In 22 areas, Labour lost five or more seats this week. ALL voted to leave EU

Centrist spin still insisting Labour’s local election results this week about party not opposing Brexit – but analysis shows otherwise


Labour centrists and their brethren in other parties continue to insist that this week’s local election results – massive losses for the Tories and a small loss for Labour – are a call for the party to push harder for a new referendum or to ‘stop Brexit’ altogether.

The fact, already shown by the SKWAWKBOX while results were still coming in, that most of Labour’s net loss in councillors was in leave-voting areas – not to mention that even election expert John Curtice sees nothing in the results to suggest a remain surge – undermines that spin.

But a more extensive analysis of Labour’s final results makes the point even more emphatically.

In twenty-two authorities, Labour lost five or more councillors. Below is a list of those authorities along with their result this week – and their vote in the 2016 referendum:

  1. Ashfield -20 (Leave 70%)
  2. NE Derbs -17 (63%)
  3. Bolsover -14 (71%)
  4. Redcar & C -13 (66%)
  5. Middlesbrough -13 (66%)
  6. Sunderland-12 (61%)
  7. Alderdale -11 (59%)
  8. Chesterfield-10 (60%)
  9. Stockton -8 (62%)
  10. Darlington -9 (56%)
  11. Lancaster -8 (51%)
  12. Barnsley -7 (61%)
  13. Bolton -7 (58%)
  14. Derby -6 (57%)
  15. NE Lincs -6 (70%)
  16. E Yorks -6 (60%)
  17. Carlisle -6 (60%)
  18. Blackpool -6 (68%)
  19. Forest of Dean -6 (59%)
  20. Stoke -5 (69%)
  21. S Tyneside -5 (62%)
  22. Newark & S -5 (60%)

These results strongly support the analysis put forward by some Labour commentators that Labour’s losses this week were driven by leave-supporting Labour voters staying at home in protest at the continuing noise made by Labour remain MPs about a new referendum, many of them making that noise in spite of the votes of their constituencies.

The results also suggest that in cases where remain parties picked up seats from Labour – relatively few in number – it was because supporters of those parties were motivated to turn out at the same time as leave-supporting Labour voters stayed away.

As Curtice observed to Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, he sees no evidence LibDem gains were linked to support for remain, or for a new referendum they say they want. Analysis of Labour’s results suggests the same.

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  1. It may also signal that the voters are not too happy about Labour trying to block leave without entering a legal International Treaty with the EU. The EU have consistently stated that the ‘May’ Treaty is the only Treaty they will sign up to and the book is closed on any further negotiations on that D-aft (sic) Treaty. Corbyn needs to play his cards well in the coming days, but will the PLP let him?

  2. Would it be an idea to compare turnout figures? That (IMO) would help to provide a more detailed analysis?
    Other explanations could be: not enamoured of the councillors for various reasons incl. performance and ‘can’t be bothered’ ?
    I mention the (to me) fairly obvious issue of Council/councillor performance/perception because there are certain parts of England in which I wouldn’t vote Labour at local level – because of the councils & nothing else.
    Another possibility (again historically not unusual) to consider is the fact that people often vote differently at local level to the way they vote at national level.

  3. Another possible explanation is that many of the Labour Heartlands are run by councils only too ready to go along with Tory cuts. In some cases these are corrupted by patronage, authoritarian traditions and the attractions of Blairism to office holders. In other cases the corruptiojn comes from lack of imagination, deference to ‘leaders’ and laziness.
    In either case it is probably best for all in the long run to get rid of municipal deadwood in the interests of the many, whose need is for great changes and bold thinking.

    1. Very well said, bevin. This staggeringly obvious major factor in so many Labour voters simply staying at home, ie, that all Labour Councils long ago ceased to be able to act as “dented shields”(within the rules to set balanced budgets) to protect their local citizens from the worst of the Central Tory Government imposed revenue grant cuts – and are now just little more than administrators of Tory Austerity very little different to Tory, or Lib Dem councils.

