Live blogging the Ancoats and Clayton By-election

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Ancoats and Clayton By-Election Liveblog

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Welcome to the Pirate Party UK Liveblog for the Ancoats and Clayton by-election in Manchester.

Party leader Loz Kaye is running for the Manchester City council seat vacated when Jim Battle resigned to take the job of Deputy Police Commissioner.

Competition will be tough, as we are against all of the major UK parties, and are by far the smallest. We will be providing coverage of the campaign, and the results here through the day, led by Party Governors Stephen Ogden, and Andrew Norton.

If you have any comments/questions 


Surname Other Name(s) Description (if any) Votes (when available)
LUDFORD Donna Labour Party Candidate  1,239 (70.5% down3.8%)
SHAW Adrienne UK Independence Party  166 (9.4% up 9.4%)
BIRKINSHAW Pete Green Party  89 (5.1% down3.5%)
SAVAGE Nicholas David St. John Conservative and Unionist Party  82 (4.7% down2.2%)
KAYE Loz Pirate Party UK  79 (4.5% up 1.5%)
BLACK Gareth British National Party  58 (3.3% up 3.3%)
BRIDGES John Liberal Democrat  44 (2.5% down1.5%)


And with that we close our coverage. It's goodnight from your main host, Chairman of the Governors Stephen Ogden, as well as myself, Andrew Norton. To our people on the ground, we extend our thanks, as well as to all those that supported us.

As a reminder, this weekend is our Party Conference, and there are still a few tickets left, but who knows how long for.

So goodnight, sweet dreams, and until next time, take care.

-- AN


Results analysis 

With only 10 votes between 3rd and 5th place this is a really tight pack. UKIP are a shock sprinter into 2nd place and one has to wonder if this is a core supporter base or varied protest votes from usual supporters of other parties. 

What would it have taken to get those 10 more votes? There are areas of the ward that the small team just couldn't reach. If they had put in longer hours, over more days would that have reached ten more voters? If one additional member rom outside the area came in for a week and helped campaign, would that have reached and converted ten more voters, maybe more? 

Second guessing will always happen, but the strong messages from this election (I've been on the phone with those in the know), is that Pirate support has come from certain key areas. This helps the team understand where the support is and helps plan for the future. 

If you've enjoyed this live blog, and think you'd enjoy getting more involved, maybe YOU will be the one to convert the extra 10 voters next time!

-- SO


Here's a graph to put it more in perspective 

-- AN


What does this mean? 

These results mean that Loz has beaten the Lib Dem candidate again. Looking at the margin between Loz and the Conservative candidate this is narrow indeed. Conservatives achieved 173 votes last election here and have dropped down to 82. Incredibly, and soberingly, UKIP has leapt in to second place.

-- SO




-- SO



It looks like we have a result appearing on twitter. 

The last time we stood a candidate (Tim Dobson) in Ancoats and Clayton we received 75 votes (3.0%). 

Not sure how official this is yet. If this is confirmed as final then todays tally comes to 79 votes (4.5%). Turnout is a rather low 1,764 - 13.5%

-- SO



What sort of results are we looking at tonight? There are various vital statistics we're interested in. 

Turnout: This one is very important for us, we want to improve the democratic engagement, and even if this means voters turn out to vote for someone else, it is a healthy thing, so we're all in favour. At the last local elections the turnout was 2,507 - this equates to 23.47 of eligible voters. It is hard to imagine that a by-election would see a greater turnout than formal local elections, so we can expect the turnout to be under 2,500. 

With this in mind, how long does it take to count 2,500 ballots? Factoring in transporting the ballot boxes and confirming their contents tallies with number of voters, it is hard to imagine a result coming in before midnight. However, and I'm just guessing, it shouldn't take too much after midnight. We'll see how true that turns out to be!

-- SO


I hope I'm not the only one anxiously awaiting the vote result. Given this tweet I think I'm in good company:

Come on Pirates. #VotePirate

— Junade (@IcyAprilOctober 10, 2013


-- SO


The count 

If observing a count intrigues you and you want to know more, you can always consult the electoral commission's code of practice

One thing our election counters will be doing is keeping a close eye on spoiled ballots. These are any ballots where it may not be obvious who the voter intended to vote for. Where such cases may be borderline and a ballot is deemed spoilt than our observer may consider is actually a valid ballot for Loz - they will take note and be ready to challenege this. Likewise observers for other candidates may well be ready to argue that the ballot is indeed spoilt.

-- SO


The count 

This is where it gets pretty low tech. Sometimes the simplest ways are the best. Counters count the ballots. They go through them, separating them, bundling them into stacks, and counting them. 

This is done in full view of those observing the count, and for this reason we are not in contact with them. To observe the count is to witness the very core of democracy in action, yet the confidentiality of the process must be respected so no information about the count leaves the room until the result is ready. 

One thing the count observers can do is keep their own confidential tallies of what they are seeing. This is information that the Party can use to help inform the way it campaigns. Did more votes come in for you form this polling station, or that polling station? This can show where your supporters are and may show where you need to work harder. This information is not official, there will be no confirmation of these break-downs, so the information is only as good as your count team are observant.

