Encouraged by their second place ahead of both Conservatives and Lib Dems in the recent Barnsley South parliamentary by-election, UKIP will probably field candidates in the May 5th local elections. The problem with UKIP in local elections is that there is no way Hedge End – or even Eastleigh – is going to withdraw from the EU on its own, so I don’t see the point in voting UKIP at local elections, even for those who want the UK out of Europe.
Unfortunately local elections these days are used by the parties as an expensive opinion poll on national issues, and that is a distortion of the democratic process. Local elections should be used to elect the best candidate on local grounds, not to help the parties register support for their national policies.
These are the first annual elections since the formation of the coalition, and both parties will claim every council seat won as a vindication of their position and the opposition will count every seat the coalition loses as a vote against it. Let's hope some decent, hard working, competent councillors get elected as a by-product!