Local and European Elections 2009 - What do they mean for the VCS?

The local elections last week were devastating for the Labour Party and fantastic for the Conservative Party in particular. For a table summary of these results have a look here on the Guardian website. According to the BBC's projections, the Conservatives would have 38% of the national vote, Labour 23%, an historic low, the Lib Dems 28%,  and other parties on 11%.

The Labour Party has suffered further losses in the European elections, gaining only 15.8% of the vote and coming overall third – the Conservatives coming first with just under 27% of the vote, UKip second with around 18% and the Liberal Democrats forth.

Significant results included the British National Party gaining its first seats in the European Parliament - the party leader, Nick Griffin, in the North West and Andrew Brons in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Labour came second to the Tories in Wales for the first time since 1918, had its lowest vote in Scotland since 1918, and lost its only seat in the South West.

The centre-left throughout Europe suffered defeat, voters clearly turning to the right. This is particularly interesting as historically similar economic climates were beneficial to the centre-left’s electoral appeal. The Green Party didn’t gain the seats that many hoped they would. Voter turnout in both local and European elections has been low.

For a table summary of the European election results in the UK have a look here on the Guardian website.

So what does all this mean for the Voluntary and Community Sector in UK? Natalie’s post, Local Elections 2009, discusses the importance of these elections and possible scenarios for the future in some depth. Elizabeth’s post on the European elections provides information on the issues the European parliament will be discussing and profiles of MEP candidates, amongst other useful information.

One of our new drivers, The EU Agenda, helps organisations think through some of the implications of the expanding powers of the European Parliament and the potential implementation of the Lisbon Treaty for instance. It helps organisations to think through some of the practical actions that may need to be taken in response to these, such as ways to keep up to date with EU directives and accessing potential new sources of EU funding.

As a result of the local elections in your area do you need to build relationships with new councillors in order to influence the political agenda for the benefit of your organisation and the wider VCS in your area?

Have a look at the NCVO Local Government Manifesto to get some ideas.

What do the results of the European elections mean for your organisation? For those of you in the North East do you have any concerns about being represented by the BNP?

Will more ‘nationalist’ agendas in the South West, indicated by the success of UKip and the Cornish National Party, impact on your organisation?

As the country, and Europe, appear to be taking a stride to the right, it appears more likely the Conservative party may win the next general election.

How well prepared is your organisation for this change?

Have a look at our driver, Conservative focus on social justice, to get some ideas about the potential issues you may need to consider and the possible responses you may choose to implement.

Last updated at 12:01 Thu 10/Feb/11.
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