The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints
I hope there's room for me.

Welcome all - especially Mancunians.

Hello anybody lost in the blogosphere. Welcome to the ruminations of a politically left of centre, Man United supporting, blues loving, history-fixated, Catholic wanderer. Be warned, I am a bit of a curmudgeon.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Cornwall Unitary Election Results, 2013: Restormel

As with my overview of the (at the time) forthcoming elections last April, I decided it would be fun to follow (as far as possible) the old district and borough boundaries.
The last time that local council elections took place in the now defunct (as of 2009) Restormel Borough Council, these were the results:

Party                       Votes   Percent   Seats
Liberal Democrat       9663   31.5%    20
Conservative             9216   30.0%    10
Independent              9126   29.7%    13
Mebyon Kernow          1485    4.8%     2
Labour                          537    1.7%     0
Green Party                  371    1.2%     0
BNP                              298    1.0%     0

The Liberal Democrats stood candidates in 18 of the 19 wards in 2007 and slipped back a little compared to the last elections in 2003, losing two councillors and slipping in the vote share from 35.9% to 31.5%, ( they actually stood in 17 wards in 2003).
The Conservatives had only put up candidates in 9 wards in 2003, so the rise in their vote share from 19.2% was not unexpected when they stood in 18 wards this time. They only gained one seat overall but will have been pleased to overhaul the Independent share of the vote.
Independents had contested 14 wards in 2003, winning to seats unopposed in Fowey and Tywardreath, as did the Liberal Democrats), so gaining 30.6% of the vote was fairly impressive.Thirteen councillors were elected as Independent in 2003, and the number remined the same this time, although there was some seat-swapping between the different interests. Only 12 wards had cnadidates standing as Independents in 2007, so almost retaining the vote share (30.6% in 2003) was very impressive.
Mebyon Kernow had three candidates, with Dick Cole and Matthew Luke topping the poll in their wards, up from one (Mr Cole) in 2003, with the vote share just about the same (4.9% in 2003).
For Labour, not a great election, from eleven candidates and 9.4% in 2003 to only 3 candidates in two wards at these elections, taking a miniscule 1.7% of the votes. The best results was 18.6% in Mount Charles ward. Labour were very much a busted flush in these elections.
The Green Party had two candidates, polling best with 16.4% in St. Ewe ward.
The BNP only stood in Bethel ward, taking 17.4% of the vote there.
Unitary Council Elections, 2009:

Party                       Votes   Percent   Seats
Liberal Democrat      8469    31.2%    11
Conservative             8761   32.2%     6
Independent              6555    24.1%     5
Mebyon Kernow          1805     6.6%     1
Labour                          942     3.5%     0
Green Party                  262     1.0%     0
UKIP                             208     0.8%     0
BNP                              104     0.4%     0
EDP                                81     0.3%     0

What appeared to be a fairly good result for the Liberal Democrats, compared to their results in other parts of Cornwall,  but they they just held on in the St. Austell Bethel (18), St. Austell Gover (53 votes), Penwithick (78 votes), St. Mewan (38 votes), Mount Charles (18 votes), Newquay Central (54 votes), Newquay Pentire (96 votes), and Newquay Treloggan (47 votes) divisions, so things were not that rosy for them. They had candidates in all the divisions.
For the Conservatives, a good vote share but they were not far off in Mount Charles (a close third, 66 votes behind the winner), Newquay Central, Newquay Pentire, Newquay Treloggan, Newquay Treviglas (81 votes behind), St. Mewan, Penwithick, St. Austell Bethel and St. Austell Gover divisions, so they will be disappointed not to have won more seats. They did actually top the poll by eleven votes over the Liberal Democrats and had candidates in all the divisions.
Those standing under the Independent colours won five divisions (Newquay Treviglas, Roche, St. Columb, St. Dennis, and St. Stephen), and there were 22 candidates in 15 divisions, so 24.1% was fairly good. Independent candidates came fairly close in St. Austell Poltair (3rd place and 90 votes behind the winner), Newquay Treloggan, (3rd place and 64 votes behind), Mount Charles (18 votes), and polled fairly well elsewhere. For the robust Independent tradition in these parts, it was a disappointing set of results.
Mebyon Kernow fought 5 divisions, winning only in St. Enoder where Dick Cole was elected with 77.6% of the vote and a majority of 750. They only polled fairly decentlyin one other division, that of Penwithick where former district councillor Matthew Luke came third with 26.8% of the vote.
The Labour Party's nadir of 2009 was very much in evidence here with the party fighting 13 divisions and being crushed everywhere with the exception of St. Blaise division where they managed 172 votes (16.4% of the poll). They did not manage to get into three figures in terms of votes cast in any other division they fought, with the next best vote share being 8.5% in St. Austell Poltair. An unmitigated disaster and terrible blow to a party of government (as it then was).
The Green Party had two candidates in Mevagissey (9.9%) and Newquay Treviglas (9.4%).
UKIP had one candidate in St. Austell Bethel, taking 15.8% of the vote.
The BNP stood in Newquay Treloggan, taking 10.5% of the vote.
The English Democrats only fielded a candidate in Newquay Pentire, where they took 7.6% of the vote, ahead Labour's humiliating 2.8% and thirty votes.

Unitary Council Elections, 2013:

Party                      Votes   Percent   Seats
Liberal Democrat      4879    22.1%     9
Conservative             5742    26.0%     4
Independent              5550    25.2%     7
Mebyon Kernow-PC      2201     9.8%     2
UKIP                           2060     9.4%     1
Labour                        1564     7.1%     1
Green Party                    62     0.3%     0

A bit of a shocker here with the Liberal Democrats coming third in terms of vote share, with only 22.1% of the vote (down from 31.9% in 2009), actually slipping behind the total for Independent candidates by 671 votes. They did, however, manage to hold on to most of their seats, winning in 9 of the divisions (down from 11 last time), though there was some churn in the seats they won. Standing in 18 of the divisions, they had a mix of good results, lucky escapes and disasterous collapses in share of the vote. In many cases though, their good campaigning just pulled them through.
The Conservatives, who retained their 'top of the poll' position with only 26% of the votes cast (down from 31.9% in 2009), fell from 6 seats to 4, an awful result for them. They had the odd moment of joy, such as Benedicte Poula Gwyneth Bay successfully defending Lostwithiel with an increased share of the vote.
The Independents will be much happier, with Independent candidates holding pretty much the same vote share as in 2009 and going from 5 to 7 divisions - they gained Mount Charles and St. Austell Gover.
Mebyon Kernow- Party of Cornwall had a good election, gaining Penwithick and Boscoppa from the Liberal Democrats and holding St. Enoder, re-electing MK-PC leader Dick Cole with a thumping share of the vote.
UKIP can celebrate the election of their first councillor in this area with Mark Hicks being elected in Newquay Treviglas. They might have been happier as they were only 28 behind Labour's Michael Bunney in Mevagissey, in a fairly close second in Lostwithiel (88 votes behind), 32 votes behind (in 3rd place) in Newquay Tretherras. They appear to have targeted fairly well and were just short of pulling off a big shock and taking 3 or 4 seats.
For Labour, great joy in gaining Mevagissey from nowhere and 4.1% of the vote at the last Unitary elections. They continue to disappoint in not appearing to have the activist base to be able to put up decent campaigns in more divisions across the old borough. They fielded 10 candidates and will be pleased to have become the clear challengers to the Liberal Democrats in St. Blazey with 24.1% of the vote and will be quite satisfied to have posted fairly good vote shares in Newquay Treviglas (17.8%) and St. Austell, Poltair (18.4%). Labour would be winning these sort of seats in other parts of the country and they need to ask themselves whether times will ever again be as propitious for them to replace the Liberal Democrats as the voice of the struggling working class.
For the Green Party, only one candidate in Mevagissey who was completely squeezed out of the race.


Sitting councillor Jackie Bull moved to stand in St Austell Poltair, so anti-cuts campaigner, Simon Rix, picked up the Liberal Democrat banner in this much revised division. With 27% of local children living in poverty, his position reflects the people he hoped to represent. His task was made difficult by representing a party in national government who might be held responsible for the cuts. I predicted that the Liberal Democrats would hold on here, but with a much reduced vote share and majority, and so it proved with Mr Rix being elected with only 33.4% of the vote and a majority of 90 over the Conservative candidate, Rachel Beadle, who did well to maintain a healthy vote share of 23.9%
I guessed that the drop in the Lib Dem voted wouldn't favour the Tories in this area, and it didn't, with Independent candidate, Steve Hopper, taking third place (16.1%) and edging out MK-PC's Jerry Jeffries, who might have hoped to do better than fourth place and 14.7% of the vote.
Coming in last is Labour's regular candidate, David Doyle, who will be disappointed to have failed to build up the Labour vote higher than 12% in an area where they should really appeal. It is, however, a darn sight better than the dismal 5.8% achieved in the old division in 2009.

Fowey and Tywardreath

Phew - this was a close run election, as history in this area suggests, and I thought MK-PC's Fiona Carlyon might do well, but I didn't have any evidence from election results that saw her coming so close to taking the winners laurels.
Whilst Cllr David Hughes 'held' the seat (much revised after boundary changes), he only did so by 13 votes over Ms Carlyon. He took 37.8% to her 36.8%, quite stunning really and a sign of some unhappiness from many voters at the Liberal Democrat performance in government.
In the third place, retired naval man, Adrian Wildish received 25.4% of the vote, but he was very much out of this race in a place Tories would hope to win.
A decent 38% turnout.


I really thought that this division would slip back to its traditional Independent representation but, with an increased vote share (35.6%, up from 30.7% in 2009), the wonderfully named Conservative, Benedicte Poula Gwyneth Bay, successfully defended the seat for the Tories.
In second place came UKIP's Nigel Challis, whom I saw as a bit of a dark horse but I doubted he would be able to take the seat, but he didn't come far off so doing, with 28.5% of the vote - well up on 2009's 8.8%. He obviously appealed to the independently-minded voter in the division.
In a close third place came Independent candidate, Graham Jarrett, who received 26.9% of the vote.
Coming in last was the Liberal Democrat's Marian Oldor Candy whose 9.1% was marginally better than the party share last time (8.4%)
A 37% voter turnout.


