Meanwhile, over in England …

… elections were held for local offices and the Conservatives took a major shellacking, losing 1,269 seats leaving them currently holding 3,559. Labour lost too but just 63 seats, leaving them with 2,020, but they must be disappointed that the disgruntled Conservative voters did not switch to them. The big winners were the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and assorted others who gained 676, 185, and 285 seats respectively. This is a resurrection of sorts for the Liberal Democrats, who had been given up for dead after being thoroughly repudiated in the last national elections following their disastrous coalition with David Cameron’s Conservative party.

It is clear that the voters are fed up with the Conservatives in general. But another question is what these results suggest about the country’s mood on Brexit. In the absence of a second referendum, people are looking at votes such as this as possible proxies to gauge sentiment but that is not an easy task since the parties represent more than just Brexit, and even on that issue the parties hardly speak with a unified voice. The Ukip party is the closest to a single issue party that led the charge for Brexit. It lost 36 seats to end up with just 31 but their numbers are too small to be a good gauge. The next possible proxy gauge vote will the elections to the European parliament to be held on May 23, when the UK will elect 73 people to that body that consists of 751 members from 28 countries.

The local election losses seem to have rattled the Conservatives and Labour parties sufficiently to pressure them to make a deal on Brexit and both parties are making noises in that direction. Conservatives are especially anxious since they do not want to take part in the elections to the EU parliament but must unless they can pass a deal in parliament by May 22. The rest of the EU countries must also be watching the UK elections for the EU parliament with some concern because there is a chance that a disgruntled electorate vote in die-hard Brexit supporters who see their main role as to disrupt proceedings.


  1. file thirteen says

    What bemuses me is how Labour and the Conservatives are trying to spin this as “this is a sign that fed up voters just want us to deliver Brexit already”, rather than viewing it as a backlash from people who want to remain in the EU. Do they really think that it isn’t the latter?

  2. KG says

    Do they really think that it isn’t the latter?

    No, of course not. They could reasonably argue that the results indicate there isn’t an overwhelming clamour to remain in the EU, or for a second referendum, since the majority still voted either Tory or Labour, and turnout was around 1/3. But the claim they are making (Labour leaders slightly less explicitly than Tory ones) just shows they are liars*. Obviously, if the two main parties had done well, that would also have been interpreted as a vote for Brexit, just as the 2017 general election was (try to imagine May or Corbyn saying “This result means the people want another referendum.”).

    *But we knew that already.

  3. KG says

    Incidentally, despite the noises about a deal, I think on balance one is unlikely, at least before the European elections. Both leaderships would risk splitting their parties even more than at present.

  4. mnb0 says

    “they must be disappointed”
    Then they’ve lost contact with (political) reality as well. As I (and not only I) have pointed out a couple of times Labour and especially your hero Jeremy Corbin (confirming your political naivity) never made clear how they would have handled the Brexit, let alone better than May.

    “who had been given up for dead”
    That was not exactly the first time. The LibDems always do best when the electorate is fed up with the two biggies.

    “what these results suggest about the country’s mood on Brexit”
    Nothing. Only a small percentage (considerably less than 50%) of the electorate cared to vote.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Corbin [and Labour] never made clear how they would have handled the Brexit, let alone better than May.

    Why would they? It makes no sense for the opposition to set out in detail what they’d do, unless there’s a general election in the offing (and even then, vague promises are better than specifics).

    I mean, I call them “the opposition”, but that is massively flattering the current Labour party. 16 million people in this country voted for exactly the same thing -- Remain. Labour (in the persons of their leadership) point blank refuses to represent them. Meanwhile, 17 million people voted for what it looks like was at least 17 different things, on which nobody can agree, and Labour don’t represent ANY of them, either, and neither do the Tories.

    There is only one coherent bloc of voters in this country, and that is the people who voted Remain. That they are reduced to voting Lib Dem -- the only mainstream, grownup party advocating for Remain -- as some sort of protest is a scandal. That the two larger parties have the sheer brass neck to claim that this massive rejection means the public wants them to get on with delivering Brexit makes me want to start shooting people.

  6. file thirteen says

    @mnb0, do you often feel you’re unfairly accused of being naive yourself? You seem fixated on hurling it at Mano, quite baselessly too. In fact you seem to merely want to use the word as a term of abuse. If you’re not just trolling, perhaps you could stick to arguing the points he makes, rather than honing your anger at things he might have said that upset you in the past?

  7. KG says

    Lib Dem — the only mainstream, grownup party advocating for Remain -- sonofrojblake@5

    A grownup party would take seriously the overwhelmingly most important issue facing humanity: climate change. And by “take seriously”, I mean pursue policies that are commensurate with the scale of the threat.

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