Pontrilas on Herefordshire (Con Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 30, Ind 23, Lib Dem 3, Lab 1, Green 1 (Conservative overall majority of 2)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Con 728 (46%), Ind 515 (33%), IOC 337 (21%)
Candidates duly nominated: Elaine Godding (Ind), Jon Norris (It’s Our County), Elissa Swinglehurst (Con)
For a profile of this county’s past elections, please see my posting for November 7th 2013
Golcar on Kirklees (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 32, Con 18, Lib Dem 10, Green 5, Ind 4 (No Overall Control, Lab short by 3)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle
2010: Lib Dem 3,166 (37%), Lab 2,111 (24%), Con 1,917 (22%), BNP 783 (9%), Green 381 (4%), Ind 289 (3%)
2011: Lab 1,769 (40%), Lib Dem 1,567 (36%), Green 384 (9%), Ind 340 (8%), BNP 292 (7%), TUSC 59 (1%)
2012: Lab 1,729 (40%), Lib Dem 1,584 (36%), Con 548 (13%), Green 490 (11%)
Candidates duly nominated: Gregory Broome (UKIP), Daniel Greenwood (Green), Christine Iredale (Lib Dem), Stephan Jungnitz (Lab), Clinton Simpson (Con)
Kirklees, like most councils in the north of England, fell out of love with Labour. However, it started to fall out of love with Labour just after the 1992 general election. Indeed by 1994, when John Smith was being hailed as the next Prime Minister, Labour actually lost control of Kirklees. They regained control in 1995, but just four years later lost it again and in the millennium suffered the humiliation of losing largest party status to the Liberal Democrats.
They regained it in 2003, and in 2006 found themselves at the heart of a three party battle (Lab 21, Con 20, Lib Dem 20) which carried on until the general election. Then Labour started to make ground but despite all that are still short of an overall majority and whilst the Lib Dems are now just a fraction of their former selves (10 councillors compared to 29 at their peak in the millennium), in this ward they must fancy their chances in pulling off a surprise.
Hillmorton on Rugby (Con Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Con 25, Lab 10, Lib Dem 6, Ind 1 (Conservative overall majority of 8)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 804, 706, 662
Labour 534, 451, 427
Liberal Democrats 334, 255, 207
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 119
Candidates duly nominated: Barbara Brown (Lab), Jim Buckley (Con), Peter Burrows (Green), Tim Douglas (Lib Dem), Roy Harvey (UKIP)
Rugby council has been a tale of how the Conservatives have managed to convince rural independent voters that it is better to have a Conservative than an Independent councillor. This has been seen in other places in the UK (such as West Oxfordshire, for years an Independent bastion now Conservative controlled) and Rugby has followed a very similar pattern.
Back in 2003, the council was hung (Con 18, Lab 16, Lib Dem 10, Ind 4), but as the elections rolled on slowly but surely the number of Conservative councillors went up as the number of Independents went down and in 2007 the Conservatives gained overall control as the Independents were wiped out.
The only difference between 2007 and now is six fewer councillors thanks to boundary changes but this does not mean that the independents (and in some cases UKIP) should be ignored. Dunchurch county ward (in the Rugby council area) ditched the sitting Conservative councillor in the recent local elections by 500 votes (18%) with the Conservative vote (that had been static between 2005 and 2009) falling 10% (helped by the Liberal Democrats not fielding a candidate and the Greens falling 7%). Are the Independents or even UKIP on the march in Rugby over HS2?
Eastfield on Scarborough (Lib Dem Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 25, Ind 14, Lab 6, Lib Dem 3, Green 2 (No Overall Control, Conservatives and Opposition tied)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Liberal Democrats 468, 358, 356
Labour 272, 260, 240
Independents 107, 97
Conservatives 91, 81
Candidates duly nominated: William Baines (Con), Jonathan Dodds (UKIP), Carole Gerada (Ind), Annette Hudspeth (Green), Dawn Maxwell (Ind), Tony Randerson (Lab)
Comberton on South Cambridgeshire (Lib Dem Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Con 33, Lib Dem 16, Ind 7, Lab 1 (Conservative overall majority of 9)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Lib Dem 558 (53%), Con 397 (37%), Lab 104 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Fay Boissieux (Lib Dem), Helen Haugh (Lab), Tim Scott (Con), Elizabeth Smith (UKIP)
South Cambridgeshire is another council where the Conservativation of the Independents has been going along apace. In the early days of the process, Labour were the main victims and by 2006, they had been reduced to a single councillor helping the Conservatives towards gaining the council in 2007 (but only by one).
After that there was a double pronged attack against both the Lib Dems and the Independents so that by 2008, the Conservative majority was up to seven and the Independents on nine were just a shadow of their former selves. However in 2010, the Lib Dems (buoyed by Cleggmania) stole a march and make five net gains (at the expense of both the Conservatives and the Independents), however it was not to last and in 2011 and 2012, the Conservatives gained seats from their coalition partners.