Local elections are supposed to be about deciding who controls councils, but the results this year reflect both the overall balance of support for the main parties in England and the increasing social and geographical divisions between them.
The 4407 seats up for election yesterday come from a mainly urban set of 150 (out of 326) councils in England. They were last fought in 2014, at the same time as the European Parliament elections. Back then Ed Miliband managed just a 2 point lead in the BBC local elections Projected National Share of the vote (PNS). The swing in the PNS since 2014 this year is 1 point to the Tories. As a result, the Conservatives and Labour are equally on 35 per cent in the PNS. So these local election results confirm the impressions from the opinion polls of both the levels and trends in support for the two main parties.
Opposition parties normally win local elections. Since records began, albeit only since 1982, the oppositions that have gone on to win the next general election have won double digit leads in all the preceding local elections, starting with those in the immediate post-election year. Not only is Labour far from having a 10-point lead, the fact that it has no lead at all should be deeply disappointing.
The British Election Study claims there was no “youthquake” last June. It’s wrong
With many thanks to: Prospect Magazine for the origional story.