Archive for the 'By elections' Category


The first hand experiences of a Labour canvasser in Oldham

Sunday, November 29th, 2015


If as is likely the Tories can’t win in Oldham then the best outcome for the blues is a LAB hold

Friday, November 27th, 2015


The last things CON want are UKIP gaining traction or Corbyn being ousted

A week today I’ll be at a wedding of a friend who’s been associated and helped PB for years so probably won’t be that much focused on the outcome, due overnight, of the Oldham West and Royton by-election.

One thing that strikes me strongly is that it is not in the Tory interest for UKIP to win – even if that means a LAB hold.

As we see day after day Cameron & Osborne need Corbyn to stay there running the LAB party as long as possible.

    The damage that Corbyn and his sidekick McDonnell are doing is the gift to the blues that keeps on giving

Just look at the shambolic McDonnell response to Osborne Wednesday statement and what should have been the humiliation of the U-turn on tax credits. Arguably that was a huge LAB victory. Instead the coverage was about his silly antic with Chairman Mao’s little red book.

As for UKIP the craziness on the Labour side has totally overshadowed politics since September and the purples have struggled to get a look in. A victory for Farage’s party would provide a huge stepping stone to both getting Westminster credibility and media attention.

There’s also the referendum to think of and a buoyant UKIP would make Dave’s time during this difficult renegotiation period that much harder. It would give ammunition to the sizeable Eurosceptic wing of the Parliamentary party.

Mike Smithson


All this week’s local by-election results

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Carnforth and Millhead (Con defence) on Lancaster
Result: Conservative 545 (55% +7%), Labour 320 (32% -3%), Green Party 52 (5% -12%), Liberal Democrat 38 (4%, no candidate in 2015), United Kingdom Indepdendence Party 37 (4%, no candidate in 2015)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 225 (23%) on a swing of 5% from Labour to Conservative

Rochford (Con defence) on Rochford
Result: Labour 332 (32% -16%), Conservative 328 (32% -20%), United Kingdom Independence Party 250 (24%), Liberal Democrat 114 (11%)
Labour GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 4 (0%) on a swing of 2% from Conservative to Labour

Salisbury, St. Edmund and Milford (Lib Dem defence) on Wiltshire
Result: Conservative 425 (36% +13%), Liberal Democrat 262 (22% -21%), Labour 232 (20% +6%), Green Party 215 (18% +10%), Independent 45 (4%, no candidate in 2013)
Conservative GAIN from Liberal Democrat with a majority of 163 (14%) on a swing of 17% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative

Selston (Selston Parish Independent defence) on Nottinghamshire
Result: Selston Parish Independent 2,054 (59% -13%), Independent 794 (23%, not a candidate in 2013), Labour 355 (10% -13%), United Kingdom Independence Party 161 (5%, no candidate in 2013)
Selston Parish Independent HOLD with a majority of 1,260 (36%) on a notional swing of 15.5% from Selston Parish Independent to Independent

Selston (Selston Parish Independent defence) on Ashfield
Result: Selston Parish Independent 1,180 (66% +21%), Independent 294 (17%, not a candidate in 2015), Labour 172 (10% -4%), United Kingdom Independence Party 77 (4%, no candidate in 2015), Conservative 52 (3%, not a candidate in 2015)
Selston Parish Independent HOLD with a majority of 886 (49%) on a notional swing of 2% from Independent to Selston Parish Independent

Dunfermline North (SNP defence) and Rosyth (SNP defence) on Fife
Dunfermline North
Result: Scottish National Party 1,056 (43% +12%), Labour 719 (30% -18%), Conservative 304 (13% +6%), Liberal Democrat 230 (9% -5%), Green Party 63 (3%, no candidate in 2012), United Kingdom Independence Party 58 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Scottish National Party HOLD on the second count, majority on first count of 337 (13%) on a swing of 15% from Labour to Scottish National Party

