This is my last post on elections. Back to Music after this!
I was wrong. The Conservatives did smash down the Red Wall and the constituency that I blogged about before – Stoke North, did for the first time in recent history turn blue.
It wasn’t even close.
The numbers suggest that about 2,000 previous Labour supporters voted Conservative, 2,500 voted Brexit, and about 1,500 stayed at home who might have voted Labour in the past.
Lots of reaction will talk about Corbyn and Brexit and possibly socialism but really the main issue is demographics.
Basically, young people are more likely to vote Labour and old people to vote Conservative.
And there are a lot more older people in Stoke North than youngsters. Young people have piled up “wasted” votes in university towns and cities where they studied and gone to live and work in these places, leaving the oldies to stay in their old communities. This has spread the vote unevenly, a bit like what has happened in the USA with the election of Trump. This table shows the demographic change in some of the seats the Conservatives won.
And if Labour are to win again they have two choices in the immediate timeframe.
1) Appeal to old people to vote Labour again or
2) Get younger people to move back to market towns and villages
Number 1 is easier than Number 2 because cities are where the jobs are. Getting youngsters to move back to their roots is difficult in todays’s globalised markets. So if Labour are to get in they need to start thinking about those towns, like Stoke, that are now full of older, working class people who are voting for Boris Johnson.
And of course they need to get a credible leader.