Here are the results of the county council elections in the four OX3 Divisions, held on 4 May 2017.
Overall there were no surprises and no change in the parties holding each seat. There were no strong signs in our area either of a Labour collapse or a LibDem surge. The absence of UKIP meant there were significant blocks of votes to go elsewhere. Turnout was generally close to 10 percentage points higher than in the County elections four years ago.
I think the Greens will be disappointed to come bottom in three divisions and next to bottom in Churchill & Lye Valley. However, they have a habit of fielding paper candidates, even to the extent of advertising for people to stand as such not long before the elections. The only Green who I know campaigned was Symon Hill in BS&R (if you know of others please leave a comment), but even so he couldn’t make any headway against the other parties.
Barton, Sandhills & Risinghurst
Independent Chaka Artwell appears to have collected a sizeable chunk of the UKIP vote, though perhaps this was more of a ‘none of the above’ vote rather than a vote for Mr Artwell’s politics. The Conservatives also appear to have gained some votes from UKIP.
Churchill & Lye Valley
No UKIP effect here but a small increase in the Conservative vote, and as in BS&R a slight drop for Labour and a small increase for the LibDems.
Headington & Quarry
It’s hard to believe that the big rise in the LibDem vote was due to votes transferred from UKIP, but it doesn’t look like they went anywhere else. Perhaps UKIP voters didn’t bother to turn out. Despite an active campaign newcomer Bill Asquith (Lab) couldn’t repeat the close race run by Dee Sinclair four years ago, so Roz Smith (LibDem) saw her majority rise from 31 to 892.
Marston & Northway
In 2013 UKIP’s Nicholas Fell and Independent Charlie Haynes took 27.5% of the votes between them, so it’s not surprising that the four candidates standing this time all saw an increase in their share of the vote. The big increases went to the Conservatives and LibDems, with re-elected Mark Lygo (Lab) only picking up a 2.8 percentage point increase and seeing his lead over Mark Bhagwandin (Con) drop from 32.6 percentage points to 24.0.
Here are the candidates in the four Headington divisions for the county elections on 4 May 2017. All sitting candidates (marked *) are standing for re-election. Several of the other names may ring a bell; Chaka Artwell (Ind) , Peter Coggins (LibDem), Miranda Shaw (Green) and Maria Bourbon (LibDem) have all stood unsuccessfully for election in this area in recent years. This will be the fourth time Duncan Hatfield (Con) and Alistair Morris (Green) have stood since 2012, and Mark Bhagwandin (Con) tops my list of serial candidates – this is his fifth try at being elected in OX3 since 2012.
In the last County elections there were two UKIP candidates in this area. This time there are none, and there is only one in the whole of the city (in Jericho and Osney).
The County elections are coming up and campaigning has begun. Anybody in the mainstream media will tell you how significant social media are for keeping up to date with breaking news, sounding opinion and engaging in dialogue with other users. You all have twitter accounts but all but one or two of you don’t use them. Why is this? Why are you shy of social media? You turn out doggedly on the doorsteps of Oxford in all weathers but you miss the opportunity of getting your message out to electors from the comfort of your own living room.
Is there a rational explanation? Have your party spin doctors declared that time spent on social media is time wasted? Are social media users a demographic you know you can afford to ignore? There are plenty of your colleagues in other parts of the country who disagree with you. Have you got research and statistics to back you up?
You local parties aren’t much better. Their social media presence is sporadic, laboured, ineffective, out of date. I don’t understand. Enlighten me. Please.