Even bigger trouble than they fear.
The Daily Mirror’s Paul Routledge reports from Wakefield in West Yorkshire. That’s a Labour tabloid, he’s a hardcore Labour journalist, and Wakefield has been Labour since 1932, the kind of place which votes for the proverbial donkey with a red rosette. What does he find?
“I talked to people in the market, along Cathedral Walk, and no one had a good word to say about Jezza. Most expressed respect, admiration even, for Theresa May […]
Coming up Cathedral Walk, lifelong Labour voters John and Carole Foster, both 66, both confirmed they are switching to the Tories.
“I think it’s very good we’re having an election,” said Carole.
“I have been Labour all my life, but I’ll be voting Tory. I think Theresa May is brilliant. Labour is in a mess.”
The whole piece is like that. It’s less reportage and more a cry of despair. YouGov has just published a poll which puts the Tories on 48% and Labour on 24%. That’s a greater difference than in the 1983 General Election, which is regarded as a Tory landslide. It’s a much greater difference than in 1997, which is regarded as a Labour landslide.
Bear in mind that polls historically overrate Labour. Actual Labour votes usually come in below expectations.
There’s something else. This is a Brexit election. Nothing can change that. The Tories are the party of Brexit. They’ve put themselves on the side of the 52%. The LibDems have positioned themselves as the party of Remain. They’re all out to snap up the 48% vote. Labour is squeezed in the middle, muddled, incoherent and without anything to say about it.
I’m sensing now that Brexiteers and Ukippers will break Tory, Remainers will happily vote LibDem, and the polls aren’t fully showing this. The talking heads are saying that any Labour MP with a majority of 5000 is vulnerable. I put it higher than that, maybe even 10,000. We know that the Tories will win comfortably on 8th June, but it’s looking even worse than Labour fears.