The political events of the last few days here in the UK are keeping bloggers and other commentators very busy so I'll put in my twopenneth for what it's worth ... First then the council elections: previously there had been a two tier system in my county but it's 'One Cornwall' from now on in whereas my local authority area had been 'Caradon'. For this ward there were plenty of applicants for just one seat on the new council. I had voted for Dorothy who was standing as an Independent but she was to come second. Now some of my political views are quite different from hers especially on the EU but I was quite deliberately voting for the person here; this was a classic example of me casting politics aside and voting for the person who I thought was the very best one to represent my and other people's interest. However it was not to be because it was Russell who won. Now he had been long established as a member of the old Caradon District Council and because of length of service had already gained 'a head of steam' as it were. This can make things disproportionately difficult for a newcomer to try and get elected. Incidentally he was fighting under the Conservative banner whereas in days past he was a LibDem. Call me a cynic ("You're a cynic Brian!") but I just felt he had a feeling of which way the political wind was blowing and moved accordingly. Perhaps I'm maligning him.
There was a Green Party candidate, Nigel, who picked up a fair number of votes. All credit to him for going round knocking on doors to talk to people. I was out when he called but was able to chat with him briefly when I was walking up to the village and would like the chance to talk green politics in depth with someone like him one day. Over at Totnes in Devon's South Hams Paula Black from the Greens won a seat on that council.
Both Devon and Somerset County Councils turned from LibDem yellow to Tory blue so far as overall control is concerned. Nationally of course the South West is seen as one of the LibDem strongholds and could prove to be a real battleground in a General Election - whenever that election comes don't be surprised to see Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg paying our region a considerable amount of attention!
Votes were split for the new Cornwall single authority with the Tories now by far the largest party but not having an overall majority. The five LibDem MPs might be getting a little worried and I shouldn't be surprised to see a very close result where I live in 'SE Cornwall' where my present MP won't be standing (nothing to do with MP's expenses, Colin Breed had made the decision a long time ago).
Moving on to the European Elections the drubbing received received by Labour all over Britain is the big story of course. In the South West Region they were particularly poor, losing their one MEP and UKIP, who came second overall in the whole of Britain, did really well to return 2 MEPs this time compared with 3 for the Tories and one for the LibDems. Not only were Labour fifth in this region being beaten by the Greens but in Cornwall they dropped a further place as the Cornish Nationalists (Mebyon Kernow) surged ahead of them. For the governing party to finish sixth in one county is unbelievable!
Making a judgement on who to vote for in the EU elections is a really difficult one to make I reckon and obviously it's an opportunity to give Gordon Brown and Labour a real kicking. I voted for Libertas who want to instigate very radical reform of the EU and have that referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. They did poorly everywhere I think, partly because having joined battle very late in the day they just aren't well enough known to the voting public.
I suppose I had better make a quick mention of the BNP. They have now got two MEPs up north, gaining many votes it would seem from disaffected former Labour people. I think I'm right in saying that parties of a similar ilk from other parts of Europe have made gains in these elections. The impression I got watching the BNP being interviewed on TV was of the interviewers finding the process very distasteful. I'm trying not to be biased but Nick Griffin and his colleagues seem to be people you just wouldn't want to meet alone.
It would be good to get off purely politics for a while - there are a lot of other things I want to write about believe you me!