We hear from one of our Count Commentators, Cllr Tony Jackson, Leader of East Herts, on the unanswered questions and key messages to emerge from local election results.
Yesterday I suggested that there would be as many questions unanswered after the results as there were before votes were cast – from my point of view that is certainly true.
The inevitable ‘second-guessing’ of the consequence of the results is already in full swing but there are still so many ifs, ands and maybes to feel confident about how things might look in a year’s time.
However, it seems to me that there are some key messages:
a) UKIP have provided a haven for ‘the main parties at Westminster need to listen to our concerns’ vote, especially regarding immigration.
b) There is recognition that the government are making progress in managing the economy and this is less of an election issue than immigration right now.
c) Sentiment towards national politics has distorted the voting in relation to local councils and Councillors. As a result many good Councillors (of each of the main parties) will have lost their seats. There are some notable exceptions (e.g. Swindon) where confidence in the local council was upheld. Is there a public perception that there is too much influence at Westminster over local government?
The challenge for local government in the coming year will be to ensure local residents appreciate what outcomes their councils have delivered in order to counter any continuing frustration felt towards the Westminster parliament.