The results of the local elections in Wokingham were a mixed bag for all the main parties. The Liberal Democrats strengthened their grip on the council – falling just one seat short of a majority.

But they’re still on the up. Ten years ago they had only seven councillors in Wokingham while the Tories dominated with 44 – and it’s been a steady climb to the top.

The Labour Party has also grown – from five councillors to eight. And there’s a strong case for seeing this result as part of a broader national trend.

Few would deny that the current unpopularity of the Conservative government has been a factor in how people have voted at these local elections. And it casts new light on the question of how a general election would play out in Wokingham.

READ MORE: Liberal Democrats strengthen grip but miss out on majority

Liberal Democrat candidate Clive Jones hopes to unseat long-term incumbent John Redwood. And he insists that, after this election, the Liberal Democrats are still the only ones who can pull that off.

But before these elections, the then-leader of the Labour group Andy Croy suggested that people in Wokingham might see the general election as a two-way choice between a Labour and a Conservative government, and vote accordingly.

The council’s Liberal Democrat leader Stephen Conway also agrees that his party and Labour both benefited from an anti-Conservative vote. And he thinks this may be a factor in why his party didn’t have a majority.

With up to three seats up for grabs in each ward this year, he thinks some centre-left voters split their votes between Labour and Liberal Democrat.

That suggests it's never wise to see local elections simply as general elections on a smaller scale. There are local issues at play.

The Liberal Democrats say the fact that they are still the largest party – and gained in some places – is a vote of confidence in how they’ve handled a tough financial situation at the council.

But the Conservatives have strong criticisms of decisions made by the Liberal Democrats over the past two years – increased parking charges and fortnightly refuse collections first and foremost.  And they’ve done well in places where they say those criticisms struck a nerve.

This includes Finchampstead, where there has been frustration over major roadworks at California Cross. And they did well in wards in Earley and Woodley too, where their leader Pauline Jorgensen hopes to win the newly-created parliamentary seat.

So maybe the general election could paint a complex picture too.