Read my blog at Huffington Post

I also blog at Huffington Post's new UK site; please click here to read my posts there.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

My London local elections forecast - is it 1990 again?

On 11 December 2013, I emailed someone the points below, adding on 2 April 2014: "Still stand by the predictions below. I think that the Tories might do quite well and that the Lib Dems will do less badly than in other post-2010 local elections. Pundits will say that Labour have not done well enough, that Conservatives are gaining from economic recovery and that 'the worst is over' for Lib Dems. UKIP will do better in the European elections than they do in the local elections on the same day, and they will find it very hard to win many council seats in London, as the wards are so large – although they will get a lot of votes."

So, was I right? We'll know soon. Back in December 2013, my predictions for tomorrow's London council elections were:

∙         The elections are taking place on the same day as the European elections, which will increase the turnout among UKIP voters in the local elections (although many people will use the Euro elections to vote for UKIP, while giving their 'normal' party the vote in the local elections); these are the first London council elections since UKIP's mid-term surge began last year, and they may well take enough votes from the Conservatives to enable Labour and the Lib Dems to win some Labour/Conservative and Lib Dem/Conservative battleground wards

∙         Turnout will be way down on 2010, when the local elections were on the same day as the General Election, producing a high turnout of 62%, compared to 38% in 2006 and 32% in 2002; the disproportionately high turnout had a distorting effect on the results compared to a 'normal' set of local elections, causing some sitting councillors (particularly Lib Dems, and other, smaller parties) to lose seats that they would normally expect to have held, and that distorting effect will not be present this time, possibly leading to some unexpected gains and losses in wards across London

∙         Labour already made a big net gain of 190 seats (and nine councils, a high proportion of the total of 32) in 2010 (with concomitant Conservative and Lib Dem losses), and there therefore might not be huge scope for Labour to make further gains this time, especially as the economic recovery is starting to boost the Conservatives in the polls (as in 1990, when Labour fell from 957 seats to 926 and the Conservatives went up from 685 to 731 in the mid-term of what had previously been seen as an unpopular Conservative government – an early sign that the Conservatives were going to win the 1992 General Election)

∙         These are the first London council elections since the post-2010 collapse in Lib Dem support; assuming that the Lib Dem share of the vote is substantially down on the 22% that they got in the 2010 local council elections, then this could boost both of the other parties in different places. In English local elections since the General Election, the Lib Dem share of the vote has been 15% in 2011, 16% in 2012 and 14% in 2013; it will presumably therefore be around 15% in London this time. The Lib Dems are only defending 243 seats out of a total of 1,858 seats in London for all parties, so even a big loss of Lib Dem seats will not necessarily have as big an impact on the overall picture as might have been thought

∙         The Lib Dems are already down to controlling only two London councils (Kingston and Sutton), with Labour having already gained several councils from Lib Dem control last time – there are no more councils for Labour to gain from the Lib Dems, as Kingston and Sutton are Lib Dem/Conservative battlegrounds and currently have no Labour councillors

No comments:

Post a Comment