It would be wrong to start my blog without some discussion of the recent local election results. Overall Labour in Southwark did incredibly well. In the face of a poor night for Labour across London and nationally we increased our share of the vote to 40% and saw the Lib Dems collapse to just 33%. On the popular vote we achieved 11,500 more votes than them and took seats in previously the Liberal heartland of East Walworth. Sadly our significant majority in the popular vote did not translate into council seats and a stalemate of 28 seats each was the result, with the Tories collecting 6 and the Greens pinching a seat in my own ward.
It now looks certain that the Tories will form a coalition with the Liberals - in an arrangement reminiscent of the disastrous Lambeth coalition between 2002/06. With the Tories bagging the portfolios of Deputy Leader, Housing Management and Resources it really does look as if the Lib Dems have given up real power in Southwark for the sake of holding office. I have no doubt that the people who will suffer as a result of this arrangement over the next 4 years are those who continue to rely so heavily on council services, and who turned to Labour at this election.