So what about the notable individual contests. We know Labour had higher ambitions than their achievements which of course is not a bad thing. Certain currently high ranking Labour Councillors had said they were going to win Newsome but of course that didn't happen. More surprising to me was Almondbury. You really got the impression from social media that Labour had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Almondbury. Shadow Ministerial visits, lots of activists flooding the place, a personable candidate. I mean with a slogan like 'Peace for Almondbury' how can you not win? They didn't and I guess all credit to the Lib Dems for holding on. I remember bumping into a now former Lib Dem Councillor who expressed what I thought was undue confidence about Almondbury, clearly he was right. So my former Kirkburton Parish Council colleague Alison Munro is the new Councillor for Almondbury. She must have worked and walked her socks off, so much respect to her in what must have been a fairly tough contest.
We heard rumours about Crosland Moor and Netherton Ward and the challenge from Mike Forster of TUSC and 'Hands off HRI' but the challenge from him fell short and he came 3rd. A consistent, dedicated campaign from a Party willing to put 2 to 3 years of quality work into the ward could take it off Labour I would have thought, as things stand given their level of visibility in the ward. But a short term campaign is not the way these sort of things happen.
A word or two about Kirkburton and Denby Dale. The Conservatives got re-elected to both with less than 50% of the vote. In Kirkburton Greens are the main challengers and in Denby Dale it is Labour. We had at one time sought an arrangement with Labour on this but culturally &/constitutionally this does not seem possible for Labour so no 'Progressive Alliance' here. Not entirely sure I like the idea anyway. Commiserations to our Kirkburton Candidate, Derek Hardcastle who was unsuccessful on this occasion.
Holme Valley North Ward, where I live, proved to be an interesting contest. The Labour Candidate was definitely putting the effort in and was door knocking earlier in the year than is common among many. I was disappointed to get a letter from her with an endorsement from the Independent Councillor Edgar Holroyd Doveton who said he was supporting the 'person' not the 'label'. The only problem was that he didn't reveal that the person was his partner. When I pointed this out on Facebook. I got a bit of abuse from Labour folks who equated what I was saying with 'anti Corbyn smears' and the other bizarre comment was about a person 'not having to be defined by who their partner was'. Sure but not revealing the relationship and trying to appear objective when you simply couldn't be was obviously a mistake.
Labour won, and the Lib Dems lost both Colne Valley and Golcar Wards, which is where Labour got their Council majority. It was very close in both and the Lib Dems will be kicking themselves over what they could have done. I guess these will continue to be hotly contested Wards.
From a wider Green Party perspective I was pleased to see us achieve 8% of the vote in Greenhead and Holme Valley South Wards with no campaigning. This does make you wonder what would happen if we actually were able to put in a decent effort there. Worth thinking about.
Of course in many of the wards in Kirklees the toughest part is getting selected usually by the Labour Party and there are unfortunately no real contests in those wards. Labour had a leaflet go out in North Kirklees wards which had an unfortunate reference to the 'Tories shitting on us' due to a bit of cut and paste from a website so I understand. Happy to agree generally with the sentiment but it just shows how unprofessional Labour can be and still get away with it. 'No one person should be blamed' for this error apparently according to the Labour Agent who was responsible for producing the leaflets. Now who was that?