Ipswich: No big surprises...but still plenty of election night tension

ELECTION veteran PAUL GEATER reflects on an election night that remained tense despite an ultimately predicatable result.

Election counts are always filled with a certain amount of tension, even when everyone concerned knows there is virtually no chance of a major change as a result of the poll.

In Ipswich all the parties knew Labour would retain power at Grafton House. All the parties also knew that Labour would increase its majority on the council. The only question was, how many seats would it win.

The turnout was low – as expected – but in fact was not as low as some had predicted judging from the small numbers who had been seen at polling stations so maybe more of us are getting used to voting by post.

This year it was the Conservatives’ turn to be really worried.

As I arrived at the count, I was met by a senior Tory who grabbed me to say: “Do you think we’ll hang on to Holywells?” That is a seat that has been safe for the Conservatives since it was created a decade ago, but went to a recount last year.

A few minutes later a Labour activist told me: “The Tories flooded Holywells with volunteers today. I think they’ll hang on but we’ve given them a heck of a fright!”

Most Read

In truth all the politicians seem to understand that politics goes in cycles and parties in opposition in Westminster do well in local polls.

For that reason Labour is staying grounded and the Conservatives are not looking too downcast.

They all know things will be very different in three years’ time at the general election – when hopefully more than about 30 per cent of the electorate will be bothered to go out and vote!