Got to agree with Devil on this one. If May was in Lordswood or Portswood I might agree on the Tory description, but - having been to Shirley many times and through it many more - it is similar to somewhere like Selly Oak in Birmingham. An inner/middle suburb of dreary housing, busy roads and little to recommend a stay.
Lordswood? It's not a terrible area, but in a lot of Conservative constituencies it would be considered "the rough bit" Portswood? Too many sandal wearers for it ever to be prime Tory territory - it's SW London with a load of students thrown in.
It is interesting to look at the trend in Shirley over the past few years though. It used to be a relatively safe Conservative ward, but the influx of public sector workers has changed the demographics to the point where Labour now has the edge.
Lordswood is in Coxford ward, which has 3 TUSC cllrs, 1 of whom is the TUSC PPC.
Portswood has 2 Tory cllrs plus 1 Labour, who was a surprise winner last year.
I know Lordswood is in Coxford, however I'd guess that the majority of the TUSC vote is coming from the roads near Don Thomas in Lordshill, not from Sandpiper Road!
I know Labour were surprised to win, but I don't think you should have been - it should be fertile ground for Labour especially now the Lib Dems don't have the same direct appeal to students.