Well, after all the brou-ha-ha over the days since last weeks election I’ve been looking at the actual figures coming out, and they show that nothing was as good nor bad as the hysteria would claim.
No one would deny that these elections were set in unique times, and these circumstances hopefully will never coincide ever again. Two factors Brexit and Covid and the vaccine roll out. The vaccine roll has 88% public approval, and it is unsurprising that all opposition parties struggled to be heard under these unique circumstances.
But, looking at the results now, it is clear that the incumbents throughout the U.K. did not win by a landslide that given the circumstances you might expect, but in fact the gains rather than landslides, were in fact quite modest.
So first to the SNP, Sturgeon only increased her vote by 1% in spite of her apparent popularity.
Second the local elections. The key figure here is the projected national share of the vote, and an estimate of how the parties would have faired in a GE.
By this yard stick, the Tories beat Labour 36% to 29% . Lib Dem’s 17%.
But, and here is the reason it is better to wait before getting to hysterical the result was neither huge nor groundbreaking for the Tories. In fact May achieved a better result in the 2017 local elections without the benefit if the vaccine rollout or Brexit.
Translated into parliamentary seats, this result would have sharply reduced Johnson’s majority.
The Tories also achieved much of their success due to the disappearance of UKIP and the Brexit party.
So to Hartlepool
In 2019 UKIP took 26% of the vote. Their absence saw the Tory vote almost double.
But the absence of UKIP in the locals and bye-election in England and Wales has not shown the overall increase of votes that the Tories might have hoped for. Tory vote increased overall by 5% since 2016, with a similar increase for Labour.
There can be little doubt that the centre right hegemony has gained control, but it is by no means firm and there are signs of fragmentation in the south of England where the Tories lost seats in true blue areas where voters feel culturally alienated from Johnson’s type of Toryism.
Once the covid period disappears and politics begins to settle into a more smiler pattern both Labour and the Tories will find they have work to do.
There is everything to play for.
Some stuff taken from Martin Kettle 13/5
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