Result: Scottish National Party 1,214 (45% +9%), Labour 926 (34% -14%), Conservative 245 (9% +3%), Liberal Democrat 97 (4%, no candidate in 2012), United Kingdom Independence Party 88 (3% +1%), Independent 66 (2%, no candidate in 2012), Green Party 51 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Scottish National Party HOLD on the fifth count, majority on first count of 288 (11%) on a swing of 11.5% from Labour to Scottish National Party

Pwllheli South (Llais Gwynedd defence) on Gwynedd
Result: Underwood (Non Party Independent) 269 (45%, no candidate in 2012), Plaid Cymru 168 (28% -12%), Parry (Independent) 106 (18%, no candidate in 2012), Llais Gwynedd 49 (8% -52%)
Non Party Independent GAIN from Llais Gwynedd, majority 101 (17%), no swing calculable

Bettws (Ind defence) on Newport
Result: Cleverly (Independent) 336 (32%, not a candidate in 2012), Labour 294 (28% -16%), Jordan (Independent) 275 (26%, not a candidate in 2012), Conservative 114 (11%, no candidate in 2012), Green Party 29 (3%, no candidate in 2012), Liberal Democrat 7 (1%, no candidate in 2012)
Independent WIN with a majority of 42 (4%), no swing calculable

Compiled by Harry Hayfield


Tonight’s Local By-Election Preview with ten separate contests

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Carnforth and Millhead (Con defence) on Lancaster
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 29, Conservatives 19, Green Party 9, Independents 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 2)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,405, 1,238, 1,184 (48%)
Labour 1,027, 981, 921 (35%)
Green Party 495 (17%)
Candidates duly nominated: George Askew (Con), Christopher Coats (Green), Phillip Dunster (Lib Dem), Paul Gardner (Lab), Michelle Ogden (UKIP)

Morecambe and Lunesdale was a key Labour target at the general election. At the 2010 general election the Conservatives only had a majority of 866 votes (meaning that Labour only needed a swing of 1% to gain the seat) and what happened? A 4% swing to the Conservatives creating a Conservative majority of just over 4,500 and taking the seat deep into the new Labour battleground for the next election. The reason I mention this? Carnforth and Millhead ward is in the heart of this constituency and therefore it stands to reason that if Labour cannot achieve a swing of 6.5% to win this by-election in a seat that absolutely has to go to Labour for Labour to win the next election, then to be perfectly honest Labour might as well give up now on the next election and ensure that they get as many seats as possible at the next election and treat this Parliament like the Conservatives treated the Parliaments of 1997 – 2005 (just sit there and smile)

Rochford (Con defence) on Rochford
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 29, United Kingdom Independence Party 3, Liberal Democrats 2, Independents 2, Green Party 2 (Conservative majority of 20)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Conservative 735 (52%), Labour 690 (48%)
Candidates duly nominated: Nicholas Cooper (UKIP), Daniel Irlam (Lib Dem), Michael Lucas-Gill (Con), Matthew Softly (Lab)

Rochford may look as if it’s a Conservative fiedom and indeed since 2003 the Conservative majority has only dropped by one seat, however that masks a serious shift in the politics of this part of Essex. The changes between 2003 and 2015 speaks volumes. The Conservatives have lost one seat, the Liberal Democrats have lost two seats, Labour have lost three seats (and been wiped off the map), the Independents haven’t changed, the Greens have gained two seats (and appeared in the council chamber) and UKIP have won (gaining) three seats. So whilst in seats where UKIP have stood before, their vote falls, in seats where there has not been a UKIP candidate before they can make all the difference, but where those votes come from will determine the result? From Con, Lab GAIN. From Lab, Con HOLD.

