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The Lib Dem surge is real. But Brexit isn't the only story of the local elections | The Guardian Opinion |


Some of the pattern of the swing may reflect those "local peculiarities" that make local elections so interesting. While each council is its own political environment, there are some common features. Labour has run most of the metropolitan borough councils for a very long time. Councils by their nature tend to do unpopular things, and local grievances will accumulate. The period since 2010 has been particularly tough for councils because of the harsh spending cuts that they have suffered from central government - "outsourcing austerity", as councillors describe it. There have been a lot of painful cuts, and a slow deterioration in the public realm. Labour's traditional voters notice and give their councils a share of the blame.

It is significant that Labour's best metropolitan result came in Trafford, where the party had only run the borough since the 2018 elections, having ejected a long-serving Conservative council. Locally, Labour still had the benefit of being the party of change.

Similarly on the Conservative side, Tory councils get stale and unpopular, and unlike Labour councils cannot blame central government for austerity. Particularly in the south-east, they are also under pressure to build housing, which stimulates environmental and nimby objections that Resident parties - and Lib Dems - can easily convert into political opposition.

Lib Dem: The democratic case for resolving Brexit

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun May 5th, 2019 at 08:15:55 AM EST

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