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The BBC are full of the fact that the Conservatives "have not achieved the hoped-for breakthrough in the North" - this at the same time as acknowledging that only half the English results are in!! Their anti-Conservative bias is unbelievable - Sky are being a great deal more impartial.

Good morning Andrew!

A theory....

Casual consideration of the Con gains and holds in Scotland and Wales makes me wonder whether capturing a seat at one level (Westminster or devolved), with the newly elected Conservative 'digging in', LibDem-style, makes it easier to do so at the other level.

Exhibit A: Wales Con gains in the Assembly: Preseli, Clwyd West (both 2005 GE Gains).

Exhibit B: Alex Fergusson won Galloway in 2003 by almost exactly the same margin that Peter Duncan did at Westminster level in 2001 - around 100 votes.

Exhibit C: Monmouth was first won at WA level, then at 2005 GE.

There are examples that could be used to prove this wrong - Ayr doesn't have a Tory MP at Westminster level, Dumfries saw a swing against Murray Tosh, etc. But I think there is something to the theory that the best approach for us to gain seats in Scotland and Wales is to demonstrate at one level of government that we add value by performing well at the other level of government.

Maybe Conservative AMs and MSPs should be subsequently used as Westminster candidates once they have established their brand locally?

...and to continue the theory, that Cons councillors and 'community leaders' should be the candidate pool for winnable AM/MSP seats as well.

It will be very interesting to see the final Lib Dem position. As things stand, with over half of councils still to declare, they are on a net loss of 97 councillors.

The question is: will the Conservatives take even more off them in the next few hours, or will they actually recover to perhaps break even?

I think West Yorkshire will be interesting later today. We r actually starting from quite a high base and could actually go backwards. Expect BNP and Green gains.

Genuinely disastrous result for the LibDems whose management expectation spin (ie keep it low, so you can say you scored a great victory) was "30 gains" made before this election

Sky news predicting 136 LibDem losses

If it pans out, fantastic news for the Tories as we must take those tricky (or not) LibDem seats to form a govt

East Midands, many marginals counting today. Fantastic start with 41% to Labour's 27%, Sky predicts overall GE Tory majority of 41 seats!

It amuses me that the "Cameron is a failure because he should be 10-15 points ahead against this rabble" brigade have nowhere to go these days, Tory T.

Signs of potential for a deeply distasteful and unholy alliance between Nigel Farage and Lembit Opik:


Unfortunately not much progress in the North last night. Labour even made several gains in the greater manchester councils. That said we were holding onto most of our seats and threatening Labour's heartland safe wards which was always going to be an uphill struggle.

There's always next year.

Here's to several gains later today though!!

41% of the vote in the local elections looks good to me, many results still to come in but we have hundreds more conservative councillors and control of 15 more councils.

I was at the count in Dartford which I'm delighted to say was a conservative gain as was neighbouring Gravesham.

Deceitful Clegg. What about Malvern Hills where they were decimated? Torbay? Where they get power the voters see them for what they are and they do badly!

Of course Alexander, Cameron is in fact 14 points ahead. Predicted BBC notional national share of vote is Con 41%, Lab 27%.

It should be noted that on last night's thread the three-brained Daniel Hannan MEP expressed his doubt that these projections were accurate (Tories higher, Lab lower)

Actually, and I know there's still a long way to go, this is a pretty damn good set of results for us. Wales we're at least at the party. Scotland we have shown signs of re-establishing ourselves. In councils across England we have resoundingly beaten BOTH Labour and the Liberals in all parts of the country.

All this "no progress in the North" stuff is rot. In fact we've made Northern break-throughs to take control of councils (which helps as there is an undoubted knock-on effect as people in neighbouring areas begin to see us running things) and we've laid down solid bases such as in Sunderland and Trafford, showing that our message has resonance across the country.

This Election just shows how far the Tory media machine has declined.

Its actually a good result but the expectation management has been so poor that the conventioal wisdom is becoming that the Tories have not done well enough.