Salisbury, St. Edmund and Milford (Lib Dem defence) on Wiltshire
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 59, Liberal Democrats 27, Independents 8, Labour 4, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Conservative majority of 19)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Liberal Democrat 526 (43%), Conservative 281 (23%), Labour 177 (14%), United Kingdom Independence Party 148 (12%), Green Party 92 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Greg Condliffe (Lib Dem), Diana Dallimore (Ind), Atiqul Hoque (Con), Michael Pope (Green), Mark Timbrell (Lab)

Wiltshire’s been a very interesting county for the Lib Dems over the years. In 1993, thanks to the Conservative collapse in the local elections, the Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the council and although that position was taken back by the Conservatives in 1997 the Liberal Democrats could still be trusted to be the leaders of the opposition on the council. The biggest change however came in 2009 when Wiltshire County became Wiltshire Unitary and in those first elections won twenty four seats on the new council polling 31% of the vote however by the time of the next elections in 2013, UKIP and the effects of government reduced their vote share to just 20% but despite that they still managed to make two net gains suggesting that there is a core of Liberal Democrat voters who will vote for the party no matter what happens.

Selston (Selston Parish Independent defence) on Nottinghamshire
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 34, Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrats 8, Mansfield Independents 2, Independent 1, Selston Parish Independent 1 (Labour majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Selston Parish Independent 2,427 (72%), Labour 794 (23%), Independent 161 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Mike Hollis (Lab), David Martin (Selston Parish Independent), Paul Saxelby (Con), Sam Wilson (Ind), Ray Young (UKIP)

Selston (Selston Parish Independent defence) on Ashfield
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 22, Liberal Democrats 5, Conservatives 4, Independents 2, Selston Parish Independents 2 (Labour overall majority of 9)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
Selston Parish Independents 1,977, 738 (45%)
Independent 1,427 (32%)
Labour 617, 564 (14%)
Liberal Democrat 306 (7%)
Trade Unionist and Socialist 95 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Donna Gilbert (Lab), Christine Quinn-Wilcox (Selston Parish Independent), Michelle Sims (Con), Anna Wilson (Ind), Ray Young (UKIP)

Local Independents are quite a new situtation in local government (and just occasionally in national as well). Although there have been a couple elected to Westminster over the years (S O Davies in Merthyr Tydfil in 1970, Peter Law in Blaenau Gwent in 2005, Richard Taylor in Wyre Forest in 2005, Dai Davies in Blaenau Gwent in 2006) and just as many to the devolved institutions (Trish Law in 2006 to the Welsh Assembly in Blaenau Gwent, ennis Canavan in Falkirk West in 1999 and Jean Turner in Strathkelvin and Bearsden in 2003 in the Scottish Parliament along with Kieran Deeney in Tyrone West in 2003 in the Northern Ireland Assembly) it’s in local government that local Independents really come to the fore. At the elections held in May across the UK the following Local Independents stood:

Ashford, Ashstead, Billingham, Barnsley, Bournemouth, Bollington, Canvey Island, Castle Point, East Cleveland, Eston, Epsom and Ewell, Farnham, Fylde, Guildford, Hanworth, Henley, Holland on Sea, Halstead, Hucknall, Hinchley Wood, Hykeham, Kidderminster, Bristol, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire Moorelands, Morecambe Bay, Morley, Middlewich, Mansfield, Molesley, North East Cheshire, Nantwich, Nork, North Somerset, It’s Our County (Herefordshire), Our West Lancashire, Old Windsor, Cuddington, Ramsgate, Uttlesford, Richmondshire, Rochdale, Swanscombe, Selston, Spelthorne, Stafford, Stoneleigh, Staffordshire, Stamford, St. George’s Hill, Suffolk, South Woodham, Tendring, Tattenhams, Thames Ditton, Tewkesbury, Thornaby, West Suffolk, Wigan, Whitnash, Whitwell, Wythall, Yorkshire and Yarm.

As as we can see in the last elections, those local Independents had a very high personal vote suggesting that if the major parties want to win the seat, they would do best to ditch their national labels and call themselves “(Party) for (location)”.