-- SO


What happens next? 

After the ballot boxes have all been collected at the count location it is time to check that each box contains the correct number of ballots. This information is cross-referenced against the number of voters coming in to each polling station to vote. This is usually undertaken with the ballot papers face-down, so at this stage it is difficult for those observing the count to get an idea of how many vote their candidate might have.

-- SO


What happens now? 

Once the polls close the ballot boxes need to be moved, securely, form the various polling stations to the location of the count. That's happening right now and will likely be completed in the next 5-10 minutes.

-- SO


Voting closes. To all those who voted for Loz Kaye, we thank you. To those who considered it but didn't this time, Loz will keep fighting for your interests and we hope we win your vote next time.

-- SO


It bears regular reminding that we are a small Party, with a small group of highly dedicated volunteers - cue link to membership page for those who aren't members. Thinking of our team hitting the streets and depleting their mobile phone batteries, the following Lib Dem tweet about their phone banks provides a strong contrast. The amount of money and people you have to throw at an election does help, but at some point the policies have to be there to appeal to the voters. We'll find out tonight if Loz can beat the Lib Dems twice in a row at Manchester local elections:


-- SO


Polls close at 10pm, so voting will take place right up until the wire as people get home late, or decide to have dinner first, or even those who don't plan to vote and change their mind at almost the last minute. We still have some supporters who haven't yet cast their ballot and are on their way to do so:


-- SO


I've been keeping my eye on twitter today, and I have seen a significant presence from LibDem and Labour candidates/supporters, and to a lesser amount from the Greens and UKIP. I don't think I've seen much or anything from the Tories. I'd like to think PPUK managed a greater twitter presence today - but I may be a little biased as I knew more PPUK supporters to follow than other parties. 

It would be interesting to know if these levels of twitter presence reflect the extend to which parties have been active on the ground. If you have insight - let me know!

-- SO


The Manchester team are fitting in time for some conference preparation (and some food) before they have to head out to the count later. We'll try and catch up with them again later before they do head out. If anyone has any questions now is a good time to ask.


-- SO


Despite the work on the ground being over, the Manchester team won't have much time to relax. They'll still be taking calls from potential voters, as well as planning for the count later. The count could run quite late into the night so let's spare a thought for the team. They've been working late nights only to be up again for early mornings. Even though the election finishes tonight the work goes on. Tomorrow the Manchester team are hosting an international event for leaders of other Pirate Parties, and this weekend the Pirate Party UK is hosting its annual conference (yes, that's in Manchester to). 

If you have only come across the Pirate Party today, or have had your interest reinvigorated, to consider attending our conference - tickets are available at

-- SO


The active on the ground campaigning is over for this election with the Manchester team now preparing for the count. They've confided to me that for the first time it seems that we have left less to fate than ever before. "We have made the case for change, made the case for an alternative and shown that we can deliver." 

Now the anxious wait for polls to close and votes to be counted.

-- SO


We've had one of Loz's videos at the top of this page all day. This has now moved to the bottom. If you haven't seen it scroll down and enjoy. If the page refreshes while you're watching you can enjoy the video on youtube.

-- SO


Words of encouragement still coming in on twitter


-- SO


Thank you Andrew. I think a second place finish is certainly within reach, but elections are a funny thing, and by-elections more so. Loz has been campaigning on offering Manchester an independent voice in the council - and I can see this appealing even to Labour voters. 

With every other seat held by Labour councillors a Pirate win tonight is no threat to the Labour dominated council, but would be a warning from Manchester residents that they are prepared to put their council under greater scrutiny. This would be a win for democracy and every resident no matter which political party they align with.

-- SO


It's always hard to tell when it comes to these smaller elections. There's often a lot of personal feelings and friendships involved that transcend politics. This gets more pronounced the more local you get, and is an even greater factor in low-turnout elections like this. 

Can he break into second? It's likely. Can he win? It's certainly possible. My friend and mentor, Liberal Party leader Steve Radford's Liverpool Council ward is known as "Fortress Liverpool" because of his high community involvement and activism, which gives them a 70%+ vote each time. Loz has certainly taken a leaf out of his playbook, and if he doesn't win this time, will certainly see the results paying off soon. 

Regardless, I'm hoping for a really positive result today, and yes, to break the 5% barrier.

-- AN


Andrew, what sort of vote can we expect to receive today? Loz has pulled in around the 5% mark before (achieving 5.2% standing in the Bradford ward of Manchester), do you think we will see that again tonight? If we bear in mind that the last council election in Ancoats and Clayton saw the Greens coming in second with 8.6% that really puts a 5% score into perspective. 

Do you think Loz can break into second place tonight?

-- SO




-- AN


With my ear to the ground (digitally) I am hearing positive sounds about the number of people willing to listen to Pirate Party UK campaigners and consider voting for Loz. This doesn't automatically turn into Pirate voters, and doesn't mean a landslide victory - but this is still great news because it shows that Loz has caught the interest of voters. Elections are hard on small Parties - every voter swayed is a victory in itself.

