Much nonsense is being written about the London election results.
From most of this morning's media coverage, you would suppose that the voters had deserted Ken Livingstone in droves. Here are the actual share-of-the-vote figures compared with last time, for the first preferences, from the official London Elects website:
Tories: Up from 28.24% to 42.48%
Labour: Up from 35.70% to 36.38%
Lib Dems: Down from 14.91% to 9.63%
UKIP: Down from 6.02% to 0.91%.
Note the following:
1. Ken Livingstone's share of the vote was actually fractionally up!
2. The big losers were the Lib Dems and UKIP. Most of the big increase in the Tory share of the vote must have come from them.
3. Brian Paddick has been a disaster for the Lib Dems. Even on his home patch in the Lambeth-plus-Southwark constituency, he scraped only 12%. Across London, he got less than 10% compared with Simon Hughes' almost 15% four years ago.
Roughly the same can be said of the votes for the London Assembly. UKIP lost both its seats. The Lib Dems are down from 5 seats to 3. For all the talk about Labour meltdown in the country as a whole, in London Labour actually gained a seat - up from 7 seats to 8.
The Greens with 8.29% kept their existing 2 seats. And yet their mayoral candidate, Sian Berry, whom I had thought quite impressive, secured only 3% of first preferences. I think maybe she would have done better if more people had realised that they could give her their first preference without wasting their vote, as long as they put Ken second. My hunch is that many people did not fully understand how the voting system worked.
Labour did a bit better in London, and the Tories and Lib Dems much worse, than in Thursday's council elections in England and Wales -- here are the share-of-the-vote figures for the London-wide party lists, compared with BBC estimates for E + W:
Tories: 34% (outside London: 44%)
Labour: 27% (outside London: 24%)
Lib Dems: 11% (outside London: 25%)
Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson both scored a lot better than their respective parties; Brian Paddick scored even worse than his.
Finally, we should not get too panicked about the BNP gaining one seat. They only just scraped through the 5% threshold, having only just failed to do so last time round. Meanwhile, their mayoral candidate's share of the vote was actually down on 2004 (from 3.04% to 2.84%).