Dunfermline North (SNP defence) and Rosyth (SNP defence) on Fife
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 35, Scottish National Party 26, Liberal Democrats 10, Conservatives 3, Independents 3, Non Party Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 5)

Dunfermline North ward result (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 997, 844 (48%)
Scottish National Party 1,204 (31%)
Liberal Democrats 518 (14%)
Conservatives 253 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: James Calder (Lib Dem), Lewis Campbell (Green), Chloanne Dodds (UKIP), Ian Ferguson (SNP), Joe Long (Lab), James Reekie (Con)

Rosyth ward result (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 794, 1,049 (48%)
Scottish National Party 1,076, 306 (36%)
Liberal Democrats 275 (7%)
Conservatives 223 (6%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 101 (2%)
Non Party Independent 41 (1%)
Candidates duly nominated: Vikki Fairweather (Lab), Matthew Hall (Lib Dem), Cairinne MacDonald (Green), Alastair MacIntyre (Ind), Colin Mitchelson (UKIP), David Ross (Con), Sharon Wilson (SNP)

So far, since the general election, the SNP have clocked up 46% of the popular vote in all the Scottish by-elections held and with only a couple of exceptions (Aird and Loch Ness in Highland, and Huntly in Aberdeenshire) come out on top gaining two seats overall in the process. Therefore I think it is fair to say that we are looking at another two SNP holds here and with attention now focusing on the Scottish Parliament next year, it is fair to say that those elections are for the SNP to lose.

Pwllheli South (Llais Gwynedd defence) on Gwynedd
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 37, Independents 19, Llais Gwynedd 13, Labour 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (No Overall Control, Plaid short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Llais Gwynedd 374 (60%), Plaid Cymru 252 (40%)
Candidates duly nominated: Michael Parry (Ind), Peta Pollitt (Llais Gwynedd), Hefin Underwood (Non Party Independent), Alan Williams (Plaid Cymru)

If the collection of English local Independents is enough to confuse anyone, then the Welsh Independents (as I mentioned last week) would be the end of it but when you add varying degrees of Welsh nationalism to the equation then you can see why most people just give up. Take Llais Gwynedd for instance, established in 2007 with the avowed intent to oppose the closing of Welsh medium schools in Gwynedd they burst onto the scene in 2008 when they won 13 seats on Gwynedd (including the seat of the then Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Iwan) and although on the face of it nothing changed in 2012, that wasn’t the case. Plaid retook Dafydd Iwan’s seat (along with three others seats from Llais) but Llais managed to gain two seats from Plaid and three seats from the Independents. However as we saw last week, their power may be starting to wane, but could the introduction of two Independents into the equation help Llais this evening? We shall just have to wait and see.

Bettws (Ind defence) on Newport
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 37, Conservatives 10, Independent 2, Liberal Democrat 1 (Labour overall majority of 24)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Independents 840, 779, 534 (52%)
Labour 616, 594, 584 (44%)
Christian People’s Alliance 158 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Janet Cleverly (Ind), Glyn Jarvis (Lab), Jason Jordan (Ind), Paul L’Allier (Lib Dem), Peter Varley (Green), Lewis Williams (Con)

And on the subject of Independents, let us not forget the other type of Independent that exists. The disgruntled party Independent. Back in 2004, Bettws was a Labour heartland (Lab 63%, Ind 25%, Con 4%, Lib Dem 4%, Plaid 4%) and in 2008 as well (although Lab did slip a bit and the Lib Dems came into second), but before the 2012 elections something interesting happened. Cllr. Trigg (who topped the poll in 2004 and 2008) switched to be an Independent and knowing how fractious Labour can be on occasions over local issues it would not surprise me at all if it was the same reasons that Peter Law stood as an Independent in 2005 but whatever the cause he still topped the poll in 2012 and managed to bring another Independent councillor on board (inflicting two Labour losses in the ward and bringing their vote share to below 50% for the first time in the ward’s history as part of Newport). But now, with two Independents standing (along with the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Conservatives) will those Labour leaning Independents split or return to Labour?

Compiled by Harry Hayfield


Corbyn might have to face another tricky electoral test in the New Year

Thursday, November 26th, 2015


A by-election in another LAB stronghold could be in the offing

Word has reached me from a reliable source that another safe LAB seat where the party might have to fight a by-election. It would take place during the first half of 2016.

