THIS morning’s self-challenge is to dash off 500 words on the local election results before going to work.
To be honest I wasn’t going to bother until I saw the front page of the Daily Mail (above). And, yes, I know that’s a bad habit, but it does prove inspirational in an odd way – the great anti-inspiration of the age.
On the BBC website you will find the reasonable headline “No clear winner in final election result”. This stands in contrast to a squabble of anti-Corbyn headlines in many of this morning’s newspapers – and a squall of social media comment from followers of Jeremy saying that this was in fact a tremendous result.
As always, the truth lies somewhere in between, trampled on the floor.
Labour are up 62 seats, the Tories are down 32 seats, the Lib-Dems have rallied themselves by gaining 75 seats – and in the night’s most cheering news, Ukip have almost been wiped off the electoral map, losing 123 seats to be left with three.
Perhaps the BBC can now stop inviting Nigel Farage onto Question Time. And while they’re about it, row back on over-promoting Jacob Rees-Mogg and his ‘cretinous’ opinions – to quote the man back at himself.
“Everyone’s a winner… apart from Ukip” is the reasonable verdict of the i newspaper. But let’s take a deep breath and have a look at that Mail headline. Here goes: “NOW GIVE US A REAL BREXIT!”
The strap headline reads: “Leave voters come out in force for Mrs May and deliver an emphatic message…”
God and Paul Dacre alone know how, but the nil-nil election result has been interpreted as voters backing a real/proper/hard/kick-foreign-ass Brexit. Really, that newspaper is bonkers beyond belief.
The Sun is also bonkers with its thuggish take on all this: “Jez gets a kick in the ballots.”
As suggested in passing yesterday while the results were still coming in, these local elections are being over-interpreted in what they say for Corbyn and Mrs Maybe. These were local elections in which local people voted for local candidates, including a Yorkshire friend who won her first seat for Labour, and the brother of another friend who won another Yorkshire seat for Labour.
We should take a moment to thank and praise that pair and anyone else who stood and won a seat, whoever they represent. And we should all calm down a bit and stop reading the runes of these results as a clear indication of whether Jeremy Corbyn is doing well or not doing well.
Does Corbyn have anything to learn from all this? Of course, he does – not least that failing to stamp out anger about antisemitism probably did him no favours. And as a left-titling person, I’d also say that the endless social media commentary and argy-bargy about Jeremy being stitched up by Blairites or who is said to be doing their man down today is more than a little off-putting.
But there you go, I’ve hit 500 and will now stop stabbing at the poor old laptop.