Now this was a surprise, with Labour's Michael Bunney coming from a miserable last place and 4.1% of the vote for his party in 2009 to snatching the division with 29.7% this time. Mr Bunney just kept out UKIP's Michael Williams by 28 votes, in itself amazing as this had been a Conservative/Liberal Democrat marginal at the last Unitary elections with those parties accruing 85.9% of the vote between them; indeed, this has been a marginal between the parties for sometime.
They were truly pushed out at this election, with the Conservatives' James Mustoe losing his party's grip on the seat and coming third with 24% of the vote (44.5% in 2009) and, even more calamitously, with the Liberal Democrats, who I expected to gain this division, falling to fourth place and 14% of the vote (41.4% in 2009).
In last place came the Green Party's Katherine Moseley, who saw her party's share more than halved from 9.9% to 4.7%.
The Labour campaign here was obviously well run and targeted, as was the UKIP one, and shows that there need not be no-go areas for parties if they work hard. It also shakes up the complacency of whichever ever parties traditionally dominate.
A good 41% turnout in an interesting election, but still down on 2009.

Mount Charles

My prediction for this division was: "Too close to call, but the Lib Dems will lose it and Labour won't win it. Mr King as slight favourite". I am quite pleased with that as Mr King (Independent) did prove to be the winner after just missing out by 18 votes in 2009. He received 37% of the poll, slightly up on the 34.3% last time. The sitting councillor, Shirley Polmounter, elected as a Liberal Democrat but running as 'unspecified' this time, slipped to third with 18.1% of the vote.
Snatching second place was the Conservatives' Anne Double who, with 26.2%, held on to most of her party's poll share (29.7%).
In fourth place came Labour's Paul Roberts, who will probably be disappointed with taking 12.1% as, in an area like this, they should really be approaching 20%.
The real disaster though is for the local Liberal Democrat's, who came fifth with only 6.6% of the vote, Mount Charles having been a strong area for them in the past. Local problems have been a drag on them and they will need to address this.
In the end, the left-leaning candidacy ( "People before Profit and Practical Policies before Party Politics" was on his election website) of Mr King appealed to the voters of this area and there is a lesson for Labour here.

Newquay Central

I was reluctant to choose a winner here but plumped for Councillor Geoff Brown to hold on for the Liberal Democrats; after a very close result, my reluctance proved to be correct.
Mr Brown, having only taken the division by 54 votes in a six horse race in 2009 and with 28.8% of the vote, had a much healthier 52.3% in a two horse one, but only won with a 33 vote majority.
The defeated Independent (who had recently joined the Green Party, but was not really known as such) was Steven Slade, who certainly managed to feed into the anti-party feeling.
There was a depressingly low turnout of 18% and I question whether the decision of the Conservatives and Labour (and, for that matter, UKIP) to sit this election out here serves democracy, as many people seem to have stayed at home if they had no candidate.

Newquay Pentire

A simple victory for sitting Lib Dem, Councillor Joanna Kenny, who greatly increased the number of votes she received over 2009 from 389 to 516 on a much reduced turnout, going from 36.3% share of the vote to a 64.8% one. with only two runners in this race (5 in 2009), the losers were probably the electorate, but the Conservatives were the official also-rans with 35.2% of the vote (up from 27.4% but, due to the fall in turnout, they received 13 less actual votes).
With only minor boundary changes, the 26% turnout is quite depressing as 215 fewer people voted compared to 2009, a drop of around a fifth.

Newquay Treloggan

I could almost repeat the same mantra as for the above divisions, just changing the percentages and figures.
The 4 horse race in 2009 became a two horse one this time, with Councillor George Edwards having transferred to the Tretherras division, so Dave Sleeman retaining the seat for the Liberal Democrats over the returning Conservative challenger from 2009, Kevin Towill. The Liberal Democrat's 33.6% vote share in the old Treloggan division raised to 54%, whilst Mr Towill's 28.8% vote share is up to 46%, a 47 vote majority last time and now a 57 vote one.
A very low 22% turnout - for analysis, I refer you to my above remarks, a much lower turnout across Newquay as a whole; also, it would appear, as I surmised, that a lack of English Democratic Party candidate this time, meant that their voters stayed at home.

Newquay Tretherras

Due to the boundary changes, Councillor Patrick Lambshead for the Conservatives was challenged by Councillor George Edwards for the Liberal Democrats (see Treloggan above).
I thought this would be very close and predicted it would just(!) be a Conservative hold. Well, so it proved with the three horse race here (with UKIP's Doris Latham making up the field) being incredibly close with only 32 votes between a victorious Mr Lambshead and a very decent third for Ms Latham.
Mr Edwards was edged out by just 23 votes (35.6% to 32.8%), with Ms Latham on 31.7%,
A slightly better (although still reduced) turnout of 27% perhaps reflecting the more interesting electoral battle.

Newquay Treviglas

As if to make my point, with the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives joined by UKIP and Labour candidates, a much more interesting battle and a better turnout. An undefended division with the retirement of Independent councillor, Harry Heywood, the Conservatives should have been favourites here and I did predict that their candidate, Andy Hannan, would just gain it but thought the most likely beneficiary of any slip up would be the returning Liberal Democrat candidate, Sandy Carter. As I said in my overview last year, Mr Carter has an unfortunate habit of just missing out on election and thought that would be true this time, and so it was.
In the end, it was a brilliant result for the unexpected UKIP victor, Mark Hicks who, with 30.3% of the poll, beat Mr Hannan by 29 votes and Mr Carter by 48. Mr Hannan saw the Tory share slip slightly, compared to 2009, to 27% (from 28.5%), whilst The Lib Dem's slipped to 24.9% from 26%.
UKIP has no real history here and it was a stunning result with much of the vote of the former Independent appearing to switch straight across to Mr Hicks.
For Labour, Joan Bowden pulled off a very good result, taking 17.8% of the vote (just 110 votes behind Mr Hicks) and obviously showing signs of solid Labour Party targeting in this one division in Newquay. She may well have robbed Mr Carter of the seat, or it is more likely that voters who have felt disenfranchised in the past turned out this time.
The best turnout in Newquay of 28%, still depressingly low but maybe a message to the political parties to engage with the electorate.

Par and St Blazey Gate

History suggested this would be a Liberal Democrat victory, and so it proved with Douglas Scrafton winning through for them with 39.6% and a 76 majority over Conservative candidate, Richard Pears (31.1%) and Deli-owning Independent, Alison Watkins, another 16 votes behind (29.3%).
Perhaps closer than one would expect, probably due to the Independent candidate, but no big surprises here.
29% turnout.

Penwithick and Boscoppa

I predicted a Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall gain here as I saw this as being a very good prospect for the returning MK-PC candidate, Matthew Luke, building on his very strong third place in 2009, and so it proved with him gaining the division from the defending Liberal Democrat candidate, Christopher Rowe.
Mr Rowe had only won in at the last elections with a 78 vote majority over the Conservatives and with 37.1% of the vote, so he must have known he was in some danger, not least because this was Mr Luke's third shot at it with a strong base. He managed to hold onto most of his vote share with 36.2% (from 37.1%), but that is still a slip back for the Liberal Democrats in a place where they used to poll much higher.
In the absence of any other challenger from the left (whilst Labour did poorly last time, they have a traditionally strong voter base here) and with unhappiness with the Liberal Democrats, Mr Luke came through the middle from third place last time (26.8%) to grab victory with 43.6% of the votes cast. He has a not too comfortable 61 majority but might now be difficult to shift.
The Conservatives came third here, pushed aside to take 20.2% (29.8% last time).
A turnout of 23.7%, down by a quarter.


For the third election, John Wood and Brian Higman faced each other in a county election, except that this time Mr Highman stood for Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall.
It went as predicted in this somewhat redrawn division on 2009: Councillor Wood (then leader of the Independent group, now Chairman of the Council) retained the seat with almost the same vote share of 52.6% (53.2% in 2009). Former mayor of Restormel, Mr Higman had held the old County division (in the Liberal Democrat interest) until 2009 and will be disappointed that he was not able to return to Truro. He did take 39.5% of the vote, 6% better than when he stood as a Liberal Democrat, but was still 112 votes short.
Bringing up the rear was Conservative candidate Derek Walker, very much the also-ran with only 7.9% of the vote (13.4% in 2009).
A 27.8% turnout, well down on 2009.

St Austell Bay

A strange election here as the revised division had no defending councillor or party as the sitting Liberal Democrat councillor, John Oxenham, who had gained the seat in a byelection on a big swing from the Conservatives, did not defend the ward, nor did the party put up a candidate.
I predicted a Conservative (re)gain for their candidate, Tom French, and he did prevail but only after a very strong challenge from local campaigner and Independent candidate, Anne Langley. Mr French won with 46.3% of the vote to Ms Langley's 43.4%, a majority of only 36 votes. This was a big drop from the Conservative share of former councillor Richard Stewart, whose ill-health resignation had caused the byelection. He had taken 59.4% of the vote in the old division.
Ms Langley seems to have garnered votes from the Conservatives and the absent Liberal Democrat vote (33.5% in 2009), and almost pulled off a shock victory.
For Labour, Maggi Pitches could only hope to avoid a squeeze and to rebuild the once decent level of Labour support. Her 10.3% is better than 4.9% last time, but she should have hoped for more and it would seem that Ms Langley was a more attractive choice for the non-Tory vote.
A 34.1% turnout, which appears to be not too much lower than last time.

St Austell Bethel

I wasn't able to predict this one and the result shows why. Liberal Democrat candidate Malcolm Brown was elected, but with only 27% of the poll and a 12 vote majority over Independent candidate Graham Walker, the sitting councillor elected in 2009 as a Liberal Democrat. Mr Walker had resigned from the Liberal Democratic Party on 21st May 2012, citing deep disappointment with national politics. Mr Walker had won with an 18 vote majority (and 35.1% of the vote) at the last elections, so must have been gutted to be on the other side of a narrow majority.
Conservative Bob Davidson, the loser by 18 votes last time, was pushed further back this time with his party share falling from 33.7% to 19% this.
In fourth place came UKIP's Ian Proctor, third last time, who managed to increase his vote slightly from 15.8% to 16.9% but was surely hoping for more.
Labour's Brendan Parkinson will be pleased to have avoided a squeeze this time and to increase the Labour vote from 4.9% to 11.3%. The lack of a MK-PC candidate this time may have helped.
Not a great turnout of 27.5% but not as bad as some places of a similar demographic.

