Updated: Aug 9, 2018
Let's not kid ourselves. Mid-term councilor elections are not the most thrilling events on one's calendar. Certainly there was more interest than before, around 44% up from around 40% last time. There may be more votes than before, but also, as the pundits and BBC big-wig editors are so fond of telling us, the results appear indecisive.
Now I may not be the most experienced interpreter of political results, but I will tell you something for free, and I am also willing to bet on what I am saying. The results are telling us a story, and the Tories are ignoring the message at their own risk. You see the lines on the Brexit question are now becoming clearer. In the last elections they were mixed. Labour's indecisiveness cost them votes, but they also gained.
Brexiteers with a natural inclination to socialism could still support Labour, while the hardcore elements could support UKIP, even though they are even further to the right than their natural arch-enemies, the Tories. But Labour has since managed to wake up the youth voters, (as I father of a teenage daughter I can tell you its not easy before 11 a.m on a Saturday.) Sadly this section of the electorate arrived too late to make a difference to the Brexit referendum.
So what is the message of these elections? Firstly, if there are any political pundits that think these elections have any value whatsoever as a predictor of the national elections in 2022, then I for one would like to check their credentials. They do not, so BBC stop wasting our time by grilling your guests on the meaning of life. We live in a world where a lie on Russian involvement, or an anti-Semitic accusation can make an impact if they occur within a week of the elections. Conversely, a major event that costs lives, such as the Grenfell tower fire appear to have lost all their influence on voters, because it took place so .. so long ago.
But as secondary as dustbin collections may be to a society, these elections tell us another story. The UKIP supporters were more than just a windfall for the Conservatives. In my opinion they represent the hardcore Brexiteers, the "no deal is better .. group", that now swell the ranks of the right. Make no mistake, Mrs. May, betray them and you will pay dearly in any future national elections.
Conversely, there is one group that has not shied away from the their position on Brexit, and that is the Lib-Dems. They will do or say anything to have another referendum. Together with the Greens, they represent a more liberal section of Labour. These results were very good to them, hurting the Conservatives in areas such as Richmond, in ways that even Labour could not in London. The message: "If you really want to thwart Brexit, we are the only ones you can trust"
As for Labour, Mr. Corbyn, you do have a problem, and part of it seems to be the media. There are those, even within the BBC political arena that have an almost pathological dislike of you. Laura Kuenssberg may have toned down her rhetoric, but that snide smile and expression of glee that shows on her face whenever Corbyn comes into the line of fire betrays her. Additionally, Jo Coburn with her "right but .." relentless style of questioning of her guests on trivia in the pursuit of anti-Corbynism is no longer a secret. By contrast, the new (I say new but they are appearing more regularly on programs like Newsnight, and Sunday Politics) such as Sarah Smith and Evan Davis seem to be more impartial in their reporting!
To Labour my message is this. Brexit has polarized the nation. At the moment, the fact that you represent in part, Remainers, stands you in good stead. Together with groups like SNP and the LibDems it is easy to see that you are the majority. But there is a section of natural Labour supporters currently tied up in the LibDem vote. They may not be your guns but they are still pointed at your enemy, the Tories. Until Brexit issues are resolved you are unlikely to get these voters back in any meaningful way, but as with UKIP, when it is over they are your supporters.
Assuming you can eliminate this anti-Semitic branding you seem to have picked up, (which I believe is has been exaggerated by some) there is one message you haven't succeeded in convincing the electorate, and I must admit I am one. We want a better commitment and indication that you will not go haywire when you control the purse strings of the nation.
I repeat my earlier message. The trick is not necessarily to own the utilities and the railways. The trick is to control them through much better and more forceful government regulatory bodies. Furthermore there is nothing wrong in principle with private sector participation, just force them to be more open in their management and control their profitability. Put government watchdogs as members of their boards that will control things like how much they will pay themselves. That's it people. Till next time