ALDC and so I was fortunate enough to get a nice, shiny new newspaper from them (well, nice, matt finish, new newspaper at any rate).
I won't divulge all the contents because they're top secret tips for members only - however, I will reproduce a table showing the net results of the 143 local by-elections between July 1st and December 31st.
exceptionally well in 2009 and are to be expected to suffer a fall back from the high water mark) and minor gains from the Lib Dems. The Conservatives are generally falling back, though their ability to make gains shows that voters aren't abandoning them in their droves, and so it is quite likely that these losses are the natural response to the unpopularity of being in government and also the result of anti-Brown voters in 2009 going back to their homes. The Lib Dems, meanwhile, are doing rather well, given their national unpopularity, having made a net gain of 3 seats.
But if you look closer at the gains you can see a clear pattern. The Lib Dems have lost seats to both Labour and the Conservatives but have only been able to make gains against the Conservatives. This is probably the result of them gaining some centre right voters from the Tories but also losing some centre-left ones to Labour. Certainly, it's now going to be harder for them in traditionally anti-Tory northern England.
Two things to bear in mind though are this:
1) The Lib Dems have a long record of doing better in local elections than national ones and have proved very tough when it comes to defending hard won seats. This is because their essential principle that "all campaigns are local" stands them in good stead when it comes to local elections.
2) They look on course to make steady gains from the Conservatives, especially in the south east. In Guildford in particular, it offers hope that we'll be able to gain the four seats we need to take control of the borough council and to end the rule of the fiscally incompetent Conservative administration.