The media are – inevitably – claiming that Labour took a battering in today’s local elections. Wasn’t a good day to be sure, but it must be borne in mind that the majority of local elections – apart from the ‘metro mayorals’ – were in areas in which the Tories are expected to do well and gains/losses are measured against a set of 2013 results that were a high point for Labour.
It is what it is.
But the real take-aways from the results are not those you’ll hear pundits and correspondent drone on about as they sing, mostly, from a Tory songsheet. Here’s what anyone who wants a change of government should be thinking about:
48/38 25/11 (aka pollsters know nothing)
Only last week, polling companies were claiming that the Tories stood at 48% in voting intention polls. Electoral expert John Curtice, however, has analysed today’s result and described the real Tory performance as 38% – a full 10% difference compared to just a few days ago, way outside the statistical ‘margin of error’.
And remember, these are the Tories’ favourite set of local elections.
Curtice also says that the Tory lead over Labour – touted when Theresa May called the election at 25% – is only 11%.
Even after the Tories have almost completely absorbed the collapsed UKIP vote.
This is not new from Curtice – even when May called the election on 18 April, he was saying that May’s decision made no sense because on everything he could see, she had nothing to gain and could at best retain what she had.
In other words, we’ve been misled for the past year or so by polls that vastly inflated the Tory lead – used as propaganda by the Tories’ mainstream media glove-puppets.
Here’s a snapshot of some figures that will show you how badly we’ve been misled – and what today’s results tell us:
Here’s Labour’s excellent Barry Gardiner making the same point:
One of Labour's stars of #GE2017 @BarryGardiner: "Look at projected national vote share – Tories should be worried" pic.twitter.com/rAjdOz8JXU
— Grassroots Voices (@GrassrootsJC4PM) May 6, 2017
Labour have a month to turn around at worst an 11% lead – one that has dropped already by 14% in three weeks. One that was supposed to be 25% before UKIP’s vote collapsed.
Turnout – decisions are made by those who turn up
Turnout in these elections have been extremely low – lower even than is traditional in council elections. The vast majority didn’t bother to vote – and more than twice as many people are likely to vote on 8 June.
Young people tend not to vote in local elections, but huge numbers of 18-24yos have registered to vote in the General Election since it was called. Those already registered are likely to be motivated to turn out by the depredations they’ve suffered under the Tories – and Labour has a significant lead among younger voters.
Older people too need to turn out and vote. Job security has all but vanished, our children and grandchildren face a future of insecurity, low wages, massive student debts, an unreachable housing market and a collapsing NHS that may not survive another Tory government.
In 2015 around three-quarters of voters did not vote Conservative. Too many of those did not vote at all, so the Tories were able to secure a narrow majority.
Enough is enough. Everyone who wants a change or even cares about the fabric and decency of our society must vote – if they do, the Tories will not get near government.
Selections – rubbish in, rubbish out
As the SKWAWKBOX showed in its analysis of Welsh results earlier today, where Labour lost control of a council it was driven by Independents who had left the party in order to be able to pursue socialist policies free of interference by a right-wing Labour old-guard still clinging to influence in local structures.
In the mayoral elections today, those candidates who were supportive of Corbyn’s vision or at least disciplined enough to act honourably and mind their tongues, did well. Problematic, uninspiring candidates are unlikely to motivate voters and Labour cannot afford to let the right-wingers clinging to control of national structures keep forcing their clones into candidacies.
It’s too late to change the selections in most cases for the General Election, but while the right-wingers are trying to blame Corbyn for today’s results, the reality is that their undermining of the party and determination to cram their clones into constituencies that want something different is damaging Labour.
Fear – the Tories’ fear
In spite of today’s results, the Tories – every single one that has been interviewed on national media – are pushing a line that they ‘can take nothing for granted’ in the General Election.
Why? Because they know that less than half the percentage of people who’ll vote on 8 June voted yesterday – and they’re afraid that their 11% lead identified by Curtice in today’s results will not survive a General Election-scale turnout.
It definitely will not survive if, say, June sees even a 70% turnout compared to the usual mid-60s.
The Tories fear that we’ll wake up. Those of us who are already awake need to make sure we do. If the Tories have no room for complacency, we have no room for discouragement – for listening to the media narrative instead of thinking and seeing for ourselves.
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