Friday, May 05, 2006

Turning of the tide?

Very good results for the Tories last night. A swathe of councils in London, the Midlands and the South have changed hands. Hammersmith, Crawley, Hillingdon and Harrow all went blue - some for the first time ever. Most importantly the Tory vote was about 40% - the crucial benchmark that the Tories have to reach at any General Election.

On the other hand, the Labour Party's pre-election spin was that they expected to lose 350 seats. By this measuer, admittedly an extraordinarily low one - they didn't suffer the meltdown some had predicted. Some of this is obviously management of expectations, but there is more to it than that. Since 1994 Blair has had one supreme asset: the transcendental uselessness of the Tory Party. That advantage does seem now to have gone. But another one may be along.

If the Labour Party received an expected and well-deserved battering last night, the Liberal Democrats had a night that was worse than anyone expected. On the Today programme this morning it was described as 'mixed', a phrase which, as Cameron said, would not have been applied to the Tories if their result had bee the net gain of one seat.

Ming Campbell has been awful as leader. Uninspired in Parliament and invisible outside. The Lib Dems have done a Duncan Smith and the only question is how long it takes them to realise it. This is, of course, good news for the Tories but last night the crucial thing was the advantage this handed the Labour Party. To win only one seat in a night disguised the slump in the Labour vote. The percentages (Tories 40%, Lib Dems 27%, Labour 26%) tell the story. This was a good night for Cameron, a bad night for Campbell, and a bloody awful one for Blair.


Blogger The Pedant-General said...

Tim J,

Some useful analysis.

What is more interesting is my reaction to the percentages at the bottom.

Staggered that Today programme did not lead with the Headline "Labour relegated to Third Place".

Toodle Pip!

10:19 am  

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