Observer editor Rob George looks back at an historic day for the Tories in Worcestershire.
THE TORIES blue wave is certainly a force of nature, having knocked down a Red Wall in the North East of England it surged through the West Midlands and into Worcestershire, taking almost everything in its path.
Only Malvern – where the party lost three of its four seats – stemmed the tide as seat after seat fell to the Tories. The numbers involved are staggering
- The Tories have their highest number of councillors at County Hall in recent history, eclipsing the 42 elected in 2009
- The party recorded a staggering share of the vote of 49.6 per cent, Labour managed just 19.8 per cent, the Liberal Democrats 10.2 per cent and others on 20.3 per cent.
- Coun Simon Geraghty has a 33 seat majority and an unlimited policy platform potential for the next four year.
When you think of the budget battles, the rows over Active Travel and the council’s continued financial position, it’s truly a remarkable achievement for the Tories in the county to record such a performance.
With great power comes great responsibility though and voters of all parties will be looking to see what the Conservatives do with this power to improve the lives of all in Worcestershire. One thing is certain they can have no excuses for not delivering.
A word for the Liberal Democrats too who have continued to hit the doorsteps and were rewarded with four seats and the de facto opposition party at County Hall. Whether they form an alliance with the three Green Party councillors to bolster the numbers remains to be seen.
For Labour there is only heartbreak. In 2017 they were reduced to 10 councillors, it’s now just three, two of them from Worcester as the county capital showed a faith not seen elsewhere as the party was wiped out in Redditch and lost historic seats such as Beacon in Rubery and Gorse Hill in Worcester.
It couldn’t poll 20 per cent of the vote across the county and failure to win any seats mean it has not won a seat now for eight years. Come the next poll in 2025, Labour will need to win its first seats in more than a decade to begin clawing its way back.
A Brexit bounce? a vaccine boost? It’s hard to definitely point to any reason for such a seismic result but Labour has lost touch with voters here and across the country.
The question now is can it hope to get them back?