Tuesday, April 29, 2008
What will the story be this Thursday?
In the 2007 local elections my party beat all predictions to the number of gains we would make, breaking records and sealing our gains in 2006.
Local elections are a crucial real-world test of public opinion and at a time when polls have been showing a sharp jump inTory support and a falling back of interest in the other two parties it is very useful to be able to back up the pollsters with actual voting results.
Since the mid 1990's Labour have lost nearly half their local councillors, from a high of over 10,000 to around 5,500 today.
Needless to say speculation is running high that thursday will be a bloodbath for Labour, with talk of vote shares in the low '20s and results matching their worst ever in 1968 but my view is that things might not be that bloody for Labour on the night.
Partly this is because in many of the places we are in with a shout of winning we have hardly any serious campaigning power; in some northern city suberbs we have barely a skeleton network of grass roots activists, and local Government is not inspiring a new generation of activists either, they will work for 'Dave' at the next GE but leafletting over council bin collections is not what they want to do these days.
Then there is the fact that I think the Liberal Democrats have at last recognised that their best chance of survival lies not in continually tying up resources attemptiong to unseat Tory councillors in the South but in picking low hanging fruit in the North - and accordingly I do expect them to have something to celebrate on Friday morning (although as my previous post alludes to, not in the London Mayoral contest where I think they are in for a drubbing).
How well will we actually do? I hope three figure gains - 100 would be enough for me; but not as well as the papers want. I am expecting 'Tories disappointed' headlines on Friday and over the weekend presaging a let-up of the negative pressure on Brwon for the time being.
Fun to speculate, not long to wait.