polling booth for the first time in years. Could a similar shock occur in this poll?

Frankly, it still seems unlikely and it would be wise not to get too invested in the hope of a dramatic night.

A straight-forward Conservative majority is still odds-on with the bookmakers - but, if that does not sound to your liking, the only way that will change is by voting.

Conversely, if it does align with your preference, then again the only way of ensuring it happens is by visiting the polling station.

Please note then that this blog post is not acting to persuade its reader into voting one way or another.

However, it does request that you actually use the power of your vote, especially if you fall into one of the youngest two age groups.

Polling stations are open nationwide from 7am until 10pm. 

Election programmes begin on BBC, ITV and Sky at 9.55pm and continue through the night. A joint exit poll, commissioned by the three broadcasters, will be released at 10pm prompt.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Season 2016/17: For the record - Winners and losers

THE SEASON 2016/17

ENGLAND
Premier League
Champions Chelsea
Runners-up Tottenham Hotspur
Champions League Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United*
Europa League Arsenal, Everton
Relegation Hull City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland
*courtesy of winning the Europa League

Championship
Champions Newcastle United
Runners-up Brighton & Hove Albion
Playoff winners Huddersfield Town (beat Reading 4-3 on penalties in the Final, after 0-0 aet)
Relegation Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United

League One
Champions Sheffield United
Runners-up Bolton Wanderers
Playoff winners Millwall (beat Bradford City 1-0 in the Final)
Relegation Port Vale, Swindon Town, Coventry City, Chesterfield

League Two
Champions Portsmouth
Runners-up Plymouth Argyle
Also promoted Doncaster Rovers 
Playoff winners Blackpool (beat Exeter City 2-1 in the Final)
Relegation Hartlepool United, Leyton Orient

Conference Premier
Champions Lincoln City
Playoff winners Forest Green Rovers (beat Tranmere Rovers 3-1 in the Final)
Relegation York City, Braintree Town, Southport, North Ferriby United

Conference North
Champions AFC Fylde
Playoff winners FC Halifax Town (beat Chorley 2-1 aet in the Final)
Relegation Worcester City, Stalybridge Celtic, Altrincham

Conference South
Champions Maidenhead United
Playoff winners Ebbsfleet United (beat Chelmsford City 2-1 in the Final)
Relegation Gosport Borough, Bishop's Stortford, Margate

Domestic Cup Finals
All matches played at Wembley
FA Cup Final Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
League Cup Final Manchester United 3-2 Southampton
FA Community Shield Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City
EFL Trophy Coventry City 2-1 Oxford United
FA Trophy York City 3-2 Macclesfield Town
FA Vase South Shields 4-0 Cleethorpes Town

SCOTLAND
Premier League
Champions Celtic
Runners-up Aberdeen
Europa League Aberdeen, Rangers, St Johnstone
Relegation Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Championship
Champions Hibernian
Runners-up (not promoted) Falkirk
Relegation Raith Rovers, Ayr United

League One
Champions Livingston
Also promoted Brechin City (fourth place) (beat runners-up Alloa Athletic 5-4 on penalties after 4-4 on agg (1-0h, 3-4aet a))
Relegation Peterhead, Stenhousemuir

League Two
Champions Arbroath
Runners-up (promoted) Forfar Athletic (beat Peterhead 7-2 on agg (2-1h, 5-1a)
Relegation None. Cowdenbeath finished bottom but beat East Kilbride 5-3 on penalties after 1-1 on agg (0-0a, 1-1aet h)

Domestic Cup Finals
FA Cup Final Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen
League Cup Final Celtic 3-0 Aberdeen
Challenge Cup Final Dundee United 2-1 St Mirren

WALES/NORTHERN IRELAND
Welsh Premier League
Champions The New Saints
Europa League Connah's Quay Nomads (runners-up), Bala Town (third place), Bangor City (playoff winners)
Relegation Rhyl, Airbus UK Broughton

