The Voters’ Voice.
The 2019 local elections in England have held more importance to the electorate this year than many prior elections. With Brexit, Theresa May’s leadership and Labours’ Brexit Betrayal on the voters’ minds are the local elections indicative of these trends?
Local elections in England include electing local Councils and Councillors on the councils. Councils form small scale governing bodies for areas of the country although it is a relatively minor and decentralized part of the government. Responsibilities include maintaining local roads, services, and schools.
It is clear the electorate has sent a strong message.
Councillors do not have a national role but are chosen along party political lines. Support for a political party of Councillors usually transfers to representatives in Parliament.
Monitoring local elections becomes key to understanding the electorate and how they will vote in the future. These are especially important right now with the political issues dividing the country.
Polls put two main parties in very closer competition with some polls even putting both parties as equal. The Conservative and Labour parties have vastly different policies toward Brexit and managing the aftermath. Voters are considering this when going to the voting booths.
What the numbers say.
The votes have all come in and the results show electorate opinions. The Conservative party, which is currently in power, lost a total of 1316 Councillor seats. Though a majority of 3535 remained. The Labour party also had losses of 77 Councillors with 2003 remaining.
The main winners were Independents, the Green party and the Liberal Democrats with the gains being 655, 192 and 683 respectively. For Independents, this is a huge increase which is indicative of deeper issues felt amongst voters and dismay in the main parties.
The large increase in Independents, as well as the large decreases in both Conservative and Labour council members, is a sign of discontent with the main reasons for this is due to Brexit and the government handling of it.
The Brexit Betrayal
Since such significant numbers dropped for particularly conservatives, it is clear voters took their opinions to the ballot. The delayed mess that is Brexit, more specifically the Conservative failure to deliver, shows across the country.
There is similar disappointment in Labour, due to the reversal of Brexit policy, with Labour announcing it would remain. Labour not in power has resulted in fewer seats lost, but key Labour strongholds changing to Independent shows the issues run across the political spectrum.
Across British tabloids, reports of ballot spoiling were rife. Messages included everything from “Brexit means Brexit” to “Traitors.” In Ipswich, the number of ballots spoilt with writing resulted in an extended counting period. Unprecedented high numbers of spoilt ballots have sent messages across the political spectrum. Labour and Conservative MPs have commented on the message the spoilt ballots have sent, with many suggesting that Brexit must be brought to a conclusion.
Leave.EU had been promoting the ‘spoil your ballot’ message. Further suggesting it would be a good way to raise more awareness of public discontent.
Between the spoilt ballots and the votes for Independent Councillors, it is clear the electorate has sent a strong message. It remains to be seen if the politicians and the Prime Minister, will listen to the voters’ voice.
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