a) Labour did well in the Assembly votes - they finished with one extra seat
b) this was in marked contrast to the Labour vote elsewhere. The Ken effect, or an effect of the (relatively) high turnout ?
c) outside of London the working class Labour heartlands are losing the tribal Labour votes. And once identification stops being tribal, it's difficult - if not impossible - to go back. I remember how I felt when I first walked into a booth to cast a Tory vote (2001 after voting Labour since 18). The first time is the hardest. I would still vote Labour again (if Frank Field led them!) but it'll never be a tribal thing again. My children haven't inherited the 'Labour are for people like us' culture that I was brought up on, either. Look at the collapse in the South Wales Valleys. Look at some of the places the BNP gained seats - Bedworth, Rotherham, Stoke. These aren't Tories switching votes. Look at the performance of the Barrow in Furness People's Party. Labour's contempt for the working class - over immigration, the smoking ban, pensions, the 10p tax rate, crime - is at last being returned with interest.
d) Both Respect and the BNP underwent damaging splits over the last year in which some of their best and most committed organisers departed. The BNP seem to have weathered this somewhat better - I'm surprised Respect didn't do better in London. However Respect aren't going to go away - the odd comment at Socialist Unity tells me that Galloway's Talk Sport radio show is attracting a steady trickle of interest and recruits. (En passant, any split in the far-right immediately brings forth conspiracists seeing the hand of MI5 - and to be fair, they do have a lot of enemies. The Respect split sees to have been accomplished without people seeing the hand of the Bilderberg/Freemasons/Jews/Special Branch everywhere). Two possibilities for the Respect performance :
i) (IMHO most likely) Livingstone's courting of the Muslim vote in London squeezed them - but I'd still expect them to do better in City and East. In Sparkbrook (Brum) they gained a seat and now have three.
ii) they miss the organisational skills of the SWP aka Left List
e) the SWP rump Left List got hammered as once again 'the workers failed to recognise their own best interests'. In Lambeth they only got a few more votes than the delightfully named Jasmijn De Boo of the 'Animals Count' party.
f) the BNP vote in London was only half a percent or less up on its previous vote.
g) but in people terms it was up from 90K to 130K - around a 45% increase. Supporter Guessedworker thinks their candidate ought to show the sort of grace that his beloved does.
h) the anti-BNP case has two contradictory strands
i) they are well-organised suited thugs with a Nazi master plan which will end by revitalising the British rolling-stock industry and lead to the construction of new railway lines to some mysterious buildings in mid-WalesThey can't both be right. A bit like the Miliband/Burnham dichotomy or the Tory confusion noted by outradgie.
ii) they are incompetent lumpen thugs who don't turn up to council meetings and don't know what an agenda is
i) in London the Greens appear to be the acceptable left-wing alternative to Labour
j) some exceptions to the Labour disaster - Oxford, where the IWCA, a genuine left-wing workers party, lost two of their four seats and Cambridge. Could it be that liberal academics and NGO wonks outnumber horny-handed sons and daughters of toil in those fair cities ?
k) now comes decision time for Labour. Do they sack Gordon now, or wait, hypnotised, hoping for Boris to say 'picaninnies' again or something else to turn up ? I think they should, but I hope they don't. Let's draw out the agony. Either way, they'll wait for the Crewe bye-election. If their vote collapses there - which I think is quite possible - they really will be on the rack. Inshallah they'll bottle it anyway and the torture (for them) will continue for another two years.
l) yesterday I knew Gordon was doomed when I looked at the press, looked at a few Labour supporting blogs saying 'In the name of Gord, go !' and actually found myself feeling sorry for him. It didn't last. I went to this site to see what the stealth increase would be on our 2.2 diesel car, which does a not-too-bad 44 to the gallon. £170 this year - £270 two years from now. And it's not a 'green' tax, which would be on petrol consumption. The money's just being used to fill the gaping holes in Gordon's book-keeping. The Labour Party can tar and feather him as far as I'm concerned.
This is all straight off the top of the head stuff based on a trawl of news and blog sources. The big picture for me is the fragmentation of the Labour vote and the end (or a long pace towards the end) of tribal working-class loyalty to them. Quite right too, given that Labour hasn't been loyal to them since ... when ? Jim Callaghan ? Wilson ? Gaitskell ?