Labour topple Torys in Soton whilst Lib Dems trounced by Greens & UKIP

Posted on May 4, 2012 by


The Labour party has taken control of Southampton City Council after winning 11 seats in yesterday’s election and the Torys losing 10.

Labour now have 30 councillors to the Torys’ 16 and the Lib Dems holding on to 2, giving Labour a 12 seat majority to rule Soton with., and as elections aren’t due next year they will be in power for at least 2 years.

It seems the Unions’ persistance in supporting and campaigning for Labour has paid off, but we have yet to see if their faith is well placed.  The results would also tend to suggest that at least some of the city blame the Torys for last year’s strike kerfuffles, but they did take some wards and so a reasonable amount of people probably still feel rather differently – Southampton does seem a city of two halves politically.  [Considering low turnout (<30%), the vagaries of FPTP and seat distribution, it’s fair to say probably only a few thousand swing voters really determined this election, but hey ho…]

The Lib Dems gained no seats on the night leaving them with only 2, and in many wards were eclipsed by minor parties; in 3 wards by UKIP, in 5 wards by the Greens and in 1 by TUSC.  With only marginally higher votes than these parties in some other wards (& only really getting significant votes in Portswood where their candidate was of the local Resident’s Association), this pretty much relegates them to minor party status and does not bode well for their 2 remaining seats if they don’t pick up in popularity by the next elections.  Considering only in 2004 they were the biggest party in Soton with 19 seats, they’re probably not too happy right now…

In other micro party news, TUSC, Southampton First and Independent candidates didn’t fare too well in wards they stood, although the comrades did overtake the Greens in Redbridge.

Moving beyond Soton to the rest of Hampshire the Tories have taken full control of Winchester and the Lib Dems have remarkably increased their hold on Eastleigh to 40 out of 44 seats.  Amidst the sea of blue for the rural Hants, it looks like a red volcanic island has emerged on the Solent whilst Winchester sinks slowly into the depths (and Eastleigh glows ever more luminous yellow) – if only the Greens and UKIP had one somwhere and it’d look like skittles in a fish tank…

Nationally the trend is similar to Soton, with Labour doing pretty well in most places vs. the Torys and the Lib Dems either holding on by their finger nails or retreating.  Indeed, although they’re on for about 16% of the vote (not as bad as polls suggested) they have the lest ever seats since their formation now, which for a party which has always been primarily local is not too great for them (although it seems that they’ll be ruling Eastleigh with a yellow fist for 100 years).  At the time of writing London and Scotland haven’t done very much yet, but it seems that people aren’t too keen on elected mayors in the cities which have started declaring.  Turnout also seems a tad below average for local elections (<30%), suggesting even more people tend to think that it’s all a load of bollocks.

So does this mark a) a glorious new red dawn for Southampton, or will it be b) not that different c) a cock-up in the making?  We have our suspicions here at Blowhole HQ, so we’ll be keeping as much as a beady dolphin eye on this administration as the last one.  In the meantime some of our writers are brooding wistfully over alternative democratic practices they’d like to see here to perk things up here a bit, so look out for a possible article on that in the near future.