We are living in strange and interesting times. One thing that never fails to surprise me is how Prime Ministers never seem to realise when the game is up. They always enter a delusional twilight world where they think they should just go on and on, even when the overwhelming evidence is that they have lost all public support. Labour’s humiliation across two sets of elections last Thursday has broken all kinds of records. It must be apparent to Gordon that he is about as likely to win the next General Election as (with apologies to Monty Python) Tarquin Fim Tim Lim Bim Wim Bim Lim Bus Stop Fatang Fatang Ole Biscuit Barrel. But still he goes on deludedly surrounding himself with a dwindling band of ‘yes’ men and women, while anyone who dares to question him is either fired or resigns.
Apparently one opinion poll says over 40% of the electorate want him to stay. Maybe, but they will be the supporters of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats who know that the longer he stays. the more seats Labour will lose.
At the current rate of decline, Labour could easily be facing another twenty years in the wilderness.
I once worked at a building which overlooked a humped back bridge. One day, the traffic lights beyond the bridge failed causing a tailback of traffic towards the bridge. From my vantage point, I could see traffic approaching the bridge too fast. All day long there were squeals of tyres and the occasional crunch as accident after accident occurred (thankfully none of them serious – but all of them avoidable). Watching Labour destroy itself wilfully is the same experience, You can see what they are doing – but they are going to do it all the same.
It won’t be the same without them.
Back in blogging mode after about ten weeks of solid electioneering, it’s time to pore over the results and see what we have learned – and where we are.
In true blue Bucks (the only council in the land which has been continuously Tory for 120 years), we made a net loss of one seat. Disappointing, but probably not that surprising. What that doesn’t tell you is that we gave them a hard fight – and had them looking very worried at the count. We also triumphed in our target division where our two Labour defectors retook their seats handsomely under the Lib Dem flag.
The wider picture is that our share of the vote nationally was 28%. That we made a small net loss of councillors says more about the unfairness of our electoral system than it does about our level of support.
An interesting exercise is to plug the vote shares into an electoral prediction tool, like the one at http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/. If you input 38% Tory, 28% Lib Dem and 23% Labour, you could be forgiven for expecting to see the Lib Dems forming Her Majesty’s Opposition! Those of us who know better will groan when they see that that still delivers twice as many Labour MPs as Lib Dems.
Still, if I were the PPC in any Labour held seat, I’d be quietly rubbing my hands now in anticipation of a very interesting battle. If I were PPC in a Labour/Lib Dem marginal I’d be chatting to my employer about possibly not being around in twelve months time!
We have much to be optimistic about, but there’s also real danger too. Many of our finest MPs will be defending themselves against a Tory onslaught. We must not allow them to be swept away. The good news here is that there is evidence that many are not yet convinced by Cameron’s Tories. Turnout was low, and the results yesterday were partly a result of voters voting ‘anyone but Labour’.
The Labour vote is blowing away in the wind, but if want to pick up those votes, we have to earn them. We cannot sit back now, we have less than twelve months (maybe much less) to show people why we deserve their support!