The above caption from Owen Jones gives some actually accurate, pertinent observations on the results for Labour so far in the Local Elections. Yet what is the media, Tories’ and internal critics’ mantra? “Bad night for Labour!”. No. It. Wasn’t. Once again I refer people to what Owen Jones says. Also, what Clwyd South Labour party said last week in an article dated April 26th 2018, about how the narrative is being spun, is both inevitable and deeply worrying at the same time-i.e. We live in a democracy, so WHY is the almost universal media narrative as it is?!
You can read the article in full BY CLICKING HERE, but it is worth sharing the opening lines with you again:
“OK, listen up Labour supporters…the new(ish) angle from the haters (I choose that word carefully-not those who offer constructive comment, pro or anti) is going to be the old ‘divide & conquer’ attempt. There is almost certainly going to be a wider narrative tagged onto whatever the Local Election results are next week. This narrative will be something like “Even his own, most die-hard supporters are now seeing that Jeremy Corbyn has taken the project as far has he can and it’s time for new blood…his supporters are getting frustrated by him being side-tracked by all these issues of him not dealing with anti-Semitism, saying Assad is not responsible for the chemical attacks, supporting Putin etc”.
“That will be the broad narrative. How will it be tied into the Local Election results? Well, Labour did very well last time these particular seats came up for election. There are not a huge amount of gains to be made! So, even if Labour perform ‘well’ or ‘relatively well’, it will be viewed as a failure.”
Again we should focus on the facts here: Labour had its best result for 47 years (according to Jones, above), while the Tories their worst in London since 1971. We should also, in both positive and negative ways, remember these are Local Elections where local issues can play a much more significant role than in General Elections.
However, as the media is judging Labour in terms of a General Election picture, let us take Swindon as just one example-Labour didn’t ‘win’, but won the popular vote-this is hugely significant in the sense that were this a General Election, Labour would have gained that seat. Usually, the party that wins Swindon often goes on to win the General Election. Labour won in Plymouth-to the anger and dismay of the local Tory MP (CLICK HERE). What is also not factored in when judging this in potential General Election terms is that according to the latest polling from Survation (one of the few pollsters to get the 2017 General Election result correct), Scottish voters are very much in favour of the policies of new Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard (CLICK HERE); the recovery in Scotland appears to be going much faster with Survation also finding Scotland would very much prefer a Labour government over a Conservative one (CLICK HERE).
Indeed, if this was a General Election, Labour would now be forming a government! As you can see by CLICKING HERE. Some bad night, eh???!!!
Here in Wales, from the grassroots upwards, it is very clearly moving towards the policy ideas and political space Jeremy Corbyn has created at the UK-wide level. In terms of electoral potential, these are very exciting times for Labour, not the other way around as the common mainstream pundit/media/Corbyn-haters so desperately want you to believe.
For example, Dan Hodges, who writes for The Daily Mail while laughably claiming he is from the ‘Left’, and Nick Cohen who writes for The Spectator ditto the ‘Left’ claims, are absolutely and totally obsessed with Jeremy Corbyn and bringing him down at any cost to the point of genuine worry for their health. Such is their inexplicable hate for our leader, I am surprised they have yet to out Corbyn as Jack The Ripper or name him as the second gunman on the grassy knoll re Kennedy’s assassination. Labour activists too are portrayed as ‘invading’ or ‘flooding in’ or ‘trying to take over’ when out campaigning. “Obvioulsy we don’t have the volume of activists on the ground, such as Labour & the Momentum lot” to paraphrase Claire Perry the Tory MP who was on the BBC last night. WHY haven’t you Claire? WHY have Labour? Ever stepped back to ask yourself these questions? Is it because the mainstream media do that job for you? Or because hardly any individuals, by comparison, want to? Both is probably the answer.
Then, of course, is the total collapse of UKIP, with the pattern of the 2017 General Election results seemingly being replicated in these Local Election results-i.e. two thirds of UKIP voters going to the Tories, one third to Labour. This alone tells you how far right (to us) the Conservative party now stand. Where I do think Labour can improve is in the predominantly Leave areas, in the towns and suburbs. All elections at the moment also have the non-usual, highly significant fact of Brexit hovering in the background-this is the context as to why Labour are not more points ahead in national polls-as a generalisation, Leavers and especially ‘Hard’ Brexiteers tend to support the Conservatives, while Remainers tend to gravitate towards Labour (It is also why the Lib Dems have improved in these elections).
What we also have to factor in is the trial of the voter ID process (CLICK HERE), to apparently address the issue of voter registration fraud, which according to this report from the Electoral Commission (CLICK HERE), totalled 33 votes. 33 is too many of course, but, really?! This is of course purely political from the Tories as the lower the turnout, the better they think their chances are. Hence them very rarely promoting people to register to vote. I am not against Voter ID in theory, providing literally everyone is included. Including the homeless.
However, I do not think it should be done… 1. For cultural reasons-other countries have done it for years and, generally, have higher voter turn out. We are struggling to hit decent figures (though as more people are engaged now, it’s improving) without the added complication of ID. Plus the already-seen hostility and arguments-people are very angry at the moment, and that anger is often coming out in the wrong places. 2. Cost. We cannot afford to house, feed, respect, nurture our population etc, according to the government (rubbish of course, but that’s their claim). So why consider spending millions on this now?! 3. The government have been shown to be incredibly incompetent re admin issues as is-do you honestly have faith in them to work this out?! 4. It is being done for entirely political reasons, as mentioned above.
So, while inevitably there were some disappointments last night (it was an election after all! 🙂 ), once again please read the Owen Jones caption above. Please also read (or re-read) our article from last week (CLICK HERE). Absolutely nobody should be complacent about these things, and we must always listen to our voters and try and address their issues, but neither should we allow ourselves to be demoralised by an agenda-driven media and haters. The best example of this is Jeremy Corbyn himself-his measured, thoughtful, inclusive, life-experience approach IS why you see so many lies, so much abuse, so many character assassinations thrown at him. They won’t grind him down, and as long as we do not allow them to divide and conquer, they will not succeed with us either. I totally get how demoralising and exhausting it can be at times-you do have to have VERY thick skin to be on the Left. Also, if you are having a bad day, or a crisis of confidence, don’t berate yourself too much. It happens to us all. Embrace it, and remember the things discussed here and why you are trying to change things for the better.
I hate to tell you so, but anything worth fighting for is never easy. I would like to thank, support and praise all those in the Labour family who have given so much time, expertise, emotion, passion and determination to our broader cause. Be proud that you have helped deliver the best Local Election results for 47 years (according to Jones, above). Not that you would know that clicking online, listening to the radio, watching the TV or reading a newspaper.
Solidarity with you all. The people united will never be defeated.
Adam Samuels – Clwyd South Media & Community Engagement Representative