Peter Bingle analyses the implication of the local election results, both for country and the future of Britain’s political parties.
The scale of this week’s Tory triumph is best epitomised by a Tory candidate being elected to represent Ferguslie Park in Paisley. Why? This is the most deprived electoral division in the whole of the UK.
Labour’s despair and annihilation is best epitomised by the newly elected Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham deliberating snubbing Jeremy Corbyn by not turning up for yesterday’s ‘rally’ in Manchester.
Politics in the UK is on the threshold of a new era. Inspired by the legacy of Joseph Chamberlain we are witnessing the rebirth of Metropolitan Toryism, a development which has profound political implications for the electoral map.
Tory mayoral victories in the West Midlands and the Tees Valley are the first signs of a political tide which will have become a tsunami by 8th June. Labour no longer ‘rules ok’ in cities and towns. The Tories are no longer the nasty party.
There are some obvious trends which are now taking place:
UKIP is in its death throes. It is no longer seen as having a purpose and UKIP voters are turning to Theresa May to deliver Brexit. The political impact of the UKIP vote collapsing cannot be overstated. It is the death-knell for over fifty Labour MPs. Watch what happens to Jon Cruddas in Dagenham & Rainham where UKIP polled 21.6 per cent in 2015.
The nationalist tide in Scotland has come to a shuddering halt thanks to a resurgent Scottish Tory Party. What Ruth Davidson has achieved north of the border is little short of miraculous. There is now a real possibility of Angus Robertson losing in Moray.
The Tory strategy for winning over traditional Labour voters in constituencies which voted for Brexit is working and it is doing so because voters are being asked to support Theresa May personally rather than vote Conservative. Theresa May is very popular with working class voters just like Margaret Thatcher.
There is not going to be a Lib Dem resurgence. They may win some additional seats but if they do the numbers will be very small. The situation might be better for them if they had a different leader but they are stuck with Tim Farron.
Greater London is no longer the safe Labour Party bastion that was once the case. The Tories are going to make substantial gains in the capital on 8th June. Once marginal Tory seats such as Battersea are no longer being targeted by the Labour Party. The focus is trying to hold on in areas such as Eltham and Ealing Central & Acton.
The scale of the Tory triumph this week will have caused many Labour activists and candidates to lose the will to live. They know better than anybody else that voters don’t like Jeremy Corbyn and more importantly won’t vote for him.
Theresa May is on course for a landslide. Then the fun will start!
Electoral Calculus is currently predicting the following result :
Tories – 404
Labour – 171
Lib Dems – 8
SNP – 45
PC – 4
A Tory overall majority of 158. I suspect that the real result on 8th June will deliver an even better result for Theresa May.
Have a good weekend.