Dire day for Tories – so why were the pundits hammering Labour?

[Image: BBC]

[Image: BBC]

Own up: How many of you stayed up into the wee hours to watch TV coverage of the local council elections?

If you did, you would have witnessed a curious phenomenon. As the Conservative Party lost seat after seat (at the time of writing they have lost 113 seats altogether) and Labour won seat after seat (currently 125 seats better-off), the pundits sitting around David Dimbleby on BBC1 started telling us this put Labour in the poor position!

This, we were told, was because UKIP’s performance heralded the arrival of “four-party politics” – but does anybody believe that? UKIP won protest votes against the UK Coalition government’s policies at a time when elections to the European Parliament were also taking place. Anti-immigration feelings have been stirred up and people have been led to believe – wrongly – that a vote for UKIP will cut off the flow.

In fact, UKIP did damage Labour in areas like Swindon, where they took working-class votes and enabled the Conservatives to hold that council with a slightly increased majority.

But the ‘Purple Peril’ did far more damage to the Conservatives, with Essex Man and Woman voting very strongly for it.

What does this mean, translated to the Westminster Parliament?

The answer is, it’s difficult to judge. Turnout was only around 36 per cent – half the number who take part in a general election – because faith in democracy is so low. This means any predictions are more likely to be wrong than right.

But if the results are replicated, then the Conservative Party will lose seats to UKIP and it is possible that Labour will become the majority party in a Hung Parliament, and then…

… UKIP will do a coalition deal with the Conservatives because Nigel Farage wants a taste of power, and we’ll end up with five more years of David Cameron.

We know they’re already talking about it because Michael Gove has denied it.

To avoid this, Labour will have to consolidate its gains and show that it can make a real difference where it wins.

A good start would be to cut the harmful social policies in Hammersmith and Fulham, which Labour took from the Tories last night. H&F was once dubbed David Cameron’s favourite council. Why? Well, a recent Guardian article showed that the council was selling off its housing stock at an increasingly accelerated rate, while forcing homeless people into temporary accommodation outside the borough. Ending this wrong-headed nonsense would be a good start.

The new Labour administration could re-examine the planned closure of Sulivan Primary School in Fulham, which won an award from London Mayor Boris Johnson at the end of last year after it “succeeded against the odds in improving pupils’ aspirations and achievements”. According to The Guardian (again), campaigners fighting to save Sulivan say it has been targeted because there are plans to turn the site into a new Free School, part of Michael Gove’s silly pet project that has been haemorrhaging money.

And Labour could halt the Earls Court Project redevelopment scheme, which will knock down elderly residents homes – buildings which are perfectly sound – in order to replace them with “impossibly expensive” flats.

The Guardian (yet again) states: “To the Tories of H&F, though, such things are of no value if there’s more money to be made from tearing them up, clearing them out, knocking them down… The council and its friends do not see what they are doing as wrecking. They see themselves as grand creators. They see those they would push aside not as citizens to be considered but non-believers, blockages, impediments; as inefficiencies that have to be squeezed out.”

Labour would score hugely if it took a stand against this merciless money-driven destruction of a neighbourhood that belongs to ordinary people. Elderly people, in fact. Not only are they vulnerable; they are also voters.

So let Hammersmith & Fulham become the example Labour holds up to the nation: “This is what we can do across the country, if you only give us the chance!”

One thing’s for sure – whatever Labour does there, The Guardian will be watching!

Results are still incoming from the council elections, so undoubtedly the ‘expert’ opinions will change before the end – and then we have the European election results to come on Sunday.

A quick anecdote about that: Yesterday evening Yr Obdt Srvt was at a meeting on a completely different subject (a local festival here in Mid Wales – I’m the organising committee’s secretary). Afterwards I was chatting with a friend about the election when a young man approached us in search of the nearest polling station.

My friend passed on the directions and the man thanked us and started on his way. “Don’t vote UKIP!” shouted my friend.

“I won’t!” was the response.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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44 thoughts on “Dire day for Tories – so why were the pundits hammering Labour?