NIFL Premiership
Champions Linfield
Europa League Crusaders (runners-up), Coleraine (third place), Ballymena United (playoff winners)
Relegation Portadown

Domestic Cup Finals
Welsh FA Cup Final Bala Town 2-1 The New Saints
Welsh League Cup Final The New Saints 4-0 Barry Town United
IFA Cup Final Linfield 3-0 Coleraine
Northern Irish League Cup Final Ballymena United 2-0 Carrick Rangers

EUROPE
UEFA Finals
Champions League Real Madrid (Spa) 4-1 Juventus (Ita) 
Europa League Manchester United (Eng) 2-0 Ajax Amsterdam (Ned)
Super Cup Real Madrid (Spa) 3-2 Sevilla (Spa) after extra time

Major European League champions
Spain Real Madrid
Italy Juventus
Germany Bayern Munich
France AS Monaco
Portugal Benfica
Netherlands Feyenoord
Belgium Anderlecht
Greece Olympiacos
Turkey Beşiktaş

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Mission accomplished

HOW time flies! This time last year, Newcastle United were heading out of the Premier League, heads bowed, after local rivals Sunderland had secured their place in the elite with an easy win over Everton.

In 2016/17, there was a complete turnaround. Having retained the services of manager Rafa Benitez, the Magpies made an immediate return to the top flight, and added the Championship title on the final day in dramatic fashion.

Meanwhile, Sunderland have found themselves completely out of their depth, with relegation arriving on Wearside with weeks of the season still to spare.

Of course, every season has some matches - and, indeed, some moments of matches - which end up sticking in the memory longer than others.

So, here is my personal run-down of the stand-out results which ended up taking Newcastle to the title.

17-Aug v Reading (H) W4-1
The immediate response to this result was undoubtedly relief. Having lost the opening two games of the campaign away to Fulham and at home against Huddersfield Town, victory over the Royals was what could only be described as a nerve-settler. Even in the course of this contest, though, Newcastle made life hard for themselves, conceding on the stroke of half-time for the third match in a row. Thankfully, a strong second half performance secured the points as Dwight Gayle scored a brace, with one of his goals coming from a glorious free-kick.

13-Sep v Queens Park Rangers (A) W6-0
Newcastle had racked up five league and cup wins in a row as they made the trip to west London to face Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road - and those early season nerves seemed to have entirely receded on a night of complete domination from Benitez's men. The Magpies peppered the Rangers' goal continuously and a remarkable total of 29 shots brought half-a-dozen goals even without the services of Gayle who sat on the bench for the full 90 minutes.

28-Sep v Norwich City (H) W4-3
Gayle was back in the starting line-up for the fixtures which followed - but a league defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a draw at Aston Villa had left Newcastle playing catch-up again. On one of the craziest nights of recent years at St James Park, it looked - at first - as if it was going to get worse. Newcastle missed a hatful of first half chances, conceded another penalty on the stroke of half-time, and then somehow found themselves 3-1 down mid-way through the second half.
But, with one glorious 60-yard pass, Jonjo Shelvey turned the match back in United's favour: having let the ball run over his shoulder, Gayle controlled it brilliantly before slotting the ball home with his second touch. The goalscorer immediately retrieved the ball from the back of the net and there followed a spell of relentless Newcastle pressure amid a feverish atmosphere.
To their credit, Norwich held out until deep into stoppage time before Yoan Gouffran bundled home an equaliser in the 95th-minute from six yards. But, even then, there was to be one final twist as yet another Shelvey ball forward was chested down by Aleksandar Mitrovic for Gayle to slot coolly into the bottom left-hand corner of the Leazes net. Newcastle had gone from ninth in the table up to third in the space of a few seconds.

