What’ll be the size of the red wedge after tonight?
Whenever you talk of gains and losses in local elections the critical factor is the starting point – how many seats that are up for election are held by the respective parties.
The last time most of those council seats that are being fought over today was in 2007 – when Labour had a pretty poor year coming out with just over 17% of the seats being contested. The Tories, by comparison are on more than 53% with the Lib Demon just short of 20%.
Last month, at the of an interesting discussion on Radio 4’s “The Westminster Hour” the local government expert, Professor Colin Rallings, set a specific target:-
Noting that in the last two rounds of elections in these seats Labour lost 1,300 seats Rallings said:”They need to get most of those back to justify their opinion poll lead. Anything less than 1,000 gains will simply not provide convincing evidence.“
This has caused controversy because there’s nothing that party spinners hate ahead of a day like today is for other people, even distinguished political scientists like Professor Rallings, to set targets. The trouble is that the numbers that Labour has come up with look paltry compared with the starting position.
We’ll know in a few hours time how well the red team is doing.