Long seen as Liberal Democrat territory, the South Somerset district could provide a few upsets this time round as the County Council line-up of candidates has thrown up a 5-way fight. In all 17 seats Tories, Labour Lib Dem and UKIP are standing candidates for the first time and in 12 of them a Green will add to the choice. This potential vote split offers a much more level playing field than ever before.
LibDems -who usually sweep the board in this part of the County, are this time going into the election compromised by their coalition in Government with a right wing Tory party, who they are seen as responsible for putting there in the first place, and will clearly suffer. Graham Forsyth, Labour candidate in Chard North says “The Paddy Ashdown effect is wearing a bit thin for voters in the Yeovil constituency. Lib Dems are now seen as Tories in ‘look for the bird’ clothing, never to be trusted by the people of South Somerset again.”
UKIP Fatality in Coker
Meanwhile the Tories are fighting on two fronts themselves -firstly, as the ruling party on County at the moment who are making all the cutbacks to local services but secondly from the far right UKIP who believe they’re not being right wing enough. In the Coker ward voters have had to take a short break from the election as the UKIP candidate there has suddenly passed away which means that candidates have to be re-nominated and a result won’t be known until May 16th. Labour’s Murray Shepstone says “Nominations reopened from noon today, lets hope UKIP have another candidate to help split the Tory vote!!”.
Yeovil – where the Paddy legacy is wearing thin
In Yeovil itself where the memory of Paddy Ashdown is often invoked people will see him on TV a lot these next few days remembering Margaret Thatcher . Many others will remember it was the SDP/Liberal alliance that in fact helped keep her in power during those dark days of the 1980’s. Terry Ledlie, Labour candidate for Yeovil South says “With the attitude of we can do and say as we please we’re all right because People will vote for Paddy and not the candidate on the paper and when in trouble they resort to bringing out Paddy Ashdown and David Laws, to make an appearance, on your doorstep at some point in time people will realise and turn away from the Liberals and elect Labour councillors to run county hall . This could be as soon as May 2nd be prepared for a major swing to the Labour Party in Yeovil county council elections!”.
The people decide
Graham added “The Lib Dems have their unholy alliance, Labour has their alliance with you … The people.”