This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Local Elections - A Belated Thought

Predictably enough one would have imagined we did brilliantly in the recent local elections from the version of events recorded in 'Lib Dem News' - fast becoming the 'Pravda' of the centre / centre-left ! The national media hinted at a disappointing night for the party. I think neither is quite true. And, it hardly counts as a test of Ming's leadership as lazy political hacks might infer.

In short it was the Tories night. No arguments here. But to poll only 2% more than a Howard-led Tories had managed and to make no major breakthrough in any of the big cities outside the capital suggests their night wasn't as glorious as was initially suggested.Previous successes of this sort have still seen the Tories decisively rejected at national polls, so I don't think they can crow too much yet. A mini-revival in the SE and other parts of the south will not deliver Westminster for Cameron !

The much fabled 40% in the polls was, of course, across England only. The Tories are virtually off the radar in Scotland and Wales, where the Lib Dems are the principal challengers to Labour. Again, it'll be interesting at election time to see if the Tories perform any better on the Celtic fringe than they managed in our great Northern cities.

Ours was in historical terms a good night, but maybe as a party we've become blase about [what might have seemed to be ] an inexorable rise in our local government base. Now we've reached the level we have we are really involved now in a lot of tough electoral 'bunfights' with the other parties.

And, as a form of compliment, in some areas other parties are targetting to win with ALDC style campaigns.

With exceptions, the biggest worry must be that with Labour in collapse we didn't benefit more and, relatively speaking, lots of ex-Labour voters went to many quarters and not enough to the Lib Dems.

The biggest downer on the night for me had to be the BNP results. However, once installed in the council chamber their performance has often been shambolic by any standards of measurement. Many of these seats are reclaimed by the traditional parties at the next available election. Thankfully they haven't really gathered strength in areas other than those where they already had a foothold.

Still one success on the 'yellow' front I'm happy to report [and strangely not mentioned in LDN] was the great escape by Torquay United from relegation to the Conference. Well done boys....C'mon you Gulls !!!


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