Number of Candidates
* There were three by-elections in Scotland
** There were six by-elections in Wales
*** There was one Independent clash
**** Other this month included Llais Gwynedd (123), SSP (81), and Scottish Christian (33)
Overall, 46,430 votes were cast over 29 local authority (tier one and tier two) contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. A total of five council seats changed hands. For comparison see June's results here.
July is usually a sleepy month, but by-election-wise it's been busy and fascinating in equal measure. First things first, the idea Labour is in some sort of meltdown is shown here to be the kind of accurate forecasting one can expect from dodgy polls. The only ones that really matter involve people going to vote, and there's no suggestion Labour's having an overly rough time considering it a) doesn't have a leader and, b) the stupid and desperate naysaying from increasingly unhinged right wing sections of the party. To come top of the polls and lose a single seat is no cause for concern at all. 11 of the 29 seats were Labour holds, while seven were Con holds.
The really interesting story for geeks is among parties the next tier down. After an age of lamentable results, could we be seeing signs of a LibDem revival? Yes, a couple of their results are in super safe seats, but to have netted three new councillors and be within spitting distance of 15% ... these are the kinds of results they were last getting back when Clegg was the newly-minted wunderkind. It's still too early in my book to say there's a revival underway, though I will say the pattern of LibDem results are changing. Whereas they used to be either very, very good or shockingly poor, we are starting to see more middle-range vote tallies come in. Watch this space.
Coping with the opposite problem is UKIP. Again, too early for trends and all that but these suggest the bottom is dropping out of their world. This month's vote average of 144 is a poor return considering the number of candidates who took the the field. Are some 'none of the above' votes transferring back to the LibDems, or is it periodic under performance as the main political story last month has been all about Jeremy Corbyn? We'll see next month if the swill flowing across the tabloids about Calais will have an effect.
In other news, there's no sign of the SNP slowing down, and no early warnings that Plaid is going to experience a similar take off. Greens are in their normal range, and TUSC put in an appearance for once. However, with the complete collapse of its political perspectives - the Labour dog having some quite lively lefty life in it yet - how much longer are the token challenges going to carry on for?