|% Share of Vote St John's Ward|
Labour are the fastest growing party in Hedge End according to results in the last five borough elections in St John's ward. Starting from a base of zero in 2006 when the party failed to field a candidate, their share of the vote has increased steadily to reach eight per cent in 2011 - without having local candidates, without any local activists and without any local campaigning. It makes you wonder what they could achieve if they tried.
The Conservatives seem to be stuck at just under forty per cent, and UKIP at just under ten per cent. The Lib Dems are showing a steady year on year decline from the heady days when they took over half the votes.
Eastleigh news has reported (link) on a resurgent Labour Party in Eastleigh and found evidence (link) that Eastleigh voters find Labour policies more palatable than any other party's.
Hedge End - with no independent or green candidates - is one part of Eastleigh where the Lib Dems' much-repeated claim that "Labour can't win here" appears to be true - for now at least. But with both coalition parties struggling at a national level, the Lib Dems being accused of misleading voters locally, UKIP openly campaigning to take votes from disaffected Tories on national issues, and voters in general being fed up with all political parties, Labour could profit from the absence of an independent this time round and attract the anti-coalition protest vote.
Realistically Labour are not going to win this time, but a significant increase in Hedge End votes could encourage local activists to work on increasing their support in this area, provide another alternative to the coalition parties, and that would only be good for local democracy.
(Voting takes place this Thursday in St John's ward only in Hedge End)