St Austell, Gover

I thought this would just be a gain by the 'unspecified' (Independent) candidate, Sandra Heyward, but she managed to poll better than I thought, taking 53.3% of the votes cast (44.6% last time), in her long-running electoral rivalry with defeated Tory councillor, Jenny Stewart. Last time, Ms Stewart won by 53 votes and took 49.2% of the votes, but fell back heavily this time to 32.5%.
In the last election, Ms Heyward had been a Liberal Democrat candidate but by standing as an non-party candidate she successfully played on the unpopularity of the government. It seems to have helped that the Liberal Democrats didn't put up a candidate this time.
For Labour, from a very poor 6.2% in 2009, they must have hoped that having no Liberal Democrat standing would bring them a healthy vote share, but Ann Phillips 14.1% is at least better than last time in a division where Labour have a weak recent electoral history.
A 26.1% turnout, well down on last time.

St Austell Poltair

As with the other St. Austell divisions, a very close run race in 2009, which probably shows why it was sensible for sitting Conservative councillor, Steve Double, now PPC for St Austell and Newquay constituency, not to defend the division - a loss wouldn't have been a good start.
As predicted, Bugle sitting councillor Jackie Bull won this seat for the Liberal Democrats and more handily than I thought she might, taking a decent 35.6% of the vote in a strong field, increasing the Lib Dem share from 29.1% in 2009. She pushed charity worker Adam Harris, of the Conservatives, into second place with a majority of 93, which counts as decent in this division. Mr Harris saw his party's vote drop by 10% to 25.4%.
In third place came former Liberal Democrat activist Derek Collins, now standing for Mebyob Kernow-Party of Cornwall since he fell out with the party over the national coalition. He achieved a very creditable 20.5% of the vote from a standing start for the party. He may well have gained many of the votes from the former Independent candidate who ran in 2009.
For Labour, the only candidate who stood in 2009, Poltair Residents' Association chair Andrea Lanxon will be disappointed to have failed to move up the pecking order but will be delighted to take the Labour share of the vote up to 18.4% from 8.5% last time.
The turnout of 26.5% was only down by about 5% compared to the last elections, perhaps a sign where a very competitive election can gain the electorate's interest. Still too low though.

St Blazey

In this division my prediction was: Liberal Democrat hold with reduced vote share, Labour to take second place (maybe; probably not). I should have been less doubtful about Labour's second place as sitting Rod Taylor was re-elected as the Liberal Democrat councillor, with a much reduced 40.1% of the vote (55.6% in 2009). His majority was down from 289 to over the Tories to 124 over Labour.
Labour's Stuart Wheeler will be pleased to have increased the Labour poll share to 24.1% (16.4%), as this is a seat in which Labour should really do better and where it's social policies should appeal: child poverty in this division was recently recorded as an appalling 25%, not quite the image that the home of the Eden Project would want to portray.
In third place came Independent candidate Liam Bellamy, with a very decent 22.3% of the vote, almost the same as the 23% an Independent managed to gain in 2005. It would seem much of his vote came from the Conservative Party and Mr Taylor, although he may well have appealed to people who normally don't vote.
The Conservatives had a very poor result, with Peter Sinclair seeing the vote more than halved from 28.1% to 13.6% and his party slipping from second to third place.
The turnout was again down by more than a quarter to 24%, but at least it was a fairly interesting election.
Certainly a division Labour should organise in more thoroughly as I believe it is a target for them. I do wonder how things might have gone with a UKIP candidate to pull in more votes.

St Columb Major

Whilst she only won with 32.7% of the vote last time, Councillor Harvey was never really likely to lose this division, not least in the absence of another Independent candidate. She was re-elected with 55.3% of the vote and a 382 majority over the Conservative candidate, John Bell. She seems comfortable here after her less than stellar victory last time.
For Mr Bell, he saw his party's share of the vote slip back slightly from 22.7% to 19.2%. For the Liberal Democrats, Alvin Augustus Martin slightly increased the vote share to 18.2% (from 17.6%).
Labour's Debbie Hopkins limped in last with 7.3%, which is at least better than the 3.6% last time; still pretty dreadful though. I suspect she'll do better as Labour's PPC for St. Austell and Newquay in 2015.
This is a division with a long history of safely electing Independents and, when Ms Harvey beat the other Independent in 2009 to claim victory, she appears to have returned it to its normal safe position.
Again, a big drop in turnout to 28.3%.

St Dennis and Nanpean

A battle of two Independents who had formerly been Liberal Democrats on the old Borough council, it was always likely that defending councillor, Fred Greenslade, would be easily re-elected. It proved to be very easy, with Mr Greenslade taking a hefty 72.4% of the vote (slightly up from 72.8%) in 2009 and a 364 majority.
Ms Wonnacott was roundly trounced and will doubtless be happily back running her dog-grooming business. She achieved only 21.5% of the poll.
In an unsurprisingly bad third place in this area came the Conservative candidate, Barbara Hannan, who received a sorry 6% of the vote, down from 11.9% in 2009.
The real story in this unchanged division, apart from the addition of Nanpean to the name, is the appalling turnout of 21%, a drop in actual votes of 267. This part of Cornwall has a real issue with engaging the voters.

St Enoder

Only one result was ever possible here and a thumping one: Mebyon Kernow-Party for Cornwall leader, Dick Cole, was re-elected with a crushing 86.9% of the vote over the brave, but ultimately hapless, Independent candidate, Elizabeth Hawken.
Mr Cole's 708-vote majority is to be envied and it is to his credit that, in the absence of other party candidates, he managed to keep the turnout at 27%, only down by a fifth compared to others. Inevitability of result isn't particularly conducive to getting the vote out.

St Mawgan and Colan

I expected the Conservative vote to drop here, but was sure that the defending Conservative Councillor, John Fitter, would be safely home. In a two horse race with MK-PC candidate, Rob Poole, it would seem that the Independent voter of 2009 (30.5%) stayed at home. His vote share rose to 76.1% from 53% although the number of votes he actually received dropped by 1 (588 from 589), a sign of the large drop in turnout. This is a story of differential turnout where Mr Fitter knows how to get his vote out.
Mr Poole seems to have captured the Liberal Democrat vote from 2009, with him taking 185 votes, up 1 from the Lib Dem vote of 184 last time. The drop in votes is exactly the same as the votes that the Independent candidate Gary Redman in 2009 received: 339. I love stories with a certain amount of symmetry but it is a shocking 30.5% cut in the number of votes from 2009. A 28.3% turnout compared to over 40% last time.

St Mewan

A very close run battle last time and a very close run one this time, I had this as too close to call but with the Lib Dem candiate, Janet Lockyer, slight favourites to retain it (former councillor, Baron (Robin) Teverson, of Tregony in the County of Cornwall now active in the Hose of Lords, stepped down this time).
In the end, it was won by the Independent candidate Malcolm Harris winning 36.6% of the votes cast and a majority of 44 over the Conservative, John Kneller (32.2%, down from 36% in 2009).
A disappointed Ms Lockyer was not far behind on 31.1%, a drop from 39%.
Mr Harris had campaigned on the issue of the scale and location of the proposed green-field shopping centre at Coyte Farm and, given a strong constituency of people minded to vote for a non-party candidate (25% last time), he campaigned very well. I thought it possible the success of his campaign might decide things and it did, in his favour. Congratulations to him.
Turnout: 32.7%, down by about a fifth on last time, and not a particularly good turnout in a fairly affluent area, for this part of Cornwall.

St Stephen-in-Brannel

A straight fight (no Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour candidates this time) between the Independent sitting councillor Des Curnow and UKIP's Keith Hickman.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Curnow was easily re-elected with 65.7% of the vote.
Mr Hickman might have hoped to do better, but I suspect that 34.3% is the top vote UKIP can expect and would only win in a more competitive and divided field.
A very disappointing 25.6% turnout, well down on 2009.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Cornwall Unitary Election results, 2013: North Cornwall

Last year I promised that, after the Unitary elections, I would return to review the Cornwall Council election results but, given a change of house (twice) and a change of work circumstances, I have not had the opportunity to do so. With things now being a little more settled, I will share some reflections.
The 2009 elections had been an unmititigated disaster for Labour, deeply disappointing for the Liberal Democrats, comforting for the Conservatives and the Independents; for Mebyon Kernow, they had been less than stellar, although they had shown progress whilst UKIP and the Greens had nothing but dashed hopes.
On the face of it, several parties can claim to be pleased with the results of 2013 but, as with all elections, the story is somewhat different when you look more closely. With Cornwall, things are never quite as simple as they first appear.
I will look at the result in each division to reflect upon what happened (and how wrong, or right, my predictions were). As with most of those who had made educated guesses about the results, whilst I predicted UKIP would do well, I did not see what was coming and that was the biggest surprise of the elections for me.

North Cornwall was a District Council, formed in 1974 which disappeared with the formation of the Cornwall Unitary Authority on 1st April, 2009. It covers the towns of Bude, Bodmin, Launceston, Wadebridge, Camelford and Padstow, with 62 parishes in all.