      So Labour voters see little value in bothering to vote. Ignoring that stark reality, as most Left posters are doing here just as much as the MSM, shows a monocausal obsession with the Brexit issue that merely falls for the agenda-setting of the press, aimed at ignoring the disastrous consequences of Tory imposed austerity at local level (matched by and an equal desire by senior Labour Councillors across the media today, cynically citing “the Brexit effect” to explain their local losses – to hide their years of craven administration of Tory policy).

  4. Then Labour needs to underline its commitment to the original respect for leaving EU but with the continued agreements, and put a 2nd ref in the bin.

  5. So : Overall ‘Leave’ voting authorities lost Labour seats. And this was because of Leave voters *not* voting for a Labour Party supporting ‘Leave’. Given that the majority of erstwhile Labour supporters voted ‘Remain’ in Leave areas?

    Errr … pull the other one! I’ve seen some tortuous and crap analysis – but this exceeds any of the MSM contortions.

    Think again … or just think!

  6. But making it clear that the Farrage Brexit is about immigration and small minded Britain:Labour is about a revolutionary social economic and environmental change in tune with other progressive countries worldwide

    1. That is why Labour needs to stand firm on establishing total governmental freedom over public ownership, anti-marketization, state subsidies and public procurement. It needs to keep “No Deal” on the table precisely because of the strong possibility that the EU will not permit these governmental freedoms to effect democratic socialist economic change.

      But I disagree that a Labour Brexit shouldn’t also be “about immigration”: on that subject we should have multiple aims: preventing ever again an unlimited labour supply; ensuring an immigration policy which does not privilege overwhelmingly-white Europeans over non-white non-Europeans; and giving primacy to refugees. The rights of those EU migrants already established in Britain should be protected by law.

      Since one is talking about race, it is worth reiterating that the racist EU maintains Fortress Europe, sends thousands of refugees to their deaths every year in the Mediterranean Sea and colludes in child rape in its outsourced concentration camps in North Africa as well as other forms of torture and degrading treatment. See Human Rights Watch’s recent report.

      1. It always amazes me that too many on the virtue-signaling liberal Left think the issue most working class people have with unlimited labour supply as a key driver of their support for Brexit is based on some sort of mass irrational bigotry , that the Guardianista class is too morally superior to be infected with . The issue is actually the ability of a sovereign state government to implement wide-ranging PLANNING into its economy to benefit all its voter citizens, and to take ownership of core utilities and sectors that are vital to rebuild the UK economy such as to create millions of well paid skilled jobs. A key component of interventionist economic planning (even limited Left social democratic planning, is to be able to plan future workforce requirements, skill mixes ,and associated training needs – linked to housing, welfare and education and health provision .

        The globalised labour market free-for-all, unlimited labour supply, that the Single Market requires makes such forward planning impossible – and always makes it easier for UK companies to pinch ready-trained workers off other states than train them themselves – as has been the practice in the UK for over 20 years . Ending unlimited labour supply – to be replaced with PLANNED future labour supply (which will undoubtedly involve significant immigration still) is as vital to building a balanced economy as controlling capital flows and protecting key industries. There is nothing automatically “racist” about rejecting an unlimited labour supply entirely determined by the constantly changing ebb and flows of a predatory solely profit-seeking globalised neoliberal capitalist economic system.

      2. I gather from previous posts that you have operated as a functionary of the tools of the bourgeois state at local level, jpenny – a class about whom you have expressed contempt for their corrupt self interest.

        So how do you protect against this corruption at the level of the state when it comes to the immense power inherent in implementing ‘wide-ranging planning’? After all, it doesn’t have a great record.

        Genuine question – and one that lies at the heart of political issues of control and power.

  7. The explanation is that in many of these places, prior to the referendum, UKIP went all out to convince the public that the EU was their enemy and since then, many of the local MPs such as Ian Lavery have done little to correct that indoctrination.

  8. Some thoughts: apparently there were at least 30,000 spoilt ballots, mostly pro-Brexit, which I believe is exceptional. If the EU elections go ahead, it might put Thursday’s little picnic in the park into perspective because it is likely to become a bloodbath. I’ve spent some time the last few days trying to persuade factions in the north to stick with Labour when they want to back Farage (I’m not talking little Englanders but lifelong socialists from mining communities) and equally trying to persuade other friends in the south to keep the faith and not defect to the yellow Tories or the crusty greens. My watchword at the moment is this recording of Billy Bragg and Dick Gaughan (one a remainer, the other a leaver) singing The Red Flag: neither of them would dream of letting this issue block our road to socialism. Point of information: this is the original tune that the anthem’s author Jim Connell had in his head when he wrote the lyrics. When he heard his words set to “Tannenbaum,” he reputedly reacted by crying “Ye ruined me poem.”

