Which FOOL said that bugger all changes in these BONKERS election by thirds at Colchester Borough Council?
And so we wake up on Friday morning to find that we still have a LibLabIndie administration – but that is only half the story.
Add in the minor detail of the Leader of CBC being booted out, the Conservatives gaining two seats and the LibLab pact landing political punches on one another.
This same as it ever was rhetoric doesn’t quite ring true.
Here are the basics that you might have missed out on during your beauty sleep:
CBC is now made up of 25 Tories, 12 LibDems, 11 Labour and 3 Highwoods Indies.
The Tories took two seats off the LibDems in Stanway and St Anne’s and St John’s.
The LibDems gained Wivenhoe with a knock out punch to their Labour coalition partners.
But Labour traded blows by giving their pals a good kicking in the New Town & Christ Church ward.
We haven’t even had our first cup of tea of the morning yet.
And so our back of a fag packet calculations tells us that a cobbled together LibLabIndie coalition will be able to sit around the Cabinet table with a majority of one.
This makes the three Highwoods Indies the Kingmakers. Their role was rather reduced in the last administration with the voting block not needed.
This may all be about to change.
Will they actually do anything for once?
The Tories remain the largest party in the chamber with 25 seats – one short from crowning Darius as the King of Sunny Colch.
The lighting up of Jumbo will have to wait for another day – or possibly another by-election in the not too distant future…
Despite hanging on to power, the LibLabIndie coalition won’t be celebrating this weekend. It’s hard to hold a party when the birthday boy has left the room.
Paul Smith: oh dear.
The biggest shock of the night was the LibDem Leader of CBC losing his St Anne’s & St John’s seat to Conservative Chris Hayter.
This most certainly wasn’t part of those *ahem* pre-prepared blog posts that local political types piece together the night before.
The weekend will be taken up by the LibDems working out who the chuffers will replace Paul Smith.
To put it bluntly: there is no obvious candidate in the ever diminishing LibDem talent pool.
Betcha ex-Cllr Dominic Graham wishes that there were more hours in the day to juggle a career, family life and your once beaming political ambitions.
Lyn Barton must be the front runner. She is a steady pair of hands, but hardly the future up against the sparkling Tories Mk II under the rebooted Darius.
LibDem party Leader – but not Leader of the Council – (it’s confusing…) Cllr Martin Goss might be turned to.
But he is also on General Election standby for whenever Theresa May has another minor wobble. Plus he has no Cabinet experience.
The LibDems could do a lot worse than approach Mark Cory. He has the energy and the ideas. He is very relaxed but efficient in his Cabinet role.
But does he have the time?
Maybe not as he balances a very demanding teaching career.
Oh – and don’t rule out a Joker card being played by Labour’s Tim Young.
Yer man might step forward as the ‘unity ‘ candidate (HA!)
Time on his hands, here to be the saviour of Sunny Colch and unite (yeah, right) the Coalition of Convenience.
The only problem is that Tim’s party is still the minority party in the Town Hall behind the Tories and the LibDems.
Clacton is calling…
This would have been a very different situation if Rosalind Scott hadn’t lost Wivenhoe for Labour.
The campaign around the means streets of CO7 has been hyperlocal.
The BIG HITTERS of the Labour party have been AWOL over recent weeks, leaving their Wivenhoe Comrade pretty much isolated in doing the #labourdoorstep thing.
We wonder why?
Any regrets, Tim?
Instead New Town & Christ Church was a target for the Comrades. It worked with Lorcan Whitehead being elected as the first Momentum Cllr in Colchester at the expense of the LibDems.
Make no mistake – this was a good night for Tories, but they still aren’t triumphant.
Retaining Castle ward (just) and taking Stanway and St Anne’s & St John’s off the LibDems is a success.
It also leaves the LibLabIndie coalition short of another Cabinet table place. LibDem Jessica Scott-Boutell lost her Stanway seat – which is a shame as she was starting out with a promising Cabinet career.
It also leaves the poison chalice of the Wheelie Bin Portfolio once again looking for any takers.
Um, HAI MR BARLOW…
The wafer thin majority should inspire Darius to raise his game. Good Councils can become GREAT Councils if they have a decent opposition to hold them to account.
It’s a shame that the Greens won’t be able to take part in this process.
Mark Goacher came ever closer to becoming the first Green Cllr in Sunny Colch, falling just 11 short in Castle ward.
It was also interesting to see that the Greens are now the second placed party in the Labour fiefdom of the Greenstead.
The scallywags of the Nu Indies disappointed. There wasn’t much to cheer about for the rather lose collective of Indies that emerged in the run up to the elections.
John Acker gave Robert Davidson a scare at Mersea. But elsewhere they polled poorly and didn’t split the mainstream vote as some had hoped.
The turn out data for each ward is now key for each party as they either pick up the pieces and try and form a Cabinet, or work out how they came so close to power, yet are still in opposition.
The next set of BONKERS election by third is due in twelve months.
It’s all about the data crunching and positioning your party troops where you think you can get the vote out.
The Tories did well to identify Stanway and St Anne’s & St John’s; Labour dropped a bollock in Wivenhoe, ditto for the Libdems in New Town & Christ Church.
Interesting times, Comrades.
The full set of results is available over here.