18-Oct v Barnsley (A) W2-0
This was a fairly run-of-the-mill win by Championship standards as a goalless game at the interval inevitably turned in Newcastle's favour thanks to the goalscoring instincts of Gayle. Another two goals at Oakwell - including a beautifully lofted finish for his second - put the Walthamstow-born forward into double figures for the season as early as mid-October. Perhaps most significantly though, this result put Newcastle top of the table for the first time all season amid a winning run which dated back to that glorious Norwich comeback. Could Benitez's team do it on a cold Tuesday night in Barnsley? The question was unequivocally answered there in a positive fashion.

20-Nov v Leeds United (A) W2-0
The winning run continued and had reached eight league-and-cup games by the time Newcastle arrived at Elland Road for a Sunday lunchtime kick-off against Leeds United. The Yorkshire outfit were enjoying their best season in years with Gary Monk at the helm and appeared well-set to provide the Magpies with arguably their sternest match of the season. But, as it happened, Newcastle were in control from the start - and, though it took a howler from Rob Green in goal to gift-wrap the first for Gayle, a superbly-worked second goal ensured this would be one of the most comfortable wins of the season. Instead, in typical Newcastle fashion, the nine-match win streak would end at home to lowly Blackburn Rovers six days later...

29-Nov v Hull City (A) D1-1, lost 1-3 on penalties
In fairness to Newcastle, the Blackburn match was not the priority that week - all eyes already were on the League Cup quarter final tie against Premier League strugglers Hull City. The comparative confidence of both teams was in evidence throughout the tie but Newcastle were wasteful in front of goal and the match drifted into extra-time.
Shorn of a man following the dismissal of Dieumerci Mbokani, Hull continued to be put on the back-foot and United eventually appeared to have got their reward through former Hull man Mo Diame. Within seconds though, the Tigers had equalised as error-prone Belgian goalkeeper Mats Selz parried the ball straight out to Robert Snodgrass. The momentum was lost and never regained and three awful misses in the prevailing penalty shoot-out - from Gayle, Shelvey and Gouffran - wrote another chapter into the Magpies' woeful spot-kick history.
It seems odd to include this match in the middle of a list of Championship wins but, though the night in Hull ended in disappointment, the cup run which preceded it had brought genuine excitement to Tyneside, with the 6-0 home thumping of Preston North End proving to be the highlight. After all, the cups remain the best chance of Newcastle tasting some sort of top-level glory - and hopefully this will serve only as some sort of aperitif under Benitez.

10-Dec v Birmingham City (H) W4-0
Back to business in the league - and a bad week following the defeats to Blackburn and Hull was made immeasurably worse by the refereeing incompetence of Steve Martin against Nottingham Forest. Martin appeared to audition in the role of his comedy namesake in a film about how not to take charge of a football match as he sent off Paul Dummett and Shelvey - both red cards were later rescinded - and also gave Forest two penalties, both of which were saved by former Reds man Karl Darlow. Forest eventually won the match 2-1 but only after an unfortunate late own goal from another former Reds man Jamaal Lascelles.
It was to some relief then that Newcastle were able to put the nightmare at the City Ground behind them as an accomplished performance easily saw off Birmingham City in the first of four meetings this season against the Blues. Gayle scored a perfect hat-trick as goals with his head, left-foot and right-foot sent Newcastle on their way to an easy win in the final home game before Christmas.

30-Dec v Nottingham Forest (H) W3-1
Newcastle remained top of the table at Christmas following away wins at Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion - but were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday at home in a poor performance on Boxing Day. In a sense then, Forest was the perfect next fixture - a sense of injustice over what had occurred earlier in the month remained and contributed to a heady atmosphere already topped up by a festive sherry or two.
A deflected Matt Ritchie free-kick after only four minutes stoked up the crowd even more but Forest recovered and came back into the contest to equalise before half-time. Newcastle were not to be denied their revenge, however, as yet another Gayle brace righted the wrong of exactly four weeks earlier.

