Friday, May 04, 2007

Voting for paternalism

From the English local election results so far, Labour’s performance suggests that ‘drubbing’ rather than ‘wipeout’ will be cliché of the day. The party’s also fallen back in Wales, and Scotland (at time of writing) is too close to call, amid problems with ballot papers. How to make sense of the big picture?

At times like this, wise psephological eyes turn to the critical weathervane seat of Queen Edith’s ward in Cambridge.

This has been a safe Lib Dem seat for years, with the Tories consistenly in second place. But last night, the Labour candidate, Len Freeman, pulled off a stunning turnaround.

Not only did he fight off a tough Green Party challenge for third place, but his vote surged from last year, smashing through the psychologically important 8.5% barrier.

This is a great result, with obvious implications for the next general election. The Labour fightback starts here!

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