Swindon is a unitary authority which has 29 Conservative councillors, 23 Labour, four Lib Dems and an independent (who was elected as a Labour councillor.) So although a third of seats are up for election this will clearly a closely fought contest. The Conservatives are defending nine seats and can’t afford to lose any of them. UKIP are fielding a full slate of 20 candidates which should help Labour – although this may be partly offset by the Green Party running 12 candidates.
Swindon has a strong record of Conservative achievement. The Council Tax has been frozen for four years running and parking charges have been kept down.
Most of its secondary schools are academies – and achieving good results. A University Technology College is opening. The council has embraced transparency – for instance in publishing its assets register. Volunteers have been encouraged to take over community centres. Also libraries.
So it was a brave decision that has been vindicated. Yet Labour and the Lib Dems opposed it and would still like to reverse it.