20-Feb v Aston Villa (H) W2-0
There was more revenge in the air just over seven weeks later with Villa as the visitors to St James Park for a Monday night fixture. That was mainly down to one man: Henri Lansbury. The failed Arsenal graduate directly led to two Newcastle players being sent off in the match away at Forest in early December - and then, having missed the return of fixture at St James Park, transferred from Forest to Villa in January.
Belatedly appearing at St James, Lansbury was again centre of attention - but this time for all the wrong reasons from his perspective. Stood on the post defending a second-half corner, Lansbury had the task of clearing a goal-bound Lascelles header. Instead, he could only touch the ball onto the post with the rebound coming off his heel and into the net, and the Gallowgate erupted as he clutched the upright in despair. That was the second goal following a scrappy effort at the end of the first half from Yoan Gouffran - as Newcastle breezed to victory. Never has karma been so richly observed.

28-Feb v Brighton & Hove Albion (A) W2-1
Tougher tests than Villa still awaited Newcastle, however - though none tougher than Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls - managed by Chris Hughton who had got Newcastle promoted seven years earlier - would match the Magpies stride-for-stride during the campaign. In fact, the two dropped points at home to Bristol City, had cost United top spot heading into this contest. Nevertheless, Benitez's men would return to the summit following a dramatic finish on the south coast.
A soft penalty - awarded following a 50-50 skirmish between Ciaran Clark and Glenn Murray - allowed Brighton to take the lead after just 14 minutes though the home side had dominated the opening spell. Hughton's men missed chances to extend their lead, however, and Newcastle gradually grew in confidence, pushing hard in the second half for an equaliser.
Eventually, on 80 minutes, it came - though it came in the most fortunate of fashion, with the ball looping off Diame's heel from Christian Atsu's initial effort. More spectacularly still, a winner arrived and it was a goal of real quality as Ritchie pinged the ball out to Atsu who fired a low cross to Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard finished clinically from 12 yards.

04-Mar v Huddersfield Town (A) W3-1
Buoyed by success on the south coast, United next headed to west Yorkshire for another top-of-the-table clash against Huddersfield Town - and the confidence emanating from the team following the Brighton result was in evidence as the Magpies took a 2-0 lead into half-time through goals from Ritchie and valuable low-key signing Daryl Murphy.
David Wagner's Terriers had plenty of the ball but had been restricted largely to pot-shots from range until Shelvey conceded a daft penalty. Aaron Mooy converted for the hosts - but Newcastle continued to remain calm and even got a third on the break as the returning Gayle made the most of his appearance off the bench by wrapping up the points. Hell week was not even quite over - United still had Reading away to play - but two wins in five days had put already put them in an almost impenetrable position... or so it would seem.

05-Apr v Burton Albion (H) W1-0
It was natural perhaps that Newcastle had considered their work was over with those wins over Brighton and Huddersfield, and the Magpies picked up only one point out of their next three games against Reading, Fulham and Birmingham. Wigan were beaten at least but Burton at home looked like a real banana skin.
Ultimately the Brewers provided little threat but Newcastle were almost denied victory by another incredible display of incompetent officiating, this time from Hampshire referee Keith Stroud. Having awarded the Magpies a penalty which Ritchie converted, Stroud disallowed the goal and blew for an indirect free-kick to Burton, though only after about seven minutes of consultation with his linesman and the fourth official. Numerous theories abounded with the decision taking so long - had Gayle fouled his marker in the seconds between the whistle and the strike? Had the slight feint from Ritchie been classed as ungentlemanly conduct?
It was eventually confirmed that the decision had been made because of encroachment - but, as Newcastle had scored, the penalty should have been retaken. Regardless, Newcastle were not ahead - and the controversy naturally had an effect on the players who made heavy work of the game. All with the exception of Ritchie. On several occasions across the season, Ritchie's sheer desire dragged the Magpies through - but the Scotland international is not just a workhorse and his quality was evident in his eventual goal in this match, a fine right-footed curler at the Leazes end. Chalk that one off, Stroud.

