A look-back at the local elections

That last post was the equivalent of the 30 minute part-walking, part-running you do on the treadmill when you haven’t been working out for a while. And now I’m into my flow, in the zone, so to speak.
So… what’s been happening while I’ve been away? (That’s a rhetorical question. I’m about to tell you.) The Lib Dems took overall control of Bristol City Council, which at least means that when (not if) they make a shambles of it, everyone will know it’s them. And they might have to make some decisions for a change. Apart from that I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that the people of Easton have in their wisdom re-elected John Kiely. John Kiely! Have they never met the man? I’ve not done any number-crunching since June 4th, but it’s fairly clear that in the main the Labour vote stayed at home rather than switching to other parties. Sad loss of some of our long-serving councillors across the city although to be honest, we were always going to find it tough, given that we were defending seats won on General Election day 2005, when there was a much higher turnout. Add to that the MPs’ expenses stories and a certain person ‘rocking the boat’ on the eve of poll…
It was also good to see no increase in support for the BNP in Bristol. They polled more or less the same in wards like St George East and Hillfields as they did last time round. In 2008 I was very much of the view that we shouldn’t overtly campaign against them, so as not to give them any additional publicity. They weren’t doing much more than running paper candidates anyway. This time there was some high-profile anti-BNP campaigning from Unite Against Facism, Hope Not Hate and the Labour Party. So did that manage to dampen down BNP support, and/or rally the voters to go out and vote against them? Or wasn’t the support for them there in the first place? They certainly put out more literature this time, and had a car bedecked with Union Jacks and St George flags being driven round St George on polling day, so I think it was probably right to rise to the increased threat and step up campaigning. Just in case. There was, however, anecdotal evidence that some voters were sufficiently incensed at being told not to vote for the BNP, that they decided to do just that. But in the main, common sense prevailed.
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