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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Newslog
In Newslog, Nick Robinson keeps a unique diary from the heart of the news. Add your comment too.

Friday 3 May


Up the local
posted by Nick | 1139 BST | Add comment
A monkey for Hartlepool and a small bunch of baboons in Burnley. A cause for depression? On balance, I think not.

I won't make the BNP's day by deploring their victories - others can do that. More cheering, I think, is that even their successes may be one of the first buds of spring for local democracy.

Throughout the country, what we've always called "fringe" parties are doing well - particularly ones with a strong local cause. On today's results the Save the Kidderminster hospital campaign is a bigger political force than the BNP!

Take a look at how the big parties have done and my hunch is (it's too early to tell for sure) that local factors have been very important.

Why did Labour get trounced in Islington and Norwich, say, but hold on in Birmingham? Why did the Lib Dem lose in Richmond but win in Eastbourne? Why did the Tories sweep the board in Enfield but fail in Croydon?

Often local voters have done what they ought to do, which is turf out failing local councils whatever their political colour. With the increase in turnout, that adds up to not a bad night for democracy given all the recent flagellation about the failure of politics.
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