Owen Jones tweeted a couple of days ago: I
“I’m told a poll is coming out on Thursday which isn’t good for Labour in London. It’s been a hellish few weeks for Labour. It’s not in the bag in the local elections. Not even close. This is a wake-up call. If you don’t vote and encourage others to vote, Labour will lose.”
I got all excited. Have the Tories gone up and Labour down significantly in London? Really?
Of course, this was mostly hype. Across the capital, the numbers are Labour 51%, Tories 29%, Lib Dems 11%, Others 9%. Yes, this represents a narrowing of Labour’s lead over the Conservatives in London, but a very marginal one. More pertinent than the headline numbers for Labour are the figures which suggest the Tories may hang on in Westminster and Wandsworth, depriving Corbyn of a big prize some had thought was already in the bag.
But everyone out there is going to talk about the Tories and Labour and this poll. I’d rather write about the Lib Dems’ numbers. Because, man, they are existentially poor. More than poor, really: they suggest a party on its deathbed.
The 11% overall is bad enough until you begin to drill down further. Amongst Remain voters, the Lib Dem number only goes up to 14%. For reference, the Tories are on 17% with this same group. So, the Tories have a three point lead over the Lib Dems, in London amongst Remainers. Amazingly, Lib Dems are at 7% among Leavers. This suggests that no one is listening to anything the party says or does anymore – there is some, small Lib Dem core vote and nothing else, and it doesn’t matter what the party does, it can do nothing to decimate nor grow this number.
How are the Lib Dems doing with under-24s? 3%. That’s not a mistype, three percent is the figure. Among BME voters in the capital? 6%. I could go on, but you get the idea.
I didn’t write this article to mindlessly beat up the Liberal Democrats. Instead, I just want to ask: when will the party face up to the fact that whatever it is doing isn’t working even in the slightest? It is time to stop shouting about local by-election victories and look at the deeper issues. Either that, or face up to inevitable annihilation in the near future.