Local By-Election Preview : October 2nd 2014

Local By-Election Preview : October 2nd 2014

Llandaff North on Cardiff (Labour Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Labour 46, Liberal Democrats 16, Conservatives 7, Indepdendents 4, Plaid Cymru 2 (Labour overall majority of 17)

Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 1,244, 1,156 (52%)
Llandaff North Independents 607, 507 (24%)
Liberal Democrats 375, 356 (16%)
Conservatives 154 (3%)
Plaid Cymru 141 (3%)
Greens 101 (2%)

Candidates duly nominated: David Cogan (Llandaff North Independents), Pueter Hudson (Con), Ann Rowland-Jones (Lib Dem), Susan White (Lab), Simon Zeigler (UKIP)

Cardiff council has certainly had the changes since it was created as a unitary authority back in 1995. In those first elections Labour completely ruled the roost polling 57% of the vote and winning 56 councillors out of the 67 available, there were boundary changes in 1999 increasing the number of councillors to 75 but Labour still managed to win 51 of them on a vote share of 42% however the turn of the millennium brought nothing but woe for Labour in the Welsh capital because in the 2004 local elections, the unthinkable happened. Labour did not poll the most votes. The Liberal Democrats polled 33% of the vote and won 33 seats to take the council out of Labour hands for the first time since the creation of the unitary authority and in 2008 it got worse as the Lib Dems cemented their hold by making two net gains and forcing Labour into third place on the council. But that masked a very interesting situation.

Comparing the local elections of 2004 and 2008, it was not the Liberal Democrats who were making headway but the Conservatives thus turning Cardiff into a true three way marginal (demonstrated at the 2010 general election) when the Conservatives GAINED Cardiff North, the Liberal Democrats HELD Cardiff Central and both Cardiff South and Penarth and Cardiff West both became marginals however after the coalition that all changed and Labour came roraring back making a staggering 33 net gains (with the Liberal Democrats coming off the worse losing 19 seats) not helped by a lot of Liberal Democrat councillors resigning from the Lib Dems and standing as local Independents (Cllr. Bowden in Heath was Lib Dem in 2008 and was re-elected as a Heath Independent). So will the Llandaff North Independents have a chance of proving that localism works, will UKIP say “We are the true opposition to Labour in Wales” or will Labour be able to coast home again?

Windermere on Cumbria (Liberal Democrat Defence)

Result of last election to council (2013): Labour 35, Conservatives 26, Liberal Democrats 16, Independents 7 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 8)

Result of ward at last election (2013): Liberal Democrats 1,162 (62%), Conservatives 350 (19%), United Kingdom Independence Party 227 (12%), Labour 133 (7%)

Candidates duly nominated: Ben Berry (Con), Gwen Harrison (Green), Colin Jones (Lib Dem), Robert Judson (Ind)

Windermere Town on South Lakeland (Liberal Democrat Defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Liberal Democrats 33, Conservatives 15, Labour 3 (Liberal Democrat majority of 15)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Liberal Democrats 567 (71%), Conservatives 117 (15%), Labour 114 (14%)

Candidates duly nominated: Gwen Harrison (Green), Dyan Jones (Lib Dem), Sandra Lilley (Con)

South Lakeland (the home of the Great Lakes of the Lake District) used to be mixed but with the Conservative having the upper hand. In the same month as Lady Thatcher’s third election win, the council had 24 Conservatives, 12 Alliance, 12 Independents and 4 Labour (NOC, Con short by 3) however by 1994, the Liberal Democrats had taken over (Lib Dem 19, Con 16, Ind 11, Lab 6, NOC, Lib Dem short by 8) but by 2006, the Lib Dems gained overall control and have slowly, but surely, strangled any opposition to them (resulting in Tim Farron’s re-election in 2010 with a majority similar to the ones racked up by Michael Jopling, the former Conservative MP for the seat) and with no UKIP candidate in this election (what did I say Mr. Farage last week about fielding candidates in order to get UKIP votes) I think we can safely say that we are looking at two Lib Dem HOLDS in this part of Cumbria.

Woodside on Haringey (Labour Defence)

Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 48, Liberal Democrats 9 (Labour majority of 39)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,018, 1,947, 1,865
Liberal Democrats 418, 393, 361
Greens 406, 342, 254
Conservatives 271, 244, 207
United Kingdom Independence Party 259
Trade Unionists and Socialists 100
Independent 61

Candidates duly nominated: Dawn Barnes (Lib Dem), Tom Davidson (Green), Pauline Gibson (Ind), Scott Green (Con), Vivek Lehal (TUSC), Andrew Price (UKIP), Charles Wright (Lab)

Haringey council in London has (over the last twenty years or so) gone from one extreme to the other. Back in 1986 it was a rock solid Labour area with Labour winning 37 seats to the Conservatives 18 and the Alliance stuck on just one and it continued that way so that by 1994 it was a virtual one party state (Lab 57, Con 2), but after that election something strange started to happen. Not that much happened in 1998, Lab lost three to the Liberal Democrats but that started a trend.

In 2002, the Liberal Democrats made 12 gains (all from Labour), in 2006 they made another 12 gains also from Labour on the back of “It’s the war” (Andrew Marr’s comment when the Lib Dems gained Hornsey and Wood Green on a 15% swing from Lab to Lib Dem at the 2005 general election). In 2010 however, the flow to the Lib Dems eased up a little as Labour made a few gains themselves but in 2014 normal one party domination was restored as Labour made 14 gains (all at the expense of the Liberal Democrats)

Grange Park on South Northamptonshire (double Conservative defence)

Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 33, Independents 6, Liberal Democrats 2, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 24)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 697, 590
Independent 231

Candidates duly nominated by party:
Conservatives: Simon Clifford, Adil Sadygov
Labour: Ian Grant
United Kingdom Independence Party: Katie Chick, Peter Conquest

Now, here’s an interesting one I say. Not only is it the first double by-election I have come across but it’s the first by-election I have come across where the obvious non mainstream challengers aren’t. Back in 2003, South Northamptonshire was (as it always has been) bedrock Conservative and the opposition, well, there were 7 Independents, 4 Labour and a Lib Dem.

In 2007 that opposition was knocked back a bit by the Conservatives who inflicted a gain from the Independents, three gains from Labour and wiped out the Lib Dems), but back in 2011 the opposition had managed to climb back a little bit but not enough to challenge the Conservatives and maybe that is why the Independents and Liberal Democrats have decided to give UKIP a clear run here.

In the Euros the Conservatives won the local area count by 3% (on a swing of 10% from Con to UKIP) and so therefore maybe this is the best chance for UKIP to have a double win in the heart of Conservative Middle England (after all look what happened last week)

Westoe on South Tyneside (Independent defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 49, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1, Conservatives 1 (Labour majority of 44)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Independent 1,199 (44%), Labour 968 (36%), Conservative 315 (12%), Green 158 (6%), Liberal 72 (3%)

Candidates duly nominated: Tony Bengtsson (Green), Norman Dennis (UKIP), Katharine Maxwell (Lab), Edward Russell (Con), Carole Troupe (Lib Dem)

Which poses a very interesting question in South Tyneside. Do Independent voters like or dislike UKIP? In theory this is also prime UKIP territory. A Labour council that has been Labour since pretty much the year dot (lowest Labour majority was 8 in 2008) that is now a virtual one party state with the past councillor being an independent but with a vote share that means Labour will be gunning for it.

If UKIP cannot attract Independent votes in areas where a strong local Independent has won then all these polls suggesting that 50% of all UKIP support comes from people who have never voted in elections before may need a reassesement.

Harry Hayfield

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