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Sat Mar 18, 2017, 07:01 AM

Local government & Mayoral elections on 4 May

Last edited Sat Apr 1, 2017, 05:32 AM - Edit history (1)

It's that time of year when I do a thread about upcoming elections. This year we have local government elections, including county council elections and also a number of mayoral elections for places like West of England and Liverpool City Region.

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/upcoming-elections-and-referendums

Where I live, the election of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority mayor has been postoned due to legal action involving Derbyshire County Council and Chesterfield Borough Council. The whole "Northern Powerhouse" thing in the area where I live has become something of a farce.

The election we are getting in my local area is for the county council, where I am afraid to report that there is a good chance of Labour losing control of the council to the Conservatives. I must admit at this point that my Labour county councillor is actually quite good, but my worry is that people will be turned off by the mess that Labour is in at national level.

The big issues in my local area are proposals for fracking by INEOS (predictably hugely unpoular) and also proposals for building new houses, including building on a golf course which have not gone down especially well with local residents.

So, what local elections are due in your local area? And what are the big local issues where you live?

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Reply Local government & Mayoral elections on 4 May (Original post)
T_i_B Mar 2017 OP
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #1
T_i_B Mar 2017 #2
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #3
T_i_B Mar 2017 #4
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #5
T_i_B Mar 2017 #6
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #7
T_i_B Apr 2017 #10
Denzil_DC Apr 2017 #11
T_i_B Apr 2017 #12
Denzil_DC May 2017 #25
LeftishBrit Mar 2017 #8
T_i_B Apr 2017 #9
T_i_B May 2017 #13
muriel_volestrangler May 2017 #14
T_i_B May 2017 #15
LeftishBrit May 2017 #16
hrmjustin May 2017 #17
T_i_B May 2017 #18
muriel_volestrangler May 2017 #19
Denzil_DC May 2017 #20
Denzil_DC May 2017 #23
T_i_B May 2017 #24
Denzil_DC May 2017 #21
LeftishBrit May 2017 #22

Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 11:14 AM

1. Scotland has local council elections, too.

The suspense lies in seeing whether the SNP's hitherto popularity will translate into seats and changeovers in party dominance in the councils.

This is the last electoral cycle since Labour's implosion up here (i.e. any change in makeup at other levels of governance has already happened), so it's expected that this pattern will continue.

But this doesn't guarantee an SNP whitewash, by any means - tactical voting is highly likely to play a part, and Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories (all taking a strongly UK Unionist stance at the moment) are trying to turn it into a "mini-referendum" on whether there should be a second independence referendum, rather than focusing on council policies (beyond the usual ignoring of the shortcomings of the current councils and the positive aspects of the SNP's time in power at the Scottish national level).

The battles in some of the major cities - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen - will be worth watching. There have been a number of scandals, some petty, some not so petty, during Labour's period in dominance in those cities, and it remains to be seen whether the SNP can repeat its strong showings in recent times and take over from Labour as the majority party.

My own council is Argyll & Bute - one of the most dysfunctional councils in the country. It's currently run by an "independent" bloc/cabal, dominated by old-timer Dick Walsh. It would be very satisfying to see him get his comeuppance, and some semblance of sanity and good governance established.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 02:24 PM

2. Well, it's the SNP who have raised the Independence question again

Now it's for the Unionist side to get it's act together. Which will be much more difficult then it was before.

As you say though, you would hope that people still vote on the local issues at hand. Which often touch on bigger national issues anyway. Such as HS2 and fracking in my local area.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:17 PM

3. The Unionist side in Scotland hasn't shut up about independence since the last referendum!

Seriously, they banged on about it much more than the SNP did till the Brexit vote, and it's been a close-run thing even since then.

The SNP's been more focused on seeing what sort of deals it can wring out of Brexit and the nitty-gritty of day-to-day governance. Going for another independence referendum is the last resort (or thereabouts), all else having apparently failed, and not for want of trying.

The SNP obviously had the possibility of a referendum as part of its last manifesto commitment if it didn't get a decent accommodation from Westminster, and it's no great secret, but the truth is, the other parties up here have very little else to offer, and haven't delivered while in control of the councils.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:35 PM

4. Dare I ask if the SNP are likely to take Argyll & Bute council then?

Last edited Sun Mar 19, 2017, 07:37 PM - Edit history (1)

As I have said before, I do worry that south of the Tweed Labour are likely to perform badly in these elections. Which where I live is likely to result in Tories in charge of the county council. Simply by virtue of being less obviously dysfunctional, even though they do vary between being insincere and just plain wrong. The Tories also have more resources to fling at elections than Labour, which makes a difference.