I can see why Cameron wanted to avoid accusations of spin and Campbell etc but there are no serious media pros working for himand the results are now apparent.

He has to bring in serious media handlers and acknowledge you just can't win an election with well meaning amateurs.

This is the biggest challenge facing CCHQ!

I suspect you're right Ravel.

It's not that there has been no progress in the North - the results in Councils such as South Ribble and Wyre for example are fantastic - in Wyre we gained 11 seats and in South Ribble it was 24 - but these are very much the more rural areas - we don't appear to have done as well in the surburban fringes such as Bury and Bolton where many of the marginals are that we need for the next General Election.

Tory Machinary in the North needs serious work..

We lost seats to labour in Nottingham.
We also lost the North Lincolnshire council, but gained Lincoln.

Keep an eye out for North Tyneside, counting today, where we're already the biggest party. We made great gains last night in Sunderland, too. So much for no Tories in the North!

PS Jaz @ 09:55

You do know that Nottingham and Lincs aren't in the North, don't you?

Can I give a big cheer to CH regular and voice of sanity, Matt Wright, who came within an inch (well within 100 votes anyway) of winning Vale of Clwyd for the Party, and bringing home a mighty 7.4% swing from Lab to Con (according to the BBC).

Well done Matt on a sterling effort. I sincerely hope you will be the GE candidate.

Well the North, Yorkshire/East Midlands.

Anything North of Birmingham are problem areas for us...

I second that Alexander (10.04).

Sorry to hear about Matt Wright getting so close, I wonder how he feels now. I'm off to my count now but went the Verifications last night. Here in Braintree we are quietly confident but it does seem that the Labour vote here has not collapsed as some predicted.

This has got to be the time to ram home the positives. We can reflect on where to go from here in the weeks and months after the dust has settled, but, dare I say it, it needs to be spun that we have made gains right across the country, from the Lib Dems in the south and from Labour in the north.

Well done Matt and everyone who has worked so hard to deliver these fantastic results. Am reading from work in Verona ... is there any news of Harlow? And Brighton?

Great vindication of David Cameron and his project. We are back in business because of the way in which we are changing our party. Still a way to go, but we should be pleased that we are making headway. All those Conservatives who voted for change in late 2005 should be smiling today!

Dover result Con 28, Labour 15 , Lib dems 2

Best Conservative result since 1983 and took Labour seats in their heartlands of Middle Deal. A worried Labour MP last night.

Labour Leader and Deputy ousted and Mayor of Deal gone.

Paul Watkins -Conservative Leader
PPC 2001 & 2005

But as i said EML I suspect there is nobody to do the spinning (below the surface) so the only message which will get across is what DC says directly.

CCHQ staff are very loyal under paid and well meaning but serious media professionals have to be brought in.

Tory media handling is probably the one area of serious decline under cameron / maude.

Its ironic that just as other areas start to improve for the party one area that was working reasonably well is in freefall.

It may be a deliberate strategy to remove charges of spin etc but it is clearly not working.

In Scotland- at the moment- we have no idea what will happen! What is interesting is that on the election programmes so far we have had Labour sitting with LDems, whilst SNP have been sitting with the Conservatives in attacking the horlicks over the 3 voting systems used on election day. The inference here is that WHY the position of the Party in Scotland during the election campaign of anti-SNP rhetoric when the Lib/Lab pact appears relatively stable?

Well said Ravel. If it was the other way around, Labour would be banging the drum about their victories.

Simon do you think Jackson Carlaw has a chance? If we had a candidate like John Lamont would we have a better chance?

Can we clone him for seats like Eastwood? Is that allowed?

Anyone care to explain to a humble Londoner (we're a bit slow down here), how they work out the regional list winners in Scotland and Wales (presume it's the same system)? How do they allow for the constituency seats in the region already won?

