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) Penwith District Council, these were the results:
Party Votes Percent Seats
Conservative 4787 37.9% 8
Liberal Democrat 4101 32.5% 3
Independent 1578 12.5% 1
Green Party 973 7.7% 0
Labour 699 5.5% 0
UKIP 299 2.4% 0
Mebyon Kernow 196 1.6% 0
A council elected by thirds (with not all wards having elections each year), the Conservatives had a very good result this time, topping the poll and taking 2/3 of the seats up for election; they gained three seats. The Liberal Democrats didn't poll too badly as they only stood in 8 of the 12 wards, but they lost 2 seats to the Toruies, gaining a couple from Indepe ndents. The Conservatives were unopposed in St. Buryan ward.
There were Independent candidates only in the four wards they were defending, and they lost three of them.
Labour had candidates in Penzance East (Cornelius Olivier coming third with 17.3%), Penzance South (Sara Olivier with last with 9.7%) and St. Ives South (with Terence Murray last with 10%). Both Mr Olivier and Mr Murray returned in 2013 with divergent levels of success.
The Greens only stood in 4 wards, polling best in St Ives South with Ron Tulley as candidate (26.3%).
UKIP had two candidates and polled respectably for the time.
For Mebyon Kernow, only Penzance East was contested by Phil Rendle, taking 12.5% of the vote. Mr Rendle was also a candidate in 2013 in Penzance East.
Unitary Council Elections, 2009:
Party Votes Percent Seats
Conservative 6678 30.6% 7
Independent 5321 24.4% 5
Liberal Democrat 4830 22.1% 3
UKIP 1767 8.1% 0
Green Party 1586 7.3% 0
Labour 1178 5.4% 0
Mebyon Kernow 384 1.8% 0
Liberal Party 73 0.3% 0
A good result for the Conservatives, topping the poll and taking 7 of the 15 divisions up for election, not as well as in the last District council elections in 2007, but considerably better than the last County elections of 2005.
In 2005, there were only 2 Independent councillors (out of 10 on the old County Council). This time with eleven candidates waving the independent flag out of 15 divisions, they polled very well, pushing the Liberal Democrats into third place in terms of vote share and councillors elected.
For the Liberal Democrats, 2009 was an pretty awful electoral cycle in this area, taking only four of the divisions and being heavily cut back in vote share, despite standing in 14 of the 15 divisions.
UKIP had 10 candidates, polling best in Penzance Central with 17.8% of the Penzance Central vote being the best showing for candidate Oli Faulkner. The 8.1% of the total vote in the old Penwith area firmly established the party on the map at a time not so good for them around the country.
The Green Party only fought five divisions and polled well in St. Ives South (26.3%), St. Ives North (25.8%) where Tim Andrewes missed out on the seat by 24 votes, St. Buryan (20.2%), and polling well in Ludgvan and Lelant and Carbis Bay. They were very disappointed to fail to make the breakthrough they had hoped for in St. Ives.
Labour were shattered by this election, failing to hold on in Penzance East and pushed into fourth place in Penzance Central. There vote share was better than the last district council elections, but they had 10 candidates this time so more of a chance to appear to improve, but it was pretty much a collapse for the party.
Mebyon Kernow only fought Gulval and Heamor (5.6%) and Newlyn and Mousehole (15.3%).
The Liberal Party contested Penzance Central, coming last with 6% of the vote.
Unitary Council Elections, 2013:
Party Votes Percent Seats
Conservative 4229 21.9% 6
UKIP 3912 20.3% 0
Independent 3863 20.0% 4
Liberal Democrat 3005 15.6% 2
Labour 2375 12.3% 2
Green Party 1790 9.3% 1
Mebyon Kernow-PC 144 0.7% 0
An absolutely fascinating result, with 5 parties gaining elected representatives and UKIP, who came second in terms of votes cast, failing to take a seat. The Conservatives fought 13 divisions, won 6 seats (1 down from 2009) and top the poll with only 21.9% of the vote. They only just held UKIP off in Ludgvan (by 51 votes), Marazion and Perranuthnoe (by 67 votes), but weren't too seriously challenged elsweher in the light of a very split opposition. The big loss for them was in St. Ives West where defending Councillor, Joan Tanner, came fourth with only 11.2% of the vote - she won the old St. Ives North division with only 27.6% of the vote and a majority of 24, but this was a crushing defeat to Independent candidate Andrew Mitchell.
