After eleven years in National government, the Conservatives at all tiers of local government in Gloucestershire would typically have closed their eyes and waited for the inevitable electoral kicking. But these are not normal times with the Labour Party fighting Tory tanks on northern lawns and the Lib-Dems still flatlining in Westminster.
The Conservatives in Gloucester could even afford to pinch seats from Labour, including three in one go in Matson and Robinswood, to re-take control of the council. Yes, there was some seat trading across the parties. For instance, the Greens gained a stronger foothold in Stroud with wins against Conservative and Labour candidates. They also unlocked seats from Tory County Councillors in the Forest of Dean.
But overall, the change was minimal. Note for the future – the Conservatives and Labour in the Forest of Dean and Stroud might be wise to peer south to see the emergence of the Green Party in Bristol. They, too, started with a gentle ebb of votes and seats towards them. Five years later, the ebb has become a flood.
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