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Local Elections: The Age of Independents?


There are many predictions about at the moment. Many, like this one, are talking about how the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems are going to fare.


The Conservatives, like all Governments in the last 30 years, have got their expectation management in early and have put it about that they could lose 1,000 seats, in the hope that if it is less than that they can say they did better than they expected. It's tripe - my guess is they are looking at anything up to 500 seats lost.


It is. of course, inevitable that Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens will make gains - the Lib Dems especially in the former Conservative heartlands around the South East and in the councils they are targeting - the Lib Dems are great at targeted campaigning. However, I still don't see any strong appetite for Keir Starmer's Labour; he is playing too safe to generate the sort of appeal that many would expect given the poor state of the Conservative Party.


What I think is being ignored in the debate about the elections is the possible rise of the independent. We have seen a lot of this in recent years, with councils even being run by independent groups. A couple of those where independents have been in charge for the last few years, I expect to lose ground - some of them have not proven successful and, where they were elected on the basis of stopping development, they have not succeeded (thankfully).


However, we should not ignore the fact that there is a "plague on all their houses" view about politics at the moment, so I expect more independents to be elected and that, overall, the number of independent councillors will increase significantly after 4th May.


You could hope that it will make more politicians at a National level wake up and smell the coffee and start talking seriously about the need for political renewal, but I expect the heads in the sand approach to continue and it will continue until the electorate make political change their primary focus.

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