Labour is expected to make serious gains – but will that really happen?
It’s election time once again in the UK, and it’s the local council elections. The most unsexy elections you could possibly dream about, people will be putting Xs next to the best promises about bin collections and dog fouling. There will be barely any fighting, no complaining, no ‘but you said you’d donate £35 to the youth centre, it was on the side of that bus!’, just a low turnout ballot that will be barely worth bothering with.
However! I’m still trying to get into the spirit of the whole thing, so with that in mind, I bring the latest edition of what will hopefully be a fixed feature on Off the Party Line – the official predictions.
This is the second time we bring you official election predictions from OTPL Towers (my house), the last one being the general election in 2017. My son had just been born and I was tired…that’s my excuse…
What will certainly be a feature of these predictions will be a full run down of my previous predictions. This is to make sure you are completely aware of just how terrible I am at this, and therefore how little stock you should put in it. If you’re a betting person, your best chance to win is by betting against every single thing I say. So here we go – previous predictions:
US ELECTION 2016
Trump to win the popular vote by a whisker
Clinton to win the Presidency by 40+ electoral college votes
Leave – 45%
Remain – 55%
UK GENERAL ELECTION 2015
Hung Parliament with Labour the largest (but only just) minority party – Labour to form minority government.
UK GENERAL ELECTION 2017
Conservative and Unionist majority – 43 seats
So…er…yeeeeeh. I’m not good at this. I did call the Scotland referendum right, but I never wrote that down, so I won’t count it. But even so, my general pattern is poor.
I don’t know the latest (as in today’s) poll numbers, as I am writing a few days before the actual polling day and releasing on Thursday (election day). But I can’t imagine they’ll change all that much. Yes, I am getting my excuses in early, but I’m owning it.
These are more difficult to call than generals or referendums because they’re so bitty and fragmented. Also, national polling has little to no effect on the individual outcomes, so getting an overall picture is a nightmare. Polling data, particularly around the mayoral elections, has been tricky to get hold of.
Without further ado, then, here are my predictions:
Labour currently dominates, with 21 councils controlled to the Conservatives’ 9 and the Lib Dems’ 1 (a further 1 council has no overall control). There seems to be no reason to think the Lib Dems will lose control of that one, so I’ll call a LD hold there. But the rest is interesting. There is a huge poll lead for Labour, but they are mired in their anti-semitism row at the moment. The current thinking is a big Labour gain, and the Tories are very worried about it, but I think that may be getting overplayed. I’m going to go bold and defy the polls. Final decision:
Labour – 20 councils controlled
Conservative and Unionist – 7 councils controlled
Liberal Democrats – 1 council controlled
No overall control – 4
There are 4 boroughs where the whole council is up for election (the rest only have a third up for election, so I shan’t make any predictions on those). Labour holds all of them and I think I’d be a fool and a downright contrarian to think these will be anything other than Labour holds. Final decision:
Labour – all 4 held
There is only 1 up for full election – Kingston-upon-Hull. Again, the rest are only partial elections, so I will refrain. It’s an absolute no-brainer. Final decision:
This one is more interesting. There is a real mix of opinion on these and a real mix of current holders. There are 7 whole councils up for election – polling would suggest Labour gains, but I’m not so sure. Final decision:
Labour – 2 councils controlled
Conservative and Unionist – 3 councils controlled
Liberal Democrats – 2 councils controlled
There are 6 mayoral contests, most of which are already held by Labour and one brand new position. It’s very difficult to get reliable polling data on these, so in theory I’m predicting a little blind – however most are in London, and therefore most likely to go/stay Labour. There is a Lib Dem in there that I expect to hold. Final decision:
Labour – 5 mayors
Liberal Democrats – 1 mayor
So there we have it. Local elections are always good for Labour, and they probably will be again, but I predict much more resistance to Labour than is expected. It will be good, but not that good. Tune in to my next blog where I explain why I was wrong.