Friday, April 13, 2007

Lib-Lab pact?

Iain has highlighted some intriguing figures regarding the forthcoming local elections. No! Don't go! This might be important, if not particularly interesting. The relevant figures are as follows:
· Labour are only contesting 60.6 per cent (6,360) of all the seats up for election (5% down on last time). There is no nomination fee for local elections and just 10 local signatures are needed to sponsor a candidate.
· Conservatives are contesting 88 per cent of seats (9,264) – the best ever performance in these seats.
· Liberal Democrats are contesting just 64 per cent (6,667) – only marginally better than Labour (only a tiny improvement on last time)
What would be interesting to know is how many councils are being contested by neither the Labour Party, nor the Lib Dems. The Labour Party was born out of a pledge by the Liberal Party not to stand against it. It was the end of this agreement in 1929 that finally destroyed the Liberal Party. If this is the first sight of a new co-operation between the two parties it's potentially extremely significant - if not at a national then at least at a local level. It's also fraught with danger - as it leads to the accusation (justifiably) that there is no difference between the two parties.
In any event, the fact that two of the three main parties are unable even to run a candidate in 40% of the available wards is pretty damning. If the Tories have serious problems in the north of the country, it's fair to say that Labour have virtually disappeared in the south. The May elections are going to be extremely embarrassing to say the least.

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