Election 2015: Swings and roundabouts in the East Midlands?

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Image caption Nicky Morgan kept her Loughborough seat and saw a 5% swing to the Tories

If election manifesto claims are all about smoke and mirrors, should we now add swings and roundabouts to the political metaphor?

There's an intriguing aspect to the general election results in the Midlands that puzzled me.

It's the striking contrast in the swings between Labour and the Conservatives.

David Cameron and his campaign strategists knew they were home and dry when Nuneaton was the first Midlands marginal to declare.

It was not only a Tory hold but a swing to the Conservatives from Labour of 3%.

I was in the Nottingham suburb of Beeston awaiting the result of the Broxtowe count. Would its high profile Conservative MP Anna Soubry survive a red surge?

Nuneaton set the pattern.

Across the Midlands, both east and west, there was a uniform swing of between three and four per cent to the Tories - Warwickshire North 3%, Amber Valley 4%, Derbyshire South 4% and Sherwood 4%.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan topped the Tory swingometer in the Midlands marginals with 5% in Loughborough.

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Image caption Anna Soubry increased her Broxtowe majority and is now the new Minister of State for Small Businesses

Yet in the big cities, it was a very different story.

The swing went to Labour.

So in Nottingham East they enjoyed a 6% swing, Nottingham South 5.8%, Leicester South 7.3%, Leicester West 5%, Birmingham Hall Green 12%, Birmingham Hodge Hill 8%.

If swings to Labour on this scale had gone beyond the city ring road roundabouts and into the suburbs, Ed Miliband would have become prime minister by now.

In confidence, one senior Labour insider in Nottingham told me its success in the city wards was down to organisation, experience and its teams of activists.

"We won the ground war. If Nottingham's city boundaries were extended into Sherwood and Broxtowe, we would have won those constituencies as well," he told me.

Labour leadership candidate, Leicester West's Liz Kendall has identified her party's problem beyond the ring road roundabout.

It's about reaching out to Middle England.

"We need to show people that we understand their aspirations and ambitions for the future," she told the Sunday Times.

The problem for Labour was that Middle England was not interested in what the party offered…and still isn't.

The Cameron brand worked its magic in those Midlands marginals... it'll take something or someone special to break up that ballot box relationship.

Image caption Conservative Marcus Jones increased his Nuneaton majority by nearly 3,000

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