Election Results 2007
Seismic political shifts in Blackpool and Wyre, but in Fylde Borough it was change - but no change. That's the summary of this election. But what a shocker of an event it turned out to be for some folk! Blackpool's leader Roy Fisher and deputy Eddie Collett lost their seats. Several old-hand Conservatives in Fylde have also been dumped by voters. Even Fylde's Mayor to be, Colin Walton is out.
New girl Elaine Silverwood topped the poll in her ward, and Kirkham becomes a 'Free-State' as the Independents sweep the board there.
counterbalance brings you the results, the insight, and the implications, starting with the broad brush.
From a national perspective, (and ignoring the spin from all the parties) the Conservatives gained votes - but perhaps not quite as many as they hoped or expected.
Labour lost votes, but not as many as they feared they would
lose, so you can expect a coronation and not a contest for Gordon Brown.
The Liberal Democrats were squeezed, as were several of the smaller parties, but in some cases the smaller parties picked up new seats elsewhere, so it looks more like 'churn' - where there is quite a bit of change but no overall difference.
At the halfway stage in the declarations, the national trend was becoming clear. The overall results at that point were:
- Conservatives increase of 388 seats
- Labour decrease of 187 seats
- Lib Dems decrease of 139 seats
- Greens increase of 4 seats
- BNP increase of 1 seat
- UKIP decrease of 1 seat
- Various others decrease of 63 seats
But these changes resulted in in the Conservatives having wrested control of only sixteen of the 312 English councils, and Labour losing control of only five. The biggest losses were in councils where there was no overall control.
Locally, and looking broad brush, the Conservatives did well.
In Ribble Valley - (which is probably the closest to Fylde's electorate of those Councils that are geographically near), The Conservatives gained eight new seats on the Council - 5 from the Liberal democrats, 1 from Labour, and 2 from the other parties.
In Wyre they did stunningly well, gaining eleven additional seats. Labour collapsed from 20 councillors to just 9, and the Liberal Democrats held on to their one councillor.
This gives Wyre's Conservatives control on a council where they have 45 seats, Labour has 9 and the Lib Dems 1. This is a huge majority, and provides a mandate for significant change.
That said, large majorities are sometimes difficult to keep together (it's
more difficult to arrive at a consensus with more people involved, and those at the margins are more tempted not to support their colleagues if they disagree with the policy).
One thing the result will impact on, is the perception of the 'City of the Fylde'. It makes it more likely that Conservatives will support the idea because (at least at the present time) they are likely to have clear overall control of such a beast.
Blackpool saw the greatest shock of all. In a complete reversal of positions, the Labour group has plummeted from 25 councillors to just 13, whilst the Conservatives soared from 13 to 26, with Lib Dems dropping one seat to just three councilors.
As we predicted, this is the price labour has had to pay for not getting the Casino (or more truthfully, for not appearing to have a coherent plan for the future of the town).
We thought Fylde would buck the national trend, and to some extent it did. Blackpool and Wyre Conservatives stormed ahead
taking vast numbers of seats from other parties and putting swathes of clear blue water between their opponents. But here, the Commissar only just managed to hang on to his control.
Fylde's new overall numbers are:
- Conservative - 27 (we predicted 23 to25)
- Labour - 0 (we predicted 0)
- Liberal Democrats - 2 (we predicted 4 or 5)
- Independent - 18 (we predicted 16 or 17)
- Ratepayers - 4 (we prediction 4 or 5)
This gives the Commissar an overall majority of just three but there are one or two what we might call pseudo-conservatives who appear to have taken to voting with the Conservatives. So in practice support may be higher. You can see full the results for yourself if you follow this link
The key points from Fylde's results are:
Stalwart Tory Colin Walton who was due to be Mayor in just two weeks time has had the office snatched from him as he failed to be re-elected in Fylde's Ashton Ward, a place that also turned up a whole host of other surprises.
Neither Conservative Mike Knowles (498 votes), nor Jon Harrison (470 votes) was elected.