Also anyone else find the BBC website confusing for the up to date position? (At a computer but not a TV) I seem to be able to count up about 16 Conservatives who have won seats (constituency or list) but their summary a short time ago still says we only have 6 (4 constituency and 2 regional). Can the blog or another poster say what is the latest Scottish forecast for the final seats of the 4 parties (plus any others)? It strikes me that if SDP and Labour are about the same, and us and Lib Dems about the same, it could be that neither a Lab/Lib nor an SDP/Lib coalition would have a majority, which could put us in a powerful position. Or have I got that all wrong?

Some ConservativeHome regulars were standing. Any news on them?

I actually thought that the spokespeople who went on the BBC last night for us had been quite well-briefed to respond to the "no northern councillors" meme, although it is a fine line. You could see that some of them were itching to make the point that the Conservatives can get a parliamentary majority without any MPs in Manchester or Liverpool themselves, but it's hard to do that without someone yelling "So you don't care, is that it?"

I thought the BBC's coverage was utterly shambolic. Jenny (I forget her surname) who was dealing with the stats was the only one providing any level of analysis - I don't count the Ming's Bling or Tony's Tennis fiascos as analysis. Do the BBC really think that people who stay up past midnight watching local election results can't read straightforward graphs?

Cloning John Lamont would be amazing. Am delighted that someone so hard working has been rewarded: just hope the same goes for Jackson later on today!

Mark Fulford: CH regular Gareth comfortably took Erdington ward in Birmingham off Labour - he got 46%!
Matt Wright came within a whisker of taking Vale of Clwyd off Labour in the NAW.

I haven't heard any other news...

Alexander, you have clearly been very busy. I agree with your point about winning local and the digging in a la mode de Lib Dem. generally, just winning council seats helps rebuild politicial infrastructure. However, I think it's a bit suspect to extrapolate from these results to a General Election. Labour have had a number of similar lows in local elections before bouncing back at General Elections since 1997. Let's be realistic: barring total meltdown, they are not going to poll just 27% of the vote at the next GE. In the light of this, I suspect Changetowin's "euphoria" is in fact relief more than anything else. The voting at local level has little to do with a ringing endorsement for David Cameron. I voted Tory because my local council is an efficient Tory Council and I do not want to have Lib Dems sqaundering my money....even if they are Francis Maude's preferred coalition partners. My vote yesterday is no indication of what, if anything, I will do at a GE.

Final Wales standings with South West Wales West and South West Wales Central list results look like being:

Labour: 26 seats (lose 4)
Independent Labour: 1 seat (gain 1)
Plaid Cymru: 13 or 14 seats - Tories look like they might be outpolling them in South West Wales West which would allow them to capture their seat there (gain 1, or possibly gain 2)
Conservative: 11, 12, or 13 seats (gain 0, 1 or 2): Depending on winning more votes on list vs. PC in SWWW. Gain of Cardiff North might result in loss of list seat in SWWC to Lib Dems
Lib Dems: 6 or 7 seats (no change/gain 1)

So best case
L: 26
I: 1
C: 13
PC: 13
LD: 6

A Con/PC/LD coalition would have a majority. Not sure who would be First Minister if Tories and Plaid both end up with 13 seats (though I suspect Tories will fall short, giving Plaid the prize).

Gareth's result in Erdington is terrific. Well done: Sion Simon will not be happy which makes it even better.

How has Malcolm fared? Is he at his count?

Sorry, a bit slow on the update this am: have just read Malcolm's post about 45 minutes ago. Good luck and hope to celebrate with you next week.

Michael, the pleasures of being an election 'anorak' watching a UK general election from the vantage point of a more civilised time zone! :-)

Fair enough on your point about the difficulty of directly translating council votes into a GE scenario. But how many times have we also seen on this site have we also seen "it'll be doomsday for Cameron, only real elections count" scenarios in the leadup to this vote, posted on this site?

To be honest Michael, personally I'm more interested in the Scotland and Wales results. They're real tiger country, and I find it's exciting to see some hard work paying off in some constituencies. This is why I was really pleased for Matt Wright's efforts in Vale of Clwyd (but disappointed for him that he didn't win).

