Monday, 10 May 2010

Going down

The national and local votes in North East Lincolnshire appear to have swung in different directions.

Nationally, the local authority area went into the General Election with two Labour MPs (one of whom represented a Constituency which also included a small part of North Lincolnshire). One of these lost her seat to a Conservative and the other nearly did so, having his majority cut to less than 800 votes.

Locally, North East Lincolnshire went into Council Elections with four (out of forty-five) Labour Councillors. It came out of it with ten. There were defeats for four Liberal Democrats, one Conservative and one Independent, including the Councillor who expected to be elected Mayor this month.

One suggestion is simply the extent to which some previous supporters voted against the party in office, which happened to be Labour at the national level but happened to be Liberal Democrat at the local level.

I suspect the apparently contradictory swings are actually more consistent than first appears given the national and local polls taking place at the same time.

When local polls take place on their own, fewer people turn out, and those who do so are more inclined to vote on local issues; locally, individual Liberal Democrats have been perceived to have a chance of being elected and the party has been known to have a realistic chance of being in office.

When national polls take place at the same time, more people turn out, and those who mark two ballot papers at the same time (some of whom will be likely to see a national Liberal Democrat vote as a waste) are quite likely to vote for the same party on each; although there are fewer Labour votes on the national ballot paper than five years ago, a similar proportion of Labour votes on the local ballot paper is actually more than it was at the local elections for the same batch of Councillors three years ago.

Mind you, it is several years since there was a dramatic backlash which virtually wiped out the representation of the then hugely unpopular ruling Labour group, so we may simply be swinging back to what is a more ‘normal’ level of Labour support locally anyway.

Meanwhile, one MP and six Councillors are not the only ones to have lost their places. We all knew a week ago that we must win next week and Barnet must fail to do so for us not to be playing Conference football next season and, since neither of the things happened, Grimsby Town will be playing in the Blue Square Premiership this autumn.

This does have implications for the local economy, and it was pointed out to me this morning that it would be good to have reassurances about the impact of this on things like funding the Club’s Football in the Community programme.

The close up of oil see rape was taken on our Bank Holiday walk a week ago.

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