Before I start, let’s be clear about one thing:
So heartwarming to see that we English rewarded this Government’s incompetent handling of a pandemic, corruption and dishonesty with an extra seat in Parliament and more councillors and councils 🥰🥳🥰
— Tez (@tezilyas) May 7, 2021
That being said…
Keir Starmer has vowed to lead Labour’s fightback after having led it to a bitter local election pummelling and the loss of one of the party’s Parliamentary strongholds.
The denial is strong in this one.
It is clear to even the most disinterested observer that the party’s losses are all Starmer’s fault; that his direction for the Labour Party is deeply unpopular with the British people and that the best way he can help Labour fight back is to resign.
But he won’t do that. Instead, he’ll be announcing a “bold vision” for the party in the next few days.
That will be – what? His third “bold vision”? His fourth? – since he deceived party members into making him leader last year.
By the time of writing, StarmerLabour has lost 192 council seats, with the bulk going to the Conservatives.
The Green Party has picked up 51 seats, indicating that left-wing voters have migrated to that party in protest against Starmer’s betrayal of traditional Labour values. And the Liberal Democrats have also lost seats – 24 of them – indicating that the public has still – and rightly – not forgiven them for propping up the Tories for five years, from 2010 to 2015. These are about the only things the English voting public has got right.
In terms of council control, the Conservatives have taken Pendle, Maidstone, Cornwall, Nottinghamshire, Basildon, Northumberland, Dudley, and Nuneaton and Bedworth councils from no overall control. They also took control of of Harlow council, in Essex, from Labour.
Labour has lost Sheffield, Plymouth and Rossendale to no overall control.
And in another former Labour stronghold, the Tees Valley, Conservative Ben Houchen was re-elected mayor with 73 per cent of the vote – a massive swing of 23 per cent away from Starmer’s Labour.
Meanwhile, here in Wales, Mark Drakeford’s version of Labour – which many have said is a genuine continuation of Corbynism – has won 30 seats in the Senedd, securing another working majority. Labour will rule in Wales for another five years.
The contrast with StarmerLabour could not be more plain.
For This Writer, the most surprising aspect of StarmerLabour’s implosion is the way his critics are pussyfooting around him, playing down the scale of the disaster.
Look at left Labour MP Richard Burgon’s comment, quoted in the following tweet – and the response by Jen Wood:
I wish you had said the words 'Starmer must now stand down' https://t.co/tDKbOZFDTw
— Jen Wood – Jenneferetamun (@unojen_wood) May 7, 2021
Let’s not bother with the ‘soft’ critics. Starmer doesn’t need to hear people saying “Never mind, Keir. You stay put and next time you’ll do better.” At this point, such a possibility seems unlikely in the extreme; Labour is more likely to run out of votes altogether and be extinguished as a political movement.
He needs to hear the hard criticism – like this, from Peston:
The crisis for Starmer's Labour in a nutshell. They could blame the 2019 landslide defeat on Brexit and Corbyn. But Corbyn is gone and Brexit is "done". Yet the rot – shown by Hartlepool and local elections (so far) – has got worse. Voters' values and Labour's have diverged
— Robert Peston (@Peston) May 7, 2021
And this, from near-legendary Canary columnist Steve Topple:
New from me @TheCanaryUK
Voter apathy lost Labour Hartlepool, not Corbyn
My in-depth #Exclusive look at #HartlepoolByElection: crunching numbers to show that actually the lack of working class voters turning out let the Tories' win.
Pls read. Importanthttps://t.co/svPdjqA9xH
— Steve Topple (@MrTopple) May 7, 2021
Even this is charitable; voters didn’t abandon Labour because they don’t care – they walked away because they do, and because Starmer wasn’t offering them anything they could support.
You want proof?
NEW: Exclusive polling for @Channel4News by @JLPartnersPolls shows the top reason given for not voting Labour in elections in England yesterday was Sir Keir Starmer's leadership.
More in @GaryGibbonC4's report on @Channel4 and @All4 tonight at 7pm.
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) May 7, 2021
So that’s that. These people aren’t going to come back to Labour while Starmer remains in charge of what was once their party.
The message of the 2021 local elections is clear, then. For those who are still having trouble grasping it, it is this:
You have shamed the Labour Party @Keir_Starmer
🎶Go Now🎶 #StarmerMustGo pic.twitter.com/GOP9KWwU1B
— The Prole Star (@TheProleStar) May 7, 2021
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Stammer the spammer and his cuckoo’s are the problem untill blue Tory’s are out then they b out in the cold
The whole party ‘brain’ (strictly-figuratively-speaking-only) -trust is in denial.
Apparently Starmer’s team of advisers is described as “the brains trust”. My understanding is that it is not always intended kindly.
People didn’t vote because there is no credible alternative ,it’s vote Tory or Tory labour.Whichever the result is the same ,upholding the status quo.So why bother to vote at all?