Saturday, May 06, 2006

"A clear victor"

Anthony King's article in the Daily Telegraph makes for interesting informed commentary on the overall shape of the results. Here are a few extracts:

In modern circumstances one party seldom emerges as the clear victor in any round of local elections. This year one did.

By any reasonable measure, the Conservatives won decisively on Thursday. It was their first unqualified electoral triumph in nearly a generation.
Conservative triumph:
Significantly, the Conservatives won 40 per cent of the BBC's projected national share of the vote - the proportion of people who, it is estimated, would have voted Conservative if the local elections had been held across the whole of the country.

A figure of 40 per cent is the highest the Conservatives have scored since 1992, the year in which they last won a general election.
Conservative urban successes:
The Conservative performance also gives the lie to the notion that the Tories have been driven out of the whole of urban Britain outside London.

To be sure, the Tories failed to make hoped-for gains in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle but they won additional seats in Birmingham as well as gaining control of Coventry and Chorley.
Labour disaster:
Some Labour MPs have protested that the results were not too bad. If they believe that, they are the victims of their own pre-election talking down of expectations.

A disaster is no less disastrous for having been widely predicted.
Lib Dems fared badly:
The Liberal Democrats fared neither well nor badly - which means that, in effect, they fared badly because their electoral credibility depends on their continuing to gain ground, especially in local elections. They now stand where they did a decade ago.
BNP warning:
The BNP's successes undoubtedly reflect widespread disenchantment with large-scale immigration and the Government's alleged neglect of the white working class. But as of now, the party constitutes a warning, not a serious threat.
More work for the Conservatives:
The election results also contain a different kind of warning for the Tory party. Although the Tories did gain some ground in the North, they gained considerably less ground than in either the midlands or the South.

Given that the Conservatives are no longer a significant electoral force in most of Scotland and Wales, they have no option but to expand their English electoral base, including in the large northern cities.

However favourable these election results are, the Tories under David Cameron still have work to do.


Paul Burgin said...

Well let's face it! The chances of the Conservatives gaining significant electoral ground in the Northern cities is about as likely as Labour winning Witney at the next general election!
Although Witney was a Labour seat in the last decade! ;)
And miracles do happen!

Manchester University Labour Club said...

The likelyhood of the tories ever gaining a seat in Manchester after being on the doorstep last week = not very

Paul Burgin said...

Well if they can't do it now, when can they do it!


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