Labour suffers big council losses
Posted by That Other Mike on 02/05/2008
BBC research suggests the party has fallen into third place nationally with 24% of votes, with the Conservatives on 44% and Lib Dems on 25%.
So far Labour has lost more than 160 seats with the Tories gaining 147.
Conservative leader David Cameron called it a “big moment”. Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the results were “very disappointing indeed”.
But Labour’s chief whip Geoff Hoon insisted there was “no crisis” for Gordon Brown.
The margin is similar to the drubbing received by Tory Prime Minister John Major in council elections in 1995, two years before he was ejected from Downing Street by Tony Blair.
Local elections are a somewhat useful thermometer for the general health of government; by this measure, it appears the Brown regime has colon cancer.
Nothing much will change, inasmuch as actual policy is concerned; local government powers are actually mostly limited to administration and the like. Setting their own budgets is about as powerful as most of them get, so the effects may consist at most of some kind of slow down, and even that’s not a given.
The larger effect will be in a kind of feedback loop – the people don’t like the Government and inflict a massive blow on its credibility, which causes more people to consider voting outside the Labour field, and so on.
I’m trying to think of an apt simile here, but it escapes me; that aside, the Brown government is on its way out.