Labour’s local election struggles forebode ballot box annihilation

EDITORIAL

DESPITE Boris Johnson’s political struggles, Labour have remained in the electoral doldrums.

Some double-digit poll leads have calmed PLP nerves about the electoral appeal of Sir Keir Starmer following an underwhelming opening year.

Why, then, have Labour consistently struggled at the ballot box under his tenure?

The 2021 local elections were bad enough. Thursday’s set of results – as No 10 faced more resignations and the PM more letters of no confidence – are baffling to some.

Ancoats and Beswick is a special case, of course. In December Maria Hutchinson quit six months into her term after claiming to be “treated differently” as one of the only black councillors.

But it’s not the only one. There’s a clear trend.

Labour just hold the seat while bucking the national trend. Tories up?

A clear third place in Dacorum.

Tamworth didn’t make great reading either, despite the lack of a UKIP presence.

Starmer, of course, was leader when Labour made a net loss of 327 councillors in last year’s local elections.

It’s a clear sign that national polls actually indicate people are voting against Boris Johnson, and not for Starmer.

As the largest opposition party, it’s naturally the home for anti-Tory votes.

But will this still be the case in any General Election?

For the upcoming locals, at least – where seats in 146 councils in England, including all of London, are up for grabs – it makes grim reading for Labour centrists.

Starmer’s attack on the membership has disenfranchised many, and discouraged scores of potential canvassers.

While former leader Jeremy Corbyn was toxic to a portion of voters, others could be swayed on the doorstep through conversation.

But if the only exposure to Labour that a voter gets is Starmer’s QC-lite act on TV, why bother turning out?


Featured Image: Kettering Labour Party

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