  1. hayfords

    A much worse day for Labour. This signals the end of Miliband.

    The Times headline today says it all

    ‘Looks weird, sounds weird, is weird – the truth’

      1. Barry Davies

        No it was miliband, it was a bad day for Labour usually the protest vote goes to the parties not in power, it used to be the lib dems, but now it is labour that was expected to pick up a landslide. UKIP went from one councillor who had not been elected for UKIP, to a large amount of councillors from scratch so they did better than the other parties, it was indeed a good day for ukip taking seats off all the old parties.

      2. Mike Sivier

        That was a joke, about Gove.

        Labour has gained nearly twice as many seats as UKIP, and UKIP is riding high on the anti-immigration fears that have been stirred up. Next year will be a different story.

        Also, nobody’s mentioning the fact that the Green Party has tripled its number of councillors (so far). In percentages, that’s a better result than any of the main parties, plus UKIP!

      3. kittysjones

        Labour gains +259 so far

        I note with interest the ukip troll Barry is much more courteous on your site than he has been on mine. I conclude that we can add sexism to his list of social phobias and insight deficits

    1. Meanfluff

      Well put Mike, it’s been driving me mad all day that the news makes it sound as if UKIP have taken over the asylum.
      Labour had a great result, as did the Green Party.
      Anyone who misses that is mad as a box of frogs!
      Also, Hayfords – you say “weird” as if that’s a bad thing……

  2. Bryn miller

    As a UKIPIAN I don’t want to gloat and say”We told you so” But the voters said it with their feet despite the smears and allegations made by all and sundry.
    Whether you like it or not,UKIP is a force to be reckoned with and I forsee it will oust the liberals as the third party and will gain MPs in WESTMINSTER in 2015.
    So no more Racist,homophobic nutty fruitcake smears.Just rejoice and welcome UKIP into the political arena.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Bryn, only half as many people voted as are likely to do so in a general election so it is unwise to make predictions based on this result – I said as much in the article. Additionally, there was a high ‘protest’ turnout who were voting for UKIP in the European elections to show their disagreement with the Conservative UK government.
      We are waiting for UKIP to produce a policy document, so we can all see what this party actually represents.
      As for the racist, homophobic and nutty fruitcake smears… well, they’re members of your party; you’ll just have to try to keep them under control.

      1. kittysjones

        ‘As for the racist, homophobic and nutty fruitcake smears… well, they’re members of your party; you’ll just have to try to keep them under control.’ Lol, that’s priceless Mike, love it 🙂

    2. untynewear

      “Just rejoice and welcome UKIP into the political arena.’

      Not in the North East, which UKIP were tipped to make inroads into.

      No UKIP seats at all in Sunderland, despite much huffing and puffing, and in South Tyneside, which UKIP were expected to do well in, they actually lost one of the two seats they held (to Labour) and won nothing.

      They did win a couple of seats in Hartlepool (one only after 5 recounts) but you know, Hartlepool… they hang monkeys there. 😉

      http://unemployedtynewear.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/north-east-council-elections-ukip-big-push-flops/

    1. Mike Sivier

      There was a lesson in realpolitik within minutes of the election coverage starting, when it was revealed that UKIP had gained 23 per cent of the vote in Huddersfield – and not a single councillor.

  3. thoughtfullyprepping

    Conservatives and those who crossed over to the dark side of UKIP form the new coalition government. Interesting theory..
    So, in fact, all voters will be doing in voting in the same suits, same basic policies, same greed. I won’t particularly like the ties though, blueish purple. Gross.

    And people question why I call for the whole sick system to be torn down.

  4. che

    Labour still need a kick up the arse. Why arent they hammering down on the possible 40,000 deaths this government have created with IDS insane policys ? Surely that would galvanise the Country against the government .

  5. Barry Davies

    I wouldn’t make any predictions on the result after all in the GE the constituencies get altered to fit the sitting mp’s and their parties needs hence the massive difference in the size of the constituency populations. We are still waiting for every party to produce policy documents for the GE as the current ones were for the brussells election.

