Looking ahead to 2022 one period where Boris Johnson might be at most risk this year will be in the aftermath of May’s local elections, helpfully Smarkets have a market up on these crucial local elections.
One of the reasons Boris Johnson will be at risk is that if it is a poor night for his party, in contrast to the 2021 locals where Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to a 7% lead over Labour in the national equivalent share of the vote (as well as the gaining Hartlepool in a by election on the same day.) Once Boris Johnson’s loses his vote winning aura then what’s left? Not much, and has been noted before the Conservative party has two modes, utter complacency and blind panic, after losing Chesham & Amersham and North Shropshire, the latter needlessly, a poor night in May will not help Boris Johnson.
With the cost of living crisis set to explode in the run up to May’s locals, today’s Observer reports
an Opinium poll for the Observer suggests households are already noticing price inflation. About 70% of voters said they had seen their cost of living increase more than their income over the last 12 months, despite reports of pay rises. A majority who voted Tory at the last election (57%) said they backed removing VAT from energy bills.
One in eight voters (12%) would now describe their financial situation as “struggling”, up slightly from 9% from the end of lockdown in April. A huge majority of the public say they have noticed price rises. About 86% have noticed a rise in the overall cost of living, 83% a rise in grocery bills, 80% a rise in energy bills and 59% a rise in council tax.
my expectation is a bad night for the Conservatives even before you factor the other potential SNAFUs for Boris Johnson and the government, from sleaze, politically tone deaf actions, past lockdown violations being investigated, and a cabinet so incompetent they send money to Nigerian princes who email them and also pay full price for a DFS sofa.
By backing Labour to win the national equivalent share of the vote is a 25% return in four months, that feels like a steal at that price when you factor the usual midterm blues incumbent governments have at the locals. In 2018, when these seats were up for election, the national equivalent of the share of the vote was 38% for both the Conservatives and Labour, which was in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisonings which Corbyn handed badly and saw his ratings fall, I doubt Starmer will ever make an error like that.