The Conservatives can consider themselves pretty lucky, on the whole. Unlike, as already noted, UKIP who have under-performed compared to much of Cornwall. As I have noted elesewhere, where UKIP has an established electoral histroy and are not the 'new kid on the block' they appear to have failed to fully reap the anti-establishment whirlwind. A good vote (20.3%), but a deeply disappointing outcome for them.
Independents only ran in 11 divisions, but garnered 20.3 of the vote, with Independent candidates gaining St. Ives West, and holding Hayle North, Hayle South and Penzance Promenade.
The Liberal Democrats had a shocker of an election here as one would have expected them to bounce back after 2009. Fighting only eleven of the divisions, they lost the Penzance Central and Penzance East divisions to Labour by painfully close margins of 24 and 20 votes, only gaining St. Just in Penwith after the retirment of Chris Goninan as Independent councillor. Their share of the vote collapsed dramatically since 2009 in both St. Ives divisions, Gwinear-Gwithian and St Erth, and Newlyn and Mousehole, St. Buryan (from 32.3% to 7.3%!). Only in Gulval and Heamoor did they have a sitting councillor whose vote increased, from 54.9% to 66.5%. The party seems to have been crushed by the efforts of the Greens, Labour and UKIP.
For the Labour Party, fighting 12 of the 15 divisions, a very satisfactory night with them winning two of the Penzance divisions and polling well where they had candidates, except in St. Ives East where they were heavily squeezed. They still came in fifth in share of the vote (12.3%) but, after the disaster of the 2009 unitary elections and the decline for Labour in recent years, this was a good result for them.
For the Green Party, finally they fulfilled the promise of gaining a victory in St. Ives, with Tim Andrewes winning in the East division with 37.3% of the vote and a 132 majority over long-time Copnservatve councillor, Joan Symons.
Sadly, Ron Tulley failed to join his colleague, losing out in West division by a painful 7 votes to Independent candidate, Andrew Mitchell. The party polled well in Ludgvan (23.9%) and Marazion and Perranuthnoe (20.9%), but will be disappointed not to have fallen back in Lelant and Carbis Bay (13.8%).
For Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall, they only had candidates in the Central and East divisions of Penzances, winning 4.2% and 7.4% of the vote respectively.
Gulval and Heamor
Pretty much a forgone conclusion for defending Liberal Democrat Councillor Mario Fonk (I love the names of some of the candidates in Cornwall), having easily beaten six other challengers in 2009 with 54.9% of the vote, he was not likely to suffer this year, especially given the lack of a centre-left challenger. As it is, his voteshare increased to a very impressive 66.5% with a majority of 572 over the second placed returning candidate, Rose Smith of UKIP. My only real interest was in whom came second, and a very decent increase on her vote last time when she received 9.7%, now up to 24.7%.
Trailing distantly and dismally in third, and last, place came Pam Yeates for the Conservatives, who saw the vote she received last time (15.8%) slip back to an not too impressive 9.7%.
Gwinear-Gwithian and St Erth
A new Councillor was elected for this Division with after the death of Cllr. Ray Tovey in September of 2012. Only elected in the Conservative intertest by 65 votes in 2009, second-placed Independent, Sheila Furneaux, won the subsequent byelection by a nerve-shredding 4 votes. After only four months, she had obviously not recovered and decided not to defend the division.
I predicted a Conservative hold (regain after the byelection), and so it proved, but successful candidate, Lionel Pascoe, only managed to take 30.1% of the vote and had a very flattering 103 vote majority over UKIP's Peter Channon on 22.6%. Two Independent candidates came in third (Angelo Spencer-Smith - 18%) and fourth (Michael Roberts - 13.3%); it was Mr Roberts who just lost out in the byelection , so I expect he will be very disappointed to come a distant fourth.