Apparently the sitting MP might have to stand down for an innocuous personal reason. It’s suggested that the contest would take place on the same day in May as next year’s Welsh/Scottish/London elections.

I don’t know the seat or the MP but my understanding is that, unlike Oldham West and Royton, this is not natural UKIP territory.

If by any chance LAB does fail a week today then there’d be much extra focus on the new contest and pressure of the red team.

Mike Smithson


The good people of Oldham West could also be electing a future LAB leader possibly the next one

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Expect big things for Jim McMahon OBE if he wins the by-election

One thing that’s puzzled me about the Oldham by-election is why the leader of Oldham council put himself forward as candidate. He’s already a big figure within the party and, indeed, was being widely tipped as a serious contender for the second biggest elected post in England after the Mayor of London.

This is, of course, the elected mayoralty of new greater Manchester authority – the heart of George Osborne’s so called Northern Powerhouse. Whoever gets that will have a massive job and a huge amount of personal power. By comparison the role of a back bench opposition MP will seem rather small.

I cannot believe that the bright and resourceful Mr McMahon has not thought that one through and that he’s seen an opportunity for himself in moving his ambition from a regional to a national level.

It is not as though the current crop of LAB MPs contains many really talented people with leadership potential. That was, after all, the reason why Corbyn stood out in the summer contest. The pool of available top level talent in the party is so small.

One thing that those who’ve observed him during this campaign have commented on is how able he is and what a good candidate LAB has. He’s personable, articulate and engaging. He’s also said to have a real presence and he’s still in his mid-30s.

He could be a good long shot bet as Corbyn’s successor.

Mike Smithson


Why it might not be wise for UKIP to go too hard on expenses and allowances in Oldham

Friday, November 20th, 2015

This from the UKIP candidate

And a bit of history


The return of Marf and tonight’s local by-election review by Harry Hayfield

Thursday, November 19th, 2015


Welcome back Marf

Watton (UKIP defence) and South Smallburgh (Lib Dem defence) on Norfolk
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservative 40, United Kingdom Independence Party 15, Labour 14, Liberal Democrats 10, Green Party 4, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013):

Watton: United Kingdom Independence Party 808 (34%), Conservative 662 (27%), Independent 569 (24%), Labour 270 (11%), Green Party 102 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Timothy Birt (Green), Claire Bowes (Con), Keith Gilbert (Ind), Joe Sisto (Lab)

South Smallburgh: Liberal Democrat 879 (31%), Conservative 844 (29%), United Kingdom Independence Party 768 (27%), Labour 274 (10%), Green Party 107 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Alison Bradnock (Lib Dem), Anne Filgate (Green), Paul Rice (Con), David Spencer (Lab), Barry Whitehouse (UKIP)

Norfolk has a membership of 84 seats and these will be the sixth and seventh by-elections respectively on that authority since 2013 (in other words a twelfth of the council will have had by-elections since 2013) and of those seven by-elections UKIP have lost three (one to the Conservatives, one to Labour and whichever party gains Watton). And it’s not just seats they are losing either. Comparing the vote in the local elections in 2013 with the by-elections, UKIP have fallen from 26% to 21% (with the Conservatives going from 29% to 28%, Labour from 28% to 33% and the Lib Dems going from 11% to 13%) suggesting therefore, as I have mentioned before, that when UKIP appear on the scene as something fresh and never seen before, people treat them as a “None of the Above” candidate but once they appear on the ballot again (as we will see in Oldham West in a fortnight’s time) they are tainted by the same brush and therefore may not poll anything like as much support as they did.