    1. Mike Sivier

      No – there will be no gerrymandering of constituency boundaries before the general election. The Tories tried it but their plan fell apart a few years ago.

  6. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Mike argues here that it was the Tories, rather than Labour, who lost most heavily to the Tories despite the comments of the various pundits around the man Private Eye calls ‘Dimblebore’. Some of this may well have been wishful thinking by the Right-wingers on the Beeb, as well as a desire to avoid allegations from the bug-eyed Tory media-monitors of ‘Left-wing bias’. It might just even be possible that they’re refusing to recognise the inroads UKIP have made into the Tory vote in the bizarre belief that the Tories may hoover up xenophobic voters intent on limiting immigration away from them, in the same way that Thatcher’s anti-immigration stance took voters away from the BNP. But I really don’t think the last is very likely. Most probably I think it reflects an acute discomfort with the Right-wing political identity forged by New Labour. For members of the traditional Left, myself included, New Labour has partly abandoned the very people it was set up to serve and represent. For the Tories, New Labour is un welcome competitor, who has taken votes away from them, and whom they cannot easily criticise as so much New Labour policy was taken from them, complete with Blair’s adulation of Thatcher. Hence the desire to concentrate on the losses by Labour to them, rather than the greater losses by the Tories.

    Mike is correct in casting doubt on how reliable these results are, as the turn-out for these elections is much lower than for general elections. If this is translated to Westminster, however, it may well lead to UKIP forming an alliance with the Tories. This is, after all, what Tory Rightists like Daniel ‘Privatise the NHS’ Hannan want. If this occurs, then it may well break British democracy, UKIP and split the Tories. UKIP are attractive to many voters simply because they are unencumbered with actually having been in power. It’s been remarked on before by various bloggers, but is also mentioned by Ford and Goodwin in their book on UKIP, ‘Revolt on the Right’. UKIP voters largely have socially conservative attitudes – pro-smoking, anti-gay, anti-immigration, but are economically very socialist – about 70 per cent want the electricity companies and the railways returned to state ownership. If UKIP did get into government, the highly Libertarian policies of the party’s leadership would leave many UKIP voters extremely alienated. Support could well drop away radically. And then there’s the corrosive effect of yet another government taking power, which the majority of British citizens did not vote for and which is only there because of another squalid backroom deal. As for the Tories, while Cameron, Osborne and the rest of the butchers obviously have absolutely no qualms with entering into a partnership with a party, whose leadership is, if anything, even more viciously hostile towards the poor, the unemployed and the disabled than they are, Cameron has based his electoral image on being rather more socially liberal than his predecessors: he loudly cut links with the Monday Club, and, against the considerably hostility within his party, support gay marriage and the selection of openly gay candidates. How genuinely anti-racist the Tories actually were, was shown by the way the vans encouraging illegal immigrants to go home went only to Black areas. Nevertheless, if the Tories went into partnership with UKIP, it would mean that Cameron’s more liberal image of the Tories has finally been shown up as the sham it is, and discarded.

  7. Phil The Folk

    Well I’m happy as Enfield doubled it’s majority and i now have a labour Councillor after god knows how many years 🙂

  8. hayfords

    The most likely outcome is zero or one UKIP MP. The demographics are that the three main parties will still dominate at the GE. A large percentage of UKIP votes were protest votes and many say that they will revert to kind at the GE. The party machinery on the ground will mean that the three parties will still get their usual seats. It will be just the marginals that decide things.

    It is clear that there is an anti immigration feeling around driving the UKIP success and consequently votes for UKIP and leaving the EU so that immigration controls can be imposed. As the election nears it will become clear that Labour will not give a referendum and nor will the Libs. UKIP cannot give a referendum as they will not have the power to do so. Only the Conservatives will give a referendum on the EU. When people realise this, it will be obvious that there is only one party to vote for and a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Less than half say they’ll revert at the general election – 42 per cent.

      The marginals ALWAYS decide things.

      Trouble with the Tories is they were using the referendum as a reason to vote for them THIS time around, even though neither the local nor European elections have anything to do with it.