District Council Election results, 2007:

Party                       Votes    Percent    Seats
Liberal Democrat     9988    34.5%     14
Conservative           8988    31.1%      6
Independent            8347    28.9%    15
Mebyon Kernow      1131      3.9%      1
Labour                      270      0.9%      0
BNP                          202      0.7%      0

2007 was a good election for the Liberal Democrats, gaining 3 seats and slightly increasing its share of the vote on 2003, in a traditionally strong area for them. They had candidates in 18 of the 23 wards (mix of 1-, 2- and 3-member wards).
The Conservatives, despite only winning 6 seats, came second in turn of vote share with candiates in 20 of the 23 wards. They were up from 19.7% in 2003 and were just edged out in three of the seats.
The Inependents were the big losers on 2003, dropping from 43.7% and in a clear lead to third with 28.9%. They lost control of the council but still managed to remain the largest party (though with 4 councillors fewer).
Mebyon Kernow had only one candidate in 2003 with John Bolitho being elected in Bude; in 2007, with Johnn Bolitho not standing again, they lost Bude but gained a ward in Bodmin St. Mary's with Ernest Chapman being elected. Although they had two candidates this time, their vote share only rose to 3.9% from 2.7%.
Labour, in an area where they are historically weak, had no candidates in 2003, but managed to field three candidates in the Wadebridge and Launceston wards, managing only 3.4% and 6.4% repectively.
The BNP's Simon Bennett stood in Poughill and Stratton ward and received 202 votes (7.8%).
Unitary Council Election results, 2009:

Party                       Votes    Percent    Seats
Liberal Democrat    11448   38.8%      10
Conservative          10740    36.4%      8
Independent            6037    20.5%      3
Mebyon Kernow         534     1.8%      0
UKIP                           555     1.9%      0
BNP                             86     0.3%      0
Green Party                 82     0.3%      0

At a time that The Liberal Democrats were suffering in other parts of Cornwall, they suffered some disappointments in the old North Cornwall district area in the first Unitary Council elections. Winning 10 of the 21 divisions, they topped the poll with 38.8% of the vote, but they would have been disappointed to have failed to win in Altarnun (falling to third place), Bodmin East (losing by 33 votes), Lanivet (falling to quite a distant second place), Padstow (a surprisingly heavy defeat), Poundstock (losing by 45 votes),
For the Conservatives, excellent results in this electoral cycle, with them making strong advances at the expense of the Liberal Democrats and, in terms of votes, the Independents.
The Independent candidates fared less well, standing in fewer divisions than they would have in the old wards, they only managed to take 20.5% of the vote and 3 out of 21 of the seats, the area becoming much more party politicised as the electoral cycle was approaching a genreal election in 2010.
Mebyon Kernow fielded candidates in Bude South (formerly a strong area for them, they only took 7.8% of the vote), Poundstock (5.3%) and Padstow, where Ron Brown managed a decent 23.3% of the vote, apparently eating into the Liberal Democrat vote.
The BNP stood a candidate in Padstow, taking 5.5% of the vote.
The Green Party also fielded a candidate in Padstow and managed 5.3%
Labour, a sign of their general weakness in this area, did not have a candidate in any of the divisions; given their results elsewhere, this was probably very sensible.

Unitary Council Election results, 2013:

Party                       Votes    Percent     Seats
Liberal Democrat    10332    44.3%     15
Conservative            5518    23.7%      2
Independent            3615    15.5%      4
UKIP                        2394     10.3%      0
Mebyon Kernow-PC     521     2.2%     0
Labour                        735     3.2%     0
Green Party                185     0.8%     0

Unlike the the disappointment the Liberal Democrats faced across much of Cornwall at these most recent Unitary elections, they polled very well here and gained five divisions. With 44.3% of the vote, the Liberal Democrats achieved their highest vote share in this area in many years, the only disappointment being the big drop in turnout that meant that their vote went up by 5.5% but they garnered 1,116 less actual votes than in 2009. They gained (bearing in mind boundary changes) Bodmin St. Petroc, Camelford, Lanivet and Blisland, Padstow and Poundstock, all the divisions they would have hoped to hold in 2009 (see above). They also came very close in the controversial election in Wadebridge East (see below), losing by only 4 votes (they were to go on to just gain this in the subsequent byelection).
For the Conservatives, this was a terrible result, with the vote share dropping by over a third. They did not run candidates in Bodmin St. Mary's, Bodmin St. Petroc (where Conservative councillor Lance Kennedy quit and defended the division, unsuccessfully, as an Independent), Launceston South, Lanivet and Blisland (despite having won the seat in 2009), and St. Issey and St. Tudy. They generally suffered at the hands of UKIP (as well as others), most strikingly in recording a humiliating vote share in Bodmin St. Leonard of 5% (28.1% in 2009). They only bucked the trend in Altarnun, which they held with a slightly reduced share of the vote, and Wadebridge West, where Councillor Scott Mann pulled off a spectacular result. They were humiliated.
For the Independents/Unspecified, it was a mixed result with them gaining a councillor overall, but losing more of the vote share, down to 15.5% this time. They held Stokeclimsland, Wadebridge East, and St. Teath and St. Breward, all with long-standing councillors whose personal votes are what carry them on, only gaining St. Minver and St. Endellion with Andy Penny gaining from the Tories with a 16 vote majority. One wonders about the future for non-party candidates in this part of Cornwall.
For UKIP, not their best result in Cornwall, as they failed to dent the Liberal Democrat appeal.They only fought half the divisions, coming close only in Altarnun (80 votes behind), Lanivet and Blisland (129 votes behind).
Labour stood candidates in five divisions this time, doing best in Wadebridge East with 12.1% of the vote and worst in Launceston Central with 9.2%. The party really ought to do better given the social needs of the area but at least they had candidates this time, unlike 2009.
For Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall, disppointment in that they failed to put up much of a challenge in the three divisions where they had a candidate, failing miserably in Bodmin St. Mary's where they once had a councillor (see below). They achieved around a sixth of the vote in the seats they contested.
The Green Party had one candidate in Lanivet and Blisland, achieving 15.5% of the vote.


This division has been normally represented, in its slightly varying guises by the Liberal Democrats, until it was gained in 2009 by the Conservatives with the Lib Dems falling to a surprise third place. Conservative Vivian Hall held onto the seat for The Conservatives with a slightly reduced vote share of 37% whilst the Liberal Democrats remained in third place (despite, or maybe because of, the candidature of the sitting Launceston South councillor, Sasha Gillard-Loft). In 2009, the Conservatives had just held off the challenge of Independent Brian Eno, but this time it was the UKIP challenger, John Knights, who proved the greatest threat. I predicted he would get a healthy vote share but didn't think he would threaten to take the seat - he wasn't far off though, taking 30% of the votes cast and failng only by 80 votes.
I had predicted, although I clearly said "with little confidence", that the Lib Dems would regain the seat, basing this on a bounce back after the pretty appalling result for the Lib Dems in 2009, although I believed Labour's entry into the campaign might hinder that. Labour's Geoff Hale will be happy with the 111 votes gained and 11% vote share, I guess the Lib Dems less so, although it wouldn't have given them the seat even if the votes had gone their way otherwise.
What happened? The Conservatives held on much better then one might have expected, given that the sitting councillor had stood down, and UKIP, with no electoral history to speak of, were the surprise package. It would seem that Mr Knights took votes that were once with the Independent candidate as well as a handful of Tory votes; who is to say what the result might have been if it had been known how close UKIP would come to taking the Division?

Bodmin St. Leonard

A safe, indeed impressive, Lib Dem hold here with Cllr Pat Rogerson garnering a excellent 62% of the vote. As I predicted at the time, UKIP were always likely to be a hindrance to the Conservatives, I had realised just how much of one - the Conservative vote share collapsed to 5% with their candidate, Mr Scoffham, reduced to a humiliating 4th place.
Whilst UKIP's Chris Wallis posed no threat to Cllr Rogerson, he took a creditable 24% of the vote and a clear second place. Labour's David Acton will be disappointed to have only taken 9% of the vote but has the comfort of knowing he did not place last. I thought that Councillor Rogerson might be a little unnecessarily worried by Labour's entrance into the race but it would appear that the strong vote share for the Independent in 2009 swung mostly behind her whilst the Conservatives can only go home and lick their wounds.
I had predicted a Lib Dem hold.

Bodmin St. Mary's

This is a seat that I thought might be a challenge for the Lib Dems and predicted it as being too close to call between them and Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall (MK-PC). I had predicated this on the past success of MK-PC in the 2007 district council elections. Well, more fool me to try to make that kind of normal political assessment in a north Cornish town. Local connections matter here and, despite the apparently strong local connections of MK-PC's Roger Lashbrook, it was Cllr Kerridge who was comfortably re-elected. Whilst her vote share was down on 2009 when it was a two-horse race with the Conservatives, her 56.4% share of the vote is a great achievement.
In the end, it was UKIP's Peter Walter's who proved the main - if distant - challenger, soaking up the majority of the Tory vote (as the Conservatives's failed to field a candidate) to achieve 19.9%, with MK-PC in third with 16.5%.
Labour's Janet Hulme will be disappointed to have taken only 7.2% of the vote, but at least she flew the flag.
A 27.4% turnout, but not massively down on 2009.

Bodmin St. Petroc

An interesting election battle here with the sitting Conservative and former Cornwall Cabiner member, Lance Kennedy, fighting to hold his seat against former Cllr Steve Rogerson who had only lost the Division by 33 votes in 2009.
As predicted, Mr Rogerson was re-elected and he comfortably increased his party's vote share (48.4% to 56.1%); a very comfortable majority of 461 for Mr Rogerson.
Mr Kennedy quit the Conservative party two months before these elections in protest at the decision of the Council to vote for a zero percent rise in Council Tax. The Cabinet Member for community safety, public protection and waste management, he might have hoped to do better, in his new guise as an Independent, than coming third with only 15.6% (51.6% when elected).
MK-PC's John Gibb's will be pleased with his party's 125 vote share (12%).
Voter's don't like division and the fallouts at County Hall cannot have been helpful to Mr Kennedy. It would appear that much of his vote went straight across to Cllr Rogerson and one would hope that a lesson is learnt.
I expressed the hope in my commentary that an increased number of candidates might increase the turnout, and it appears that it may have done so. The division has been slightly altered from the old East one but it seems that the 29.6% turnout is slightly up on 2009. Still disappointing though.


Nothing to see here. As predicted, in Cornwall's only two member division, the Lib Dem's Cllr's David Parsons and Nigel Pearce were comfortably re-elected with, between them, 85.4% of the vote. The sole challenger, Conservative (former Independent) Louise Emo managed only 14.6%. Not a good advert for representative democracy, you'd have thought another candidate could have been found.
The only real thing of note is that the turnout was 50.4%, which may be down from last time but it is hard to judge after the boudary revisions. Very nice to see over 50% of the electorate voting.


