Sunday, May 06, 2012

 

Elections Signal Beginning of End for Coalition

Writing in The Guardian on Saturday, Jonathan Freedland cautioned Labour that, successful as the local elections had been, at under 40% of the poll, the party was still a substantial distance from defeating the Colaition governnment and regaining power.
Of course this is true, but it might be worth contrasting the good signals for the elections with the bad and seeking to judge their significance.
Good Signals
1. Labour gained 39% of the poll, just one point shy of the magic 40% and six points ahead of the Tories. If reflected in the Commons would deliver 363 seats to labour compared with 225 for teh Tories and a mere 37 for the lib Dems
2. In England Labour gained 823 seats and took control of 32 councils including wins in the south like Reading, Plymouth, Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Thurrock and Harlow. It also crucially regained control of Birmingham city council
3. In Wales Labnour had a brilliant series of successes, winning Cardiff from the Lib Dems and taking back control of a clutch of town halls.
4.In Scotland Labour's expected kicking from the SNP failed to materialise, with Glasgow remaining in Labour hands.
5.In London Labour swept through northwetern and central London, removing Conservatives as the bniggest party in the Assembly. In doing so it removed the deputy leader of the Tories and the chair of the London Fire Authority.
Bad Signals
Against all this bounty there is a single drawback, albeit a major one: the defeat of Ken Livingstone by Boris Johnson. Clearly Ken was well past his sell-buy date and could not compete against the vivid persoanlity of Bojo in what has become a presidential contest. But this victory was much closer than the Tories confidently expected and Johsnon is now clearly seen by many Tory MPs as the leader in waiting for the beleaguered Cameron's job
Ed Miliband, surely secure now as leader until at least 2015 is right to caution restraint and no trriumphalism to his Shadow cabinet but the fact is the Coalition seems to be coming apart: Clegg has been a lughing stock for some time; Cameron seems to have lost his temper and political touch totally, his goverbnment seems to have entered that accident prone state which characterisies a government in its last stages. Any Tory supporter wishing to dispute this judgement, I refer to the ST's editorial today:
'People now regard this government that fails on the three 'i's: it is incoherent, incompetent and has run out of ideas.' They see it collapsing under the weight of its own contraditions: two parties with very little in common trying in vain to run along together in government.'
I rest my case.

Comments:
With over a thousand days still to go before the poll that really matters, I would still put my money on DC being PM after the next general election if I were a betting man.

All the Tory voters who stayed at home last week will return to the fold when it's the national government up for grabs...
 
The only thing to say against some of this skipper - and I'm not denying the basic thrust - is that when these seats were last fought, had the numbers then been replicated in 2010, the Conservatives would not only have a majority of around 250, but Labour would have around 40 MPs in the Commons. As we all know, that didn't happen.

Local elections, as you know better than I do, are complicated by all sorts of things. But to my mind the really significant numbers here are not the very strong Labour showing (and the best performance of the night for them was surely not London, but Scotland - how they managed to regain control of Glasgow in the wake of the Purcell affair I must admit I do not know) or the poor Tory showing, or the wretched LD performance. It's the turnout figure - the lowest in I forget how long, even for a local election.

This seems to me to be increasingly of a piece with the SNP's triumph in Scotland last year (not, of course, repeated this year as they become the Establishment themselves) George Galloway in Bradford - you might even make a case for Martin Bell in 1997, Richard Taylor in 2001 and Caroline Lucas in 2010. The message is that people are getting fed up with politics, especially as expressed through political parties and are showing either total indifference or two fingers to the lot of them. And if that persists, it won't matter how badly the Tories run the country - Labour still have a major problem on their hands. To win back power, they need the protest vote - and they can't get that if it isn't voting at all.
 
Am tempted to say that this piece confuses analysis with wishful thinking.

The coalition was always going to be unpopular. Given the nature of the decisions forced on the country, am surprised they have not been more unpopular.

But the low turnout is the telltale sign. Labour could have put them in MUCH more trouble. But they have got themselves an unelectable muppet as leader. Changes in the electoral imbalance will work against Labour. And given a choice of an out-of-touch Dave (and I'm no fan as you know, the Coalition priorities have annoyed me as much as anyone) and the ridiculous Ed, most Tories will come back and vote them in on their own next time I suspect.

My advice for Labour. Bin Ed and get his brother to walk the next election.
 
Am tempted to say that this piece confuses analysis with wishful thinking.

The coalition was always going to be unpopular. Given the nature of the decisions forced on the country, am surprised they have not been more unpopular.

But the low turnout is the telltale sign. Labour could have put them in MUCH more trouble. But they have got themselves an unelectable muppet as leader. Changes in the electoral imbalance will work against Labour. And given a choice of an out-of-touch Dave (and I'm no fan as you know, the Coalition priorities have annoyed me as much as anyone) and the ridiculous Ed, most Tories will come back and vote them in on their own next time I suspect.

My advice for Labour. Bin Ed and get his brother to walk the next election.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?