And I'm not convinced that Labour have got much to offer to anyone north of the Tweed right now either.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:00 PM

5. That's a tough call, and beyond my powers of prediction.

Argyll & Bute went SNP at the last Westminster election (well, only three other contituencies in Scotland didn't!). The Holyrood election boundaries don't quite coincide and we had the D'Hondt system to contend with at that election, so it's hard to use it as a basis.

It was traditionally Lib Dem country when we first moved here. We in this immediate area used to be lumped in with Dumbarton (and some doucer parts west of Glasgow), which was yer typical wannabe Red Clyde council till petty corruption by some councillors played its part, but then there was a boundary change (with great hopes of the grass being greener in sunny Argyll & Bute from the lumpentorytariat, and it hasn't worked out that way), but has long suffered from these infernal "independents" queering the pitch. They're a mix of Tories too feart to declare as such, apolitical grifters and the genuinely non-aligned (usually right-of-centre but not necessarily unreasonable or incompetent).

It'll likely be a wary and possibly unstable coalition of some sort, but hopefully not with Dick Walsh in charge. We're talking small-time rural mafia here.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:19 PM

6. Different story where I live

The area I live in is old coal mining country, which of course means traditionally rock solid Labour. However, in recent years the area has been gentrifying and reinventing itself as a commuter / retirement area for Sheffield, Chesterfield and surrounding areas. This has meant growth of Conservatives and decline of Labour.

One town in the constituency has also recently been declared as one of the top 10 places to live in England by a study that received a lot of media attention, which may have gone to residents heads slightly.

As to the areas that the district where I live gets lumped in with go, that's where the governments "Northern Powerhouse" gibberish comes in. Nobody in this area wants to be lumped in with Sheffield City Region as the government wants, except for Chesterfield Council. Derbyshire County Council are desperate to prevent them from breaking off from the rest of the county, and have initiated legal proceedings which have caused the postponement of elections for regional mayor.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:29 PM

7. I can easily relate to some of those dynamics.

There's really nowhere like Argyll & Bute elsewhere in the UK. It's vast and unwieldy. It stretches from Helensburgh - which I believe also ranked high in that top 10, though it doesn't have its problems to seek (and is neighboured by the Clyde Submarine Base) - in the southeast to Oban and beyond in the northwest, with numerous island communities in the far west and a massive rural hinterland with all the good and bad that entails, dotted with a few medium-sized conurbations.

It would be a right handful to administer even with a competent, non-corrupt grouping in charge and a following wind. In the grips of the current shower, it's ... not good.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 15, 2017, 04:45 AM

10. One thing I will say for local situation where I am....

...is that the local councils (both County and District) where I am are actually not that bad. Certainly a lot, lot better than the councils you get over the border in South Yorkshire. All of which are currently Labour controlled, but some are a lot better than others. The less said about Rotherham council the better for instance.

And going back to the "Northern Powerhouse" nonsense, there has been a new development. Derbyshire Tories are promising to hold a referendum in Chesterfield on whether the borough should join Sheffield City Region. Which of course is not cynical grandstanding in any way at all.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #10)

Sat Apr 15, 2017, 07:41 AM

11. What's their rationale?

Presumably they're in favour of joining Sheffield City Region? (If there's one thing we've learned about referendums, it's that you don't ask damn fool questions unless you're willing to live with the answers ...)

Is that because they think they'll have a better power base if amalgamated with Sheffield, or pure altruism on the basis of economies of scale, reducing levels of local government etc. etc.?

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 15, 2017, 08:34 AM

12. Money.

Chesterfield Borough Council think they will be able to get more inward investment that way. On the other hand, Derbyshire County Council would stand to lose a lot of income from the "Northern Powerhouse" stuff.

The 2 districts inbetween Chesterfield and South Yorkshire (Bolsover and North East Derbyshire) are both opposed to joining for a number of reasons. Not least of which is that the proposals are unpopular in Derbyshire. And as it happens it's Tory leaning voters who are most opposed to becoming part of what they consider "The Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire".

It's quite possible that a proposed referendum on the subject would do nothing whatsoever to resolve the current deadlock. But I can see why the local Tories would like this as a bit of a publicity stunt.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #4)

Fri May 5, 2017, 05:42 PM

25. Belatedly, I can now answer this!

Argyll & Bute

SNP 11 (+3)
Independent 10 (-9)
Conservatives 9 (+5)
LibDems 6 (+2)
Labour 0 (-1)

Like every other council in Scotland now, there's no overall control by any single party/bloc.

In my own constituency, we have three councillors. We had three Independents, we now have one Independent, one SNP and one Tory.

I couldn't begin to conjecture what sorts of alliances/coalition may arise to form a functional administration.

