Everyone in politics is going to be watching the May 2011 elections to feel the political wind after the cuts and the appeal of the respective parties.
Nowhere will it be followed with more interest than in Birmingham so, with three months to go, it is worth looking at the potential fights and seeing what could happen.
The Council’s make up as it stands is:-
CON – 45
LD – 31
LAB – 41
RESPECT – 3
LAB need to win 20 for overall control, in theory with Respect councillors that means more like 17; but this will not happen. However, in 2011 Labour will make large inroads towards eventual control in 2012 when the LibDems are defending a lot of seats you would expect Labour to win.
So, for some predictions for each Ward; some will be easy and others not so depending on how far the LD vote does fall
Acocks Green – This seems a safe LD seat even in a bad year but Stewart Stacey is a noted campaigner and may get very close, this is my shock prediction for a LAB GAIN
Aston – LAB HOLD
Bartley Green – John Lines is very popular – CON HOLD
Billesley – Sitting councillor Colin Hughes steps down after moving away and a LAB GAIN
Bordesley Green – LAB HOLD
Bournville – CON HOLD, Labour should look to take this in 2012
Brandwood – Easy one this, LAB GAIN. Majority not that great at the worst of times for Labour
Edgbaston – Be a total shock other than a CON HOLD
Erdington – Ah, the Gareth Compton affair, will it play here with an 800 majority, will he gain or lose support? Probably a very narrow CON HOLD
Hall Green – The only real LibDem/CON Marginal, the key question is whether those Hall Green voters are Labour supporters voting tactically. Will the Tories put up a real battle? Go for a LD HOLD….. Just.
Handsworth wood – LAB HOLD
Harborne – Not impossible for a LAB win in Whitby’s backyard but CON HOLD
Hodge Hill – a very narrow LD seat only one way this is going – LAB GAIN
Kings Norton – Won by Labour on a General Election turnout and expect a very narrow LAB GAIN
Kingstanding – LAB HOLD
Ladywood – LAB HOLD
Longbridge – A typical bell weather marginal, usually won by the party in the ascendancy so a LAB GAIN
Lozells and East Handsworth – LAB HOLD
Moseley and Kings Heath – Well, this is the seat to watch. Could be a nasty campaign as the LD’s fight to hold onto a key ward. A lot of students in the area and a lot of soft left voters in the past helped the LD’s but not this time; LAB GAIN and could be a big win
Nechells – LAB HOLD
Northfield – Long serving Tory councillor with a very decent majority but in these times is that enough especially as the cuts start to hurt? Think a LAB GAIN but not confident
Oscott – LAB HOLD
Perry Barr – Next to where I live with a very good local LD councillor and organisation with a healthy majority. Tuition fee policy will play here, really not sure how this will go but will go for LD HOLD
Quinton – Like Northfield a bell-weather marginal, seats regularly change hands and will do so this time – LAB GAIN
Selly Oak – Well, we can guess the issue here. Totally easy to predict even if a low student turnout – LAB GAIN
Shard End – LAB HOLD
Sheldon – the start of the LD stronghold, it would have to be a total implosion for Paul Tilsley to lose his seat; a very safe – LD HOLD
Soho – LAB HOLD
South Yardley – MP John Hemmings back garden and stronghold, majority may be much smaller but a LD HOLD
Sparkbrook – could anyone really predict this seat, Respect hold all three and will continue to so; RESPECT HOLD
Springfield – Like Sparkbrook but a three way marginal and the only question is how the LD votes will be split, Respect or Labour, guesswork, a lot depends on family and community ties – LABOUR GAIN but could be anything.
Stetchford and Yardley North – see South Yardley – LD HOLD
Stockland Green – LAB HOLD
Sutton Four Oaks – CON HOLD
Sutton New Hall – CON HOLD
Sutton Trinity – CON HOLD
Sutton Vesey – CON HOLD
Tyburn – LAB HOLD
Washwood Heath – LAB HOLD
Weoley – Like Northfield and Quinton – LAB GAIN
So the numbers I predict are
LAB – up 12 at 53
CON – down 7 at 38
LD – down 5 at 26
RESPECT – Level at 3
That would still leave the ‘Progressive Partnership’ in control but the legitimacy almost gone as the support goes back to narrow areas across the City – and that is from me as a labour supporter – a prediction that does not include possible wins in Erdington and Perry Barr, which should not be over- ruled at all.
Obviously supporters of the controlling groups may disagree with this but looking at poll trends and by-elections in Bloxwich and Wednesfield – where safe Tory seats were lost and the collapse of the LibDem vote – I cannot see any other results. Also the LD’s and Tory’s supporters have to remember back in 2007 Labour was near its nadir and now, as is always the case, the opposition party gains.
Ian Robathan blogs on Labour news here
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