-- SO


Looks like there are some troubles with the campaign, running low on fuel of all types! But we can overcome all sorts of problems, so time for a quick restock and refuel, catch a breath, then ready for more campaigning later!


-- SO


As Andrew says below there is plenty of time left to vote. On that subject there's some good advice from @CheShA

If you live in the Ancoats & Clayton Manchester ward, please consider voting today for tireless local campaigner, and head of PPUK @LozKaye

— CheShA (@CheShAOctober 10, 2013


-- SO


Still plenty of Time to vote at the 9 polling stations around Ancoats, they're open until 10pm.

The addresses are:

  • Anchor Trust Sycamore Court, Sandal Street, Manchester M40 7BS
  • Ravensbury Community School, Tartan Street, Clayton, Manchester M11 4EG
  • Clayton Sure Start Childrens Centre, 101 North Road, Clayton, Manchester M11
  • Clayton Methodist Church Hall, North Road, Clayton, Manchester M11 4LE
  • Seymour Road Academy, Nursery Department, Seymour Road South,
  • Clayton Abbott Primary School, Livesey Street, Collyhurst, Manchester M40 7PR
  • Central Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JQ
  • Church Of The Apostles, Ridgeway Street, Ancoats, Manchester M40 7FY
  • Victoria Square, Community Room, Oldham Road, Manchester M4 5DX
-- AN


Lots of optimism from our Campaigns officer on the ground in ancoats


-- AN


The level of engagement in this by-election by the major parties is questionable. One resident is certainly unimpressed and indicates his motives below for voting Pirate. A well timed reminder that it really is important to engage with voters:


-- SO


A quick pic (taken earlier today) of @LozKaye briefing @followsound_ on polling station duties:

-- SO


Update regarding 12:20: 
It turns out this voter is just outside the ward Loz is contesting today so we won't be able to get their vote today. The willingness to support us is still much appreciated.


-- SO


Fellow Party Governor Sam Clark will be monitoring this election, we'll try and get further information from him later today:


-- SO


This election is local but let's not forget that the Pirate Party is a large and growing international movement. Thank you to the Spanish Pirate Party for their warm support:


-- SO


It isn't just Loz and Andy Halsall out there, here's a shout-out for the sterling work of Andy Britner:


-- SO


Good to hear that residents recognise the good work Loz has been doing in their area:


-- SO


Word from one of our potential voters below:

For anyone wanting to vote and not sure where they can do so, the information below will help:


-- SO


Just over 3 hours in to our live blog, and it feels like it has been a busy morning. I'm sparing a few thoughts for our Manchester colleagues who were up until 2am last night and were up again not much after 5am. They'll be up until the small hours tonight so as I tuck in to my lunch from the comfort of the office my advice for them is to pace yourselves and to keep well fed and watered.

-- SO


Just to give a little insight into some of the behind-the-scenes work that needs doing during an election, Andy informs us that he has been sorting out passes for polling and counting agents and checking their preparedness.

Also just because the election is underway that doesn't mean other work has to stop. With Loz out on the trail Andy has been following up some of his casework (this is the work Loz does for his potential constituents and will continue to do irrespective of the result tonight).

If that isn't enough Andy has also been out in Clayton since we last heard from him talking to residents who have indicated they would consider voting Pirate.

-- SO


And a call for hackers (coders, tinkerers, innovators etc.) to support a candidate that 'gets digital':


-- SO


Some encouragement from Sam on the ground for people to get out and vote:


-- SO


Andy sends in the following quick update: 

We've been out since 0630 dropping out letters and getting vote out. Now prepping to do more of same

-- SO


And here's a tweet from our colleagues in the Manchester social media office (some liberties may be being taken with that description):


-- SO


Hitting the streets with Loz today is Andy Halsall the Pirate Party UK Campaigns Manager and Loz's election agent for this election. He tweets:


-- SO


Improving voter turnout has been one of the key goals for Manchester Pirates. While we do want everyone to #votePirate we also recognise that democratic involvement is important. So no matter who people vote for, we strongly encourage everyone to get out and vote if there's a by-election in their area today. 

At the last local election the turnout in the Ancoats and Clayton ward was 23.47%. It is a tough ask to beat that level of turnout in a by-election, but that's one important statistic we will revisit once the results are in.

-- SO


Last minute campaigning never hurts, the work isn't done until the polls close!


-- SO


This tweet from yesterday shows how hard Loz's team has been working, and that this work is being recognised in the local community.


-- SO


Loz has spent the past few months preparing and campaigning strongly for this by-election. Doors have been knocked on, leaflets delivered, and residents spoken to. Today we will find out the results of his, and his team's, hard work. 

It is worth reminding readers that this isn't the first election Loz has stood in. Loz has stood for both local council and Westminster elections in Manchester, and is commited to the area. In the Westminster by-election for Manchester Central (Noveber 2012) Loz achieved our highest parliamentary vote to date and in the Bradford Ward local council election (May 2012) he polled 5% of the vote and beat the Liberal Democrats.

We are feeling very optimistic that Loz will reach new heights today and wish him the very best.

-- AN & SO


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