One entirely positive development is that I'd missed the fact that previous Independent bloc council leader Dick Walsh decided not to stand for re-election (not least because of some shameful shenanigans last year that scuppered a planned community buyout of the disused Castle Toward in favour of a wealthy investor).

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Mar 20, 2017, 12:50 PM

8. We'll have elections for Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council

The City Council is Labour controlled and the non-Labourites are all either LibDem or Green: not a single Tory. The County Council is NOC but just one seat away from being Tory controlled.

There hasn't been a lot of campaigning yet, but local concerns include building work by the two Universities in Oxford, as well as by other companies; lack of affordable housing; the remodelling of the city centre; cuts in services due to reduced funding from central government; etc. Also there is a big shake-up being proposed to get rid of the separate city council, county council and four district councils, and instead have a single 'unitary authority'. I am instinctively opposed to this, partly because these sort of shake-ups generally create chaos at least in the short term, and partly because I don't trust a lot of Tories from rural and commuter-village Oxfordshire to give a fair hearing to the City of Oxford's issues: it's bad enough having to deal with the County Council in its present form. But I have to admit I don't know an awful lot about the plans as yet.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 1, 2017, 05:30 AM

9. Lack of affordable housing is a major issue

Last edited Sat Apr 1, 2017, 11:09 AM - Edit history (1)

The trouble is what happens when people try and do something about it.

The government has ordered the council where I am to build some more houses. This immediately becomes a contentious issue as Labour want the new housing in Tory areas and the Tories want the new housing in Labour areas. The plan is published, with some glaring flaws in it and immediately provokes a campaign of full on NIMBY-ism from the locals. Added into this is a suspicion from some quarters that there is another level of smoke and mirrors here, as the council might want to give the locals a perceived victory on the more contentious aspects whilst keeping the main part of the plan in place. The issue is creating a growing NIMBY-ish streak in local politics, even overshadowing the proposals for fracking locally which I for one consider to be of greater importance.

The anti-housebuilding campaign is being egged on by the local Tories, who are clearly targeting my local ward with a horrendous careerist candidate who works as a bag-carrier to a Tory MP at Westminster. What's worse is that I would expect them to take the ward, and control of the county council with it as Labour are not competing with rival parties right now. Even when they have an incumbent councillor who's actually quite good.

And yes, I would also be worried about proposals for a unitary authority. The Tories in the areas outside of Oxford would surely dominate the council to an unhealthy degree.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 4, 2017, 07:38 AM

13. Polling day is today...

....so please please please, whatever else you do get out and vote!

I actually spoke with my local councillor on Tuesday night, who is furious with the dishonest local campaign fought by the Tories.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #13)

Thu May 4, 2017, 10:33 AM

14. I just voted - extremely quiet so far

The guy running it said the big issue of the day was whether there was too much glue on the pad of voting slips.

I wonder if some people are just thinking "I can't be bothered to vote twice in 5 weeks, so I'll just do the general election".

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #14)

Thu May 4, 2017, 02:24 PM

15. Similar story where I live.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 4, 2017, 04:59 PM

16. Voted this morning

I don't yet know what the overall turnout was. I think it might have been higher at my particular polling station, if it weren't at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies: no one, even the locals, knows what or where it is, unless they've voted there before, as I had. Or, I suppose, are missionary types, which most of us aren't!

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 4, 2017, 09:58 PM

17. Labour losing seats so far.

 

Not good!

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #17)

Fri May 5, 2017, 07:18 AM

18. Pretty dire in Derbyshire

Last edited Sat May 6, 2017, 04:54 AM - Edit history (2)

Most of the swing needed for the Tories to take my seat in a months time seems to be happening in my ward too!

Which is very bad news indeed as we had a very good Labour councillor, the incoming Tory in my ward is pretty dreadful and the Tories have made a lot of promises in the county council election campaign that they will not be able to keep.

The final tally in Derbyshire is like this

http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/news/derbyshire-county-council-election-results-2017-live-1-8528211

Conservatives: 37 (+19) with a majority of 10

Labour: 24 (-19)

Liberal Democrats: 3


Tories have also won the mayoral contests for West Midlands and Tees Valley. Both utterly dreadful results for Labour, although you do wonder what boundaries were drawn up for those "city regions".

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 5, 2017, 07:27 AM

19. Hampshire result: collapse of UKIP, to the Tories' benefit

In 2013, the vote split was Con 37.5%, LibDem 21.7%, UKIP 18.7%, Labour 3.5% and Green 2.8%. This year it was Con 52%, Lib Dem 27%, Labour 11%, UKIP 4% and Green 3%. Tories gained 11 seats, Lib Dems gained 2, Labour lost 2, an Independent lost 1, and UKIP lost all 10 (there were boundary changes too).

