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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Local Elections Part Two - perspective

There has been a huge amount of media coverage of Labour's disastrous local election results and of the success of the Tories yesterday.

A few months ago it was difficult to see how Labour could do worse than its 2004 nadir, when in the aftermath of the Iraq war they lost 461 seats and eight councils.

The Liberal Democrats did very well out of that Labour disaster and so were always on a tricky wicket this year in defending their gains, never mind seeking fresh progress.

Despite this we have come out of the latest set of elections in good heart and with some substantial achievements.

The projected share of the national vote in these elections are Conservative 44%,
Liberal Democrats 25%, and Labour 24%. The Liberal Democrats retained control of Cambridge, Eastleigh, Liverpool, Rochdale Stockport, Newcastle, Watford, Three Rivers and South Lakeland.

We gained control of Sheffield, St Albans, Hull and Burnley. Following these elections Liberal Democrats are just one seat short of overall control in Oldham (4 gains), Warrington (1 gain) and Cheltenham (3 gains). Liberal Democrats will continue to be the largest party in Cardiff, Sefton, North East Lincolnshire and are now also the largest party in Derby, Exeter, and Wrexham.

Liberal Democrats made 137 gains in these elections four years ago and have now added to those gains. With results in from all 159 councils, the net figures are Conservative +256, Liberal Democrats + 34 and Labour -331.

A very creditable performance.
Before I stop commenting again Peter, I just want to say how delighted I am that Rodney Berman is back at Cardiff. For Rodney is a man of considerable substance, vision and principle. I admire the way he doesn't bow down to journalists, vested interest groups and all those other creepos and weirdos in local politics.

Rodney Berman tries to do what is right for the people, sticks with it and then works hard. I really do admire that in politicians (whether they be Liberal Democrat, Conservative or Labour). I got the sense that Labour and the Conservatives in Cardiff are just not up to the job. Just a little bit too tedious, pathetic and irritating. They lack leaders but they also appear to lack principles as politicians. Opposing everything for oppositions sake. Hopefully four years in the political wildnerness will shape up their act - but I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, as "a floating voter" I supported your Party for the very first time on Thursday and, as a consequence, you now have two new councillors. I supported them because I rather liked this idea of having councillors who actually want to do some work for their local area. Funny that. Who would have thought it? Councillors who do work. Rocket science! Councillors who you hear from in-between elections. Wow! See, I'm not all bad - I'm rather liberal and democratic for a monarchist. :-)
Just a point of correction, Peter. The LibDems did not retain control in Liverpool, it was lost to NOC and the LibDems as a party grouping, lost three seats.
Technically, Brychan the Liberal Democrats emerged from the election with exactly half of the seats in Liverpool. As they would have had the chair of oouncil then this casting vote would be enough to retain control. The defection just made sure of that.
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