I promised a local election prediction in my 2019 post, and I have been meaning to write one. I’m writing it now as it’s already become reality thanks to Cllr Anne Meadows defection today.
Here’s the top line – a minority Conservative council following the Brighton and Hove City Council elections in May.
I’m not going to go ward by ward here now, but I predict both Tories and Greens will take a couple of seats from Labour. This would be true based solely on the national politics of Brexit. Assuming an extension, Labour’s dishonest sophistry and fudge satisfies no-one outside of the hard core. The Greens have a clear remain line that will take seats from Labour in Preston Park and Hanover at least, and the Tories are likely to gain from a clearer leave position in some of the less central areas. If we crash out or leave with a Conservative brokered deal then the position remains largely the same – Labour will be punished for not taking a clear remain line or supporting a second referendum, but won’t see any gain from Brexit supporters. Add in the unpopularity of Corbyn amongst large groups of traditional voters and you don’t even need the malign incompetence of the local Momentum group to see Labour as likely to lose ground here in May.
As Niels Bohr supposedly said ‘Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future’, and these are febrile times with the parties suddenly becoming fissile. So I don’t stake too much on this. However there is now no way I can see for Labour to gain a majority, or even retake control in the city.