    1. This tune is The White Cockade ,a Jacobite marching song,and imho a far superior version.

  9. This is getting mad. Labour lost seats in Leave areas and lost votes in Remain areas too – doing best to p**s off as many as possible. Doing a deal with the Tories will finish us off as Leavers want No Deal yet 80% of us are Remainers. It will satisfy nobody and alienate millions.

  10. I knocked on the door of a working class lass and she said “in or Out” and I said out.
    But then I gave what I think is a good and truthful line about Labour’s local government dented shield against Tory cuts, trying to protect the most vulnerable and she said “Whoa, way above my head!”
    Then coming from a working class background I reverted to class politics, I said Labour is for the working class, vote Labour for the working class!
    And she said, “Why didn’t you say that in the first place, we will!”
    It reminded me of years ago in Keighley (which voted out) and at a bus stop the day after the Referendum result, and a group of working class people who had voted out were happy, they said they “Were happy to be out, now get Labour in!”

    1. Brexit is a class issue only in the sense that the Bullingdon class is calling the shots in order to line their pockets.

      1. Of course it’s a class issue and the international bourgeoisie, neoliberal global capital, the EU, NATO, the USA, the 5 eyes, MOSSAD etc. etc. are lined up against the British working class: nothing to do with Brexit, everything to do with making sure that the seat of the industrial revolution and the birth of the working class doesn’t fulfill Marx’s vision. That a minority of backward English toffs saw fit to hitch their bandwagon to British working class anger speaks volumes about their cynical power plays and little more. Cameron thought the referendum was a way of seeing off this nativist, insular and reactionary section of the British ruling class once and for all. It’s almost as if he thought the working class didn’t exist (and people who burn 50 pound notes in front of tramps could be forgiven for suffering from that delusion) other than as a manipulable cosh to bash his adversaries back under their stones. For the first time since the second world war (or at least the end of conscription), suddenly the state had put weapons in the hands of ordinary British people – and they used them to lethal effect. What we have seen ever since is a desperate battle by these same forces to rectify the mistake, put the genie back in the bottle, rewind the clock, persuade the people that they were too uneducated to take such precipitous action.

        To take your analogy further, two factions of the Bullingdon club came to play football on the playing fields of Eton but were descended upon by a vast mob of oiks/spectators, who stole the ball because they wanted to play too. The reason we are where we are now is because the oiks still have the ball and the Bullingdon Boys, from both teams, want it back. The reason they might just succeed is that amongst the oiks there are some who think the ball should be given back because this beautiful hand-stitched leather football genuinely belongs to the Bullingdon Boys (even though it was bought with stolen money), they remember the Lord’s Prayer, they’re scared of the Bill and they learnt at school that oiks ought to be satisfied with lost golf balls, cheap ping-pong balls, chipped yellow, green, black, brown, pink or blue balls (anything but red) – and, knowing that the Bullingdon Boys would prefer that the oiks had no balls at all, not wishing to offend .

      2. Good analogy Labre.

        @RH you clearly don’t exist on a minimum wage….

      3. labrebisgalloise.

        It’s been a while since I read such a load of old drivel. Oops, no it hasn’t, I read jpenny’s stuff earlier.

      4. “@RH you clearly don’t exist on a minimum wage….”

        No I don’t (tho’ below the median income) Nor do the majority of the population.

        So what relevance does that have? The main proponents of Brexit are way out of sight of the minimum wage in terms of their investment income that hopes to be boosted by Brexit.

      5. @RH I’m not sure what the exact figures are for workers on minimum wage, but it’s not slight.

        Its freedom of movement that keeps those people entrenched in that minimum wage zone, as employers have no reason to offer training or incentives.

        Its this group that are the main proponents against minimum wage, not the entitled few.

