Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 12:54 UK

BNP to target recession hit towns

By Patrick Burns
Political Editor, BBC Midlands Today

Professor Mick Temple said the Tories should not count on victory yet

On the face of it, the Conservatives will be hoping to gain control of those authorities where they do not currently have overall majorities and consolidate their hold of those where they do.

But one observer of the political scene, Professor Mick Temple of Staffordshire University, said if he were a Conservative strategist he would not count his chickens just yet, despite the party's strong showing in recent opinion polls.

The county of Elgar and the pear goes into these elections under Conservative control. They will be hoping to improve on their current overall majority of just four.

The opinion polls suggest they should do this at a canter, but amid the present public mood of general disaffection from the major parties it would be unwise to make lazy assumptions or generalisations, especially when voters have candidates from no fewer than 12 parties to choose from.

People power

Worcestershire is one of the areas where the BNP has decided to concentrate its efforts, so attention will inevitably focus on towns like Redditch and Bromsgrove that have been hard hit by job losses during the recession, especially in manufacturing industries.

The BNP will be out to exploit any sense of alienation from the major parties. But to keep its campaign in perspective, it is important to remember it is fielding fewer than half as many candidates as the Greens.

UKIP is making a major effort here too, even though it is not defending a single seat anywhere in these elections and most of its energy will be directed at the simultaneous European election campaign.

Eight Independent Community and Health Concern candidates will be doing their best to keep alive the flame of people power which famously flared eight years ago at Wyre Forest, when opposition to the downgrading of Kidderminster Hospital led to the election of the Independent MP Richard Taylor and swept the party to control of the district council there. Health Concern has defied the political obituary writers before, but this time it is fighting for survival at county level.


Control: Conservative

• Conservative 30

• Labour 15

• Liberal Democrat 7 (1 deceased)

• Liberal 2

• Independent Health Concern 1

• Independent 1

Total councillors 56

57 seats up for election

Nominated candidates

• Conservative 57

• Green Party 41

• Liberal Democrat 38

• Labour 35

• BNP 18

• UKIP 15

• Independent 9

• Independent Community & Health Concern 8

• Labour & Cooperative Society 6

• Liberal Party Focus Save Our Hospital 5

• English Democrats 1

• Wythall Ratepayers Residents Association 1

• Other 1

Total nominated candidates 235

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28 Mar 02 |  England

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