A month ago we had the local elections. As is always the case the results in most local authorities were decisive – while in several others we saw the outcome resulted in “no overall control”. That can still means power changes hands – but is a longer, messier process.
Even when a council was already under “no overall control” and remains in that state of limbo the change in the number of seats for different parties can shake things up. By the time it is resolved such outcomes are a matter of purely local interest. The drama of the election aftermath fades rather quickly for the Westminster pundits. The dog barks and the caravan moves on.
Quietly the Labour Party seem to have generally made some progress as the haggling has got underway.
In Walsall there is a new Labour/Lib Dem coalition. The Express and Star adds:
“Council tax will still rise by the 3.99 per cent agreed under the previous Tory coalition, while £29 million of savings still need to be found during this financial year.”
While in Worcester the BBC reports that the Labour Party have done a deal with the Green Party:
“The Labour and Green parties have joined forces with a “heavy heart” to take control of Worcester City Council.
A coalition was formed following two weeks of intense negotiations – after an earlier deal between the groups fell through.
The Conservatives lost their majority in the local elections on 5 May, leaving no party in overall control.
Tories have branded the coalition a “grubby little deal”..”
Then there is Dudley – where Labour lost overall control in the council elections but they have retained power. That is because the eight UKIP councillors abstained and thus allowed Labour to carry on as a minority administration.
Basildon Council looks a bit messy. There is still a minority Conservative administration but UKIP, Labour and the Wickford Independents came have deal to vote through all the committee chairmanships for themselves. These are paid an extra £4,407.75p a pop. They only meet once every couple of months. That gives some context for Labour and UKIP managing to put their political differences to one side…
Then in Elmbridge Council which the Conservatives lost to no overall control there is now a Lib Dems/Residents Association coalition.
There is better new in Plymouth. This was previously run by Labour. It is now a Conservative-led council, after a deal with UKIP.
The worry I am left with in all this is will the voters notice?
If the Council Tax goes up 3.99 per cent in Walsall regardless of who wins does it really matter who they vote for? In how many councils are Conservatives really pursuing distinctive policies – rather than just implementing the socialist demands of the planning officers, the housing officers, the finance officers, the highway officers, the education officers and the social workers?
Let us hope that in Plymouth we will see a tangible difference.