For Labour, Michael Smith will be pleased to have moved up the pecking order and secured a decent (compared to last time) 13.3% of the vote, up from 5.4% in 2009.
The Liberal Democrats received 22.2% of the vote last time, so the 4.4% this time is a shocker for them as Yvonne Bates must have been hoping to re-establish the party in the area, where they fairly recently had councillors elected.
At least she was denied the agony of last place by the poor result for Green candidate, Theresa Byrne, who managed only 3.1% of the vote.
A good result from this little-revised division for re-elected Independent Councillor John Pollard, who, with only UKIP and Labour challengers this time, increased his vote share to 65.4% (50.9% in 2009). This gave him a very big 466 majority over the second-placed Lynda Chidell of UKIP, who managed 23.8%.
For Labour, in the absence of a Lib Dem, Anthony Phillips might have expected to do better, but 10% is a doubling of the party's result in 2009.
I am surprised that neither the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats fielded a candidate here and think it is sad for the voters.
I predicted Independent Councillor John Coombe would hold the seat, but with a few reservations. I shouldn't have worried, as Mr Coombe achieved 44.7% of the vote, up from 36.5% in 2009.
In a very decent second place came UKIP's Clive Polkinghorne, a campaigner for the local harbour, who more than doubled his party share last time to 29.1%; one of the occasions when a UKIP history didn't seem to have dampened the party vote. He undoubtedly gained from the absence of the Conservative Party (16.5% in 2009) and was a long way ahead of the third-placed Labour candidate, Anne-Marie Rance.
Ms Rance, another well-known local campaigner, will be very happy with her 16.1% of the vote, well up on Labour's 6.4% at the last elections.
Trailing in fourth came the second Independent candidate, retired policeman Graham Coad, who could only manage to take 10.1% of the vote.
Lelant and Carbis Bay
I went with a Conservative hold here but with some reservations as I wasn't sure what the effect of the Green candidate's (Maxine Armstrong) victory in the town council byelection might be (in the then absence of a Conservative candidate).
In the end, Liz Penhaligon held her seat with a much reduced vote share of 34.7%, down fron 51.3% in 2009. As I speculated, the entrance of UKIP into this race seems to have had a big effect on the Tory vote share with UKIP'S Sandy Msrtin polling a very creditable 22.6% of the poll to take second place.
In the end the Green's Maxine Armstrong did even worse than her predecessor, with her only managing to attract 13.8% of the vote (19.8% in 2009); her 156 votes were well below the 372 she received when being elected for the division area in the town council byelection - people were obviously happy to vote Green to stop the Labour candidate then.
Richard Glanville, standing as an Independent, about whom I could glean nothing, received 10.1% of the vote and fourth place, 2 votes above Lib Dem Howard Hollingsbee's (10%) with Labour's Graham Webster a further 8 votes behind in last place (9%).
Local newsagent Mr Webster will be very disappointed to have done so poorly, as he came second in the Independent cause in 2009 with 28.4% of the vote. Labour has still got a lot to do here to build itself up and UKIP have become a clear party of protest against government policies.
There was always going to be a new councillor here following the retirement, due to ill health, of (Independent) Irene Bailey in November 2012. Such a long interregnum was obviously marked by hard campaigning by the three parties who stood last May. I predicted a Conservative victory for returning candidate Roy Mann, but thought he could be run close by returning, and high-profile, UKIP candidate, Robert Smith.
Well, I was right as Mr Mann gained the seat in the Tory cause but was closely pressed by Mr Smith, who fell just 51 votes short of Mr Mann, with his vote share shooting up from 8.3% in 2009 to 35.9% this time. Mr Mann managed to increase his vote share by 9% to 40.2% this time and will be somewhat relieved.
I thought that the Green's Ian Flindall might achieve a decent vote in the absence of the Lib Dems or any other left-of-centre alternative, and he did well gaining 23.9% (up from 13.2% in 2009).