Alexander, the results thus far look broadly what I would have expected in the Council elections, though there is still a way to go. Scotland is looking very interesting: unlike Wales, which looks no more than a setback for Labour, they may take a hammering north of the Tweed. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people....although a long spoon is needed before doing any deals with Alex Salmond.

Time for a bit more analysis Editor and a little less news?

I cannot see how any election in which 100,000 votes are disqualified can be regarded as legitimate.

No matter who are the 'winners' in Scotland, there should be a legal challenge to re-run the election.

I also wonder how valid some of the Council results are, given the problems with the revision of postal ballot rules and the introduction of electronic counting. If the reports are true, thousands of postal ballots were not received, which would very much skew the results in wards where margins are very tight.

This shambles should be totally laid at the Government's door, where it belongs.

A bit later Alan. I'd rather wait until we know more about Scotland. The BBC are being too kind to Labour at the moment. If Brown/ Blair/ Labour suffers a big defeat north of the border then it'll put a different complexion on the whole evening.

"CH regular Gareth comfortably took Erdington ward in Birmingham off Labour - he got 46%!"

I just hope "changetowin" doesn't put that down entirely to Gareth's modernising views. "Massive vote for gay adoption in Brum", I can see his post now. But he was a good Councillor in Lambeth and, as ever, London is happy to contribute some of its talent to the provinces. Congratulations Gareth from your anonymous well-wisher.

Maybe that's the solution to relative Tory weakness (although good performance last night) in the Midlands and the North - we southerners may all have to go and live there.

P.S. Has Brum got any good Mayoral candidates? We could do with one.

Surely the Scottish Parliament elections will have to be re-run?

Great result locally, where the Conservatives now hold 29 of the 38 seats on Malvern Hills. (Previously NOC, although run by the LDs in cahoots with the Greens.) Lib Dems reduced to just 5 councillors.

The BBC are being too kind because the Tory media machine didn't successfully lower expectations in the run up to polling day and can't get the message across now that the Party has momentum. This is schoolboy stuff.

I really hope there will be an inquest when the dust has settled as to the coverage we are getting and the way our media operation has performed.

"Was a 52% increase in councillors' expenses the reason for the loss of Eastbourne to the LibDems!?"

Plus the parking charges. I can't believe they would be so stupid, they're giving the Lib Dems an open goal. It's almost as if they were deliberately trying to annoy the public.

Might be wise to get UN election observers next time. Verdict on Scotland: relatively free but quite possibly not fair.

Mind you, my mother always said that the intelligent should get more votes than the stupid. So if the 100,000 who couldn't read the instructions were the stupid ones, maybe her system has been introduced by mistake. If Labour loses do you think they'll claim it unfairly penalised them as they have a larger share of stupid voters?

"Was a 52% increase in councillors' expenses the reason for the loss of Eastbourne to the LibDems!?"

Plus the parking charges. I can't believe they would be so stupid, they're giving the Lib Dems an open goal. It's almost as if they were deliberately trying to annoy the public.

Further thought on "stupid" voters. In London we had euroelections, Mayoral and GLA elections simultaneously 3 years ago. The Mayoral one required 1, 2 (transfers to second choice) and the GLA involved both a constituency first past the post and a party list (these involving crosses, not numbers), as did the euros. Although a number of people commented that the voting was a bit complicated, we seemed to manage it without the sort of level of spoilt papers as in Scotland yesterday.

Now it may be that the instructions were set out more clearly. On the other hand, maybe Londoners are a bit more [**********] (you fill in the blanks).

Surely the big story is becoming Lib Dem collapse? They've nearly lost as many seats as Labour and had fewer to start with!

On the "stupid" voters, it just shows to me how silly these mickey mouse techniques are. The sooner we just revert to a sensible system which works, reflects shifts in public sentiment and has been time-honoured the better.

Damn right, Edward. The Limb Dums are now on a net loss of 135 councillors, picking up a measely net gain of one council.

I just don't see where they are going to pick up seats.

Unfortunately the BBC are going to be so obsessed with Scotland that they won't notice how well we are doing and how poor the Lib Dems are doing.

