The results of the local elections were a nightmare that presages a defeat in the general elections

The local elections were a disaster for Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party and it is totally wrong to put another spin on them. However, the excuses keep coming.

It was just about London and a broader realignment, the Tories claim; they made up for it by doing well at the Red Wall; there has been a surge in college graduates who are somehow now guaranteed to vote left; the fact that Labor did not do it particularly strongly outside of London is what really matters; and people were simply angry about a short-term set of circumstances outside the government’s control.

Keep calm and carry on, say the ostriches: the sub-Blairist left-right strategy of tax and spending will pay off in the end.

This is crazy, and all these claims and excuses are wrong. Yes, there were bright spots for the Tories, like nuneatonbut they lost close to 500 seats overall, tearing apart the coalition they have been patiently building and inadvertently reverting to a disastrous early 2010s-style 35 percent strategy, albeit with a different demographic.

It’s not just in London that the Tories performed woefully: they didn’t do well enough at the Red Wall either, and that was even before the cost-of-living crisis hit them full blast.

Yes, Labor’s local performance was disappointing – it lost seats in areas like Barnsley, plus Hull council to the Lib Dems. But Labor took Kirklees, Rossendale and two-thirds of the seats in the newly formed Cumberlandwhere the Tories have three deputies.

They also have 20 MPs in Wales and Scotland, half of them working-class majority – their performance here too was a disaster.

Wales voted Leave and experienced a partial Conservative revival which has now been reversed. The Welsh Tories lost their only council and nearly half their seats. They had also established themselves as the best unionist alternative to the SNP in Scotland, but fell back to third place. The party could survive by losing 10 seats in the capital if it won even more elsewhere, but losing that plus another dozen in the devolved nations, the same number on the Red Wall and another dozen on the blue wall would put Sir Keir Starmer (or a more convincing successor) at Number 10 leading a left-wing coalition.

That’s also why highlighting Labour’s somewhat lackluster turnout makes no sense: the Tories need an outright majority of seats in Westminster, but Labor doesn’t; it would simply form a coalition with the SNP and Lib Dems. Nicola Sturgeon would call the shots. Given Sinn Fein’s success in Northern Ireland, the Union cannot stand any more chaos.

Even if it were true that Red Wall is uniquely loyal to Boris Johnson, the post-Brexit coalition is not limited to the northern working class, but also relies on support from traditional Tories, including suburban, rural and aspirational, and should include young people who want to buy a house and build a family.

It is no coincidence that many of those lost seats in London contain large numbers of Millennials living in rented accommodation, and the painful failure of a government in power for 12 years to tackle the absurd cost of housing is the main reason for their self destruction.

A triangulation strategy that tries to appease everyone, avoiding offending anyone, is alienating those who should be natural conservatives but who increasingly lack a stake in the system.

Meanwhile, the green agenda has not reaped any electoral benefits: the Conservatives continue to lose high-earning college graduates, the target group, while angering others.

The thrashing in London felt the hardest in the areas they should have swept, and they were completely or almost completely annihilated in many other areas of the capital.

In Richmond, the Tories have just a councilor leftdown from 39 in 2014. The very fact that they simultaneously elected Harrow council and Croydon mayor suggests the night needn’t have been such a bad one; on the contrary, it is routinely forgotten that 40 per cent of the capital voted to Leave (44 per cent in Greenwich, now with only three blue councillors), and the local problems of crime, taxes and low-traffic neighborhoods should play the game. to a populist center-right targeting working-class and lower-middle-class voters of all backgrounds. .

It’s maddening that the Conservatives have failed to engage with suburban Londoners, instead implementing policies (oddly often dictated by the Mayor of London and London councils) that make life more difficult for their former core constituency and expensive.

Last Thursday was not a realignment, it was a national disaster. It was also the start of something worse: The pain has just begun for Red Wall voters.

If the Bank of England is only half right in its predictions, we are headed for a recession at the end of this year that will combine rising unemployment with catastrophic inflation, a cruel mix that brought Britain to its knees in the 1990s. 1970. Never mind that the left opposition alliance proposes even worse solutions: the trajectory of a Tory government raising taxes while tripling bills is ominously predictable.

Unless the government changes direction very quickly, these local results will herald much worse to come.

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