Despite the smorgasbord of left wing parties on offer at the General Election, the Conservatives sail serenely into total control.

It could well be a ten year journey for Labour. Their banker seats in Scotland have been wiped out and the Tories will put through boundary changes that will cost Labour twenty seats.

There are serious worries amongst Lib Dem insiders about whether they can survive financially. The cost of lost deposits alone is huge.

The Greens are likely to remain victims of the first past the post system which the Conservatives won’t change.

The first step on that road needs to be a really radical debate, it could even include a discussion about a merger between Labour, The Lib Dems and Greens. The scale of the left’s defeat means it is a time when the possibility of ending tribal divisions should at least be considered.

The early moves amongst the defeated are encouraging. Westmorland’s Tim Farron is clearly the best person to lead the Lib Dems make a clean break with the taint of tuition fee and Coalition betrayal. Insiders tell me that party grandees are pushing the nonentity Norman Lamb but the battered grass roots activists will back one of their own, Tim Farron.

Labour’s National Executive were right to play their leadership election long to allow for a full inquest to take place, then getting a strategy to win in southern England, then choose a new leader.


The best news from the Prime Minister’s reshuffle has been the sacking of Eric Pickles as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. From scrapping the Regional Development Agencies to his futile attempt to force councils to do weekly bin collections, he has been uninspiring and useless.

In comes Greg Clarke, a good appointment. We are already familiar with him in the North as Cities Minister. He has been at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and City Deals and is a pragmatic Tory. However he is committed to insisting on elected mayors in return for devolution. So Leeds may have to rethink its opposition to the post if it wants Manchester style powers.


Not only did the parliamentary seat go narrowly to Labour, but on Saturday evening exhausted count staff eventually produced a one seat victory for the party on Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Labour also took West Lancashire Council but apart from that there was little change in the North West and Yorkshire. This is not surprising because Labour has made major advances in the Coalition years and reached its high watermark last year.


It begins to look as if the Tories had a narrow lead in the polls from last autumn and then had a late surge on polling day. One insider told me it was so late that he saw a number of ballot papers with initial x for Labour scratched out with the voter then supporting Labour.