Instead, voters surged to support Independents John Davies (who topped the poll with 698 votes) and Saint Barbara Pagett (601 votes), as well as electing Liberal Democrat Tony Ford (605 votes), who will also represent the ward on the St Anne's
The Conservatives have been wiped out of Ashton Ward altogether. But look what would have happened if the Commissar hadn't been so greedy, and had fielded two Conservative candidates rather than three he put in. Just as we predicted last week, the Conservative vote has been split in three.
Had this not been the case, the votes from the lowest Conservative might well have been spread over the other two Conservatives, giving them a much higher count, and the result would have been very different.
If this does not send a message to the Commissar, there is not much that will. The Cabinet system is detested, and the electorate's view is clear.
Another stalwart, (and maverick) Alfred Jealous was seen off by voters in Fairhaven after decades of unbroken service, beaten by new girl Cheryl Little who, it is alleged, was parachuted in over his head by the Commissar.
Barbara Mackenzie missed out on the Borough Council by just 13 votes, when all three Conservatives
were returned, but she keeps her place on the St Annes Town Council.
Clifton Ward in Lytham saw Independent Ken Hopwood elected as we predicted. He set out a clear organised strategy and it paid off for him.
New girl 19 year old Kate Little failed to make an impression in Freckleton East where Kiran Mulholland and Tommy Threlfall were once again returned.
In Heyhouses, we thought the Commissar might be joined by Liberal Democrat and former Councillor Anne Smith, but she didn't quite make it, neither did David Meldrum who produced a creditable 300 or so votes. Heyhouses now has three Conservatives in control.
No change in Kilnhouse, where ex-footballer Dave Serrella and the Liberal Democrat challengers failed to make the impact they had hoped for.
St Leonard's produces a big surprise, where newcomer Angela Jacques beat sitting Lib Dem, and all round nice person, Karen Henshaw by just four votes - yes, that's right just four votes. Imagine how Karen feels tonight knowing that if
they'd been able to get those last four carloads to the polling station.....
Ribby with Wrea saw newcomer and Independent Lyndsay Greening beating off Conservative Janet Wardell to take the Borough seat.
In Kirkham it's a clean sweep for the Independents. Mercurial Elaine Silverwood topped the poll in Kirkham North (and in the whole of Kirkham). The good people of Kirkham must agree with us about her ability to make things happen, and she also knows the secret of the beans. The Commissar had better watch out for this one, she doesn't take prisoners.
Kirkham is now an "Independent Free-state" with Queen Elizabeth Oades reigning, and no parties other than independents and Ratepayers as its Borough Councillors.
It joins with Elswick, Little Eccleston, Newton and Treales, Ribby with Wrea, and Singelton with Greenhalgh as a conservative free zone.
In Lytham St John's Ward, Raymond Norsworthy has been shoved off by Independent Kath Harper of the Ratepayers
Association who came from nowhere to take second place in the poll.
In Warton and Westby there was change too, with current Conservative Mayor Harold Butler getting the push in favour of Conservative new girl Barbara Douglas. Again Harold Butler has been on FBC since the year dot and we're sure he would have expected to be returned again. "Not this time" is the message he got.
So what will it all mean?
Well, it will take a day or two for the dust to settle and for us to see whether there are any defections from one party to another.
So it's difficult to say exactly what the future will hold at the moment.
In broad terms, Fylde will appear to carry on much as before, but despite the optimistic spin the Commissar will put on it, he has clearly not done as well as his neighbouring Conservatives in Blackpool and Wyre, nor as well as the party nationally, so you need a pinch of salt when reading his version of events.
Near as makes no difference, the final result
- Conservatives increase of 875 seats
- Labour decrease of 485 seats
- Lib Dems decrease of 242 seats
- Greens increase of 15 seats
- BNP increase of 1 seat
- UKIP decrease of 1 seat
- Various others decrease of 134 seats
This will give the Conservatives control of an additional 38 (out of a total of 312) Councils, with Labour losing control of 9, Lib Dems losing control of 5, and 24 of those with "No overall control" slipping into the control of one part or another.
The space to watch for is the City of the Fylde, but Blackpool's Tories are likely to have their hands full for some time to come, so it might not be a quick change. We'll keep you posted as usual.
And, of course, counterbalance will continue to fearlessly keep you informed and entertained, exposing whatever needs a light shining on it.
Dated: 4 May 2007