Mr Smith would protest that his opposition to the EU comes from a left-wing perspective (he is the son-in-law of the late anti-Common Market Labour cabinet minister, Peter Shore), and, as will be noted below, his wife and mother-in-law stood for UKIP as well. The problem he has is that he failed to impress the left-wing vote who seem more pro-EU and less enamoured with other UKIP policies, hence their votes for the EU-friendly Mr Flindall.
Marazion and Perranuthnoe
In an almost mirror image result to Ludgvan, the Conservative councillor defending the division, Sue Nicholas, managed to win here by increasing her vote share to 41.9% (34.6% in 2009) just holding off the surging UKIP candidate, Glyn Owen, by 67 votes.
Mr Owen seems to have swept up most of the votes for the Independent candidates at the last elections to take his party share from 12.9% to 37.1%. A very good result but no winner's rosette.
As with Ludgvan, the Green Party, through its candidate, organic B&B owner Peter Williams, seems to have grabbed the Liberal Democrat vote from 2009 to pick up the exact same poll share of 20.9%.
Newlyn and Mousehole
A straightforward win here by sitting Tory councillor, Roger Harding, with his vote share of 47.9% just a little down from the 49.6% he achieved in 2009.
In a distant second place came UKIP's Tacy Smith, daughter of the late Labour grandee, Peter Shore. She will be disappointed to have only received 18.3% of the vote (from 14.3% in 2009)- with the exception of Ludgvan, most of the Penzance area divisions were disappointing for UKIP and confirms a pattern where a long activity for UKIP appears to make them less of a vehicle for protest votes.
In joint third place came the Green Party's Heidi Worth who seems to have inherited much of the vote that Mebyon Kernow received when they stood in 2009, sharing 159 votes and 11% with Labour's Nicholas Round, who must be disappointed not to have done better being only a little up on last time (8.9%).
Independent candidate Nigel Davis came fifth with 6.3%, whilst Caroline White for the Liberal Democrats came in last with 5.6%. Her campaign will not have been helped by the fact the Heidi Worth was formerly the Liberal Democrat candidate before defecting to the Green Party.
This is a division that likes close run elections, with former Liberal Democrat councillor, Tamsin Williams, just edging out the Tory by 14 votes and only a 30.4% poll share in 2009.
Her replacement as candidate, Penny Young, will be disppointed to have lost by only 44 votes this time, and she managed to hold on to much of the Lib Dem vote with 27.9%. It is not the Conservatives who claimed the crown though as Labour's Cornelius Oliver bounced back from his fourth place and 17.3% last time to take the division with 31.4% of the vote. A real squeaker by any measure. I predicted a Labour gain as it is a seat they should be winning but they never get a massive vote share here.
In fourth place came UKIP's Peter Mates with a disappointing 14% of the vote, a drop of 3.8% on 2009. As I have already suggested elsewhere, Penzance's long history of UKIP campaigning seems to have taken the gloss off them and they are doing worse than one would have expected.
Independent candidate John Moreland, formerly a Lib Dem town councillor, came in next with 12.5% of the vote.
The Conservatives might have hoped to be the main challengers here based on their strong second place in 2009, but selecting a candidate (Michael Rabbitte) who stated in his election address that he has spent the last 28 years in London was undoubtedly a mistake and he slipped back to 5th place with only 10%.
It became clear quite quickly in the campaign that MK-PC's Phillip Rendle had little chance and he was pretty much squeezed out with only 4.2% of the vote.
It was obviously quickly established that the only real contenders were Labour and the Liberal Democrats and Labour's well-organised campaign paid off, but kudos to Ms Young for her campaign putting up a very strong fight to hold the seat. This probably led to the not too bad turnout of 39%.
Another close battle here between the defending Liberal Democrat councillor, Ruth Lewarne, and Labour's Tim Dwelly. In 2009 she edged out Labour's John Payne by only 24 votes as she took 30.4% to his 28.3%; this time, it is a switcheroo with Mr Dwelly being elected with 30.6% of the poll and a 20 vote majority over Ms Lewarne who took 29% of the vote.