24-Apr v Preston North End (H) W4-1
Even after the back-to-back Wigan and Burton wins, Newcastle had another wobble - one point from nine against Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Ipswich Town had left United looking over their shoulders again. The defeat at Ipswich on Easter Monday looked particularly costly as, though Huddersfield were eight points behind, they had two games in hand, one of which was played later that night against Derby County.
Huddersfield took an early lead against the Rams but a late Jacob Butterfield equaliser stopped the Terriers from gaining too much ground - and United were off the hook. The Terriers subsequently lost their way altogether - and a home defeat for them against Fulham combined with Reading's reverse at Forest gave Newcastle the chance to wrap up promotion with two games to spare.
That chance was taken with a minimum of fuss against a kindly opposition in Preston. True, North End equalised Perez's early goal but - once the visitors had been reduced to ten men - Newcastle simply had too much. Indeed,  the midpoint of the second half, when Perez scored his second and Newcastle's fourth, signalled the start of a promotion party with the players celebrating in front of the Gallowgate end before Benitez joined them to acknowledge the adulation.
It was job done - or so it appeared - but, with just two games left and Brighton still four points clear, it also looked as if Newcastle would only be going up as runners-up...

07-May v Barnsley (H) W6-0
Then Brighton wobbled - rocked by a bizarre defeat to Norwich in which goalkeeper David Stockdale scored two own goals, the Seagulls suffered another more straight-forward reverse against Bristol City by simply failing to turn up at all. Suddenly, the title race was back on - though, with Brighton playing at Villa, Newcastle were still second favourites.
All that the Magpies could do was their own job - and goals from Perez, Chancel Mbemba, and yet another strike from Gayle sealed the points easily. It was less clear what was going on at Villa Park with rumour and counter-rumour spreading across the Gallowgate, not helped by a lack of phone reception. Eventually it was established that Brighton had gone 1-0 up through a penalty and Villa were down to 10 men. Hopes of the title dashed?
Not so - for, just as a confused atmosphere at St James considered promotion without a title, news of a Villa goal filtered through and then to an ear-shattering roar were confirmed, only moments after Gayle had celebrated in front of the Strawberry corner in style. A nervous wait then ensued with full time at Villa Park coming a few minutes after the game at St James had already finished.
Suddenly, another roar went up and the players began dancing on the pitch amid wild celebrations in the stands. Brighton had indeed only managed to draw, Newcastle were going up as champions. A stage was hastily built on the half-way line and the players were called out one-by-one before enjoying a lap of honour with their families. Benitez followed only slightly behind to take in hero-worship from all four corners. It was the stuff of dreams.
After the game, the fans poured out into Newcastle city centre, the pubs were packed and loud amid the singing of regular terrace songs. Mbemba parked his car up outside of Central Station and was mobbed by supporters who lauded him with his own chant. It was all wonderfully joyous.


This week brought the news that Benitez would be staying at St James Park and embarking on the next stage of his project - or Rafalution, as it has come to be known on Tyneside.

Promotion and the title win can be considered mission accomplished but only in the sense that it was the job that needed to be done first.

Now for the next step in which we will find out just how solid the foundations of the Rafalution are.


NUFC 2016-17 FIXTURE LIST
DateKOTV/Cup

ScorersAtt
05-Aug7.45pmSkyFulham (A)0-1
23,922
13-Aug

Huddersfield Town (H)1-2Gayle52,079
17-Aug7.45pm
Reading (H)4-1Hayden, Ritchie, Gayle 248,209
20-Aug

Bristol City (A)1-0Gayle22,512
23-Aug7.45pmLC2Cheltenham Town (H)2-0Perez 221,972
27-Aug5.30pmSkyBrighton & Hove Albion (H)2-0Lascelles, Shelvey49,196
10-Sep5.30pmSkyDerby County (A)2-0Gouffran, Yedlin30,405
13-Sep7.45pm
Queens Park Rangers (A)6-0Shelvey 2, Perez, Clark
Mitrovic, Hanley
17,404
17-Sep

Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)0-2
52,117
20-Sep7.45pmLC3Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)2-0Ritchie, Gouffran34,735
24-Sep5.30pmSkyAston Villa (A)1-1own goal (Elphick)32,062
28-Sep7.45pm
Norwich City (H)4-3Gayle 3, Gouffran48,236
01-Oct

Rotherham United (A)1-0Atsu11,653
15-Oct

Brentford (H)3-1Clark, Gayle 251,885
18-Oct7.45pm
Barnsley (A)2-0Gayle 218,597
22-Oct

Ipswich Town (H)3-0Perez 2, Ritchie51,963
25-Oct7.45pmLC4Preston North End (H)6-0Mitrovic 2, Diame 2, Ritchie, Perez49,042
29-Oct

Preston North End (A)2-1Mitrovic 220,724
05-Nov

Cardiff City (H)2-1Atsu, Gouffran51,257
20-Nov1.15pmSkyLeeds United (A)2-0Gayle 236,002
26-Nov

Blackburn Rovers (H)0-1
52,092
29-Nov7.45pmLCQFHull City (A)1-1*Diame16,243
02-Dec7.45pmSkyNottingham Forest (A)1-2Ritchie21,317
10-Dec

Birmingham City (H)4-0Gayle 3, Gouffran52,145
14-Dec7.45pmSkyWigan Athletic (A)2-0Diame, Atsu14,562
17-Dec

Burton Albion (A)2-1Gayle, Diame6,665
26-Dec7.45pmSkySheffield Wednesday (H)0-1
52,179
30-Dec7.45pm
Nottingham Forest (H)3-1Ritchie, Gayle 252,228
02-Jan
SkyBlackburn Rovers (A)0-1
18,254
07-Jan
FAC3Birmingham City (A)1-1Murphy13,171
14-Jan

Brentford (A)2-1Gayle, Murphy11,435
18-Jan7.45pmFAC3RBirmingham City (A)3-1Ritchie 2, Gouffran34,896
21-Jan

Rotherham United (H)4-0Murphy, Ritchie 2, Perez52,208
28-Jan
FAC4Oxford United (A)0-3
11,810
01-Feb7.45pm
Queens Park Rangers (H)2-2Shelvey, Ritchie47,909
04-Feb

Derby County (H)1-0Ritchie52,271
11-Feb5.30pmSkyWolverhampton Wanderers (A)1-0Mitrovic24,876
14-Feb7.45pm
Norwich City (A)2-2Perez, Lascelles26,841
20-Feb8.00pmSkyAston Villa (H)2-0Gouffran, own goal (Lansbury)50,024
25-Feb

Bristol City (H)2-2own goal (Smith), Clark52,131
28-Feb7.45pmSkyBrighton & Hove Albion (A)2-1Diame, Perez30,230
04-Mar5.30pmSkyHuddersfield Town (A)3-1Ritchie, Murphy, Gayle23,213
07-Mar8.00pm
Reading (A)0-0
23,121
11-Mar

Fulham (H)1-3Murphy51,903
18-Mar

Birmingham City (A)0-0
19,796
01-Apr

Wigan Athletic (H)2-1Gayle, Ritchie51,849
05-Apr7.45pm
Burton Albion (H)1-0Ritchie 248,814
08-Apr5.30pmSkySheffield Wednesday (A)1-2Shelvey28,883
14-Apr7.45pmSkyLeeds United (H)1-1Lascelles52,301
17-Apr

Ipswich Town (A)1-3Murphy25,684
24-Apr7.45pmSkyPreston North End (H)4-1Perez 2, Atsu, Ritchie50,212
28-Apr7.45pmSkyCardiff City (A)2-0Atsu, Hayden23,153
07-May12pm
Barnsley (H)3-0Perez, Mbemba, Gayle52,276
Kick-off 3pm unless stated. NUFC score listed first. Sky appearances: 17
*after extra time. Lost 1-3 on penalties.

