Finally, what happened locally in the 2015 elections?
We Greens generally did well, increasing our number of councillors on authorities which had elections this year by 11 overall-to 87. However, despite our best efforts, we ended losing the plurality on Brighton & Hove council, and finishing third in seat numbers (we now have only 11 seats on Brighton and Hove, down from the 23 we won in 2011, partly due to some incumbents standing down), meaning that Labour and the Conservatives will likely go into formal coalition there, with serious consequences; we also sadly lost our only council seats in Stafford, Watford and King's Lynn & West Norfolk. We did however notably gain representation on the councils of Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Forest of Dean, Lewes, Mendip (covering Wells, Somerton and Frome), and Warwick, doubled our seat total in York, became the official opposition on Mid-Suffolk Council and South Hams Council, and regained representation in Cambridge; our by-election gains in Torridge and Herefordshire were also confirmed. Notably however, we gained 7 seats in Bristol, meaning we have replaced the Liberal Democrats as the third party on the council and we almost became the official opposition to the Labour-led administration. (We have 13 seats, the Conservatives 15 seats, with Labour having 30; the Lib Dems now have only 10 council seats remaining there)
The unfortunate thing about the local elections is how many councils the Conservatives gained control of-and the fact the Conservatives managed to win every seat on a few councils. They won all 50 seats in East Hertfordshire, where I was the Green Party candidate in Ware Trinity ward (I managed a creditable 297 votes). The only other council where the Conservatives won every seat was Mid Sussex; even Bracknell Forest and South Buckinghamshire have an opposition councillor. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats largely collapsed locally as well as parliamentarily, losing control of even Three Rivers and Watford where they had held control for years in spite of their woes nationally. Despite losing the parliamentary seats of Eastbourne and Eastleigh, they still control the councils there (Eastleigh does do elections by thirds but the Lib Dems nevertheless lost only two council seats). Labour meanwhile did not live up to their expectations locally either-they narrowly gained Cheshire West & Chester council but lost Amber Valley and crucially North Warwickshire. UKIP's poor local organisation meant they were not able to capitalise properly on Conservative dissatisfaction in many rural areas, but they did gain control of their first council-Thanet, unsurprisingly, and easily cost the Conservatives control of Tendring (where Clacton-on-sea is)
Local parties and independents did better locally than they did in the general election-Residents for Uttlesford (largest town is Saffron Walden) came from nowhere to become the official opposition on Uttlesford council, and the Lincolnshire Independents easily became the official opposition on North Kesteven council (covering Sleaford & North Hykeham), partly due to people in rural areas becoming increasingly dissatisfied with blue rosettes continuing to dominate rural districts; the Farnham Residents group also gained 3 seats in Waverley, preventing the Conservatives from getting a clean sweep. Conversely, the Independent coalition in Richmondshire lost it to the Conservatives, despite UKIP challenging the Conservatives there (the Conservative vote share in the Richmond constituency fell from 62% to 51%).
That concludes my analysis of the 2015 elections, local and parliamentary. Please feel free to comment.