It was quite a tough campaign with Mr Dwelly being heavily targeted and which produced a rather unlikely leaflet that suggested to those tempted to vote Labour that only a Lib Dem vote could keep the Tories out - a traditional Lib Dem tactic, but totally untrue in Penzance East (where the Tories only took 13.5% of the vote in 2009). You know though, it might just have worked if 11 Labour voters had bought it and skipped across.
In third place came UKIP stalwart and long-time candidate, Mick Faulkner, who will be unhappy to have only gained 15.7% of the votes cast, a drop of 1.2% from last time - I have already commented on this phenomena in the above commentary.
The Conservatives confirmed themselves as being well out of contention here with their candidate, Angela Elliott, seeing their vote drop further to 10%.
In fifth place came MK-PC's blogging candidate, Rob Simmons, who has learnt the lesson that one needs to be out and about campaigning with a good team to win votes, rather than blogging. He managed 7.4% of the vote.
Last came the Green candidate, Michelle Paine, with 7.2% of the vote. Neither she nor Mr Simmons were ever likely to get much traction in this two-way battle.
I predicted a Labour win but thought it mightn't be quite so close, so well done to Ms Lewarne.
A not bad 36% turnout for the demographic make-up of this division.
I sometimes wish I would be a bit more romantic in my predictions (although some of them come over as fairly fantastic) as I would certainly have gone with this division being won by Independent Jim McKenna; I just believed that the Liberal Democrats would have a better campaigning team. There was no defending candidate as Independent councillor Sue Pass had decided to step down this time.
I am glad I got this wrong as Mr McKenna is an all-round good egg who has dedicated his life, and money, to local charities, campaigning for affordable homes and extending Penzance Radio's coverage. He took 33.4% of the vote beating Liberal Democrat Daniel Garside by 116 votes, which must have been a real blow for Mr Garside who will have hoped to be able to build on the party's 29.6% last time. His party's vote slipped back to 25.4%.
In a very solid third place, and with a much increased vote share, came Labour's standard-bearer, John Kirman, who I described as a sacrificial lamb as the party's concentration would be with Central and East. Well, I think they might wish they had worked harder as Mt Kirman took 19.5% of the poll, up from 3.8% in 2009. With less votes cast than then, they improved from a dismal 62 votes to a very healthy 283 votes. Whilst they would have struggled to overhaul Mr McKenna, they might have snatched second place from the Liberal Democrats.
In fourth place came UKIP's Liz Shore, the widow of former Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Shore. She only managed to achieve a 13.6% vote share, up from 8.3% last time; although it is a rise, it is a disappointing one.
Last came the Conservative candidate, Davis Miles, seeing the vote slashed from 20.4% last time to 8.1% this.
This is an election that will have had a lot of churn in it and it'd be fascinating to see how people's votes changed on last time.
An encouraging turnout of 46%.
A fairly straight-forward victory for sitting Conservative Bill Maddern, taking 40.5% of the poll, but suffering a loss of 7% on 2009.
In second place this time came Independent candidate, Norman Bliss, who seems to have managed to have successfully targeted the Liberal Democrats over their 0% budget rise which he criticised on his StBuryanVoter blog for cutting local services. He pulled in a very impressive 28.5% for a first time candidate.
In third place comes a Labour's stalwart activist, Juliet Eavis, who should be pleased taking 13.7% and 206 votes in an area they failed to stand last time. Labour used to have decent vote here and it seems they still have some potential.
In fourth place comes the Green Party's Peter Hardy, who might have hoped to have pushed for second place after the decent 20.2% showing in 2009, but this seems to have been partly due to the absence of a Labour candidate. This time they have slipped back to 10%.
The shocker in this election was for the Liberal Democrats, for whom Frank Blewett took a battering as he came in last with a dismal 7.3% - a shocking drop from 32.3% last time. Mr Bliss and, to a lesser extent, Ms Eavis seems to have given voters an opportunity to punish them for the 0% budget vote.
This division appears to have a strong possible vote for a single left of centre candidate, if such an opportunity ever presents itself.
A not too awful 41% turnout here.