We are told there is a lack of a Northern breakthrough buy judging by the BBC map we're doing very strongly in the south of the North West. It only seems to be the North East where we have trouble.

"I'm amazed that there isn't more speculation as to Menzies Campbell's future. He has led his party in an uninspiring way and Mr Duncan is right - they're going backwards."


Alexander @10:35 - Is Jackson Carlaw in with a chance? Hmmm. Well, i seem to recall when the chair of the Scottish Conservatives ( or dep. chair) came up for a vote recently- like many others i thought 'bu**er Carlaw- i'll vote for Old Bill Walker!' So if Carlaw is 'unpopular' with the grassroots can he inspire a wider electorate?....

Re: Scotch Mist votes:
I'm really looking forward to the return of all those pro-Proportional Representation types who turned up last time we discussed the subject. What do you bet the cock-up was caused by not having the correct form of PR?

Re: Londoner's remarks on Gareth/Changetowin @ 11.42
A little churlish, sir. We should welcome Gareth's election and praise the good sense of the people of Erdington, whatever their motive. We should also welcome Changetowin's always thought-provoking contributions to ConHome.

Richard I agree..shhh. No more on that one!

"We are told there is a lack of a Northern breakthrough buy judging by the BBC map we're doing very strongly in the south of the North West. It only seems to be the North East where we have trouble."

But we've picked up seats there (in places like Sunderland) which help lay a platform for future success. We were never going to get control of councils there overnight.

If not Simon then we need Plan B - clone John Lamont for next time. Never met the guy but he reads on paper/screen like a top candidate.

How many councils have we lost so far? I count 5 after a quick look through the BBC results.

There's a nice result up in Angus where we have helped the SNP lose control of the council.

Alexander- i've just had a shufty on the net regarding Lamont, and he certainly seems to get the 'thumbs up' as a good solid constituency campaigner. Precisely the people needed to win seats. He's presentable- and a couple of years younger than me , so it seems he has a very bright future in the Party. I just have doubts whether he's suitable for Holyrood. Rather see him in Westminster.

PS:- But at least he's dispatched a LD to the ether!

Edward; "Surely the big story is becoming Lib Dem collapse? They've nearly lost as many seats as Labour and had fewer to start with!"

Indeed. The other story is the relative failure of "The others in England". It seems most of our predictions on Prediction Thread (1) were wildly out. UKIP is on -1;BNP-2; Green+4. Also not included in the prediction page are "other others" -64 and Residents -5. I suspect we were the main beneficiaries.

Yes, spot on Martin. Almost the beginning of a return to "normal" politics apart from the relative insanity of the systems in Wales and Scotland! It's important we consolidate on this to keep the trend going, however.

AGHHHHH I'm sick to death of the bloody BBC and their "failed northern breakthrough"! One of the reporters mentioned that we may have taken Blackpool, surely that must be enough to show recovery?

Edward 12:42 - on the NE situation, Darlington has just declared.

Lab 29 (down 5)
Con 18 (up 5)
LD 6 (up 3, but one LD winner was expelled mid-election)

Others nil (down 3)

Labour retain control, but their vote share is down almost 11%

Yes, I just saw that. Now Easington and Hartlepool we didn't make much headway in BUT in the North East we now have, by my reckoning:

Sunderland +3 to 16 seats. LDs 1.
Chester-le-street +1 to 2. LDs 1.
Darlington +5 to 18. LDs 6.
North Tyneside we are the largest group with 28 councillors.
Alnwick +7 to 9 seats. NOC.

There is a genuine trend here of us making headway in these NE seats. We ought to be really pushing this and proclaiming it as a breakthrough. We have turned the steamer around and this is the hardest part because the momentum of success breeds success. Our message does have resonance in this part of Britain; it's a case now of continuing to serve the people of the NE, listening to them and building on this solid base.

How many times was Bury mentioned on the BBC's election coverage last night???

"Oh, but you haven't taken Bury..." I'm sure when Cameron sits at his desk at No. 10 in June 2009, he'll have his head in his hands because Bury didn't go Tory council in 2007!

