At last, there seems to be some moderately good news for the Tories - a 3.7% swing in our favour in the Washington East council seat, and a 5.5% swing in Dover Town.
However, as we all know, local election results very rarely give much of a clue to the general election result. Michael Howard achieved pretty much 40% in 2004, but stil only polled 32% in the 2005 GE.
Furthermore, let's examine the Westminster seats for these two towns (including projections after boundary revisions):
Washington and Sunderland West:
Labour 21507 59.98% Lib. Dem. 6564 18.30% Conservative 5787 16.14% BNP 892 2.48% Neil Herron, Ind 608 1.69% Jim Batty, UKInd 479 1.33% Mad Cow Girl Warner, Lny 18 0.05% Total 35855 52.55%
Lab Majority 14943 41.68%
Labour 21821 45.21% Conservative 16891 35.00% Lib. Dem. 7651 15.85% UK Independence Party 1276 2.64% Independent 607 1.25% Howard Green, Grn 12 0.02% Total 48258 67.52%
Lab Majority 4930 10.22%
So there we are. Dover certainly is winnable - indeed, it's probably one of the seats that would clinch a working Tory majority.
ConservativeHome, 'Cameron Watt: Scrap Police Community Support Officers'
I would like nothing better than to see PCSOs scrapped and replaced with proper police. I'm living in Salford at the moment, and most recently, when I had my car broken into and the stereo taken outside my front door, a couple of local PCSOs rang the doorbell and asked, 'Have you let the police know?'
Hang on, I thought. Aren't you the...?
No, they're not.
I then rang the police, was put through to an officer at a desk, who seemed completely disinterested and told me in no uncertain terms that they wouldn't be able to do anything. There is a CCTV camera on our stretch of the road, but all the neighbours tell me it is switched off. Where is all the money going?
BorisforPM is absolutely right - relegate PCSOs to the office and remove their puny titles, and bring out the trained officers on to the streets. Confidence has to be reinvested in neighbourhood policing, and the current stewardship of PCSOs renders this aim unachievable.
As for Blackpool, it apparently contains some of the most deprived wards in the country, many plagued by drug addiction; which makes it all the more important that some (or all) of it is returned to Conservative hands at the next election. I should know - I was born there.
Or is it that simple? With the Lib Dems only polling, on average, 17% at the moment, we have to consider where they would lose. UK Elect 6.2 shows that with the most recent polling averages (Lab 38.3%, Con 34%, LD 17%) that the Lib Dems would lose in the following constituencies:
Carshalton and Wallington Cheltenham Eastleigh Hereford and South Herefordshire Somerton and Frome Taunton Deane Torbay Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Collins' old seat)
However, being further behind labour than we were in 2005 means that the Tories would lose the following seats to Labour:
Croydon Central Gravesham Hammersmith Harlow Hemel Hempstead Lancaster and Fleetwood (new seat) Mid Derbyshire Milton Keynes North Preseli Pembrokeshire Reading East Rugby Shipley Sittingbourne and Sheppey South Basildon and East Thurrock South Thanet The Wrekin Wellingborough
As a result, according to this forecast, the Conservatives would be left with 204 seats - that's a net loss of 9 after the latest boundary revisions. This would be an unacceptable result for the Party, particularly after such consistently good results through 2006 and earlier in 2007.
Again, I feel it necessary to highlight quite how difficult it is for the Party to win. Let's suppose the exit poll on election night was Lab 32 Con 40 LD 19. These are the results:
Even with an 8-point lead, we cannot form an overall majority. This is because the swing is only 5.2% from Lab to Con. With a 7% swing, the results are as follows:
Con 327 (+114) (39.2%) Lab 236 (-111) (28.4%) LibD 56 (-4) (22.6%) (because this was a uniform two-party swing forecast, the Lib Dems remain largely static)
Con maj 6
In this highly optimistic scenario, I have collated the seats where the Conservative incumbents enjoy the most slender majorities; i.e., these are the 'biggest wins':
Stockton South Sutton and Cheam (from the Lib Dems) Barrow in Furness Dudley North Dagenham and Rainham Blackpool North and Cleveleys Elmet and Rothwell Eltham North Cornwall (from the Lib Dems) Tooting Leeds North East Carlisle
All these seats have projected majorities of under 600. Stockton South currently has a projected Labour majority of 5912. THESE ARE THE SEATS WE HAVE TO WIN.
ConservativeHome, 20th September, 'Blog Reactions to Ming's Big Speech'.
We desperately need Ming to stay. Most election predictions would suggest that with the Lib Dems at 15-18%, they could lose around half of their seats. This would allow us to make significant headway across the south of England. However, Lib Dems continue to make progress in metropolitan boroughs in the North where we need to win. My concern is that the Conservative message is not being effectively communicated in the north, where the Lib Dems are capable of pulling off astonishing results - see Manchester Withington. We are in danger of being unable to break through in the north unless we can deliver a coherent and positive message which feels relevant to the electorate.
With awful policies such as granting illegal immigrants amnesty, and redistributive taxes, Lib Dems should not be winning anywhere. As Tories, we must be able to dismiss the Silly Party's policies and provide a viable alternative.
I attended Chetham's School of Music between the ages of 11 and 18, and achieved reasonable success. I was a BBC Young Musician National Finalist in 2002 and Quarter-Finalist in 2004.
I dropped out of Leeds University (Politics) in 2006 after becoming frustrated with the complete lack of enthusiasm of students and staff, the inherent political bias within the teaching stucture, and the almost childish simplicity of the course itself.
I returned to Manchester seeking work, and was employed as a painter and decorator for a year, working on renovation projects in Salford.
I was given the opportunity to take over a music teaching practice in Prestwich in July 2008, and currently teach around 40 pupils, both children and adults, with a wide range of ability.
I became a member of the Conservative Party in 2005, shortly before the General Election. I firmly believe in a smaller role for the state, cutting personal and business taxes and the privatisation of public entities.
I voted for David Cameron as leader in 2005.
I am not a politician, still less a paid blogger, and my views do not represent the views of the Conservative Party in parliament or town hall.