Friday, May 02, 2008

Trounced! But Brown's woe is a false dawn for Cameron.

Labour has taken a bruising at the local elections - or so it seems - with reports suggesting that they are likely to slip to third place behind the Lib Dems in the share of the vote this time around.

But before the Useless Tories start getting too carried away and talking about winning a General Election let's put this into context. First of all, these are mid-term local elections and it's not unusual for the governing party to perform poorly in mid-term local elections, but the General Election is still, probably, another 2 years away.

Secondly, all the talk has been about how these results are worse than the results were under Blair at the height of the Iraq war/WMD furore and that somehow that should have caused more damage to the government - but the fact is that the Brown administration have been damaged by things which are far more important to people than a far off and largely foreign war. Rising costs, fewer pounds in their pockets and the increasing threat to their homes and livelihoods. Iraq was only an issue for the chattering classes of the liberal elite - the vast majority of people couldn't care less what happens in a far off country! Don't kid yourselves that the vast majority of people are concerned about the welfare of our soldiers either - read the poem "Tommy" by Rudyard Kipling; it's as pertinent today as it was then.

Iraq was never anything more than a side show to the real issues. But it's ludicrous to assume that Brown will not do something to address the issues that really concern people at some point in the next two years before the next election. Of course he will! Of course it will be all smoke and mirrors - our whole economy is now built on the shiftiest of shifting sands - but that won't stop Labour. Brown will pull an economic rabbit from the hat at some point between now and the election. It will, like the majority of his economic rabbits so far, be fake and ultimately damaging for our economy, but it will be enough to fool our media (who greedily suck down all the lies and crap and spew it onto our tv screens or the pages of our newspapers) and it will be enough to buy off Labour's core vote.

Thirdly, don't overplay the position of the Lib Dems. Their vote goes up and down a couple of notches according to how a very few liberals swing - some from Labour, some from the Tories. They are not many in number in the overall scheme of things, but there is one thing they always do - they always turn out and vote. Beating Labour into third place is NOT a big deal in a local election no matter what the BBC say.

Fourth - whatever happens in London is irrelevant to party prospects in a General Election. The voting method is convoluted and it's more about voting for personalities than parties anyway. Personalities that are representing parties which neither party is particularly fond of.

Finally, don't assume that whatever share of the vote the parties get in this election - whether the Tories get 44% and Labour 25% - is relevant to a General Election. Turnout is traditionally lower, the governing party traditionally has a harder time motivating its core vote and 44% of a 40% turnout is only around 18% of the total electorate. You can probably assume that, come a General Election, the Tories will lose around a fifth of that 44% and Labour will gain around a fifth of that 25%. That would put the share around 30-32% Labour and 36-38% Tories - nowhere near enough to see an outright Tory win. Add on to that the fact that the Tories General Election vote is heavily centred on England - and southern England at that - and the possibility of the Tories winning the next General Election remains small.

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