Friday, May 3, 2013

Local Elections 2013

Ed inspiring commuters on the Tube
Lots of spinning going on about the council elections results. In reality, it's been a typically bad mid-term result for the Tories and the Lib Dems. Labour's gains have been patchy and mostly disappointing. Only UKIP can take any pleasure in that they attracted a significant percentage of the vote and some councillors. Although no councils, of course.

Apart from the UKIP performance, the only other notable outcome is Labour's lacklustre progress. Ed Miliband had the following going for him:
  • With the Liberal Democrats in coalition with the Tories, Labour are the lone party of opposition on the left. Dissatisfaction with the government should drive votes to Labour as the only possible alternative
  • The Coalition parties are in mid-term, midway through implementing very painful reforms and departmental budget cuts that have sapped their political capital.
  • UKIP are splitting the vote on the right, sapping support from the Conservatives
  • Labour were starting from a very low point and the Tories a very high point, as the last time these wards were fought was during the darkest days of the previous Labour government. Any slight improvement in Labour's vote should have delivered hundreds of councillors.
Given all of this, you'd expect a Labour landslide, gains of 4/5/600 or more. But no, nothing like it. More worrying for Labour is its lack of success in the South. The only councils Labour won were Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - both rock solid Labour before Labour's disastrous result in 2009. Few significant inroads were made in the South of England.

Ed Miliband has had an easy run in the media for a while. But following recent poor decisions, especially around opposing Conservative welfare reforms, another car crash interview and now these disappointing results, pressure should start to mount on the Labour leader. But, I suspect, most of the electorate have already made their mind up on him, and Labour's only hope will be no economic recovery and UKIP's popularity persisting to the election in 2015.

If yesterday's vote proves anything, it proves the country has a strong right of centre mind set. Ed Miliband's march to the left is leaving people cold.