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Thursday 10 February 2011

Sending A Message

All the signs point to a continuing fall in public support for Young Dave, Corporal Clegg and their new and improved two headed donkey: at the end of January, a poll by Angus Reid – that’s the folks who were predicting a Tory majority at the last General Election – had Labour eleven points ahead. And the Lib Dems had fallen to just 11%.

But there is no Parliamentary election any time soon, so how can the electorate show their displeasure at the upcoming round of cuts? Ah well. One round of elections in England runs to a fixed timetable, and these are fast approaching. Local elections will happen on May 5 and, given that many cuts are being made to local authority services – like those subsidised bus routes I mentioned recently – it’s entirely appropriate to use the occasion to send Cameron a message.

Who will be voting? Well, not all of the country will hold elections – London has to wait until next year. Also, metropolitan districts in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, the West Midlands, plus West and South Yorkshire have only a third of council seats up for grabs – as do some unitary authorities.

However, many unitary and second tier authorities have every seat up for re-election, and for this part of the country, that includes Cheshire East (which includes Crewe), Cheshire West and Chester, plus Stoke on Trent.

The first two are, at present, overwhelmingly Tory, so the largest party of Government has the most to lose. Also, in Crewe’s St John’s ward, it will be interesting to see if the two Lib Dems can hold their seats: these last came up for election in 2009, when Labour was deeply unpopular nationally.

You can see a summary of the districts voting, and whether the number of seats is a third or “all up”, HERE. There are also “all up” local elections in Northern Ireland on May 5, but Scotland and Wales do not vote until next year.

Given their strong position across local Government right now, Tory losses are inevitable. It is the scale of those losses that will send Cameron that message.

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