|YouGov Poll May4th|
The Local Government Elections being held on Thursday 5th May will be the first chance the people have to give their opinion on the Conservative LibDem 'coalition'. A YouGov poll shows Labour up to 42% and a Government popularity rating on -24%, it's lowest yet. When all the polls are added together the average shows Labour on 40% Tories on 36% and the Lib Dems oin 12%. Clearly people want to punish the Tories for their programme of over zealous cuts and the Lib Dems for their broken promises, but how will this translate to the Local Elections here in Sedgemoor?
|Brian Smedley LABOUR Westover|
Both Tories and LibDems are clearly worried because, apart from the National swing against them , local factors are also taking their toll. Brian Smedley, Labour candidate for the crucial town centre seat of Westover says "Bridgwater Tories are facing a massive wave of unpopularity for their connivance in the demolition of the Sedgemoor Splash swimming pool and the unpopular decision by Sedgemoor Tories to replace it with a massive Tescos superstore. Tories are themselves predicting at least 10 losses. " Brian is standing alongside Labour group leader Kathy Pearce for District in Westover and along side Steve Austen & Pat Parker for town.
|Lib Dems NOT winning here|
The LibDems, as always, are full of hype and the usual superficial gloss that typifies their campaigns. A major poster campaign in the marginal swing ward of Highbridge has provoked a local backlash which has now seen local libDem leader Joe Leach fighting for his political life and complaining to the news papers about the unfairness of people pulling down LibDem posters. Meanwhile, the reality in Highbridge is that the LibDems are engaged in a massive internal fight with older established liberals standing directly against the new coalition LibDems with the only possible result being a split vote. Labour candidate Ricky Hopkins says "Highbridge is a marginal seat but traditionally it's been Labour. We've been out and canvassed every house and people are sick to death of the libdems and their broken promises. The most common response we get is 'how on earth did they get elected in the first place!?"
|Adrian Moore Hamp Labour|
In Bridgwater's Hamp ward , popular councillor John Turner is standing down as District councillor and just fighting for the Town Council - where Labour currently has control and of which he is the leader. Hamp residents Steve Austen and Adrian Moore are standing for Labour for Hamp district whilst Adrian is standing with John for the Town seats. Adrian says "There has been some confusion here because the opposition is a bit confused itself. LibDem candidate Steve Gill was elected as a Tory and then changed his colours to Liberal , then said he wasn't going to stand again, and then did. So no one really knows where they stand there. And the Tory candidate -Christine McGinty , hasn't mentioned that she is a Tory on her nomination form . Actually, she's the wife of Tory leader Duncan McGinty. I'm sure people won't be confused on the day - just vote Labour!"
|Jim Munn LABOUR Wyndham|
In the west Bridgwater ward of Wyndham Tory posters abound as you'd expect - however, if you look closer you'll see that several of the light blue and white placards are in fact for independent tory Bob Cudlipp whilst the others are for Tory grandees Slocombe and Baker . Labour candidate Jim Munn says "Cudlipp looks like he could split the tory vote here , and it would be a sensational turnaround if Labour came through the middle and won" Jim's father, Bill Munn won the seat from the Tories for Labour in 1995 in one of the towns biggest political upsets in recent years. Jim is standing for Labour in Wyndham along with Adrian Downes West Bridgwater resident and fellow town councillor.
The Polls show that if the National swing to Labour is reflected in Sedgemoor alongside local factors, Labour could gain up to 15 seats and take control of the Council for the first time in it's history.
Polling stations open at 7pm on Thursday 5th of May and close at 10pm but the results won't be known until the afternoon of Friday. Shaun O Byrne, Labour's election agent and candidate in the Quantocks ward, says "The count will be held at Bridgwater Town hall from 0930 on Friday morning. They'll count in a specific order starting with some of the smaller rural seats so by 10am we should know if we've taken McGinty's East Polden seat and the Tory marginal at Berrow and then between 10 and 11 the first Bridgwater results will come in with Hamp and Dunwear. After that the rest of the Bridgwater seats. However, we'll have to wait till almost the end of the count to see if we've taken the marginal seats of Highbridge, Noreth Petherton and crucially Woolavington & Puriton. "
Friday afternoon will see the count for Bridgwater Town Council, which Labour currently holds 10-6 against the Tories and that result should be clear by 4pm after which the staff will start on counting the AV Referendum ballots...