May 2, 2021
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

There’s a pretty big set of local elections coming up on 6th May here in Bristol – up for grabs are:

  • Bristol Mayor
  • All local councillors
  • Mayor for West of England Combined Authority(for the region, not just Bristol)
  • Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner

Get key info on your ward and how to vote, here. Now before we begin digging into this; worth noting that elections are not the start nor end of political change. Our system is far from democratic and its list of problems with it is huuuuge. That all said; people who win here have real power that really changes people’s lives for better or worse; from the provision of local services, to policing, to issues that have global resonance such as Bristol Airport’s expansion. This article advocates #FullSpectrumResistance – yes to protest on the streets, yes to forming local groups to act, but also yes to using your vote to stop the wrong people getting access to executive power (which is mostly focused on the anti-Tory vote, because the political right are increasingly realising that they only keep power by cheating the vote, and if the vote didn’t matter they wouldn’t bother!)

Bristol Mayor

This uses the Supplementary Voting system, so not only do you mark an X in the first column for your first choice, but you can also (if you want) mark an X in the second column for your second choice. Labour’s Marvin Rees was the winner in 2016 by a long way, taking almost twice the vote of the 2nd place independent, the red-trousered George Ferguson and three times the Tory bloke. This time round there’s no UKIP, so we’d expect a rise in the Tory vote but still Rees in the favourite. However there’s also no no red-trousered candidate and the Greens same 4th last time, so we’d expect them to come possibly 3rd or even 2nd this time. Best result is the Tory party not making the top 3 really. So vote for anyone but them.

All local councillors

Guidance here, by ward, on keeping the Tory party out and cutting their vote percentage where possible. Interestingly, in the past there has been a far-right vote (UKIP, BNP) but this time it’s basically gone (as the Tory party and UKIP merged on a policy level) so lots to watch for. Where we’ve not indicated anything, there’s a story existing progressive party, so we’re not recommending any vote:

  • Ashley – Tight contents between Labour and Greens in 2016.
  • Bedminster – Labour area, Green’s 2nd.
  • Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston – Basically Labour/Tory battle and the Tory party did ok here, so worth voting against them.
  • Bishopston & Ashley Down – Another Green/Labour battle.
  • Bishopsworth – Big Tory seat, Labour 2nd in 2016; worth voting Labour here to reduce that lead.
  • Brislington East – Tight Labour/Tory battle. Vote Labour here.
  • Brislington West – LibDem/Labour battle.
  • Central – Labour stronghold. Greens in 2nd in 2016.
  • Clifton – Rich area (so Tory) but also strong on Green Party. Vote Green to damage Tory lead.
  • Clifton Down – Green Party is main one here with Tory 2nd. Vote Green to keep Tory Party out.
  • Cotham – Green/Labour battle.
  • Easton – Green/Labour battle.
  • Eastville – Labour stronghold.
  • Frome Vale – Big Tory area; vote Labour to cut Tory lead.
  • Filwood – Another Labour area.
  • Hartcliffe & Withywood – Had UKIP in 2016, so some far-right votes around. Mostly Labour, but vote to keep any Tory percent as low as possible.
  • Henbury & Brentry – Mostly Tory with Labour close 2nd; vote Labour to possibly take out a Tory candidate.
  • Hengrove and Whitchurch Park – Labour/LibDem battle. (In past has had UKIP candidates, but not this time)
  • Hillfields – Labour stronghold.
  • Horfield – Tory/Labour battle. Vote Labour as the Tory party almost won one seat here by a single vote!
  • Hotwells & Harbourside – Labour/Green battle. Note; low numbers of voters here, so single votes will count.
  • Knowle – LibDem stronghold.
  • Lawrence Hill – Labour area.
  • Lockleaze – Big Labour area.
  • Redland – Labour/Green battle. (Green’s 1st in 2016)
  • Southmead – Labour area. Had UKIP in 2016, none this time.
  • St George Central – Labour area, Tory’s in 2nd place. Vote Labour to keep them out of any seat.
  • St George Troopers Hill – Tory Party got 2nd here, so vote Labour to ensure they don’t come close to a win.
  • St George West – Labour area.
  • Stockwood – Tory area, but Labour 2nd, so vote Labour to hopefully take out a Tory seat.
  • Stoke Bishop – Big Tory area. Labour vote to cut the lead.
  • Westbury-on-Trym & Henleaze – Tory 1st, LibDem 2nd so vote LibDem to try and take a Tory seat. (Shows issue with progressive vote being split as combined Labour, Green & LibDem votes are much more than the right wing votes, yet the Tory Party won here in 2016.)
  • Windmill Hill – Green/Labour battle.

Mayor for West of England Combined Authority

Like Mayor, here you get two votes – you can pick and 1st and 2nd choice; if you pick same candidate twice, it only counts once. So best to pick two. This is another example of where the progressive vote being split between three parties favours the right. The combined LibDem/Green/Labour vote was way more than the Tory/UKIP vote in round one. But the Tories won in round 2, with a higher combined vote. Turn-out was low (which tends to favour the Tory party) and Labour were only 4K votes behind. This seat does influence things like Bristol Airport and other big transport infrastructure projects, so this is arguably a climate vote! So Vote Labour as one choice and either Green or LibDem as 2nd (there’s on 4 candidates and no independent this time around, so Labour could take this.)

Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner

Arguably this is the closest to a Black Lives Matter/#KillTheBill vote in this election, as the winner will carry some power over how policing happens; There’s the four main parties – Labour, LibDem, Greens and Tory Party plus one independent. Last time independent Sue Mountstevens won it beating next closest, Labour, by just under 10%. This time she’s not standing (having been dogged by scandal, including pushing for the independent candidate John Smith). So key here is to stop the Tory Party or her preferred ‘anointed’ candidate, John Smith from taking it. It’s a low turn-out election last time, so clearly can be won. We suggest that you use the two votes for Green (who have the most progressive policing platform of the 2021 candidates) and Labour (to stop of split-vote Tory win).

Final Note – We will, of couse, update this as things go along. Please do let us know any thoughts to add to it!

(Image credit, here)