Well, what can one say - my prediction was "too close to call, for now" and I never called it. As it proved, this was a very tight race and I believed, popular as he was, that sitting Conservative Cllr Keith Goodenough would find it hard to hold against Lib Dem challenger, Rob Rotchell. Cllr Goodenough has always been in tight races but to lose by 7 votes must really hurt - the 'if only my knocking up effort had been good enough' (bad pun intended), but such is democracy.
A disappointing turnout of 28.8%, a slightly larger division casting over 300 fewer votes.

Grenville and Stratton

As predicted, a safe Liberal Democrat hold in a strong division for them. Cllr Dolphin's 68.2% will give her much to shout about, so fulfilling an election pledge. The Conservative's Shorne Tilbey never really had a chance.
The old Flexbury and Poughill division was much more fun.
A 36.8% turnout.

Lanivet and Blisland

One of those seats where the defending party, the Conservatives, failed to put up a candidate to defend. I predicted a Liberal Democrat gain, and so it proved with the now Cllr Chris Batters taking a comfortable 47.5%, almost doubling the Lib Dem share from 2009.
In the absence of the Conservatives, UKIP's Tom Hobbs 36% was very healthy and just short of the Conservative vote in 2009. UKIP don't seem to have been too successful with other party's voters here. The Green's Steve Haynes had every reason to be happy with his 15.5% of the vote, having had to campaign with little help.
A 34.7% turnout, but quite a cut from 2009.

Launceston Central

This was never going to be anything but a very safe hold for the Liberal Democrats and so it proved with Cllr Folkes taking 70.8% of the vote, a 7% increase since 2009. His Conservative challenger, Poundstock Cllr Phil Tucker (not sure why he changed to here), saw the Tory vote share more than halved to 17.2%. Bringing up the rear in the third place was Labour's Kris Roberts, who will be delighted to have recorded a Labour vote of 12%.
What explains the vote? I expect that the Lib Dem vote rose partly due to Cllr Folkes having an incumbancy bounce, with Cllr Tucker representing an unpopular local coalition and changing division and losing most votes to the Lib Dems whilst Labour seem to have managed to bring out voters who may normally not vote, have moved some across from the Lib Dems in the general vote churn and even some from the Tories. The low 25.9% turnout is not good.

Launceston North and North Petherwin

As predicted, a safe Lib Dem hold with Cllr Adam Paynter suffering only a 5.5% drop in his vote share against 4 other candidates (as opposed to two in 2009). The Conservatives will undoubtedly be deeply disappointed to have been pushed into a clear third place by UKIP with Graham Ford taking 24.4% of the vote to Bill Sowerby's 13.8%, a shattering drop of over 29% from 2009. The two Independent candidates hardly registered with Max Hailey receiving 5.3% to the gloriously named Krystyna Zdan-Michajlowicz's 4.9%.
This kind of result is one that can offer only a worrying picture to the Conservatives as, even though there is the mid-term blues and the unpopular local administration to take into account, this is a shattering result losing so many votes to UKIP who have some small history in this Division.
A 39.6% turnout, down on 2009.

Launceston South

I thought this might be close, but predicted a Lib Dem hold. I was half right - it was a fairly safe hold in the end with Jade Farrington, their new candidate ( Cllr Gillard-loft and her problems having flown to Alturnan), achieving 45.5% of the vote, slightly up on 2009.
I thought it was possible that Independent candidate John Conway (the Conservative candidate in 2009) might run the Lib Dems close, but it was UKIP's James Wonnacott who managed to snatch second place with just over 24% of the vote - I had predicted they would ger a "fairly healthy vote" without winning, but I had thought that Ms Farrington would do somewhat worse and Mr Conway somewhat better.
Labour's Susan Alfar will perhaps be disappointed with 9.2% of the vote, but at least the party had a candidate, unlike the Conservatives. I predicted that "The real issue is how well UKIP will do." I was sort of right, and also wrong.
A 35.1% turnout.


I predicted a close finish in this two horse race between sitting Cllr Stephen Rushworth and Lib Dem challenger Richard Buscombe. The decision of MK-PC and the Greens to not field a candidate was obviously to maximise the chances against the Conservatives but I still believe that MK-PC had as good a chance here of taking the seat and, in a straight fight, I think they'd have beaten the Tories handily. As it happens, now Cllr Buscombe fared pretty well with a majority of 87 which I suggested I was leaning towards in my then post.
38.5% turnout, significantly down on the last elections.


I predicted that, on balance, the Lib Dem's candidate, Nicky Chopak, would gain this seat but it was very close with a majority of only 38 over Conservative Andrew Ades, replacing sitting councillor Phil Tucker who inexplicably moved to the Lib Dem stronghold of Launceston Central. I think he will regret this now as incumbency might well have saved him this seat (of course, he might have been personally unpopular in the area, who knows?). MK-PC's Paul Sousek will be happy to have trebled his party's vote share to 15.7% whilst Independent, former UKIP, candidate Rupert Powell must be filled with "what ifs?" after seeing his former party's advances elsewhere.
36.2% turnout, down by just under 20%.

St. Issey and St. Tudy

In 2009, Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Jeremy Rowe, held his seat by only 76 votes in a straight fight against the Conservatives. On this occasion, on a lower number of votes cast, he won by 75 votes over the spirited Independent Emma Karenza Hambly who campaigned in oppostion to what she described as "inappropriate renewable energy projects" that she believes are "resulting in the desecration of Cornwall's most valuable asset...its landscape". Holding the Liberal Democrats particularly responsible she very nearly achieved a 'decapitation' success that few, myself included, saw coming. Her 46.7% vote share was impressive, obviously making clear a deep sense of unhappiness with the political class.
I predicted Cllr Rowe would hold his seat, I was very nearly wrong.
33.5% turnout, well down on 2009.

St. Minver and St. Endellion

I predicted that this would be a two-horse race between sitting Conservative Cllr Brian Gisbourne and Independent candidate Alan Penny, but I just gave it to Cllr Gisbourne thus showing why I don't bet on horse-races. Mr Penny just gained the seat by 16 votes (1.5%) over the defending councillor.
Liberal Democrat Ed Headley-Hughes, about whom I could discover nothing, garnered 17.2% of the vote and trailed in a distant third.
A decent 42.6% turnout, but down on 2009.

St. Teath and St. Breward

John Lugg was safely re-elected as an 'Unspecified' candidate, although his share of the vote was down from the 65.1% he received in the old St. Teath division to 51.5% on this occasion. Most of this will be down to the intervention of the Liberal Democrats (who didn't have a candidate in 2009), although I would have expected their standard-bearer, Eddie Jones, to have done somewhat better than 31.8%.
For the Conservatives, Henry Hine saw their share of the vote fall to 16.8% from the 34.9% in 2009.
A 38.1% turnout.


Whilst I saw this as an easy Independent hold, I expected that Councillor Neil Burden, as Deputy Leader of the then Council Administration and having had a minor 'mis-speak' concerning children with special needs (for which he unreservedly apologised), might have a bit of a shake-up, but he didn't. Comfortably holding onto the substantially redrawn Division with a hefty 62% of the vote, Cllr Burden had a massive (in UA election terms) majority of 538 over the wonderfully-named Antonia Mary Damaris Willis of UKIP, who claimed 20.8%. The Conservatives (9.5%) and Liberal Democrats (7.7%) trailed in a distant third and fourth.
Another 42.6% turnout. The boundary changes were significant but the number of voters exchanged were about the same, so we can surmise a drop in turnout of just under a fifth.


A bizarre story brewed here when it was discovered that the UKIP challenger, Susan Bowen, who had only joined the party about 6 weeks before the election, had recently been a member of the BNP, something specifically banned by UKIP - it was a sign of the foolishness of not vetting their candidates in the haste to get as many standing as possible. Ms Bowen stopped campaigning but, with her name still on the ballot paper, I speculated that she might still do quite well.
The re-elected councillor, Liberal Democrat councillor Glenton Brown, comfortably increasing his share of the vote since 2009 from 44.8% to 57.1%, will be happy with his 351 majority. Ms Bowen came in second with 26.9% (the Independent main challenger in 2009 not standing this time), perhaps surprisingly under the circumstances but she certainly represented an opportunty to express an 'anti-politics as normal' vote.
In the third place came the Conservative candidate, Paul Charlesworth, whose vote share fell sharply from 27.2% to 15.9%. He was perhaps the victim of those unhappy with Ms Bowen voting for Mr Brown to ensure she was not elected and also an increasingly euro-sceptic electorate voting for UKIP.
A turnout of 36.1%, heavily down on 2009 when it was around 50%.

Wadebridge East

The most controversial of all of the election battles took place in this division with sitting Independent Councillor Collin Brewer in the centre of a storm after telling a member of Disability Cornwall at a stall in County Hall that "disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down". Finally resigning his seat on 1st March 2013, he decided to defend it again. He faced five challengers, including Sarah Maguire, the young mother who led the local campaign for his resignation, standing in the Independent interest. At the time, I said that the result would be too close to call and didn't call it but asked the question of Councillor Brewer's chances: "will his support stay solid or will the divided opposition allow him to lose a lot of support and still win?" The latter was the case and Cllr Brewer held his seat with 25.2% of the vote, only 4 votes more than Liberal Democrat Steve Knightley. Ironically, Ms Maguire's entrance into the race where she came 6th, garnering a respectable 146 votes (11%) probably saved Mr Brewer.
The results for the UKIP (15.6%), Labour (12.1%) and Conservative (11.3%) candidates were somewhat overlooked in the aftermath, but it was satisfactory for the first two and pretty disasterous for the Tories, who saw their vote share slashed by two thirds.
The national furore surrounding the result was quite astonishing and the embattled councillor resigned from the Authority for a final time after he was found to have breached Cornwall Council's Members' Code of Conduct following a second complaint after the re-elected Councillor had given a telephone interview to the Disabilty News Network. He resigned on 10th July 2013.
At the subsequent byelection, held on 5th September 2013, the runner-up from May, Liberal Democrat Stepehen Knightley gained the Division with 31.8% of the vote and by a tiny majority of 9 over Independent candidate, Tony Rush.
A 42.3% turnout, almost identical to the 2009 turnout, with the interest in the election being very high.