Turnout in my ward was 46%, up on last time and the 2015 by-election - quite respectable for a county election in the end. The Tory stayed in . Adding up Tory and Lib Dem votes in the wards that make up the Westminster constituency of Winchester, it's roughly neck-and-neck (can't say exactly because county and Westminster boundaries don't coincide exactly). But from past experience that will mean the Tory gets the seat anyway - the more local it is, the better the Lib Dems do.

But things look good in the neighbouring Eastleigh constituency - Lib Dems won all the wards that are in that. So they look like they have a realistic chance of going back to a Lib Dem MP (which they had had from the early 90s until 2015).

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 5, 2017, 08:44 AM

20. Some Scottish results now in.

The STV system up here means that counts can be a little slow (some counts won't declare till late afternoon/early evening) and transfer votes can lead to unpredictable outcomes via tactical ranking of preferences. This isn't helped by confusion about the voting system in the polling booth. Quite a few people marked their ballots with a cross rather than ranking them. As long as they marked just one cross, that should be taken as their first and only preference, but these votes are being routinely challenged in many counts. After this election's results there'll be a lot of horse trading and coalitions or looser alliances in various councils.

Significant developments so far (change since last election):

Aberdeen
SNP 19 (+4)
Tory 11 (+8)
Labour 9 (-8)
LibDem 4 (-1)#
Independents 2 (-1)

No overall control. SNP could run a minority administration, or Labour could call the shots by allying with either the SNP or the Tories. The last administration was a Labour/Tory/Independent coalition. Controversial and recently scandal-ridden council leader Labour's Willie Young lost his seat.

Glasgow
Labour has lost its historic majority. Not clear yet whether the SNP will have a clear majority.

This is a snapshot of the current state of play in Scotland as a whole:

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #20)

Fri May 5, 2017, 02:22 PM

23. What looks like a final tally:

SNP 431 (+6)
Conservative 276 (+161)
Labour 262 (-132)
Other 172 (-24)
LibDems 67 (-4)
Green 19 (+5)

Or, to put it another way:

Scotland by largest party in each council:

SNP 19 (+10)
Conservative 4 (+2)
Independent 4 (-1)
Labour 3 (-13)

(+ 2 ties, SNP-Independent and SNP-Labour)

This is, of course, being interpreted as "the end of indyref2" (John Rentoul) and a major game-changing drubbing for the SNP (Kezia Dugdale). It may also focus some counter-"Tory momentum" minds for the upcoming UK parliamentary elections, or not.

Labour now hold control of none of the major conurbations in Scotland. The SNP forms the largest single group in all of them, but without overall majorities. The horsetrading as alliances and coalitions get worked out over the next few days is going to be, to say the least, messy. I just hope we end up with some functional councils.

I also look forward to playing my small part in hanging some of these revolting new unreconstructed ex-BNP/UKIP/retrograde Tory councillors around Ruth "Cuddly Conservative" Davidson's neck. They fully deserve each other, and if she had any sense of shame, she'd be thoroughly ashamed.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #23)

Fri May 5, 2017, 03:30 PM

24. As somebody on Tw@tter put it recently....

Scottish politics is increasingly resembling the Old Firm game, with Labour as Partick Thistle!

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 5, 2017, 11:46 AM

21. Lest anybody imagine we in Scotland are immune

from the recent hard right-entryist/Tory crossover surgence - thread, as the young folks say:




David Aitchison @aitchison_david

First Tory hard-right extremist with Britain First sympathies elected in Speyside and Glenlivet in Moray.

David Aitchison @aitchison_david

And another one - Kathleen Leslie in Fife, who called the First Minister a "drooling hag". Toxic, nasty Tory party. https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/892421/snp-fife-tory-council-nicola-sturgeon-slur/





David Aitchison @aitchison_david

Tory councillor Ron McKail in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, shared Islamophobic and Britain First posts on Facebook https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/council-candidate-sorry-after-sharing-britain-first-posts/

David Aitchison @aitchison_david

Tory councillor Ian James in Perthshire praised Enoch Powell and called the First Minister a "poison dwarf" http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/tory-candidate-apologises-for-calling-nicola-sturgeon-a-poison-dwarf-1-4421311





David Aitchison @aitchison_david

Tory councillor Neill Graham called Nelson Mandela a terrorist and was named in a BNP members list http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15224625.Tory_candidate_denies_BNP_link_despite_details_in_database/


Thread continues in this vein if you click through ...

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 5, 2017, 01:17 PM

22. Oxfordshire COULD have been worse...

Last edited Sun May 14, 2017, 04:29 AM - Edit history (1)

It's never great and it still isn't; but it's still No Overall Control by just one seat, i.e. no change in number of Tory councillors from last time, and last time was a very unexpected loss of the Tory majority.

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