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The Left Vote
Predictions for Thursday?

by Jim Jepps

As we beginning the last week of campaigning let’s make a few predictions for Thursday night. In politics people have a little bit of a habit of playing their cards close to their chest and then after the fact, no matter what the result claiming a great victory. It’s a good discipline to have an idea of what a good vote is before the fact, and stick to it when the harsh numbers roll in.

So let’s have a go – feel free to join in;

Labour: The last County Council elections, in 2009, caught Labour at a low point a year before their general election defeat. This set will see them regain much what they lost, if not more. The question is how many seats they win back rather than whether they go backwards or forwards.

Personally I doubt we’ll see a swathe of Councils return to Labour but there will be a strong performance with a good number of seats returning to the fold. To some extent how the right vote falls will determine the difference between landslide and heart warming advance. While Farrage’s storm troopers are certainly involved in house to house canvasing with the Conservatives the demographic they draw their support from is very similar to Labour’s. This may help will back some seats – but be dangerous in others.

Lib Dems: Oh dear. While the party still exists and these rural elections involve the most right leaning part of the former Lib Dem voter set they will, of course, move backwards. Don’t expect a total wipe out, just a few candidates wiping away tears.

Tories and ukip: One of the truly unknown dynamics of the election. Th Tories will see some rural Lib Dems come their way this will be dwarfed by the swathe of their voters who don the purple blazer of insanity and vote ukip on Thursday. Distracted by their enemies on the right they have not capitalised on Labour’s rather lack-luster approach and are unlikely to do brilliantly.

Given the hassle Farage has had over his candidates you do have to wonder how well he actually wants to do this week as a host of bizarre and dangerous individuals elected under his banner might cost him more than he’d care to think about in the medium and longer term.

Greens: the Greens have told the BBC that they are “confident they would win their first councillors in Essex, Surrey and Cornwall and pick up seats in the West Midlands and Bristol.” This is probably true.

With over 900 candidates and an increasingly organised approach the party will probably take another baby step towards becoming a national organisation. We are unlikely to see huge leaps forward, partly because of the conservative tactical approach the party adopts (probably correctly) but I predict a few more councillors overall improving on the 17 they won last in 2009, I’ll go for 20 – a net gain of three and more than ukip will win despite all the press hype.

The left: Tusc is standing a respectable 121 candidates, in 20 of the 35 councils. They also have a mayoral candidate in Doncaster. They are contesting more seats than the BNP, who will be abysmally badly, even if most of them are men.

Let’s not expect a whole bunch of wins but a fair few third places and some seconds could be on the cards.

Mebyon Kernow: I have no idea

Addition: Anthony Wells at the excellent polling report has a very handy look at the recent polling which, while it does not take into account targeting strategies, etc. is well worth reading – here’s a small extract;

ComRes have done [a poll], with interesting topline figures. Local voting intention in those areas with local elections on Thursday stands at CON 31%, LAB 24%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 22%…

To understand the figures we need to know the votes last time round… Con 44%, Lab 13%, LDem 25%, UKIP 5% – so the changes are Con down 13, Lab up 11, Lib Dem down 13, UKIP up 17. This suggests considerable bigger swings than Rallings and Thrasher have predicted. By my estimates it would produce getting on for 500 Conservative losses and 250 UKIP gains, if it is giving an accurate picture…

So what do you think? Danger from the right? Victory to the left? Let us know.

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