Wadebridge West

As predicted, an easy hold by defending Conservative Cllr Scott Mann, who took a comfortable 65.5% of the votes cast, a 5.6% increase over 2009 and giving him a very handsome majority of 522; this was surely helped by the lack of a UKIP candidate this time (in 2009, they managed just under 15% of the vote). Former postman Cllr Mann is the Conservative PPC for North Cornwall, so will see this as a good base for him. In a distant second on 24.3% of the vote was the Liberal Democrat's Elliot Osbourne, who managed to maintain the poll share, with it slipping by only 1% since 2009. In the Labour (and Co-operative) Party's interest, John Whitby will have found some satisfaction with 10.2% of the vote.
A 41.6% turnout, again almost identical to 2009, with the interest in the next door election probably having a knock-on effect in turnout here.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The local elections are coming!

Having finally finished my analysis of last year's Cornwall Unitary Authority election results, I will now shift my attention to the local elections to be held this May, with particular attention to Stockport, Portsmouth, Rochdale and my new home of Blackburn.
In Rochdale, the main point of interest will be to see if the Liberal Democrats are able to hold any of the seats they are defending after the last two electoral cycles completely wiped them out; they will be particularly keen to protect their new PPC for Rochdale constituency, Andy Kelly (also their group leader on the council), as he defends the Milnrow and Newhey ward, as well as Peter Rush in Heywood North. I believe they only have any hope of victory in those two wards, the other three are lost to them.
For the Conservatives, they will want to firmly position themselves as Labour's main opposition and to remove the Liberal Democrats as a challenge in their wards. They are under threat from Labour in Littleborough Lakeside and South Middleton wards, but are favourites to gain Norden from Wera Hobhouse (Lib Dem).
Labour will want to finish the Liberal Democrats off - not subtle, but true.
In Stockport, the question will be whether Labour can close the gap on the Liberal Democrats by gaining Offerton (where the Liberal Democrat defected to the Tories), Manor, Heatons North, Bredbury and Woodley, and Davenport and Cale Green (although the sitting councillor, David White, defected to Labour, he is not defending the seat and it would be a Labour gain on 2010). It is a tall order for Labour, and they will need the Conservatives to gain a couple of seats from the Liberal Democrats to make it possible.
For the Liberal Democrats, the test is a simple one, to prove that they have stemmed the tide of unhappiness and to hold onto their seats. Labour have topped the poll in terms of votes cast in both 2011 and 2012 and the Lib Dems would like to reclaim that position.
For the Conservatives, they will want to break out of their Bramhall redoubt and re-establish themselves as a major party in the borough by gaining Bredbury Green and Romiley, Hazel Grove, Cheadle and Gatley, but they are doomed in Heatons North.
In Portsmouth, the issue will be whether the bad publicity surrounding Portsmouth South MP, Mike Hancock, and any perception that the local Liberal Democrats have been overzealous in their defence of him, will finally undermine their remarkable resilience in Portsmouth elections.
Labour will be pushing hard to take seats where they came close in 2012: Cosham - 43 votes behind (where the newly elected Lib Dem in 2012 defected to Labour last year),  Hilsea - 74 votes, Nelson (where they gained a seat in 2012). They will also be interested to see if they can improve their positions in Central Southsea, Charles Dickens and Fratton (where the now Independent councillor Mike Hancock is up for election, with no Liberal Democrat opponent). They will want to improve their position in wards that make up the Portsmouth North constituency, which they hope to regain from the Conservatives at the next General Election.
For the Conservatives, they will want to hold on in Cosham, Copnor, Eastney and Craneswater, as well as closing the gap in St. Jude and St. Thomas. They will also want to strengthen their position in both parliamentary constituencies, not lest in Portsmouth South where they will hope to gain from any fallout from Mr Hancock's position.
The Liberal Democrats in Portsmouth are a phenomenon and only a fool would write them off. Labour would be advised to target very narrowly.
In Blackburn, well, I don't know just yet but I am learning.
I look forward to posting about these elections over the next weeks.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cornwall Unitary Election Results, 2013: Carrick

As with my overview of the forthcoming elections last April, I decided it would be fun to follow (as far as possible) the old district and borough boundaries.
The last time that local council elections took place in the now defunct (as of 2009) Carrick District Council, these were the results:

Party                      Votes    Percent    Seats
Conservative           9479    35.5%    19
Liberal Democrat    9044    33.9%    18
Independent            4172    15.6%     8
Labour                     1861     7.0%     1
Mebyon Kernow       1163     4.4%     0
UKIP                           767     2.9%     1
Liberal Party              225     0.8%     0

The Conservatives had an excellent election in 2007, gaining seven seats since 2003's district council elections and increasing the vote by 8.4%. They topped the poll and replaced the Liberal Democrats as the largest party on the council. They had candidates in 18 of the wards (1,- 2- and 3-member wards) this time, whereas they only had candidates in 13 at the last elections.
For the Liberal Democrats, they suffered painful losses across the district and lost control of the council. The Liberal Democrats lost eleven councillors in all in what had been a stronghold for them, with their vote-share falling from 39% to 33.9%. They were most damaged in Falmouth, remaining fairly strong in the Truro area.
Those running as Independent candidates took eight seats, two more than in 2008, gaining two in Trescobeas and one in Boslowick (losing one in Penryn to the Tories).
For Labour, no great joy here, putting candidates up in 10 wards (up from seven in 2003), they saw their vote share fall from 8.6% to 7% with them only winning in the Falmouth ward of Penwerris with stlwart councillor, Gerald Chin-Quee.
Mebyon Kernow only fielded candidates in 5 wards (as opposed to 8 in 2003), and did not come close to taking any of the seats. Their vote share fell from 7.5% to 4.4%.
UKIP had only one candidate, who managed to be elected to the last seat in the three-member Boslowick ward in Falmouth. An unexpected success at the time and very well done.
The Liberal Party had two candidates, one in Mylor and one in Carland, neither of them doing particularly well.

In 2009, the Unitary Council replaced the County and District/Borough Councils and the results for what would have been the old district were:

Party                      Votes   Percent     Seats
Conservative           9398    31.5%     7
Independent            9302    31.2%     9
Liberal Democrat     7567    25.3%     5
Labour                    1594     5.3%     0
Mebyon Kernow      1376     4.6%     0
Green Party               384     1.3%     0
Liberal Party              172     0.6%     0
BNP                             58     0.2%     0

A disappointing result for the Liberal Democrats, they fought every division and still fell into a distant third place with just over a quarter of the vote, they were unfortunate to just miss out in the Falmouth divisions of Arewenack (by 13 votes) and Penwerris (60 votes), as well as Truro Trehaverne (40 votes behind, in third place). Worryingly for them, they were not close in any of the other divisions.
The Conservative Party also fought every division and just topped the poll over those running as Independents. 7 councillors was not a bad haul and they came close in Falmouth Arewenack (23 votes behind, in third place) and Threemilestone and Gloweth (72 votes). It was a good election for the Conservatives and perhaps, with the Liberal Democrat weakness, showed the danger the Truro and Falmouth parliamentary seat was in come 2010.
Those who ran as Independents had an excellent election, winning 9 of the 17 divisions they contested and just failing to overtake the Tories in vote share. An Independent just failed to take Truro Trehaverne by 6 votes. Strong local campaigns, allied to unhappiness with the Liberal Democrats in the old county council and Labour in government certainly seems to have put the wind beneath the wings of those running outside of the party camps.
For Labour, an absolute disaster with them only polling anywhere near to decent in Falmouth Penwerris (20.3% and in third place) where the redoutable Gerald Chin-Quee was defeated. An absolutely shattering series of results for Labour in the 20 divisions in which it competed, managing only 5.3% of the total poll in the old Carrick district.
Mebyon Kernow competed in 11 of the divisions and made some progress, it would appear, from the unhappiness with the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. They only came close in Falmouth Arewenack (80 votes behind, in 4th place) but, as can be seen by how many came close, that reflects the very divided result in that division. Their best showing was in Truro Tregolls, where the Loic Rich achieved a 21.5% vote share, but never really threatened to take the seat. Not really a strong area for the party, managing 4.6% of the total vote.
The Green Party stood in 4 divisions polling best in Falmouth Penwerris (11.3%) and Truro Boscowan (10.6%).
The Liberal Party had candidates in only two divisions - Mouth Hawke and Portreath (5.5%) and Newlyn and Goonhavern (6.1%) - where they distinguished themselves by not doing worse than the hapless Labour candidates.
The BNP had one candidate, in Threemilestone and Gloweth , where she only managed to achieve 5.1% of the vote - but still finished ahead of Labour.

