Been chewing over the implications of Thursday's Council elections in England - and any messages there might be for us in Wales. As always it depends how you look at it. Our share of the vote was down to 38%, which seems a negative, but it doesn't feel like that to me. Before the count, we were reading that gaining 200 extra councillors would be a success. We gained 285. More important was where we gained them. At long last we are winning in the North of England, and in the South West. The latter is of particular interest to me because it tells us that we are taking votes from the Liberal Democrats in rural areas.
It was a very bad election for the Labour Party - even worse than expected. Losing seats to the Liberal Democrats in urban centres must be especially worrying. And it was not a great day for the Liberal Democrats either. Winning 28% of the vote was good news for them, but losing ground to us in the South West of England bodes ill for them in a General Election. They are finding it difficult to present themselves as an 'urban' party in the cities, and a 'rural' party everywhere else. Nick Clegg was right to describe performance as 'patchy'.
Now its on to the European Parliament election count tomorrow night. We're all expecting Ukip, the Greens and the BNP to do well - but how well is the question. I'm interested in what happens in Montgomeryshire. I very much hope we top the poll, and by a decent margin. It would give momentum to our campaign to win Montgomeryshire at the General Election. The turnout was only 33.7%, so there can be no firm projections. A lot depends on how much support moved from the mainstream parties to the minor parties just for the this election, and how much of it will move back. What would really make my day is if we topped the poll, and Ukip threatened the Liberal Democrats for second. Nothing against the Lib Dems, but I'm just thinking strategically here. Will be blogging on this after 9.00 tomorrow night.