In yesterday's local elections the Conservatives won even more seats than they (okay, we!) had at their peak a few months ago, when we held 31 of the 55 seats in Medway's 22 wards. We lost two seats (one each in Watling and Strood North) but gained seats from all the other parties/groups, including one Independent.
This gives us a commanding lead of 33 councillors, against the combined opposition total of just 22—a majority of 11. Indeed, the Conservative Group has over two-and-a-half times the number of members of the next largest group (Labour) and more than four times the membership of the LibDem Group, despite that group's increase from six to eight councillors.
The political make-up of the Council is now as follows:
Perhaps the most interesting statistic to come out of these elections was a significant increase in turnout—up from 28·8% in 2003 to 37·5% this time. This shows a huge upturn in interest in local democracy here in Medway, with almost a third again as many voters relative to four years ago. The universal availability of postal votes no doubt made an impact on this figure, but there were other factors as well. Even my own recent Jottings column has had a positive effect, I have heard from some electors...
Almost as interesting is the average number of votes each candidate received. This figure is obtained for each party or grouping by dividing the total number of votes they received by the number of candidates. Also of interest is the fraction of the entire vote that went to each party or group, and in how many of Medway's 22 wards each party is represented. The results of all of these come out like this:
|281||2·8%||UK Independence Party||0||0|
|279||0·5%||British National Party||0||0|
|268||2·6%||Medway Independent Party||0||0|
Interesting, isn't it? This is a far finer measure of support than the rather coarse numbers-of-seats method alone. Combined with the much higher than usual turnout, this all gives a far greater feel for the Medway electorate's overall preferences, and they are clearly predominantly blue!
Overall, this has been an excellent result, most notably for Medway itself, as the next four-year term will undoubtedly show very clearly!