Media including BBC still framing ‘bad day for Labour and Cons’ – but Tories have had worst day in over twenty years
The scale of the Tories’ disaster in yesterday’s local election vote is vast – so vast that not even the efforts of virtually the whole ‘mainstream media’ estate can mask it.
But that hasn’t stopped them trying.
The Tories have lost, as of the last count, 1,306 councillors, and with twenty councils yet to declare – yet the media persist in summarising the day as a ‘bad one for both main parties’. Labour have lost just 77 seats.
The Tories even appear to have lost Guildford in their Surrey homeland – a result described as ‘seismic’ – along with places like Bournemouth and Trafford that they have been used to considering their property.
The BBC and others have attempted to mask the scale of the disaster by portraying the results as a ‘bad day for both parties’ and with headlines depicting voters punishing ‘both main parties’ (a popular phrase today) for ‘their’ inability to deliver Brexit – as if the chaos were not a result of Tory division and incompetence.
The BBC’s graphic showing an overview of results – like those used by other media outlets – is colour-coded in such a way that, while the maps don’t look the same, the more than ten to one ratio of severity is not immediately obvious:
Anyone not reading, listening or watching further could be excused for thinking Labour and the Tories had suffered if not similar, then certainly comparable, results.
The BBC’s results page.
But even misleading ‘framing’ can’t disguise the scale of the Tories’ catastrophe. Sooner or the actual results appear:
Worst this century – and then some
In fact, the Tories’ losses – which have risen relentlessly while Labour’s have fluctuated around the same number all afternoon – are not only their worst of the century so far, but their worst in twenty-four years: in 1995 they lost around two thousand councillors.
The Tories, with the help of the media, had been expending huge efforts to mitigate their anticipated failure by forecasting the worst they could think of, so that anything else could be claimed as a relative success.
They failed. Their ‘worst case’ – the unthinkable number they portrayed as disastrous was one thousand, while ‘only’ five or six hundred would be relative success. A loss of 1,306 and counting was beyond their most terrible fears.
At the same time, the media claimed anything less than hundreds of gains would be failure for Labour – but in reality, with the Brexit situation as volatile as it is and Labour attempting to fight for both leavers and remainers, such talk was nonsense.
This is not a new tactic – last year’s local election results saw no less Establishment dishonesty. But while Labour’s loss of around eighty councillors is certainly a disappointment, in fact the party has seen significant swings in its favour and away from the Tories. As the party of next government, it will win back many of last night’s lost votes in a general election scenario.
But the true story of today is the one the ‘MSM’ are attempting to minimise: the Tories collapsed in a way even their most fearful mouthpiece did not dare to contemplate – and for all the efforts of the media, it can’t be hidden.
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