The BBC coverage has been pathetic. So left-skewed it's been embarrassing at times.

Nick Robinson and Jenny Whats-her-Face are obviously in the thrall of New Labour.

I thought Theresa May looked half asleep last night. The Tories needed someone on the panel like Hague who'd get the rhetoric going - not tha they'd be given much time to do so.

I know CCHQ are very unhappy with the BBC's coverage, Robson.

Lib Dem losses aren't a protest vote -- they're the voters' verdict on the contrast between Ming Campbell and David Cameron. Ming's lacklustre leadership has allowed us to lengthen our lead on Lib Dem's by 550 councillors, so far.

Presumably Aunty thinks that Ming Dems are now so insignificant that they're not even worth a prod.

To be fair this article gives something of a fairer picture:

That said, the sheer number of seats we have won, the way we are back at the table in Wales and the fact that we are slowly developing a firm base electorally in Scotland is pretty brilliant!

"Great vindication of David Cameron and his project. We are back in business because of the way in which we are changing our party"

Last year Conservatives got 40% in local elections. This year, 41%. Granted this is in the right direction, but it's not spectacular, is it? Especially when you consider that Labour has not been doing itself any favours in the meantime.

Incidentally, I can't help noticing that in both last and this year support for Tories locally seems well ahead of support nationally. The leadership and its devotees might consider this next time they suggest (as they have done several times since Dave became leader) that activists need to be told what to do to get votes. The figures suggest that if anything the opposite is the case.

Robson: I'd agree with you that "Spinning Jenny" was an appallingly biased expert commentator, particularly since she was supposed to be handling the numbers side of it. Less so Robinson (or less so in context perhaps): he did at least pick up quickly on the disallowed votes scandal in Scotland.

Brilliant result in Blackpool. Tories up from 13 seats to 26 - double the size and take control!

Good result in South Wales Central, Tories hold onto their two list seats there along with the gain in Cardiff North. Tory vote is up from 18.5% to 21.7%, Plaid no change 15.4%, Labour down from 41.1% to 34.0%, BNP up from 0 to 3.8%

In South Wales West 2003 standings were
PC 17.8%
Con 15.0%
LD 12.7%
Lab 41.6%

LD, Con, PC will all get at least 1 seat, and the one with highest list vote gets the second seat.

If Lab -> Con swing is the same, then Tories will pick up 2 seats giving:

Lab: 26
Ind: 1
PC: 13
C: 13
LD: 6

This will be a pretty good result, as Tories would become joint second party in Wales.

Another 92 votes in Vale of Clwyd in North Wales could have brought things to 14 seats.

Still, the horse trading will be interesting.

At one point early in the night "Spinning Jenny" was asked what - if any - gains the Tories had made in the southeast.

She looked flustered, said Gravesham and Dover were the only ones so far.

There was I at midnight flinging my paper at the TV shouting "Woking woman, AND Woking!!!"

Another key seat the BBC markedly ignore if the Tories take it over.

The BBC coverage is always biased. The difference this year was the presentation was also atrocious.I'm not just trying to butter up the Editor, but I found it more interesting to go to my home office and participate in this blog! It's the first year ever that I've managed to prize myself from the TV coverage

Looks like Essex Man is coming back to the Tory fold - up from 27 to 42 seats and taking control of the council in Braintree.

Lab hold Eastwood. A shame but not too much in it. A decent swing by Jackson Carlaw, just not enough.

Last year Conservatives got 40% in local elections. This year, 41%. Granted this is in the right direction, but it's not spectacular, is it?

Indeed, but what is more, from what I've seen of the results so far is how patchy even this modest progress is

Evidence? Look at the results for Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle-on-Tyne (no tory councillors at all), Nottingham , Barnsley,(no gains),Bradford, Sandwell (Tory losses).

I wouldn't expect you to win these councils, but you aren't even making any progress with millions of people, despite people saying how unpopular this current government is.

My concern is if/when you do get back into westminster, this will once again be a bitterly divided country, just as it was in the 1980s.

