Brighton Politics Blogger has been making his predictions over the last month and there is a lot to agree with, but for what its worth, here is my prediction.
It is quite possible the Greens will become the largest party on Brighton & Hove Council in May 2011. Anything less than 19 seats should be a disappointment to them. The current standing is as follows;-
Lib Dem 2
It is possibly too early (without all the candidates being in place) to make predictions, but on current national trends and the inevitable unpopularity of the cuts, I cannot see the Tories or Lib Dems doing well.
The Tory vote is holding up remarkably well considering what they are proposing to do, i.e. massacre public services. Their control of the print media and national agenda and their hard right line on cuts has bolstered those who always vote for them, but they are bound to lose more moderate voters.
The Lib Dems have lost half their support according to the polls since the election with little prospect now they are in government to play for the 'protest' vote. They will be hit hard. Holding on to their 2 seats in Brunswick will be very difficult for them.
Labour will do better than last time and this may save some poor candidates from defeat and help them hopefully regain seats from the Tories they should never have lost in the first place. They could regain the 2 seats in North and South Portslade and maybe the 1 in Moulsecomb and Bevendean that they managed to lose to the Tories. It could all depend on how the vote splits with the Greens and of course the campaigning and record of incumbents. If they do really well, Tory seats in Hangleton and Knoll may come within reach, though this is very doubtful.
It would be a disaster if the Greens lost any of their current 13 seats and I can't see that happening. Really the sky is the limit for them, after their by-election win in Goldsmid, they could well pick up the other 2 seats there. Preston Park could be close between them and Labour - the 3 seats there could go either way, maybe the current split of 1 Green (the fantastic Amy Kennedy) and 2 Labour rebels (who voted against the locally unpopular schools lottery) will prevail. With the success and high profile of their first Green MP Caroline Lucas, their current Green clean sweep wards (Queens Park, Elm Grove & Hannover, St Peters North Laine, Regency) could strengthen their majorities (depending on strong candidates remaining in place). Top targets for them include, Brunswick and Adelaide, taking 2 seats from the Lib Dems. If the Greens are really on a roll they could even pick up seats off the Tories in Central Hove and seats off Labour in Hollingdean and Stanmer. You never know! Though this might be a dreamland scenario of the Greens on 23 seats and just 4 short of an outright majority on the council - one for 2015 perhaps?
Realistically I would guess the results in the following range;-
Tory/Ind: 20-26 :losing between 0 and 6 seats
Greens: 16-21 :gaining between 3 and 8 seats
Labour: 10-16 :ranging from losing 3 seats to gaining 3.
Lib Dem: 0-1 :losing 1 or 2 seats.
These sort of results suggest either the Tories clinging on as a minority administration (unlikely but Moulsecomb & Bevendean could be unpredictable) or a possible Green led Green/Labour coalition.
I suggest the Greens and Labour go easy on each other in the campaigning because they may have to work together after the election. Also I think concentrating their fire on the ConDems and avoiding nasty Green-Labour spats will work with the voters. Lets face it, a lot of voters switch between Labour and Green and they are the closest parties in ideological terms, especially now the Lib Dems have nailed themselves unequivocally as centre-right on the national scene.
This is going to be a crucial election. To defend against the cuts we need an effective local council opposition and the Tories have to lose and hopefully lose badly for that to be the case.