Clutching at straws the morning after, the loathsome Toby Young has decided that the third place in elections to the European Parliament (EP) by his team – that would be Young Dave and his jolly good chaps – is a better position that the second place recorded by Labour. Moreover, it means Mil The Younger is in the same deep trouble that the Murdoch Times claimed before any result was announced.
In this, Tobes is faithfully following the script dictated to him by CCHQ, but he fails miserably to back it up, or to take any notice of reality. He talks of Labour’s “lacklustre showing in the local elections”, but the party picked up well north of 300 seats and took control of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which may cause him more than the odd little local scholastic difficulty.
Then, as demanded for anyone given a pulpit by the Telegraph, he goes immediately into barrel-scraping mode with a personal attack on Miliband: “an electoral liability. He just doesn't look like a winner ... collapse of discipline in the parliamentary Labour party ... under fire from armchair generals in the shadow cabinet”. Yes, Tobes is on bullshit autopilot. So let me put him straight.
The Conservative Party – that’s your party, Tobes – has been in existence around 180 years. It had, until yesterday, not polled outside the top two in any national election. Not even at low points like 1945, 1997 and 2001. But in this year’s EP elections, the Tories fell outside the top two. Yet this does not merit a mention by Tobes – or, indeed, anyone else writing at the Tel.
No, all their fire is directed at Miliband, because he “only” came second, which is held to be rubbish. Again, let me put some of those facts into the discussion. At the 2009 EP elections, Labour came third. The party went on to lose power the following year. In 2004, however, with the saintly Tone at the helm, Labour recorded 2.8% less vote share in the EP elections than this year.
And what happened at the General Election the year after? Labour won a Parliamentary majority of over 60. The Tories have come third for the first time in the party’s history. Their organisation at constituency level – as demonstrated during the Eastleigh by-election – is somewhere between poor and laughable. Party membership has declined to a level where, in parts of the country, it is negligible.
After last week’s local election results, it is coming clear that the Tories do not have a credible route to a majority Government next year. As for all that wonderful economic news that Tobes believes will keep on coming, what does he expect will happen when the inevitable rise in interest rates makes the “cost of living crisis” articulated by Miliband into a grim reality for tens of thousands of swing voters?
Saying “the other lot are rubbish” will not advance Tobes’ cause one millimetre.