Friday, May 02, 2008

 

How Worse Can it Get?

Doing his best to sound gracious, Gordon Brown concedes it was a bad night for Labour. The figures speak for themselves: Conservatives 364 gains translating into 9 councils won, a 4% increase in vote nationwide plus 44% of the national vote; Labour: 243 seats lost, 8 councils lost, including some heartland ones in South Wales and the North, including Hartlepool and only 24% of the national vote; Lib Dems 15 seats gained, three councils won and 25% of the national vote representing an excellent night for them when they pushed Labour into third place.

The BBC website notes that Labour has not done this badly since the late sixties. If these shares of the vote were replicated at a general election Labour would be reduced to 169 MPs and the Tories would have a thumping majority of 138. Pessimists were saying we might do as badly as in 2004, when these seats were last contested: we did 2% worse. We lost Reading, Bury and a clutch of Welsh councils plus leaving the Lib Dems, condemned by the Audit Commission are still in charge of Liverpool.

To say this was a bad night is an understatement; it is profoundly depressing. Being a little more philosophical, Labour has had eleven years in power and such things have to be expected. But watching Gordon talk of another 'relaunch' as Major did so impotently in the mid nineties, is even more depressing, as is the thought that he is, by no small means, one of the agencies for Labour's sad decline. I was delighted, I have to say, that my own councillor, Colin Foster in Stockport, Heatons South, won by a clear margin from the Tory, bucking the national trend yet again. But I have to add, even more gloomily(pass the bottle), that I don't expect Ken to beat Boris when the result of the iconic London mayoral contest is announced this evening.

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