It’s the Easter holidays. Parliament is in recess. The weather is improving. People look to things other than the front page news.
The ground is also being prepared for yet another public thumbs-down on the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Labour will lose seats in next month’s local elections, it is said, but it will ‘not be so bad’ as predicted.
This is not true. If Labour lose any seats, it will be bad. Don’t be fooled by the BBC and their fellow-travellers.
Recent polls point to Labour losing one hundred seats or more. However, the election of Labour mayors in the conurbations contested will be seen as some sort of compensation. It is nothing of the sort. These directly-elected mayors will not be under orders from Corbyn’s team, unless Labour is now adhering to the Leninist doctrine of democratic centralism.
However, the same cannot be said of the council elections. What is going on seems the same as happened last year. Then, Labour was predicted to lose over 100 council seats. Instead, the net loss was 18. This was seen as ‘not so bad’. But this is entirely because the expectations were so dire. The beneficiaries were the Liberal Democrats and Ukip.
Last week there was the same dire prediction. Over 100 Labour seats at threat. So perhaps history will repeat itself. It is likely Labour will still lose seats, but not at this catastrophic level. This is despite the hard fact that an opposition party losing local government seats at this point in the electoral cycle is actually unprecedented.
Since the last local elections, Corbyn’s stock has fallen even further. There is an open split in the party due to Corbyn’s feeble campaigning for Remain in the EU Referendum. Labour’s traditional voters, as distinct from the identity-based groups Labour now panders to, no longer recognise Labour as a party that represents their interests. Labour now focuses on a coalition of minorities, and all but ignores its traditional supporters, which they regard as little different from Marx’s lumpenproletariat.
The reason traditional Labour voters may vote for other parties or abstain, apart from antipathy towards Labour’s Parliamentary woes, may be because they do not want Corbynite councillors turning their authorities into the kind of loony-left socialist republics that infested local government in the 1980s. However, it will be up to other parties to point out if the Labour candidate is a Corbynite or not.
What has been significant is that no Labour Parliamentary by-election candidate has been a Corbyn supporter, in fact, quite the reverse. It may be that any local Labour hopeful identified has having expressed support for Corbyn will find their path to power blocked. Labour committees may understand that selecting Corbynite candidates for any election outside London gives their party’s hopes the kiss of death.
Any net loss of seats by Labour at this stage is catastrophic. The beneficiaries may be the Liberal Democrats, who, as after the Iraq invasion, now have a single issue in the form of Brexit from which they can gain votes. The Greens may suffer. There is now no reason to vote Green while Labour is run by Corbyn’s team. There is simply no difference between the parties. There may now also be no reason to vote Ukip.
People should vote according to local issues, but the local elections will be dominated by the national state of the parties. In England, the seats were last contested in 2013. Labour gained 291 seats, while the Conservatives lost 335. This was at a time when both parties were seen as being neck-and-neck in the polls.
An awful lot has changed since these seats were last contested. Every major party has a new leader. There is now a Conservative majority government. The SNP lost its independence referendum. We are leaving the EU. Labour is now an ineffectual opposition party in Parliament and is led by a man who is alienating support for a party that is soft on anti-Semitism.
It is inconceivable that Labour will turn a corner next month and gain seats. However, despite the predicted losses, it is probable Labour’s losses will not extend into three digits. They will be cast once again as ‘not so bad’ by Labour’s friends in the media. Any loss, will, in fact, be bad.
Labour’s electoral decline is set to be slow and, well, laboured.