Reporting in the Telegraph today, Graeme Wilson cites the recent by-elections analysis of the Party’s chances overall:
"Figures published in the run-up to tomorrow’s local elections have not raised hopes of a breakthrough. Analysis of recent council by-elections by Plymouth University puts Labour on 24 per cent – its worst showing in recent memory – yet the Tories are only on 38 per cent, still agonisingly short of the 40 per cent barrier they need to cross to win the next general election.
Indeed, if the party finishes on 38 per cent it will have actually slipped back from the 40 per cent it won in last May’s local elections. The contrast with 1995 – the last big round of local elections before Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997 – is telling. On a night of high drama, Labour clinched 48 per cent of the popular vote, around 1,700 seats and gained control of 44 councils."
If the party got 38% in the North it’d be well on its way to government!
Writing about the need for the Conservatives to get much more representation there, Wilson recites the usual statistics about there being no councillors in Liverpool, Manchester or Newcastle. There is a popular assertion in the media that there aren’t any councillors in northern cities at all, but as Sean Fear pointed out recently the Conservatives do in fact already have 300 councillors in northern metropolitan boroughs.
Wilson goes on to say that there has been "a flurry of activity" to achieve this since the Spring Forum in Manchester, principally with the setting up of a Northern Board. Unfortunately the Board meets rarely and is chaired by William Hague who is already busy with foreign policy and speaking engagements. Former MP Michael Bates is however working hard to rebuild our organisation in the north.
So how will we do tomorrow? Projecting Politics reckons several district councils in the north will come under Conservative control. Will we lose Hyndburn and North Lincolnshire to Labour? Can we win Bury and Blackpool from Labour? Your wisdom is welcome…