Epsom West on Surrey (Lib Dem defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 58, Liberal Democrats 9, Ratepayers 7, United Kingdom Independence Party 3, Independents 2, Green Party 1, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 35)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Liberal Democrat 854 (28%), Ratepayers 693 (23%), Labour 616 (20%), United Kingdom Independence Party 494 (16%), Conservative 389 (13%)
Candidates duly nominated: Kate Chinn (Lab), Chris Crook (Green), Neil Dallen (Ratepayers), Robert Leach (UKIP), Julie Morris (Lib Dem), Karan Persand (Con)

Epsom and Ewell is a funny little council. There it is nestled between Conservative Kingston upon Thames and Liberal Democrat Sutton in Greater London and to the south by Conservative Reigate and Banstead and Conservative Mole Valley. And yet what has it been doing since 2003? Ignoring the lot of them, by electing a Ratepayers majority every single time. In 2003, they had a majority of 10 which increased to 12 in 2007, then up to 14 in 2011 and currently stands at 24 making it a beacon for those who think that local councils should not be run by politicos, but by the local community themselves. And this attitude has even spread into the county council as well. Even back in 1993, the Ratepayers won two of the five seats in Epsom and Ewell on Surrey County Council and polled 27% of the vote. In 2005 they had won four county seats polling 32% of the vote, which they held in 2009 polling 50% of the vote and despite boundary changes that saw the number of seats fall to four, they still managed to poll 45% of the vote and win two of them. All of which suggests that the Lib Dem fightback will need to not only see off a Labour and UKIP challenge, but a Ratepayer challenge as well.

Aylesford Green on Ashford (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 34, Labour 4, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative majority of 24)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Labour 725 (55%), Conservative 592 (45%)
Candidates duly nominated: Adrian Gee-Turner (Lib Dem), Alex Howard (Con), Christine Kathawick-Smith (Ashford Independent), Gordon Miller (Lab), Thom Pizzey (Green), Harriet Yeo (UKIP)

Now, before you all start complaining and say that I need to brush up on my typing skills, let me assure you that is NOT a typo. At the local elections in Ashford and in the parliamentary constituency of the same name, Labour polled 18% of the popular vote and in the Aylesford Green, Beaver and Stanhope wards topped the poll. Now, I will admit that Ashford and Labour do not go together in quite the same way as Preston and Labour, but at local elections if a councillor is popular enough then anything can happen (which makes this by-election featuring a first time UKIP and a local independent as well rather too tricky to assess.

Kidwelly on Carmarthenshire (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 28, Labour 23, Independents 22, People First 1 (No Overall Control, Plaid Cymru short by 10)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Labour 571 (44%), People First 300 (23%), Independent 238 (19%), Non Party Independent 177 (14%)
Candidates duly nominated: Stephen Bowen (People First), Fran Burke-Lloyd (Independent), Stephen Davies (Con), Dilwyn Jones (Plaid), Vivian Summers (NPI), Ryan Thomas (Lab)

Dewi (Plaid Cymru defence) and Llanaelhaern (Llais Gwynedd defence) on Gwynedd
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 37, Independents 19, Llais Gwynedd 13, Labour 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (No Overall Control, Plaid Cymru short by 1)
Result of wards at last election (2012):

Dewi: Plaid Cymru 254 (57%), Labour 154 (35%), Liberal Democrats 35 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Andrew Joyce (Lib Dem), Eirian Roberts (Lab), Gareth Roberts (Plaid)

Llanaelhaern: Llais Gwynedd 353 (50%), Non Party Independent 238 (34%), Plaid Cymru 85 (12%), Independent 32 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Eric Cullen (Ind), Wayne Issac (Llais Gwynedd), Aled Jones (Plaid)

Ah, Welsh local elections. The Marmite of local elections in the UK. You either love them or you hate them mainly due to the varying shades of Independentness you have. Indeed, at the local elections in 2012 there were a total of 282 Independents elected polling 18% of the popular vote be they Independent (candidates nominated as Independent), Non Party Independents (candidates who refused to place a party name in their nomination) or as the People First candidate has been duly nominated “Truly Independent”. Here on Ceredigion we have a group who call them Independent Voice made up of two councillors who were elected as Independents, but refused to have any truck with the ruling Independent group but still joined up with them to form a majority coalition with Plaid Cymru. So, as much as you may like them (or indeed loathe them) Independents will always feature in Welsh local elections from now until well, forever I guess (unless Leighton Andrews decides on a form of local government where the Independent vote is spread so thinly that they can never win)

Compiled by Harry Hayfield