Post by Arthur Figgis on Mar 30, 2020 6:58:04 GMT
Mar 29, 2020 21:51:19 GMT @barnabymarder said:BATTERSEA
This seat dates back to 1983, since when it has been almost unaltered like all Wandsworth constituencies; before then, there was a North and South Battersea seat. Battersea North was a perennial Labour stronghold, with sweeping working-class and artisan terraces interspersed with council estates, some of them sizeable. When Battersea was created, it seemed natural that the Labour North would outvote the more mixed South, and so it proved. But already by then the area was changing, and in 1987 the Tories won the seat. Since then, it has had largely marginal characteristics, although there have been times when the Tories appeared to be about to put it out of Labour's reach, especially the 2015 election.
Battersea became a very desirable location for upwardly mobile, often City, professionals after the early 1980s, with its solidly-built Victorian terraces close to London and close to attractive green spaces such as Battersea Park and Clapham Common. They helped to reinforce the narrow Conservative majority on Wandsworth council, which in its turn helped with a project of attempted social engineering which frowned upon social housing but smiled upon executive homes, though it was always less direct that that seen in Westminster at the same time. These professionals have largely stayed, but there remain large council estates, particularly in Latchmere ward north of Clapham Junction station (which is the one and only safe Labour ward in the constituency), but also in other wards most notably Queenstown. While parts of the constituency have been transformed from shabby white and black working-class areas of owner-occupied and privately-rented terraced houses to expensive, restaurant-filled localities, others have resisted major social change. Some of the voters here are not unlike those found in Putney to the west, but the pockets of ultra-affluence are perhaps a little less extensive, and the constituency is also quite a bit less white-dominated than Putney too, retaining much of its old Caribbean community. As well as Battersea itself (this takes in Clapham Junction), the constituency includes parts, though not all, of the Balham, Wandsworth and Clapham communities. Again, as with almost all of the most affluent parts of London, the owner-occupied voters tend to be relatively social liberal even if they have voted Conservative at times (both of the 2 Conservative MPs who have won here are identified broadly with the left of that party), and were very pro-Remain in the 2016 referendum. This has tended to alienate even many very prosperous City workers from the Conservatives in national elections since then, and the seat, despite seeing a comfortable-looking Tory win in the 2015 election, swung heavily to Labour's Marsha De Cordova as she took it with votes to spare in 2017. The salience of Europe as an issue in the 2019 election, and De Cordova's broadly pro-Remain stance, prevented the Tories from coming all that close from retaking the seat in 2019. It is another seat where Europe has loomed large as an election issue, and the Conservatives will have to reconnect with their erstwhile pro-Remain voters if they are to retake it in the future.
We enter Balham through the verdant grasslands of Battersea Park, and at once we are aware that here is a land of happy, contented people who go about their daily tasks in truly democratic spirit.