The dust has settled and the result has had time to bed in. So what happened?
While majority opinion seems to be that UKIP cost the Conservatives the by-election, I disagree. UKIP polled about the same as they did last year. UKIP campaigned fully pushing for greater numbers and simply got out the vote from last year. That argument doesn’t really make sense when you look at what happened during the election. For all their electoral threat, they treaded water.
The real reason for the Conservatives performing so badly is far more simple and striking than the UKIP argument. The Tory vote simply didn’t come out and vote, and halved.
With the cuts over the past two years cutting in deep and more to come, there’s little justification to vote for it. The argument that it was Labour’s fault we have a national debt this big to pay doesn’t work when Labour’s own narrative of dodgy bankers and unfair cuts eating into the NHS and social security sticks far better in the public mind. National news in the run up to the ballot talking about welfare changes and Defence cuts along with the LIBOR-fixing scandal and continuing problems with banks making life unbearable for the public destroys any support a local Party might normally have called upon.
This is not to pass the buck to the Government and ignore responsibility for the result. I didn’t give the Tory voters a good enough reason to come out and vote and the only person to blame for that is me. Fact is, I let the Party down.
Adding Independents Ken Gregory and Sandy Ezekiel to the Conservatives and Harrison to Labour, Labour now have 26 Cllrs to Conservatives 25. TIG hold 3 seats and the Independent Group 2. With 28 needed to break even, Labour still relies on TIG support to get its way. Given Worrow brags about having Clive Hart in his pocket, don’t expect this Alliance to end any time soon.