After yesterday’s round of local elections have come the claims as to who won, who lost, and why the results went the way they did. The only glaring certainty from the information now before us is that new-look and more bigoted UKIP had the kind of meltdown that comes with heading off to the far right and losing most of its funding.
Labour might have done better in some parts of the country at the expense of the Tories. But for The Blue Team, just being relieved not to have lost more seats was not enough. They had to blame someone in The Red Team. And who better to blame than the campaigner who scares the shit out of them? Yes, it was Owen Jones’ fault.
And that this was an organised attack was not hard to notice, given its amateurish and dishonest nature. After Jones had reflected “Almost everywhere that @PeoplesMomentum held #Unseat campaign events, Labour made gains - some big - and the Tories lost seats. That's down to Momentum and non-Momentum Labour activists”, the Tories were off.
Tory deputy chairman James Cleverly - who isn’t - had already invented his response: “I was hearing on the doorsteps that the barrage of hard left activists was actually putting people off of voting Labour”. His colleague George Freeman went into actionable territory in support: “That’s the truth of it. In London last night good old fashioned doorstep politics from [Conservatives] won over Owen Jones anti-capitalist anti-Semitic Momentum Mob”.
To show that the attack on Jones was not confined to a few otherwise bored MPs, a young Tory activist had a snark at Jones too: “Hey @OwenJones84 I’ve noticed you’ve been really interested in campaigning in Wandsworth over the last couple of weeks, I just wanted to ask how did you get on? Hope it went well, love Ellie”.
Labour picked up seven seats in Wandsworth, but that was not the point. And showing in their usual clueless, clumsy and fact-free manner that this was a premeditated attack, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog went in with both feet on Jones, in accordance with their instructions from CCHQ.
After declaring “Humiliation for Owen Jones’ ‘Unseat the Tories’ vanity campaign” (when did The Great Guido ever get off his unfeasibly large posterior to help his side? Like never), the Fawkes feed told “Owen also took his “unseat” campaign to Swindon (Tory hold), Hillingdon (increased Tory majority), and Portsmouth (Labour failed to gain from NOC). He had planned an event in Plymouth but cancelled it. Plymouth is the only council Labour gained last night”. But, as so often, the Fawkes rabble had its facts wrong.
Jones did not campaign in Hillingdon. Labour could not have won Portsmouth as only a third of the seats were being contested. And there was a UKIP meltdown factor in Plymouth which The Great Guido’s massive intellect has been unable to process.
The reality: last night's vote share would leave Tories no path to power
Yes, Labour could have done better in London and elsewhere. But there is no body of evidence to suggest Jones’ presence has been detrimental to their prospects. So why are the Tories rounding on him to the extent of lying and smearing?
The Blue Team doth protest too much. I’ll just leave that one there.