The local election results are now finalised, the analysis and commentators are poring over all the data and guess what – the Tories have fared really badly. I think we can all agree on that. It is something when you brief about losing 1000 seats as part of your expectation management and then achieve a worse result. There will be a lot of angry ex-tory councillors today who know they lost because of the national picture not necessarily their own local councils performance. Labour has now become the largest party in local government, which hasn’t happened since our days in government in 2002. And these losses need to set against one of the worst results in 2019 as a rather low base from which to fall.
So despite some rather hopeless spinning from some Tory MPs and their Chair Greg Hands MP every serious commentator or analyst will agree. This was really bad for Sunak.
The Tory talking point for all its MPs brave enough to go out on the airwaves seems to be the defence that this was a bad night for Labour because they didn’t juts lose to them but they lost in all parts of the country to all the parties!! I am not quite sure which genius came up with that one. Yes that’s your problem. Voters across the country found refuge with any party that could defeat the Tory candidate. That means Labour, Lib Dems and Greens did well.
There will be some knives out for Rishi and you can never put down the Johnson return rumour but I don’t think this remains a serious option for the Tories; for all the reasons I have outlined why Johnson should never be let near power ever again.
There has been a slight uplift in the Tory mood recently. Their awful polling was slightly better i.e. now just under 20 points behind Labour. They hoped it might flatline and if they kept proving they weren’t as bad as Johnson and Truss by getting rid of the chaos voters might give them the benefit of the doubt for the disastrous last 13 years and not annihilate them in 2024 . I think that delusion was shattered on Friday morning.
But does this mean Labour is on course to win the next General Election with a majority. That’s the question the Tories want us to be talking about right now. Many of the Tory pundits are making the case that this wasn’t good enough for Starmer to be confident of winning an outright majority Labour government in 2024.
There are of course two questions in this statement. We need to remember Labour did so badly in 2019 under Corbyn that we had our worst result since 1935. The fact that we are eve talking about the possibility of a Labour victory in just one term is testament to Starmer and the focus on his clear strategy. So he could win by being the largest party and need some form of coalition, or he hopes to win with a working majority. To win with a majority of just one seat requires a 10% swing, similar in scale to the Blair win in 97 which gave us a 179 majority! That majority of one would make governing a tough job given the scale of the crisis and problems facing the country. So the task is enormous and most of the analysis at a superficial level suggests the national share of the vote predictions leave Starmer short on about a 9% swing.
But what we saw in the results as I outlined above is people voting tactically to get rid of the Tories. I think that level of dissatisfaction is enough for the Tories to lose. I don’t know anybody who is predicting the Tories could come out the other side of an election with over 316 seats. All they want to talk about now is Labour’s challenge to win so they can revive the ‘Coalition of Chaos’ line from the 2015. campaign. For a wide variety of reasons I just don’t think the electorate are in a position where Labour and the Lib Dems working together would be seen as chaotic compared to the last decade!
The polling expert Prof Sir John Curtice also said the “jury is still out” on how much Labour has made progress as a party and said it is not experiencing quite the level of success seen ahead of Blair’s 1997 landslide.The Guardian
I get all this analysis of the final national share of the vote and why it may seem it leaves Labour a little short of 2024 being a certainty. But elections are not a national opinion poll. They are the combination of 650 mini elections. We know full well at the next election the national vote projections wont read 36 Labour -26 Tory 20 Lib Dem and 19% for ‘others’. These two last figures showed voters used the local elections to send a clear message. Anybody but the Tories. If any Tories are hoping they might cling on or deny the opposition a working majority I don’t think they have been listening hard enough.
So for me there is enough evidence to suggest it is over for the Tories. But I do accept that the last part of the Labour strategy needs to be in place soon – that is sealing the deal with the electorate. Starmer has done what I thought impossible – to win back Brexit voters in red wall seats. Some of it at the expense of some sending their own signal over Brexit, and other policies by voting Green. I trust people will see what Labour is trying to achieve here. The coalition that it needs to build and trust with a wide range of voters to allow it to govern in the way many of the voters will appreciate. It can’t tackle poverty and social justice from opposition, so it needs to triangulate sometimes. I really do get tired of some supporters leaving the party over some campaign messages without recognising the wider prize at stake!
But these local election results and there hundreds of min stories in the results.
Of course because they are local election there will always be quirky results. We see Independents and Ratepayers Alliance candidates winning odd seats and even entire councils. In Leicester the fallout from pretty awful internal politics saw Labour losing seats to the Tories (or at least ex Labour councillors now putting themselves forward as Tories). It will take a lot of local knowledge to unpick what has been going on in the City.
Elsewhere in Leicestershire changes in political leadership took place everywhere but in Blaby.
Over the coming week I will pick up these changes at Charnwood, Melton, NW Leicestershire, and Rutland. We can have a look at Blaby, Oadby and Wigston and Harborough too, and some of the local battles. But the biggest story is what happened in Leicester and that is beyond my local knowledge at the moment!!
All I can say is that I have looked at the figures across the Loughborough constituency for Jeevun the Labour candidate and it is now game on. Labour are on course to win Loughborough back for Labour. Wining in Shepshed again, taking seats in Barrow as well as turning most of Loughborough red (only narrowly missing out on Nanpantan (which we on in 95 though).
My attention now turns to the leadership of these newly won councils and what they will do with their new won power!
5 Replies to “Dire local election results for the Tories but good enough for Labour? I think so.”
Starmer and the current Labour leadershop have yet to convince me to support the party at the next General Election – and this from someone who voted Labour in every election in Loughborough between 1987 and 2017 and even delivered some leaflets in 2010. A mix up over my proxy postal vote in 2019 disefranchised me in 2019 but saved me from having to decide if I would support a Labour Party led by Corbyn, though I would certainly not have voted Tory! It may come down to whether there is some means to do a tactical vote exchange with another constituency. Roll-on PR!
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Thanks and I get and understand why. As I say in the article Starmer has to work to get Red Wall seats back AND hold onto people like me and you. I think we will see more of the appeal to us as we get nearer without frightening the Red Wall. Just listened to the Rest is Politics and I think Alistair Campbell nailed what is needed!
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Anything yet on turnout?
Would there be a record of those denied vote due (American Republicanist nonsense) to lack of identification?
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Turnout was usually poor. Some individual wards were a bit higher. But you are right the ID issue figures aren’t out. We lost one seat by a handful of votes and know of people turned away. It will have had an impact. It was a classic biter supression tactic !