So much for 'one nation' conservatism.

If Blair thinks that these results are a good "springboard" for Labour into the next General Election then he's obviously been watching too much BBC coverage.

Whe I saw that Ming had gone to Eastbourne, my first assumption was that he must be checking out the care homes.

Naughty Richard!!!

Richard "When I saw that Ming had gone to Eastbourne, my first assumption was that he must be checking out the care homes."

LOL. Brilliant!

Now 500+ gains, with 120 councils still to declare. What are the latest predictions?

"I wouldn't expect you to win these councils, but you aren't even making any progress with millions of people, despite people saying how unpopular this current government is."

It's a fair point from the opposition. Yes we're doing better in the North and can probably win without Manchester etc but it would be helpful if we could get a foothold in those areas.

What was it that killed off Tory support in Manchester since the 1970s? Was it anti-Thatcherism or demographic change?

Now the LibDems have lost net councils as well! What a tragedy for them.

And Comstock, if our progress is so poor and we are so distasteful to such parts of the country, how do you explain our advance in Darlington and the fact that we've become the largest party in Brum? More to the point what is happening to our vote share in the areas you cite? It's going up.

Much more likely, seat-wise, is that in certain areas where we have not been prevalent for some time people are voting for whoever's best placed to knock out Labour as they detest them so much.

Perhaps the Editor ought to send Ming a mug as a consolation.

"Perhaps the Editor ought to send Ming a mug as a consolation."

Ming IS a mug.

Incidentally, talking of mugs and the Lib Dems, didn't Charlie Kennedy look the worse for wear on QT last night?

Radio Five Live is - as ever - is proving vastly more fair-minded that its television counterparts.

John Piennar - "Blair said it's a springboard. Cameron has said it's been 'splendid'. Out of the two, Cameron is closer to the truth. His aim to go after the Lib Dem vote is evidently working - in some places the Lib Dems have been decimated to a man and woman."

Commentator - "There are great swathes of England that are Labour free zones. They are hitting the 40%+ mark which is where they need to be. They should have smiles on their faces this morning."

Labour using the class card. Getting desperate or what!

Radio 5 Live:

Labour minister: "It's a spring board. The Tories are saying it's a breakthrough when it clearly is not. They should be very worried. They should look at whether Cameron is the right man.

Simon Mayo: "But that's ludicrous! In polls Cameron is hitting 40+% and your man Gordon is down at 26%. You can't say that in amy way you are doing fine.

Labour Minister: "Who wants a government full of Old Etonians?"

What a pathetic response. Old Labour. Same old Labour.

Beeb now saying the Limp Dims are on -205 councillors in England with 220 out of 312 councils declared.

Let's have no gloating, please. Absolutely none. No gloating whatsover.

Ming has a firm base from which bounce back. He's playing a blinder.

You're forgetting that we've *gained* more councils than they've actually got control of tonight as well, William.

But I have to take my hat off to the LibDem leadership this is fantastic realpolitik to lower our expectations just in time for the rush to Downing Street to have all the more momentum when they start getting in the high 30s in next year's locals...

Labour Minister: "Who wants a government full of Old Etonians?"

Nearly half the country by the looks of it!

So, who gets the blame for the appaling foul-up in Scotland with the ballot papers and the new "e-counting". A disgrace that tens of thousands of votes have been voided, is that democracy? one wonders if it was done deliberately?
Will the Scots get an enquiry and a second election?
Some ground for great mischief making here!!

"In Bury, Labour received eight seats with 35.6% of the vote, while the Conservatives took only six on 39.9%."

Actually, Labour and Conservatives got 7 seats each.

George Hinton @ 14.34 - I would say one good thing for e-counting: all the doubtful votes are reviewed over a screen, which the scrutineers can see. I remember during the 2004 GLA count at Alexandra Palace we would all crowd round and read the foul-mouthed comments scribbled on the spoiled ballots. Great fun, far more entertaining than anything else going on, and several people in (I think) Barnet demonstrated extreme anatomical/scatological inventiveness.

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