  9. Graham Brinksman

    I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from Dimbleby. It was as if he’d been told that no matter how poorly the Cons do play it down. Even if it means playing UKIP up.

    1. Florence

      I was, and remain, incandescent at the blatant propaganda before a single result was announced. An almost surreal combination of media political bias, CGI and pantomime dames, all studiously avoiding any mention of the Tories. They were still in full flow early evening, just in case anyone didn’t stay up for last nights end of the pier show. Strange all those delays in the results for London. Results that would put a real dent in the “obituary for Labour” editorial/ propagandist news bulletins.

  10. Bring back immediately women's state pension at 60 / Against loss age related tax allowance at 65

    The council elections were bogus and false, because a party fielding the biggest left of centre candidates for 60 years was ignored everywhere.

    Look on my personal website for the TUSC party political broadcast no TV channel would broadcast and a video of a Question Time answer by a TUSC member back in 2012, that completely defeated a Labour MP to answer.

    None of the so-called left wing forums / blogs ever show these videos.

    Trade unionism invented the Labour party and slowing but surely trade unions are withdrawing their funds and being pushed away from Labour by what they say.

    Anti-fracking activists are within the socialists, so we do not need The Greens who inflict green taxes inflating energy bills by 50 per cent that kill each winter so as to subsidise profit making private companies that soon the EU will forbid state subsidy.

    But TUSC only exists during elections.

    In amongst the coalition was Left Unity Party that exists all year and did well despite only existing since March of this year, of its first national conference.

    In all the so-called left wing blogs there is purported a care for people in dire circumstances.

    TUSC and Left Unity Party councillors would have immediately stopped the bedroom tax and evictions of tenants for arrears caused by bedroom tax. How many suicides will now occur even in Labour won councils?

    You cannot have Austerity and not have hunger. Ask Europeans. Ask the Greeks.

    Not even 20 per cent of Austerity Cuts have hit England yet. 80 per cent is yet to sweep over a nation already with medical professionals in England and Wales telling the government over and over (and Labour and The Greens by such information) that more and more admissions for malnutrition are occuring.

    What is happening please?

    Why do blogs stick to the existence of The Greens and Labour and ignore parties that would actually save lives?

    Show those videos. Instead we had the constant barrage against UKIP.

    What happened?

    UKIP won more councils than ever before.

    Help people for goodness sake!

  11. hayfords

    Conservatives still have the most council seats across the country. That sounds like they are doing pretty well. Don’t forget that the turnout was only around 36%.

    This election was all about UKIP performing well and Miliband performing badly.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Turnout for council elections is usually around 36 per cent – sometimes as low as the 20s.

      This election was all about UKIP performing well, Miliband performing better – and the Tories and Lib Dems falling into the gutter. They’ll be fighting amongst themselves soon.

      Oh! Look at Tom Pride’s latest blog – they’ve already started!

  12. tiggsy

    My son and his friends were trying to find the Polling Station (in Cliftonville, Margate) and asked some people outside a bowling club for help. “Are you voting UKIP?” they were asked. When the reply was no, the group refused to give directions! (They did eventually find it and successfully voted against UKIP)

  13. Scott Walker

    The BBC made an online petition concerning 4 missing yachts men their main story. The 38 degree petitions concerning government plans to sell our tax details to Tory donors and a letter to the ICC regarding the deaths attributable to DWP reforms that had more signatories never got a mention on the channel.
    I fully endorse che’s earlier comment. Labour need to tackle the suppression of recent statistics relating to mortality figures excluded from welfare by DWP.

  14. Terence Park

    Local elections are about local issues. Unsurprisingly, mainstream party messages are largely irrelevant although it can be unwise to air this view. This was best summed up by Ed Milibrand’s morning after reaction, which was effectively, ‘I’m thrilled to have won part of the protest vote’.
    Commenters like safe, dependable narratives. This time the protest vote didn’t develop in a safe, dependable way. This is an aftershock of the media and mainstream party obsession with UKIP.
    Labour will know as much as they want about UKIP, having lauded the conditions that birthed it.

  15. Pingback: UKIP and Local Elections | TP Archie's Blog

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