Coming to the 2013 Unitary Elections:

Party                     Votes    Percent    Seats
Independent           8136    32.2%     8
Conservative          6437    25.5%     8
Liberal Democrat    4173    16.5%     3
Labour                   2843    11.2%     2
UKIP                       2238     8.9%     0
Mebyon Kernow       842     3.3%     0
Green Party              615     2.4%     0

The biggest changes in the 2013 elections were due to the entrance of the UKIP candidates in 11 contests, although they only came sort of close in Falmouth Boslowick (52 votes behind the winner, but in 4th place) and Penryn East and Mylor (75 behind the winner, but in 4th place). They made fairly decent inroads in terms of votes but never really came close to being major players across the area.
The Liberal Democrats fought 15 divisions, 6 less than in 2009, which explains most, if not quite all, of the fall in their vote share. In Truro (including Threemilestone and Gloweth), they lost 2 of the seats they were defending, although Councillor Rob Nolan had a very comfortable victory in Redannick, and it is a worrying sign for the party that this formerly reliable area for them is slipping further away from their grasp. A slip from 5 divisions to 3 is not good for them.
For Labour, a tale of two ends of the district, with advances in Falmouth establishing the party as a major player here and the election of Hanna Toms and, former MP, Cathy Anderton on big swings showing the power of good campaigns.
In Truro, Labour failed to make much impact, despite the promising signs in a series of local byelections. One would assume that the absence of strong campaigning due to concentration being elsewhere would account for this. Also, the unfortunate fallout with former Labour Parliamentary candidate, Dr Charlotte MacKenzie, who ran as an Independent and coming a decent second in Trehaverne, won't have helped. At these elections, Labour ran candidates in every division and this will account for some of the increased vote share (they only fought 11 divisions in 2009), but 5.3% to 11.2% will bring them some satisfaction.
The Conservatives only ran in 18 divisions this time (all 21 last), and will be happy to have ended up with 8 seats rather than the 7 in 2009, even though their vote share slipped from 31.5% to 25.5%. They campaigned very well on the whole and were able to gain Falmouth Boslowick from the Independent Councillor, Steve Eva, due to a very split vote.
For the Independent cause, a slight increase in the vote share and a surprising victory for Loic Rich in Truro

Chacewater, Kenwyn and Baldhu

Whilst it won't be quite so exact, it seems that defending Conservative, Councillor John Dyer, has been the only candidate really affected by the entrance of a UKIP candidate as the drop in his poll-share from 68.1% to 52.3% is not much more than the 14.3% that UKIP's Michael Warren gained.
I doubt it will worry the good councillor too much as he has a comfortable 270 majority over second place Independent candidate, Ross Treseder, who seems to have garner most of the Lib Dem vote from 2009 (25.6%).
In last place, unsurprisingly, came Labour's Peggy Wicks, who only managed to raise the Labour vote from the doldrums of 5.2% to a not much more comfortable 7.5%. I get the feeling that Labour didn't do much campaigning in the Truro end of the area.

Falmouth Arwenack

Unsurprisingly, and as predicted, a safe hold here for Conservative candidate Geoffrey Evans. In 2009, in the then named Gyllyngvase Division, Councillor Evans was challened by a renegade Tory called Ian Laws who came in a distant second place. In his absense, Mr Laws has seen a massive increase in his share of the vote to 68.9% of the vote (from 43.9% in the old Division in 2009).
After a fairly crowded field of candidates last time (6), the only other challengers this time were Labour's Robin Johnson and the Liberal Democrat's Catherine Thornhill. Labour gained the silver in this race, coming in second with 19.9% of the vote, managing to pick up the former Mebyon Kernow vote and some of the Lib Dems to increase form 8.5%.
For the Liberal Democrats, Ms Thornhill will be disappointed to have picked up only 11.3% of the vote and come in behind Labour.

Falmouth Boslowick

In the old Arnewack division, Independent councillor Steve Eva won with only 24.3% of the votes cast and a majority of 13. I had no idea who would win this Division and I was right to back out of guessing as it was won this time with a vote share of only 23 (twenty-three)%.
The victor this time was the Conservative Alan Jewell who edged out Mr Eva (21.9%)by 15 votes , Liberal Democrat Roger Bonney (20.9%) by 27 votes and UKIP's Mairi Hayworth (18.9%) by 52 votes. Indeed, Labour's Nicholas Jemmett (15.3%) was only 97 votes behind. I guess this is the mst balanced result in Cornwall, as it pretty much was in 2009.
Who will be the most disappointed? Mr Eva lost, so probably him, thoguh I guess he saw it coming, if not so close a result. Mr Bonney should really have taken this Division for the Liberal Democrats so suggests how far they have yet to come from 2009 in much of Cornwall. In the absense of Mebyon Kernow, both Mr Bonney and Labour's Mr Jemmett will have hoped to do better (though I accept that Labour's eyes were on other Falmouth battles). UKIP have a history here and, as with other places in Cornwall where they have run before, they seem to do less well where they are not such a novelty.

Falmouth Penwerris

I feel fairly please with myself here in that I predicted a Labour gain - fair enough, it was a Labour seat for a long time but that means nothing in Cornwall at these elections.
Labour worked this Division very hard and, although defending Independent councillor Grenville Chappel managed to hold on to his vote share of 28.4%, he was overtaken by Labour's impressive campaigner Hanna Toms, who managed to add 15.5% on the Labour vote to take the seat with a 78 majority, from third place in 2009.
I suspect Mr Chappel saw the writing on the wall as his small majority (56) and vote share were always liely to be at risk. Last time, the Liberal Democrats were the main challengers but this time they failed to put up a candidate in a place that they have a strong electoral history. However, former Liberal Democrat district councillor John Body did stand as an Independent and achieved a crditable 18.4% of the vote.
Coming in last place was UKIP's Amanda Wyner, who managed a 17% share of the vote.
A disappointing 28% turnout though. These turnouts are common in the urban areas of Cornwall.

Falmouth Smithick

I stated that I had no idea how this vote would go, although I saw that Labour had a chance with former MP Candy Atherton standing. She stuck her neck out as Labour's vote here in 2009 was abysmal (5.8%) although they had a history of polling strongly without winning.
Well, give her credit as she pulled off a stunning victory, raising the Labour vote to 33.4% and, in a very split field, achieving a flattering 160 majority.
In second place came town councillor Diana Merrett in the Independent cause, one of three Independents trying to claim the former (not defending) Independent councillor Mike Varney's mantle.
The Liberal Democrat's 19-year old candidate, Kenny Edwards, came in third with 16.3%, a big drop from the 27% of former county councillor Roger Bonney in 2009 but nothing to be ashamed of in the face of the undoubtedly professional and strong campaign of Ms Atherton.
For the Conservatives, Liz Ashworth came in next with a much reduced 13.8%, followed by Independent candidates Chris Smith (12.2%) and Tony Canton (7.8%).
Again, a not very healthy 28% turnout but higher than some it is better where the candidates/parties work harder.

Falmouth Trescobeas

My Prediction for this division was "Independent Saunby hold (but not by as much, and second place might be interesting)" and I am pretty happy with that. Cllr. Saunby managed to hold onto most of his vote share (38.4% from 41.7% in 2009) and it was Labour's Brod Ross who managed to bring the party from fifth place and 7.8% in 2009 to second place and 23.7% this time. A pretty remarkable result and a sign of the much more professional Labour Party team in Falmouth in these Unitary elections. Mr Ross, husband of former MP and now Labour councillor for Smithick, Candy Atherton, will be happy with this result.
In third place came UKIP's Carole Douglas who was testing the water for the party this time. I said she should have some success but she might be disappointed with only taking 12.8% of the vote.
Surely disappointed will have been experienced campaigner Vicky Eva to drop from second place in 2009 to fourth this time (22.1% to 11.1%).
The Conservative candidate, local businessman Peter Williams, won't have expected much but it is a poor fifth for them with only 7.8% of the vote (13.5% in 2009). The Green's Euan McPhee was firmly overshadowed in this race and managed only 3.6% of the vote.
Surely though, the real shocker is for the Liberal Democrats who not only trailed in seventh (and last) but managed to garner only 2.5% of the vote from 14.9% in 2009.
A more healthy 33% turnout here, again, I would suggest, a sign of a good campaign.

Feock and Playing Place

After the stepping down of Cornwall Council leader and sitting councillor Jim Currie after a pretty torrid time in County Hall, I thought this would be a tough result to predict but in the end the Conservative candidate, Steve Chamberlain, managed to achieve a small swing from Independent to Tory (0.2%) whilst increasing the vote share to 44% (40.3% in 2009).
Independent candidate Bob Richards managed a very creditable 38.4% (against Tomas Hill's 35.3% in 2009) and will be disappointed to have lost by 101 votes.
The decline of the Liberal Democrats in a seat they would previously win, continued apace with their candidate Christine Ryall managing only 10% of the vote (17.5% in 2009).
Labour still trailed in last but Jayne Kirkham managed to up the vote share to 7.6% (3.1% in 2009), probably gaining from the lack of an MK candidate and the fall in the Lib Dem vote (although that fall would have gone to the other candidates as well).
A heart-warming 48% turnout.

Ladock, St Clement and St Erme

One could never see Cllr Mike Eathorne-Gibbons losing this election, and so it proved with him increasinh his vote share from 41.3% to 57.4% this time - he would appear to have benefitted greatly from the absence of an Independent candidate on this occasion.
Taking a very decent second place this time was the Green Party's Jo Poland, who managed to push the Liberal Democrats into third place with a good showing of 20.2%, apparently gaining much of the Liberal Democrat and MK-PC vote from 2009.
For the Liberal Democrat's, Ian Jones could only manage to poll 14.7%, down from 24.2% last time.
Labour's Stuart Venison trailed in last with 7.7%, with no real sign of gaining any traction in this area.

Mount Hawke and Portreath

A brilliant result for Liberal Democrat councillor Joyce Duffin, who was re-elected with a stunning 67% of the vote (actually, 66.666 recurring). The lack of a Conservative candidate in this seat seems to have favoured Cllr. Duffin the most and she will be delighted with her 527 majority.
It may be argued that most of the Tory vote went they way fof UKIP hopeful, Eileen Lewis, who took 23.2% of the vote, but UKIP had picked up votes from lots of places in Cornwall, though I am sure the lion's share will be formerly Conservative.
The only other candidate was Labour's Phillip Knight, who can gain some comfort from increasing the Labour vote to 10.1% from the 4% shame of 2009.
A disappointing 34% turnout.

Newlyn and Goonhavern

Nearly a major upset here as Mebyon-Kernow's Rod Toms came within 26 votes of grabbing this seat Conservative Liz Shuttlewood. Ms Shuttlewood would normally think herself comfortably home with 46.2% of the vote (as was her predecessor, Cllr. Jinny Clark who had a 227 majority with only 40.3% of the vote in 2009).
Mr Toms was known to be campaigning hard, as I noted in my reflection at the time, but he almost pulled off a a remarkable feat. He obviously swept up the Liberal Democrat, Independent and Liberal votes. If he stands again, he might well do it next time.
In third place, Labour's Meg Tremayne will be satisfied to see Labour take 9.8% after the 4.2% share in 2009, but I bet she wouldn't have minded 27 of her votes going to Mr Toms in the circumstances.

