Monday, 9 May 2016

Despite what it may seem it was not a great night for the Tories in Southend



Whilst it may superficially appear a night of triumph for the Tories in Southend-on-Sea, it was actually a long way from a triumph. They may be set to take control, but do this off the back of the worst performance locally in more than two decades. They will be enabled by a party (UKIP) that failed to win a single seat. Such are the vagaries of our electoral system, rewards often go to those for whom the electorate actually has little appetite.

party
vote %
seats won
Conservative
29.7
8
Independent
21.4
4
Labour
19.8
4
UKIP
14.6
0
Liberal Democrat
10.2
1
Green
4.4
0

I have no record of a lower Conservative vote share. This is a full 9.6% down on last year, and whilst last year's General Election masked a general decline in the Tory vote locally, 2016 is in reality a continuation of a dozen years that has seen their vote plummet. In 2004 they received 49.5% of the popular vote - a dozen years later and they have managed to leak a near 20% of this.

Liberal Democrat woes continue - the choice to prop up the Tories nationally in 2010 is still hurting them. I do not see this trend reversing any time soon. They are now a one ward party.

It was not a great night for the Greens, no wins and not anywhere near anywhere. Nonetheless their 4.4% was their second best performance ever, and they bested the Liberal Democrats in ten wards.

Whilst UKIP might be pleased with their second best vote share, no victories in a year of the EU referendum does not auger well for their future.

A loss for the Independents (though not for the Independent Group) will be a disappointment for them, but they still command a strong presence in large chunks of the borough.

Labour is making solid progress, and their 19.8% was their best performance since 2002. They now are in double figures in the council chamber for the first time in a dozen years, and some good second places will encourage them.

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