  11. The ‘Leave Campaign’………..? NO support from any political party; Little or NO support from MSM; the vast majority of MPs voted Remain as did PM……..& still ‘the people’ keep this on the agenda. Welcome to the Hotel California! Democracy in action…..not exactly a level playing field.

  12. “The ‘Leave Campaign’………..? NO support f” … except for almost all the MSM! – actually.

    Delusional paranoia par excellence – the fuel of Leave.

    1. Actually….apart from a couple of Tory dinosaur newspapers aka Express & Mail……..all MSM, especially Channel 4, or have you been @ the nocturnal cheese again? Less than one third of panelists on BBC Newsnight have been pro-leave. Delusion? C’mon, your one eyed prejudice has finally made you go completely blind!

      The establishment will never allow Brexit as witnessed in Saturday’s ‘Any Answers’, which became a Party Political Broadcast for the Fib Dems & the Green Party, but never let facts affect your opinion even if they are empirical. Just coincidence that ‘the Greens’ are now flavour of the month on the BBC, but that didn’t affect the election results?

      1. I think you distort the nature of the coverage, steve. The drumbeat of the Murdoch press et al. is a tremendously powerful propaganda weapon.

        As to the broadcast media – there is a definite general establishment bias – always has been – but certainly no l;ack of ‘Leave’ coverage equal to the printed media propaganda in the opposite direction. Certainly much less bias than, say over Corbyn and the ‘antisemitism’ issue. From a ‘Remainer’ perspective, it would be possible to argue that Mogg and Johnson, for instance, get excessive coverage.

        But the point is that these election results are not essentially a media production; that distorts what is happening.

      2. Steve, your comments are not born out by the facts. Look at the number of times the BBC gave Farage the opportunity to voice his racist message. Also remember the audience producer of BBC QT being pulled up for being a far right sympathiser?

        And according to a survey by King’s College London, Leave supporting papers had 75 front page leads on immigration prior to the referendum.

  13. Incredible. Hardline remainers have insulted and offended leave voters for three years calling them idiots, stupid, racist and most recently fascists, which has undoubtedly hardened the leave vote.

    Have they learned from their mistake? Not at all. As reader can see from the comments on this thread posted by EU fanatics, not only have they not learned from their mistakes they are doubling down!

    I voted remain but am a democratic socialist who accepts the result. The referendum result is the largest democratic mandate in British history.

    The fact that the only thing hardline remainers have left to contribute to the debate are even more insults shows the People’s Vote campaigners know that their campaign is effectively over. They are like the Japanese soldiers who refused to believe the Second World War had ended. They are completely unhinged.

    1. Internal Affairs

      “Incredible. Hardline remainers have insulted and offended leave voters for three years calling them idiots, stupid, racist and most recently fascists, which has undoubtedly hardened the leave vote.”

      No they haven’t, it’s only people like you, Farage and others on the far right who have said they have.

      Farage and his cronies have used racism to divide the country and you are just playing into his narrative by falling for such an obvious and obnoxious tactic.

  14. Once again we have the usual subjects shouting from their ever deeper trenches,and can I add that I find the sneering tone from certain Remainers very unpleasant.

    1. I’m not sure what you’ve been reading, John – but it doesn’t appear to be this thread!

      “Remainers very unpleasant.”

      It’s interesting how ‘insults’ appear out of nothing on one side and disappear into the ether on the other!.

      The one thread that I can discern is a tendency amongst some Leavers to personalise argument (have a go at counting the use of ‘troll’ etc. etc.) and then get upset when someone disagrees with their position – like a mere 50% of the population!

  15. “These results strongly support the analysis put forward by some Labour commentators that Labour’s losses this week were driven by leave-supporting Labour voters staying at home”

    No they don’t – the dynamic is much more involved. That’s just wishful thinking, not statistical analysis.

    The loss of Labour votes to the Green/LibDem axis can be just as crucial in these areas, since the Labour vote is weighted towards those who support Remain – and may be even more critical where there is a large Kipper vote.

    Note also the ‘Independent’ vote in some places – a way for the right to trade on kicking the established parties based on little but giving them a kicking i.e : the whinge factor, fed by the establishment media.

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