Saturday 8 May 2021

The writing is on the wall(paper)

Well, that's that, all bar the shouting and some predicatable Staffordshire county results. It was a great set of election results for the Conservatives, bar the likely result in London.

Taking it on a timeline:

First up was Labour being crushed in the big Hartlepool by-election, as we all now know. The Conservatives reportedly won the seat by a landslide 7,000 majority.

Then on Friday came the laugh-out-loud news that Conservatives 'make history' with Stoke-on-Trent by-election win, taking the 'safe' seat of the city's former Labour leader Mohammed Pervez.

Later on Friday evening came the more predictable Police & Fire Commissioner result. Conservative Ben Adams romps home as new Staffordshire Commissioner. Reform UK (former Brexit Party) were also on the ballot there, but very few had a clue who they were among the various micro-parties and tendencies of similar name. Reform, Reclaim, Realise, Reboot, Resist, Revive... who has a clue which is which? They might as well be ReRe and her Performing Rabbits, as far as most voters are concerned.

On later prodding the news engines, good news then popped out from across the Midlands. Local councils in Bromsgrove, Nuneaton, Walsall, Cannock — and even the Black Country 'key town' of Dudley — had come over to the Conservatives. Five seats in Wolverhampton were also quietly voted to the Conservatives. Parts of Tipton such as Great Bridge have gone Conservative, which would have been utterly unthinkable 20 years ago. The Conservative mayor of Birmingham is also fairly certain to be re-elected. Cheshire also seems certain to elect a Conservative Police & Fire Commissioner.

Predictably, no media outlet outside Stoke bothered to mention Stoke. Which, in a way, is good. When Stoke votes Conservative, it's now just 'to be expected' and is no longer national or even regional news.

Where does Labour go now? Frankly, who cares? Outside London they're now about as important as Boris's choice of wallpaper.

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