Many Conservative Party candidates in urban London areas like Camden have discovered that voters in their constituencies care more about garbage collection bins compared to actual life changing events like Brexit. The situation in those areas are so bad that Conservatives do not mention the event of exiting the European Union anymore. Polls will be conducted across England in May. The outcome will affect local services cuts and rise of council taxes.
Leave out of the city
The picture changes, however, when one moves out of the city. The fringe areas of the metropolis have voters who have earlier voted Leave-and continue to hold such exclusionary opinions. For these voters even local elections have something to do with leaving the European Union-when clearly they are not. Conservative candidates in those areas does not limit their conversation with voters to maintenance of grass verges and cleaning dog poo from the pavements.
All this does not mean Leave voting area populations are not concerned with local issues. Garbage collection is the main demand of millions of voters. However, local polls are utilized by voters to send a strong message to the central government of the day. The best example of such a statement was the 2014 era council seats. That year witnessed the presence of the UKIP in local governance for the maiden time. The right wing party wrested a total of 150 seats from both Conservatives and Labor that year. The UKIP did spectacularly well in European elections as well. It came first among all the competing political parties. The old political establishment was shocked. David Cameron, the then UK Prime Minister, was convinced to hold referendum-and the voters went for Brexit.
Return of Labor and Conservative parties
For the UKIP, it was both a dream come true and the end. The reality of Brexit means that the UKIP is now past its sell by date. The sole reason for it existing is gone. Majority of its members exited the party and it avoided bankruptcy by a slim margin. The UKIP even now is trying to recover.
The near vanishing of the UKIP has led Labor candidates to take a breather. They know that Brexit now plays a much minor role than in 2014. The local election now will be mostly about local issues-the EU is now simply a background. No wonder both Labor and the Conservatives have shifted their focus to local issues.