Yesterday there were five council by-elections in which both Tories and Labour stood. The overall swing to Conservatives was estimated at 3.8%. Hardly definitive judgement on Corbyn’s leadership, but at a time when the Tories are running a horse and cart through the benefit system hardly grounds for optimism either.
And the bad news for Labour doesn’t end with a few parish newsletter items from a handful of seats either. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman highlights boundary changes that could truss the Labour Party in England for a generation or more:
Two months into Ed Miliband’s leadership, Labour averaged 39 per cent in the polls. They got 31 per cent of the vote in 2015. Two months into Tony Blair’s leadership, Labour were on 53 per cent of the vote. They got 43 per cent of the vote. A month and a half into Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour is on 31 per cent of the vote. A Blair-style drop of ten points would see the Tories net 388 seats under the new boundaries, with Labour on 131. A smaller Miliband-style drop would give the Conservatives 364, and leave Labour with 153 MPs.
A bad time to lose Scotland to the nationalist SNP, Labour is also getting outflanked by an increasingly narrow English nationalist and anti immigrant rhetoric south of the border which pours out of the front pages of the Daily Mail.