SCORERS
23 Dwight Gayle
16 Matt Ritchie
12 Ayoze Perez
7 Yoan Gouffran
6 Mohamed Diame, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Daryl Murphy
5 Christian Atsu, Jonjo Shelvey
3 Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles
2 Isaac Hayden
1 Grant Hanley, Chancel Mbemba, DeAndre Yedlin 
3 own goals
Total goals: 100

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Index 2016

POLITICS AND NEWS
Brexit
25.02 The EU: Should we stay or should we go?
19.03 IDS brings down shapeshifter Osborne's house of cards
13.07 The Brexit month of political May-hem
US Presidential election
11.02 Year of the outsiders
02.03 Trump towers over his rivals on Super Tuesday
08.11 Preview: Clinton on a knife-edge
10.11 Triumphant Trump beats complacent Clinton
Other
05.05 Election 2016: the full results

RIO 2016 OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS
Olympics
06.08 Great expectations for Team GB
06.08 Sport-by-sport guide
08.08 Team GB roll of honour
Paralympics
07.09 On a level... aren't they?
08.09 Paralympics GB roll of honour

FOOTBALL
Season 2015/16
02.01 Arsenal lead Leicester at the halfway stage
07.05 Leicester City - from 5000/1 to number one
02.06 For the record
Euro 2016 and England aftermath
10.06 The Guide
22.06 Complete results sheet
10.07 Final: Éder strikes as Portugal break their duck
30.07 50 years of hurt
01.10 Grubby Allardyce got what he deserved
NUFC 
03.04 Touching Distance
05.08 ¡Viva La Rafalution!
20.10 The greatest day at Gallowgate
FIFA
27.02 FIFA looks to turn a fresh leaf under Infantino

OTHER SPORT
Cricket
26.01 Improving England left with lessons still to learn
16.03 Shouldn't T20 cricket be solely a franchise sport?
09.10 On the demise of Durham
Cycling
24.07 Froome completes Tour de France hat-trick 
Golf
05.10 Americans end their Ryder Cup pain
Horse Racing
10.04 Grand National: Teenage kicks Rule The World
Rugby Union
06.02 Six Nations shared between BBC and ITV
Tennis
11.07 Dominant Murray produces a masterclass at Wimbledon
World Snooker Championship
17.04 The O'Sullivan paradox 
01.05 Selby seals second Crucible title

MISCELLANEOUS
14.05 Eurovision finds its way back home
09.06 An annotated guide to the Blaydon Races
31.12 Index 2016

Thursday, 10 November 2016

US election 2016: Triumphant Trump beats complacent Clinton


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Hillary CLINTON
Democrat
60,029,365
(47.7%)
232California (55), Colorado (9), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (20), Maine (3), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), Minnesota (10), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (14), New Mexico (5), New York (29), Oregon (7), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Virginia (13), Washington (12) + DC (3)
Donald TRUMP
Republican
59,769,452 (47.5%)
306Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Florida (29), Georgia (16), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Iowa (6), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Maine (1), Michigan (16), Mississippi (6), Missouri (10), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3), Ohio (18), Oklahoma (7), Pennsylvania (20), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (38), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), Wisconsin (10), Wyoming (3)

MAVERICK Donald Trump pulled off possibly the most sensational win in American electoral history yesterday after defeating Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States.

With Arizona still counting, and Michigan and New Hampshire classed as virtual dead heats, the final result in the Electoral College is yet to be confirmed. 

However, if the current positions in each of those states holds, Mr Trump will eventually prevail 306 to 232, as above.

By contrast, in the popular vote, it is highly likely that Mrs Clinton will be confirmed as the winner, making it the second presidential election out of the last five in which the winner of the most votes has failed to gain the keys to the White House.

For the record, George W Bush beat Al Gore in 2000 despite losing the popular vote - something which my preview blog mentioned. 

In fact, the Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven elections, missing out only in 2004 when incumbent Mr Bush defeated John Kerry. 

