Thursday, April 05, 2007

Local elections 3rd May

Will you be taking an interest in the elections on May the 3rd? I suspect a good number of you will be actively participating in them - whether as commentators, doors knockers, agents or even candidates. Good luck to you all.

Due to their nature local elections are much harder to make sense of and sift than generals or the Euro elections. There are many more candidates and lots of areas wont have elections at all - others will be having multi-seat elections and, horror of horrors, in Scotland local councils will be elected using an STV system.

Never the less there are a number of ways to keep track of what's happening. For instance I've been checking out the Vote 2007 discussion forum which is quite handy, although probably not always authoritative. There is also a wikipedia page, woooo. The BBC has a (very) basic guide (here and here)

The Green Party are standing an impressive 1,400 candidates and we hope May 4th will see the Party easily break the 100 councillors mark. Alas a party needs to field around 2,000 candidates to get an election broadcast so the Greens are the closest of the progressive parties to the barrier but still fall short.

Key places to keep an eye on include Norwich, Brighton, and Lancaster

The Scottish Greens will of course be hoping to increase their representation and the opinion polls seem to indicate that this is a pretty likely result - particularly when the other progressive forces with MSPs (the SSP and Solidarity) are unfortunately facing an uphill struggle to keep it together.

Respect are fielding candidates in 42 wards.

Leftist spotters among you will probably be interested to read that Respect are not fielding candidates in Blackburn, Liverpool, Newcastle, Plymouth, Slough, Southampton, South Cambridgeshire, and Harlow - all areas they fielded candidates in last year. Areas where they haven't stood before and are this year for the first time are Bradford, Calderdale, Sunderland, York, Huddersfield, Brighton, Canterbury, Luton, Charnwood, Chesterfield, Leicester and Coventry.

The Socialist Party and other smaller left groups don't appear to be letting on how many candidates they'll be standing, at least not on the web, but my sources tell me this will be around fifty. If you want to see how left candidates did last time I recommend this list for local candidates or this page for various articles and breakdowns on the results.

But what about the far right? Well, UKIP are likely to field the most far right candidates (albiet of the soft variety) and the BNP appear to be fielding a larger number of candidates than last year (700-ish), although I can't find the exact number I'm afraid. There are also far right groups like "English Democrats" who are less well known nationally but are strong in places like Portsmorth where they are fielding 11 candidates (with no far right competition).

On the more mainstream front this year will be an interesting test for the two new party leaders Campbell and Cameron with the likely result that the former is left looking rather unimpressive and the latter bouyed up. Labour's result may well be effected only marginally by Blair's likely departure directly after these elections as most of us will onyl believe it when we actually see it.


Johnny Rook said...

Just wondering what you thought of this:

Keith Watermelon said...

Care to explain why you're standing a paper candidate against Mike Lavalette in Preston (in the seat in the UK that Labour's most desperate to win), despite the local Green Party agreeing not to?