Yesterday saw local council elections in various parts of the country. Many of the results have now been confirmed, although we are still waiting for quite a lot as well, including my own King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. This post looks at what we know so far.
THE GENERAL PICTURE
The Tories have been taking an absolute hammering. Sir Keir Starmer’s Tory Tribute Act that still has the gall to call itself Labour is basically flat lining, while Independents of various kinds, Liberal Democrats and Greens have been making major gains.
The biggest success by someone standing under an independent designation was by Alan Gibbons in the newly created Orrell Park ward. Gibbons, hounded out of Starmer’s Labour, stood for Liverpool Community Independents and achieved 77% of the vote, while the official Labour candidate managed 19%. There have also been major successes for Independents in South Tyneside and a few other areas.
THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
They have had successes in some deep blue areas, winning seats in the Cotswolds, and also in die-hard Tory Essex – they now control Brentwood Council, having gained three seats yesterday.
THE GREEN PARTY
A record breaking set of elections for my party. They have already gained control of Mid-Suffolk Council, the first time they have had an absolute majority of seats on any council. They are also the largest party on East Hertfordshire council, remarkable given that only a few years ago the Tories held EVERY seat on that council. In Bath they took out the current Mayor, while they have also won a seat in Merstham, Surrey for the first time ever. Other areas that have seen Green successes include Darlington and Worcester. Heather Skibsted, hounded out of Starmer’s Tory Tribute Act of a party, won a seat for the Greens in Peterborough. I await with some eagerness the results from Saint Margarets with St Nicholas ward, next door to me, where there are two Green candidates. In my own ward there were a beggarly three candidates for two seats, two Labour and one Tory. I was seriously tempted to spoil my ballot paper in protest at the paucity of choices, but gritted my teeth and voted to prevent the Tory from getting in – to quote a line that Colleen McCullough assigned to Pompey in one of her series of Roman historical novels, in that case in context of Marcus Favonius, known as ‘Cato’s ape’ because he slavishly imitated the latter, “The ape is not the equal of the master” – even Sir Keir’s abomination of a Labour Party is not as bad the actual Tories.
ACTIVE TRAVEL AND THESE LOCAL ELECTIONS
In a number of seats being contested this time there has been much heat and rather little light around active travel, and associated traffic calming measure such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). In every seat where this was a significant issue those most virulently opposed to any form of traffic restriction did appallingly and folk in favour of encouraging active travel did well – vociferous as the opponents of such things as LTNs can be they are few in number.
Although this has not been one of my usual posts, it ends with my usual sign off…