UK Local Elections – Councils

Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and loc...
Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and local elections. Picture taken in Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a bad night and day for David Cameron and the Conservatives last night. A bad night that the Liberal Democrats joined them in. Labour managed to surpass the modest target they had set. In the 181 councils across the UK that elected new councillors Labour gained 32 of them. The Conservatives lost 12 councils and the Liberal Democrats lost 1. Labour gained councils in the South and Midlands where they needed to regain ground if they are to have any hope of electoral success in the future.

In terms of councillors themselves Labour gained 823, while the Conservatives lost 405 and the Liberal Democrats lost 336.

It was one of the worst nights for Liberal Democrats since they were founded in 1988 and of course the Conservatives took a battering also even David Cameron’s own Whitney constituency elected a Labour Councillor.

This is to be expected during a mid-term election with the Government taking tough economic decisions which are dislike on the ground.

Interestingly 9 cities rejected the idea of having a locally elected Mayor, while Bristol voted to have one and Doncaster voted to keep theirs.

This is again been seen as a defeat for the Government but it must be remembered that they were brought in by the Labour Government.

In Scotland both the Scottish National Party and Labour gained 2 councils each and gained a similar number of councillors. They failed to beat Labour and the end it was the other parties, especially the Liberal Democrats who lost out to Labour and the SNP.

In Wales it wasn’t a great night for Plaid Cymru who lost control of their only council, Caerphilly, and they lost 41 Councillors. Those weren’t the highest looses, as again the brunt was felt by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

In England, the Greens are now the fourth largest party on English Councils and they gained 5 seats in England alone (11 nationally). The BNP lost all the seats they were defending in England and failed. It is also unlikely that they will do well in the London Assembly. UKIP whose vote went up, but they have failed to convert that into seats as they may have allowed Labour victories by splitting the Conservative vote.

So a good result for Labour and the SNP, while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will have to reconsider their party strategies.

Roche Re-elected ELDR VP

Logo of the European Liberal Democrat and Refo...
Image via Wikipedia

Irish Minister for Europe, Dick Roche, has been re-elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party at its recent congress in Helsinki. He was originally elected last November at the ELDR’s congress in Barcelona.

He was elected with 67% of the vote. The other Vice Presidents Elected were Graham Watson, of the UK Liberal Democrats, former leader of the ALDE grouping of the European Parliament and Vesna Pusic of the Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS-LD). Vesna is the Parliamentry Floor leader of the HNS-LD.

I wonder will Roche keep going for this position?

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Seats I will be watching!

counting the votes
Image by origamidon via Flickr

So here is a list of seats I will be trying to watch closely. They should give an indication to the wider picture.

England

  • Barking: Nick Griffin is the BNP candidate here, will he win?
  • Brighton Pavillion: Green’s possible gain?
  • Buckingham: Will the speaker hold on? (Counted on Friday though!)
  • Dagenham and Rainham: Will the BNP gain a seat? Or will the Tories take Cruddas’ seat?
  • Eastbourne: Can the Lib Dems take from the Tories also? 0.7% swing needed
  • Finchley & Golders Green: This is a notional Tory seat, Labour need a 0.35% swing to hang on, will they?
  • Luton South: This was Margaret Moran’s seat. Highly implicated in the expenses scandal. Has it damaged Labour beyond repair? Esther Ratzen is running here. Should be interesting!
  • Morley and Outwood: Ed Balls seat. Will he hang on?
  • Oxford East: One of the Lib Dem swings. All it takes is 0.2%, will they do it?
  • Poplar and Limehouse: Will George Galloway remain an MP?
  • Rochdale: The Bigotgate have an effect? Will the Lib Dems get in?
  • Stockton South: Conservatives need a 6.5% swing to win here, its also just under the 7% they need. Should be a good indicator.
  • Sunderland Central: Tory Target but needs a 10.5% swing
  • Watford: One of those three way marginals! Let see what happens!
  • Wyre Forest: Independent, Richard Taylor, held since 2001, Lib Dems are challenging here this time out. Can he hold on?

Scotland

  • Dundee West: If things go really bad for Labour in Scotland, on an 7.29% swing, the SNP could gain this seat.
  • Ochil and South Perthshire: SNP need a 0.74% swing from Labour.

Wales

  • Arfon: Plaid target, this time from Labour. They need a 0.91% swing!
  • Ceredigion: Plaid target from the Lib Dems. Need 0.31% swing
  • Ynys Môn : Another Labour seat targeted by Plaid, they need 0.75% swing here.

Northern Ireland

  • Belfast South: The DUP want to gain this from the SDLP. They need a nearly 2% swing though.

Other lists of ones to watch from the Independent, FT, Wikipedia and Ekklesia

What constituencies will you be watching?

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How will “Liberal” Fianna Fail react to its Liberal Allies?

If I was in the god-bothering wing of Fianna Fail I would be very annoyed with the actions of some Fianna Fail’s allies in the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party. One of the members of this party Brigitta Ohlsson (of the Swedish Liberal People’s Party) has along with a few collegues from the UK Liberal Democrats ( Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP), the Dutch Democrats 66 (Sophie in ‘t Veld) and the Danish Det Radikale Venstre (Lone Dybkjær) have started a campaign to get Ireland, Malta and Poland and a few other EU countries, to recognise ‘right of abortion’.

According to the TimesofMalta.com Ms Ohlsson said:

“A cornerstone of the European Union is to work for gender equality and health. Therefore, women who lack the access to free, legal and safe abortions in EU countries such as Ireland, Malta and Poland, can no longer be ignored. The governments of these countries must be put under pressure.”

The campaign is called “Make Noise for Choice“. They hope to use the Citizens Intiative procedure under the Lisbon Treaty to try and force the Commission to take action. Luckily the Commission cannot take any action as abortion rights is seen as national issue and both Malta and Ireland have protocols attached to treaty’s stating that the EU cant force either country to bring in abortion

Although this initiative will most probably be supported by many current MEPs as the EU chamber has already approved similar motions on reproductive rights and abortion in recent years, the EU Treaty does not give any right to the Union to impose abortion legislation on any member state as this is considered as the exclusive right of the individual sovereign nations.

So basically this is all a waste of time. But still as I said if I was in Fianna Fail I would be wondering about we are we allies with in Europe and might write to my TD and MEP! Luckily I am not a member!

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