Welsh ‘indy’ phenomenon shows council losses caused by right-wing die-hards

Much is already being made by the media this morning of Labour losing control of several Welsh councils, as if that’s the main story emerging from Wales this morning as results come in.

It’s certainly a part of it and not something Labour would have wished, but the situation is far more nuanced than the headlines are suggesting.

election count

One thing that can be discerned from the lost control of Merthyr and BG is that it’s not a Tory-driven phenomenon, as the Daily Mirror’s Ben Glaze observed this morning:

it is the independents – many of whom are former Labour members and back socialist policies – who have hurt Labour.

Results in many of the lost councils have been skewed by defections from Labour to Independents – seen in the fact that most have become ‘no overall control’ – but as Glaze pointed out, the defections appear to have been caused by councillors’ objections to the behaviour of so-called ‘moderates’.

And the voters followed them, electing socialist independents in preference to ‘moderate’ Labour. The moaning of one defeated anti-Corbyn Labour councillor on TV this morning illustrated why this is likely to have happened.

In other areas that have not seen right-wing die-hards causing the independent candidate phenomenon, Labour has performed strongly, reflecting an energetic Labour campaign.

The party increased its majority in Swansea, performing strongly Cardiff and held Newport comfortably.

Both Merthyr and BG were 2012 Labour gains and had been solidly Independent-controlled prior to that. There is a long history of Independent support on both councils, making any read-across to General Election results broadly meaningless – especially when many of the successful Independent candidates are former Labour councillors more closely aligned with Jeremy Corbyn than with the Labour candidates they defeated.

What Tory gains there were appear to have been driven by the complete collapse of the UKIP vote. So far, not a single UKIP seat has been held anywhere in the UK – and the flight of UKIP supporters to the Tories shows any claims UKIP ever made to be a party for ordinary working people to have been utter nonsense.

Of course, this is not how the BBC is presenting it this morning. Pretence of impartiality appears to have been abandoned to the extent that one reporter called a rumoured Tory win in Northumberland ‘an exciting result’ and was then clearly disappointed when the Tories had in fact failed to take control.

A few results in Wales have still to come in. The SKWAWKBOX will cover results in other parts of the UK when all results have been declared.

For now, as far as context in Wales and the contrast with media representation is concerned, we’ll let one well-informed Tweeter have the last word:

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  1. yes labour lost due to more socalist candidates and that is the daily mirror your refering too there, but the article clear gave the spin it was due to the tories until one reads it down the page. Now i am not saying labour has done great by any means at the moment, the Tories have done well, and fear it could be bad for the election next month. As for local candidates, i will say in my area bury south, in greater Manchester, the labour councilor won did not mention corbyn, and the labour mp Ivan Lewis did not mention corbyn at all. I told them if you are getting question about that you going to loose votes, I think this is happening across the country

    1. Unfortunately, I fear so will the party. If Corbyn resigns after the GE I will be unable to support Labour, I refuse to support the likes of Labour run by idiots like Angell and his lickspittle chums. I have willingly supported every leader when I wanted that particular leader or not, it’s a pity that some of these people that are in £65K per year positions to run Labour make such a bad job of it then they blame Corbyn and members. I’m sick to death of them.

  2. I live in Copeland area and what I was appalled at was there was no information put out on who to vote for what they stood for. You just had to find out from your ballot paper which party you had the choice of voting for. It was like they were just taking us for granted that we would go out and vote even the by election just gone there were no vote Labour posters to be found just Tory ones. If Labour don’t put the advertising out people will just go with the ones that are seen

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