Posted by: secretperson | May 2, 2008

Local Election Night

Looking very good for the Tories. The BBC has live coverage here. I’ve just been watching some of the reults come in on TV (I never would have thought a few years ago I’d be up late before work because of local elections!).

Everyone knew there would be Tory gains, but it is looking better than expected for them, with the Predicted National Share (extrapolation to how a national vote would have gone from the partial results we have) as Conservative 44%, Labour 24% and Lib Dem 25%. This would be Labour’s lowest vote in 40 years, and pushed in to third. The Lib Dems would be happy to be second, but there vote share has still dropped.

What has been interesting has been the reaction of the politicians in the studio. Labour, expecting to do badly, has no big hitters out to comment, I have seen Tessa Jowell and Ed Miliband. George Osborne and William Hague for the Tories have popped in, Vince Cable seems to be the Lib Dem representative (though this might change).

Labour’s line, which everyone interviewed has stuck to furiously, is they need to start listening. ‘The British people want a Labour government who listens’ or something similar. Well I don’t think they will like what they hear. That is of course if they don’t just repeat ‘we are going to listen’ till the next election. They have also tried to play it as a vote against the World Economic Crisis, which is of course not a vote against Gordon Brown, who is only responsible for the well being of the economy when it is doing well, and even more certainly not a vote for the Conservatives.

The Conservative line is that this shows they can win votes accross the country. Wins in Bury, Southampton and Nuneaton are being held up as North, South and Middle. They of course believe it is a positive vote for the Conservatives.

The Lib Dems claim to be especting a drop compared to 2004, when these seats were last fought, as they were benefitting from the Iraq effect then. They are pointing to a few instances of wins against expected Tory gains in the south. I suspect they will move onto the higher PVS than Labour as the main selling point.

Interesting how all the politicians interviewed (there weren’t many Lib Dems) accross the country rolled out the same lines, often almost word for word. The ‘unspun’ Gordon Brown’s team must have been up last night thinking of excuses for a poor performance. Fun though it is to watch the results come in, if I had to hear another Labour MP talk about listening to people I might go mad, so it is bed for me.

It is worth remembering that Labour will get much more of the vote in a general election, they always do, so what is interesting is not so much the percentages, but the swing from previous years, and this is obviously a low point for Labour. If they want to win the next election, they will have to make serious changes!

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