I’m going to stick my neck out here and do a bit of election result prediction. Feel free to shoot me down should I get things spectacularly wrong but give me credit that at least I’ve got the bottle to put myself up for a potential right drumming.
Just for information I penned this article on April 28th 2007 in the early hours of the morning. I’ll be releasing it around about the close of polls on election day. There may be an hours discrepancy in terms of the time stamp as I can’t be bothered to adjust my sites times to BST but you’ll see it definitely went up before the votes were counted and feel free to save it but I promise not to try and pull a fast one by retro-editing it simply to make myself look good or get out of the shit if I get it spectacularly wrong.
So here’s how I think the make-up of Walsall will look come next Friday.
Which is actually how it stood before the election.
In fairness it could be anything between:
So anyway, for you delectation I give you a quick run down on what’s going to happen in Walsall. It’s by no means exhaustive and of course there’s things I know and factors at work in some cases that I have no wish to put into the public domain for use by other parties against us but just for a bit of fun and for Paul Macmanomy to take the piss out of me when I get it spectacularly wrong here we go:
Birchills Leamore: Lab Hold
This on paper should be one of the safest Labour seats in the borough yet last year the majority over the Tories got down to 80 something (can’t be bothered to look it up). The reason for this was that the Labour Councillor at the time Carol Rose defected to the Tories, strangely enough she did this a week or so after she failed to get selected to stand for Stourbridge in the 2005 General election after she was flaunting her wares as a committed Labour person so she obviously thought the Tories were a better prospect for her future. She’s standing again but against Tim Oliver the current leader of the Labour group she doesn’t stand much of a chance.
Blakenall: Lab Hold
Again another seat that should be one of Labour’s safest in the borough. Complicated by a very active Democratic Labour Party candidate but despite that Labour should hold it. If we don’t then there should be some very serious questions asked.
Bloxwich East: Tory Hold
Labour held this seat last year by seven votes if memory serves me correctly, anyway not more than ten. That was with a local candidate who’s well known. This year, not a chance of picking up this seat, Tories will walk it.
Bloxwich West: Tory Hold
Labour have an excellent local candidate here and former Councillor who works hard in the area. Despite that the Tories have a far superior organisational structure in terms of campaigning in Bloxwich which accounts for them holding five out of the six seats in a town that on paper should be completely Labour and as above, our one seat is very tenuous.
Short Heath: LibDem Hold
I’m going to really stick my neck out here and give the positions of the parties.
I’m not going to go into the reasons but Labour will get slaughtered in this ward and the BNP will pick up a considerable amount of votes and clearly be second.
Willenhall North: LibDem Hold
Change of candidate for the LibDems here. They’ve put up the bloke who stood in Willenhall South last year who was so committed to us, so much so that he’s buggered off to a nice cushy safe LibDem seat.
Willenhall South: Lab Hold
Much to the contrary of Colin Ross and Paul Macmanomy saying this one’s too close to call I’ll go into numbers and predict at least a 200 Labour majority over the LibDems, Tories coming third and the Democratic Labour Party struggling to get over 100 votes if that. Simple analysis, Labour has the strong local candidate who lives in the ward, works very much on local issues and getting things done for people round here. The LibDems have put up that woman who used to be a member of the Labour Party, then joined Respect and has now ended up with them. Scraping the bottom of the barrel for candidates is putting it mildly.
Aldridge Central South, Aldridge North and Walsall Wood, Streetly, Rushall Shelfield and Pelsall: Tory Hold.
I’ve done these wards together because they make up the constituency of Aldridge Brownhills. It’s plain and simple, the Labour Party is next to non-existent in this bit of the world, we stand no chance of winning anything however you’ll note I left the Brownhills ward out which I’ll do next. The only ward to watch would be Rushall Shelfield, one of the BNP’s two target wards in Walsall. They’ll do well here, almost certainly come second but overturn the Tories? Almost certainly not.
Brownhills: Lab Hold
This one’s very tricky. If I was to play it safe I’d say Tory gain but I think Labour might just hold on. Electorally Brownhills is a funny ward. In the all-up election in 2004 it returned two Tories and one Labour although it was narrow between the second Labour candidate and the second Tory. Labour failed to gain it last year by a very narrow margin despite having an excellent campaign and a hard working candidate. It is also complicated by being one of the two focus wards for the BNP in Walsall that has almost turned it into a three way tie between Tory, Labour and the BNP. The BNP might pick it up but I think that the combination of a well known local Labour candidate who works hard in the ward may just see her through with those extra few ‘personal’ votes that such candidates get.
Pheasey Park Farm: Tory Hold
Nothing much to say, the Tories will win.
Bentley Darlaston North: Lab Hold
A presumed safe Labour seat and with the candidate who both works and campaigns hard in the area there shouldn’t be a problem in winning it.
Darlaston South: Lab Hold
Another ward with a hard working Labour Councillor up for re-election. Probably has the best run campaign of any in the borough. There’s a threat from an Independent, the wife of the current Independent councillor for the ward who won last year for very special reasons but against the Labour candidate combined with her formidable campaigning approach (at least compared to the rest of the Labour campaign in Walsall) this should hopefully be a Labour Hold.
Paddock: Tory Hold
Not much to say. The Tories will hold it.
Palfrey: Tory Hold
Another funny ward. A lot of Muslim community politics goes down in this neck of the woods. Last year it was a Labour gain and potentially could be a gain this year but I doubt it.
Pleck: Labour Hold
Again a bit funny due to some Muslim politics which saw a Muslim Tory elected in the all-up election of 2005 who then defected to Labour and decided not to stand this year so it’s a fresh Labour candidate but someone who’s known very well locally and works hard so he’ll probably get through.
St. Matthews: Tory Hold
I’m biased on this one as the candidate is the one who stood last year in Brownhills. He’s an excellent campaigner and was prior to the 2005 all-up election, the Councillor for this ward. Following the boundary changes this ward changed considerably. To the cries of gerrymandering and such, a large area with a good thousand or so Tory voters got shifted into this ward and effectively wiped Labour out. Is it possible to regain the ward? Sadly probably not and the Labour Group would be all the worse for the lack of the presence of it’s candidate in this ward sitting on the benches.
So there you go. My prediction for Walsall despite all the bad press, investigations, auditors reports (nicely delayed until after the elections), referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service, the background of what amounts to a completely crap Tory run council and I doubt they’ll be any change whatsoever and if anything maybe a Tory gain of one or two.
feel free to take the piss out of me if I get it completely wrong though.
[Update] As it’s polling day I’m going to stick pretty much with the predictions above but with some rather dodgy feelings regarding the Blakenall, Brownhills and Darlaston South wards.