But all of these facts will be of little comfort to Mrs Clinton. The hopes of the 69-year-old becoming the first ever female US President now appear to be dashed forever

The election night itself made its customarily quiet start as states such as Maryland and Massachusetts for the Democrats, and Tennessee and Texas for the Republicans, were allocated to their respective columns.

Just after 3am GMT, with no swing states yet called, Mr Trump held a 140-109 lead in the Electoral College. But then came the first blow for Mrs Clinton. 

Ohio - a state which has backed the winner of every presidential election since 1960 - lived up to its bellwether reputation by being called for Mr Trump.

And, startlingly, the 70-year-old billionaire took the Buckeye state by nearly a nine-percent margin, a 12-point turnaround from four years ago when Barack Obama won it for the Democrats.

Better news followed for Mrs Clinton as she secured the electoral votes from Colorado and then, narrowly, from Virginia. However, early reports from Michigan and Wisconsin hinted at yet more trouble for her in the Mid West.

At 4am GMT, the Pacific coast states declared and the massive haul of 55 electoral votes from California put Mrs Clinton into the lead in the Electoral College.

But, as soon as the cheers over the California result were dying down at Clinton HQ in New York, North Carolina was declared for Mr Trump. 

Thereafter, it became one-way traffic in terms of the most important results. Mr Trump took the perennial swing state of Florida just after 4.30am GMT, and followed it up by securing neighbouring Georgia just before 5am GMT. 

However, the last knockout blows for Mrs Clinton were still yet to come.

Shortly after 7am GMT, Mr Trump would became the first ever Republican candidate to win an electoral vote in the north eastern state of Maine, which splits its vote by district. More crucially still, he then became the first Republican to win Pennsylvania since 1988.

Within minutes of that, it became clear Mr Trump had, in fact, repeated this feat in Wisconsin - and those 10 electoral votes were enough to put the Republican over the magical mark of 270 officially. 


Notably, Mrs Clinton had not visited the Badger state even once during the general election campaign. 

True, Wisconsin had been so reliably Democrat for the last 28 years that it might have seemed a waste of energy and resources - and, yes, this point relies a lot on hindsight. 

Nevertheless, such complacency, looking back, now seems astonishing. After all, the Mid West has threatened to drift away from the Democrats for years. 

In the 2012 election, Mr Obama arguably only secured the support of Michigan after he promised a bailout to the world famous but now much suffering automobile industry in Detroit.

Unfortunately, for such areas, the decline in manufacturing has gone on for so long now that there is a sense of permanency about it. 

Small-town America - including many places in the rust belt - can be a hopeless, desolate place for their mainly white working class communities.

And it should therefore come as no surprise that this is where the roars against the establishment and the political elite have been at their loudest.


Some commentators have called it a whitelash but such analysis is far too simplistic and the complaints of these people - who just happen to be white, working class - are as much about economics as race.

Indeed, analysis of the white vote will not on its own explain the election result as a whole. 

For a start, the Clinton campaign also struggled to enthuse enough black or Hispanic voters with turnout for the Democrats well down on the last two elections.

Certainly, though, it was in the Mid West where this election was lost by Mrs Clinton - in Michigan and Wisconsin especially, where she had also earlier lost both Democratic primaries to another political outsider Bernie Sanders

Of course, it is impossible to know at this stage if Mr Sanders would instead have beaten Mr Trump. Surely, though, a Sanders candidacy would have given those angry anti-establishment voters in the Mid West something more to think about.

For a start, he may have paid those people some attention and listened to their concerns so that they did not simply lash out and desperately cross their ballot against Mr Trump's name in the vague hope that something somehow might change.

After all, even many Republican voters have admitted Mr Trump was, at best, a rather dysfunctional candidate for them.

The New Yorker, nonetheless, was still good enough to win - and, with Republicans having also retained control of both the House and the Senate, it would be fair to say the world became an even more uncertain place this week.

It could be a long four years with Mr Trump as President - and, following an election which changed the shape of the political map in America, it might well be eight.

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