Penryn East and Mylor

My prediction for this seat was 'Liberal Democrat gain (with no real confidence)'. How right I was to be somewhat circumspect as this was another amazing result. In 2009, COnservative Tony Martin took the seat with 39.9% of the vote and won it with a majority of 174 over then Independent (now Liberal Democrat) candidate, Judith Whiteley. This time, Councillor Martin held on with only 23.3% of the vote and a majority of 16 over Independent challenger, John Symons (22.2%). Ms Whitely (21.7%), a former district councillor, was only another 7 votes behind.
UKIP's Paula Clement achieved 18.2% of the vote and, even with that fairly modest share, was only 75 votes behind Mr Martin.
For Labour, Miriam Venner managed to increase her party's share of the poll to 8.4% and swapped places with MK-PC's David Garwood who took this election's wooden spoon with 6.2%.
I did speculate that it would be hard for any of the front-runners to pull away, and so it proved. It is another disappointing result for the Liberal Democrats who, even though their share of the vote on 2009 (15.1%) grew, had a seasoned candidate in Ms Whiteley who I certainly expected to do better and possibly win.

Penryn West

Another bad result for the Liberal Democrats coming off a very disappointing result in 2009. Their candidate, Cait Hutchings, having come just 18 votes behind Independent victor, Mary May, in 2009, must have expected to do much better - indeed, to win. Instead, her vote share slipped from 29.4% to 27.9%.
Cllr. May pulled off a great victory, impressively increasing her vote share from 31.8% in 2009 to 42.6% this time, whilst increasing her majority over Ms Hutchings to 138 votes.
UKIP's Martin Orders came in thrid with 19.6% of the vote with Labour's Jim Lloyd-Davies achieving 9.9%, a 4% rise on 2009.


Never a difficult result to predict, Independent Councillor Michael Callan was re-elected with 64.9% of the vote, a big leap from 2009 (47.2%) and a very hefty majority of 661.
The interest for me was the order that came below Mr Callan and second place fell to MK-PC's Paul Dunbar who managed to push the Tories out of second place with 13.3% of the vote. The Conservatives (Lisa Marshall) saw their vote share halved to 11.2% whilst the other Independent runner, Mark Langdon only managed 4th place with 5.9% of the vote.
Labour again trailed in last with only 4.8% of the poll, better than the 2.8% of 2009, but nowhere near the 13% they achieved in the last County Council elections of 2005. They have a lot to do here.
The lack of a Liberal Democratic candidate is surprising in a place where in 2005 they took over 50% of the vote but given the 9.5% of 2009, one should not be too surprised that they ducked out this time.
A great result for Mr Callan, an okay result for Mr Langdon, a deep disappointment for everybody else.

Probus, Tregony and Grampound

In 2009, Standalone Independent Councillor, Bob Egerton, was just elected with a third of the vote, beating the Tory candidate by 63 votes. This time, he has almost doubled his share of the vote with 66.1% and has a massive majority of 720 over the second-placed UKIP candidate, Steve Kendall who, despite the distant second place, pulled in a very acceptable first vote for UKIP of 20.7%.
The disappointed Conservatives' Sean Marshall only managed third place and 10.1%, 18.5% down on 2009.
Trailing in a a distant last with a shockingly awful 3.1% was Labour's Norman Roach, who should have hoped to do much better in the absence of the Lib Dems or MK-PC, most of whose vote seems to have swung behind Mr Callan.
The Liberal Democrats took over 43% of the vote here in 2005, are they now only going to stand in General Election years?


Councillor Julian German was never likely to suffer any kind of threat here, and so it proved with him easily being re-elected with 67.5% of the vote, an improvement on his 65.2% in 2009.
The only real interest in this election was whether former district council leader Fred Greenslade, having swapped parties from Liberal Democrat to Conservative, was likely to push him close. Despite his forty years of elected service, he was not able to boost the Tory vote and it fell back to only 17.4% (from 24.5% in 2009), which must have been quite a personal blow for him.
He at least kept UKIP in third place with Elizabeth Coleman picking up a disappointing 12.1% of the vote, compared to their success elsewhere.
For Labour, Callum MacLeod's hopes of a bit of a relaunch for Labour in this area was not at all successful, with him receiving a paltry 2.9% of the vote.
At least a 48% turnout was quite decent.

St Agnes

As predicted,a handy Liberal Democrat victory with new standard-bearer, Pete Mitchell, picking up a healthy 52.9% of the vote, only slightly down on the share in 2009 (58.4%).
Conservative candidate, Dawn Brown, must have hoped she would do better this time than in 2009, but she saw a small dip in her vote share to 34.3% (from 36.6%) and was 215 votes behind.
Only Labour managed to increase their share of the vote to 12.7% (from 5%), and candidate Robert Harrison will be pleased to have at least made a semi-decent showing, compared to some of his colleaues in the area.
A rather disappointing 32% turnout.

Threemilestone and Gloweth

This result is an absolutely personal humiliation for sitting Councillor Chris Pasco, who resigned from the Liberal Democrats (see my former commnetary as to the details) and decided to defend the division as an Independent. Well, the voters certainly wanted an Independent but they didn't want Mr Pascoe who came in a humiliating seventh and last place with only 3.8% of the poll and 36 votes. In 2009, he managed 36.6% of the poll and 411 votes. It is a defeat quite remarkable in its totality.
As for the Liberal Democrats' Moyra Nolan, she failed to capitalise on this and came in fourth with 15.6% of the vote. The victor was local builder and lifelong resident, Tim Deeble, standing as an Independent. With only 26.2% of the vote, he has a majority of 44 over another Independent candidate, trade unionist and NHS worker, John Humar (21.6% of the poll).
The Conservative candidate, Adam Desmonde came in next with 19% and must be disappointed not to have taken advantage of the split vote with the Tory getting 29.9% in 2009.
After Ms Nolan came, in fifth place, Labour's Philip Fenton, a student who spent the campaign revising so will probably pleased to have 7.2%, nudging the Labour vote up from its dismal 4.5% and last place at the last election.
Ken Hart, another Independent, came next with 6.7%.
I got this prediction wrong, but I did write: "There are seven candidates, 4 of them Independents, all waiting to make a fool of any prediction I might care to make".

Truro Boscawen

In this re-named and redrawn division "Defending" Councillor, Independent Bert Briscoe, was never likely to be under any threat here, and he easily gained re-election with 52.6% of the vote and a nice majority of 454. Maurice Valla for the Liberal Democrat's might have hoped to be in second place here, but he was pushed firmly back in the pack by Noel Krishnan, the COnservative candidate, who will not be too unhappy with 17.5% of the poll.
For the Greens, Truro Mayor Lindsay Southcombe just top the last three candidates with 10.4%, just edging out the afore-mentioned Mr Valla (9.8%) by 8 votes and Labour's Susan Street (9.7%) by another two.
Labour will be pleased to have increased their vote to a more acceptable level but may have hoped to do somewhat better on the basis of byelections results in Truro, Mr Valla will have little to be cheerful about but the Greens, Coservatives and, of course, the victorious Mr Briscoe, will have more to be satisfied about.

Truro Redannick

A slap-down victory here for sitting councillor Rob Nolan, who only just squeezed the Tory last time by 66 votes. I thought he might struggle, not least given the good results for the Tories and Labour in recent Truro byelections, but He was comfortable home with 52.9% of the vote. I failed to make a prediction here but am willing to accept I was wrong to be so uncertain.
Regular near-miss Conservative candidate, Lorrie Eathorne-Gibbons, can at least offer herself the small comfort that she wasn't left on tenterhooks during the count being soundly beaten by 387 votes and achieving a disappointing 23.8% share of the poll.
Mebyon Kernow-PC candidate Lance Dyer just led those trailing in with 8.5%, with Labour's Pamela Atherton (mother of former MP, Candy Atherton) increasing the Labour vote (on 2009) to 8.2%. In last place came Howard Newlove who saw his vote from last time fall to 6,6% as he was victim of a squeeze by Mr Nolan.
A good result for Mr Nolan and the Liberal Democrats.

Truro Tregolls

Hand on heart, I did not see this result coming. Congratulations to former MK-PC candidate, then Conservative supporter, and now Independent councillor Loic Rich, on his election here. He took 40.9% of the vote, taking this seat firmly from the grasp of the Liberal Democrats whose candidate, former district councillor Ros Cox, saw her party's share of the vote slump from 39% in the old Tregolls division to 19.3%.
In third place, with a less dramtic fall in the vote, came the Tory's Judy Cresswell, who achieved 16.2% of the poll. She will be happy to have held off UKIP's challenger, James Minihan, who managed to get his party 15% of the vote.
Labour's Margaret George failed to achieve much of an increase for Labour (6%) and the party was undoubtedly squeezed by the successful campaign of Mr Rich. Suffering the same fate was the Green Party's Godfrey Allen, coming last with 2.6%.
A bad result for all the parties really, with the talented actor, musician, and screenwriter (Mr Rich) grabbing his own unexpected political oscar.

Truro Trehaverne

I did not feel confident to pick a winner in this Division and opined, "The big questions are: who gets the Independent vote from last time and will the Liberal Democrat vote grow of fall?"
Well, the answer was, Dr. Charlotte MacKenzie gets most of the Independent vote, whilst defending Councillor Fiona Ferguson got about a third of it. Ms Ferguson, who quit as a Cabinet member over the issue of "lie detector tests" on those people claiming single person's council tax discount, has been rewarded by seeing her vote increase to 44.7% and a majority over the now second-placed Dr MacKenzie of 286 (only 6 votes in 2009).
For Dr. MacKenzie, it is a decent result and perhaps asks the question of how well might she have done if she had not fallen out with the Labour Party (maybe worse?)? Her 22.1% is decent enough and she is now a City Councillor as well.
In third place, on 13.8%, came local B&B owner, UKIP's Michael Inglefield. In fourth place was the Green candidate, Steve Angove, with 6.9%, followed by Labour's Richard Lees with 6.7%. I would contend that they will both be very disappointed to have done so badly.
I have left answering the second big questioned I posed until now - "will the Liberal Democrat vote grow or fall?", the answer is that it collapsed, from 30.2% and only 40 votes from victory in 2009 to a disasterous last place and only 5.6% this time. Truro, historically a very strong city for the Liberal Democrats, has seen its vote fall back even from the low-point of 2009, with the exception of the excellent personal result for Rob Nolan in Redannick.