St Ives East
The long trailed Green Party breakthrough finally arrived with the election of Tim Andrewes, who just missed out on the old St Ives North division by 24 votes in 2009. He took 37.3% of the vote and had a majority of 132 over long-time elected representative, and defending councillor (for the old St Ives South), Joan Symons of the Conservatives (26.8%).
In third place came anti-parking costs campaigner Morag Robertson, standing as an Independent. She managed to take a decent enough 14.4% of the poll. 12 votes behind her came UKIP's Roy Britton, who will be very disppointed with only 13.5 of the vote, a small advance from the St Ives vote last time.
Labour's Terry Murray was always going to find it a less than propitious time to be trying to improve his party's vote, with anyone tempted to vote for him as likely to support Mr Andrewes, so his 5.5% share is a not too unexpected disappointment and, to be honest, fairly disasterous for a party trying to grow.
However, the real disaster is for the Liberal Democrats, a one-time dominant party in St Ives, their candidate, Madie Parkinson-Smith, was always in danger of being squeezed by Mr Andrewes. I never thought it would be this bad: they took 2.5% of the vote.
A decentish 41% turnout.
St Ives West
My prediction: Green gain (the Tories could struggle to be second). Well, I was nearly right as the Greens just missed out by 7 votes and the Conservatives came fourth!
The victor was Independent candidate, Andrew Mitchell, a former Liberal Democrat district councillor. His 27.9% of the vote just edged out the Greens' Ron Tully, and Mr Tully must be devadtated. He had struggled to break out of a 26-27% vote share each time he has stood and only managed 27.3% this time. He lost by 200 votes in St Ives South in 2009 and must surely have thought his chance had come, but their appears to be a reluctance by people to vote for him. Deeply disappointing for the Green Party as a whole as they must have thought that they would have two seats from St Ives.
In third place came Stuart (William) Guppy for UKIP, who might have thought he could take advantage of the split vote, but he lifted the vote to 17.6%, someway off the front-runners.
Most humiliatingly, in fourth place came sitting (St Ives North) Conservative councillor, Joan Tanner. Her victory in 2009 could be said to have been somewhat fortuitous, given a very split vote and only 27.6%, but she only managed to take 11.2% of the vote here.
Just behind Ms Tanner came Labour's Malcolm Hurst, with 10.1% of the vote. He will be happy enough with this as it is quite an increase compared to both divisions in 2009 when they were tightly squeezed. He must have expected this to happen this time but Mr Guppy's inability to attract these votes are an issue for the Greens to consider (it is either the individual or the party).
In a poor last place on 6% of the vote trailed in Lester Scott for the Liberal Democrats. One can only assume that much of the vote has gone to Mr Mitchell but, for the Liberal Democrats, this is all pretty worrying.
A not too impressive 34.5% turnout.
Some light for the Liberal Democrats in this area with Sue James, as predicted, gaining the the "open seat" (Independent Councillor Chris Goninan having stepped down). With 36.6% of the vote (up from 33% last time), the Liberal Democrats will be relieved to be having some improvement in what has been a generally disappointing election for them in his part of Cornwall. Given the vote share, her 244 majority is very decent.
As predicted, her main challenge came from Independent candidate, Kevin McFadden, who might have hoped to do better than receive 21.2% of the poll, given a strong tradition of voting for Independents in St Just (Mr Goninan received 51.4% in 2009), but I suppose you have to be the right kind of Independent.
UKIP will be very happy with their candidate, Adrian Smith's, 19.4% of the poll from nowhere last time, not being too far off second place in the split opposition to Ms James.
Not too far behind him, on 16%, came Labour's Kirsty Pritchard, who will be delighted that she has managed to better the 15% vote share Labour got in 2005 (they had no candidate in 2009), a General Election year.
Coming in a poor last place with only 6.8% of the vote was the Conservative candidate, David Lenaghan. They only received 10.5% in 2009, so were never going to be challengers.
Apropos of nothing, a lot of Irish names flying around this area. As the most westerly town in mainland Britain, is it a place with strong Irish connections?
Decent 41% turnout.