The local elections on 3 May contained no real surprises. A disappointing loss for the Conservatives, a great number of calls for Nick Clegg to quit, and the inevitable Labour victories against a government which is facing its lowest popularity since the election. Despite the results of the vote, it does not conclusively prove that Labour is likely to win the next general election.
The future-telling potential of the local elections may be doubted from one simple fact: only one in three voters made the short walk to the polling station to cast a ballot. What can the great oracle that is the local elections tell us? In laymen’s terms, it is that voters are apathetic and simply fed up with politics as a whole.
Despite Labour’s impressive gains across a number of key councils, including victories in Birmingham, Southampton, Harlow and Thurrock (the latter two being traditional Tory strongholds), they still failed to make any great gains across the south. North of the border, Labour lost ground to the constant march of Alex Salmond’s nationalists. Of course, compare this with the decisive losses suffered by the Conservatives and it is no wonder that Labour are trumpeting their new found credibility as a viable alternative.
Once the dust settles though, Labour has forgotten that local elections cannot be used to judge national elections. As Boris Johnson’s victory in London has proved, the Conservative party is far from defeated. Rather, it just needs a slightly bumbling figurehead to lead them instead of a pair of Eton schoolboys (though give me Dave over Nadine any day).
Another worry for Labour: is Ed really the right man for the job? There are a number of people who still doubt his leadership, even after this month’s elections. If it was wet, windy and cold, would you really trek 10 minutes around the corner to vote for the younger of the Milibands? I certainly would not.
Only time will tell, but remember this: 2015 is a long way off. After all, as Prince Charles reading the weather has demonstrated, anything is possible these days. Even a coalition comeback.