The only lessons from #LE17: polling, turnout, selections, fear. #GE17

le lessons

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:

le17 figs.jpg

Here’s Labour’s excellent Barry Gardiner making the same point:

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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  1. an Campbell fact turn out 30% half did not vote labour so we are ruled by one sixth of the population eligible to vote this is the size of Mays barmy army about to set sail to defeat the revolting europeans.

  2. To paraphrase the great James Baldwin:

    The future of the people of this country is precisely as bright or dark as the future of the country.

    It is entirely up to the British people whether or not they are going to try to find out in their own hearts why they feel it is necessary to get down on their knees to vote for a Tory party which acts against the interests of the British people and acts only in the interests of the rich.

    The future of the country depends upon people asking themselves why they bow their head to the Tories and treat them like their masters.

    In America black people fought for their freedom.

    In Britain people vote for Tory masters to treat them like slaves.

    Until the people of this country ask themselves why they embrace servitude we will never become a country of free men and women and so we will never prosper.

  3. If Labour don’t put leaflets out informing people who the candidate is in different areas and what they stand for why should people be bothered to go vote. In my area not one leaflet was posted out the only time you found out who to vote for was a name on the ballot paper. I voted Labour because i believe in Jeremy’s policy’s. I won’t vote Tory because of the way they have treated the disabled ,sick ,poor vulnerable people.

    1. All candidates could be found by looking on the council website or using Google search for the mayors? Before the internet, yes, leaflets were vital. And of course not everyone can get online. But you are, so you could have looked this up? 🙂 There’s also the money issue, the Cons spent thousands on wrap around ads on loads of local papers (IMO beyond what their election budget would have been) Labour can’t do that, and if it’s against election spending rules, won’t.

  4. If Labour don’t put leaflets out informing people who the candidate is in different areas and what they stand for why should people be bothered to go vote. In my area not one leaflet was posted out the only time you found out who to vote for was a name on the ballot paper. Even in the recent by-election there were lots of Tory poster’s all I over the fields and the town no labour posters to be seen anywhere. I voted Labour because I believe in Jeremy’s policy’s. I won’t vote Tory because of the way they have treated the disabled ,sick ,poor vulnerable people and trashed the NHS etc

  5. Have said it before and will say it again, if Labour, that is Old Labour, gets 33% of the vote in the June GE that will be a cause for celebration.
    Lets face it, Scotland is lost, so better the SNP to sweep the board completely than have more Bitterites within the PLP – Scotland of course under Kyzie being a Blairite zone out of touch with much of the non-Unionist electorate, so hardly worth fighting over in my opinion. Let the Tories and SNP slug it out and concentrate all resources on England & Wales.

    Again, lets remind ourselves, a 33% share of the vote in the UK is not a disaster, its not a disaster because all the neoliberal Left-of-Centre parties in the EU have collapsed as far as vote share is concerned and much of this has gone to the actual Left or populist Right – we now have no Populist Right in England and wales, so in reality its a straight vote between the Tories and labour with tactical voting playing a huge part in seats that Labour is either not in the running, or a close second. May can be stopped, but by only cutting loses in Scotland and bringing the fight to r-UK.

    I’m canvassing for Labour in two margin Welsh seats, others need do the same if they are in marginals or have marginals close by – every Labour vote counts and lets make it 33%, which, given the composition of the UK presently constitutes a great success and not a failure under Corbyn.

  6. i have come to the same conclusion as this article states and i agree with this. however i also believe it could go the other way and the Tories can get a landslide. However based on votes actual votes it does not bold well for the Tories. Corbyn needs to get on TV debates

  7. And if you factor in the votes lost due to the chicken coup and persistent PROGRESS briefing the press against Corbyn as well as the persistent media attack on Corbyn, then Labour have done well.

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