Turnout was low and while those Conservatives who lost their seats are blaming Johnson, it appears the results reflect the continuation of a shift that all western democracies are facing around the world.
The highly qualified professional classes in inner cities are leaning left now while working-class voters – from manual labourers to those employed in clerical jobs – are increasingly alienated and flirting with the far-right.
The divide between the haves and have-nots relates not only to wealth but is also a cultural split.
Amid this backdrop, a result like this in two years’ time would put a Conservative government in jeopardy.
Most likely a hung parliament would result with the Tories in minority begging the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party to support Johnson. Because of the personal animosity and hatred towards Johnson among the political elite this is an unlikely scenario.
London – with a high population of tertiary educated, pro-Europe voters – either loves Labour or it hates Tories. Labour now dominates local councils by winning 62 per cent of councillors across the 18 declared boroughs, up from 55 per cent before the election.
Four of the party’s seven gains occurred within miles of each other, including Wandsworth and Westminster, which had been in Conservative hands for decades.
But outside of London, the post-Corbyn Labour leadership failed to ignite the voters. Its gains were not enough to convince Starmer’s doubters that he has what it takes to win a general election.
Johnson acknowledged a “mixed set of results”. He is aware that he’s on his ninth political life and cannot survive another significant hit. A looming independent report into his own COVID breaches could finish him.
But for now, he survives. Facing calls from defeated Tories to resign, he is promising to listen.
“The big lesson that I take from this is that this is a message from voters that what they want us to do above all, one, two and three, is focus on the big issues that matter to them, taking the country forward and making sure that we fix the post-Covid economic aftershocks… fix the energy supply issues… and keep going with our agenda of high-wage, high-skill jobs. That is what we are focused on.”
Johnson is on notice. The question is whether he can salvage the ship.
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