There aren’t many councillors looking forward to the polls on Thursday. National politics is not only casting a shadow on the doorsteps – with political fatigue affecting the most hardened of anoraks – but for once there seems to be more noise about the European Elections. Apparently, we have worked out there is democratic accountability in EU institutions.
Conservative councillors in Warwick will be looking forward to elections least of all, with all members now facing the judgement of their electorate on 2nd May.
The Party, on the back foot since the surprise election of Labour’s Matt Western in 2017, have had a difficult 2018/19. The relocation and redevelopment of the Council’s Leamington Spa headquarters (and, admittedly, a poor communications strategy) has turned the Tory Leader, Andrew Mobbs, into public enemy number one.
Campaign groups such as Save Leamington from WDC have been campaigning against the Party with spirited organisation supported by a resurgent Labour Party, smelling blood. The final vote on the relocation has been suspended until after the elections and the issue dropped from the Conservative’s election leaflets.
However, Leamington is not the district and there is little ill-will towards the relocation of the Council’s headquarters in more rural climes. Nevertheless, the Conservatives – presiding over the much-criticised Local Plan – have not escaped the ire of this voter base either.
Labour are gearing up to ‘take’ the Council but with only nine councillors to the Conservative’s 30 (plus two Lib Dems and five Independents) that would be some achievement. The Party would need to reach out well beyond their traditional power base of South Leamington.
I expect the Conservatives to come out with a bloody nose, their majority reduced but intact.