One of the consistent drivers of traffic to this site are foxes. Specifically, Google searches containing the word fox or foxes in conjunction with phrases like kill, destroy and, occasionally, murder followed by various expletives.

Looking at the traffic generated over time, it has remained fairly consistently in the top five, and while the other four have changed foxes have remained stubbornly there.

And it’s the same in real life. The recent tragic attack by a fox in north London has heightened awareness, but the fact is that I’ve been getting complaints about them fairly consistently over the years. And people are obviously looking for solutions on the internet, as evidenced by Google. Even Boris Johnson is calling on the boroughs to control them.

But the fact is that the best form of control lies with residents. As I said in a post over a year ago:

Even if we were to eradicate the foxes from an area the neighbouring foxes will expand their territory to fill the gap, often within 24 hours …

Live trapping … is ineffective because the other foxes in the group rapidly become trap shy.

Poisons and repellants … carry a risk to domestic animals and are, in any case, very strictly controlled by law

Shooting is one of the few effective options available, but can only be used in very limited circumstances …

Given the limits on action the council can take, by far the most effective control is to limit their food.

The council does provide information on controlling foxes (as well as any other pest you can think of) but the reason foxes have moved into urban environments is the ready availability of food.

They find it easy to survive because people leave out food for them, or discard food carelessly leaving unfinished chicken bones or burgers on the streets, or leftovers in rubbish sacks for days before refuse collection.

If you’re here because you’ve Googled killing, murdering, massacring, or just controlling foxes then the most effective way is to simply starve them out by making sure you don’t feed them, either intentionally or unintentionally.

A slightly modified version of the London Council's control map

When I wrote that I thought Wandsworth Labour must have been disappointed with their result I didn’t realise quite how disappointed until I looked at how their colleagues across London performed. Much as it pains me to say it, it was a good night for Labour in London.

After the 2006 elections 14 London councils were Conservative controlled, 8 controlled by Labour. Following last Thursday’s election the figures are now 11 and 17. A fairly drastic reversal of fortunes.

Looking at our immediate neighbours the story is fairly mixed. In Lambeth Labour solidified their grip on the borough at the expense of both the Conservatives and Lib Dems. Merton council remains in no overall control, but finely balanced – Labour now hold exactly half the seats, the same position the Conservatives had been in from 2006. Over to the west Richmond has become Conservative controlled, taking 12 seats from the Lib Dems in a two way fight.

Elsewhere Labour took control of Brent, Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Southwark and Waltham Forest. And in some of those the shifts were fairly dramatic, making double digit gains – which brings home Wandsworth Labour’s lack of progress.

It seems fairly clear that the increased turnout of a national election can have a dramatic effect on the a local election poll.

What gets me, though, is the irony that the party who have created a financial disaster nationally have been asked to fix it in so many places locally.

Way back when I first stood for council in 1998 we had a simple campaign slogan: Wandsworth is Conservative.

The Conservatives had taken a hammering in the 1997 election and a significant number of people believed the council was also Labour controlled. We knew people rated Wandsworth highly, and wanted to vote to continue that, but needed to let them know that if that’s what they wanted, they needed to vote Conservative.

And 12 years later it’s still worth repeating that message.

While knocking on doors the other day I met one voter who told me that they would be voting Conservative nationally, but Labour in the local elections. With a slightly bruised ego I asked why.

“Labour have had it nationally,” I was told, “and there’s no way I’ll vote for them, but they do such a great job running the council I want to keep them in here.”

Needless to say, I quickly corrected them so they knew who had been running the council and providing those services.

Wandsworth has the highest public satisfaction rate in the country. If you want to keep those great services and great value voting Conservative is the way to keep them.