A few stats: Labour collected 9,698k votes, the Tories 6,835k, Reform 4,114k.

In vote share terms it was 34% Labour, 24% Tory, 14% Reform, 12% Lib Dem. A united right would have been ahead of Starmer on 38%. Labour dropped votes, (9,698k for Starmer against 10,269k for Corbyn), since the last general election.

What Boris did, and Sunak failed to do, was hold Reform, who did not stand in 2019 in return for some nebulous hint. Farage was scurrying off to the US, until Sunak bizarrely announced policies designed to outflank Reform. In doing so, quite apart from baffling his own party, he broadcast his fear. Once the ridiculous return of National Service was rushed out, Farage knew Sunak’s weakness and duly reversed course.

Farage is in little mood to stop, his victory speech highlighted “the building of a centre right party”. No, not hyperbole, he already holds the votes, in no small part, from demonstrating the tiresome habit of consistency.

Although it is simplistic to see Reform as right wing, it is (in so far as it has policies) populist, it won its toehold in Westminster in seats of deprivation, not just of big Tory majorities. Part of its vote was from Labour, although it poses no risk to Starmer. But the Tories, after a virulent set of campaigns to deny Farage a seat, lacked the firepower this time. Farage is in the building.

But surely a great night for the clown party and Ed Davey? He has taken the absence of policy and the primacy of performance (the wrong sort)  to new depths. He lost votes too, getting nearly 175,000 fewer than in 2019. Ed Davey had 3,520k, against 3,696k for Jo Swinson.


What of the Tories now? They still need Farage’s vote bank. Either they neutralise  it, as Boris did, or absorb it as John Major did, or they are out of power for a decade.

That seems obvious.

What seems highly risky, but quite likely, is they just leave Reform to fester. So, the ruling cabal of centre left Cameron acolytes plough on, piling defeat upon defeat.

Across Europe these archaic centre right parties have blown up, their only preservation is the equally ancient UK electoral system, for which the Tories (24% of the vote) seem the only advocates, Labour adopted a pro-PR vote motion at their last conference, and the Lib Dems, Reform and Green votes would easily make that a majority.

It is coming at some point. In some form.

Clipped from the Labour Policy Forum Page

Do not read too much into that SNP wipeout in Scotland: in the face of the extraordinary mix of sleaze (much unproven) and a well-funded (compared to England) but disastrous NHS, the SNP vote share held up at 30%, suggesting the dream has not died.

It will probably hold on to a high number of Holyrood seats, based on PR in those elections. The sole Tory loss in Scotland, saw a messy local fight between candidate and party.

Labour now has its own issues of success; it will be unwise to treat the more rural seats they have won, as any more than loans. Like the Tory Red Wall seats, these are unstable, single term members, it is not practical to help them (as Boris showed).

While Labour have also unleashed some big beasts, most notably Rees-Mogg and Liz Truss. The Tory party would be wise to lasso both, less they graze elsewhere; their attitude towards them will be very telling.



After the last election, in early 2020, even pre-COVID, I predicted 186 seats for the Tories in 2024, none in the Red Wall.

I am inclined to repeat that.

I see this as a Lib Dem high tide. Devoid of policy or power, stripped of the virulent anti Tory votes, unable to add voters, I see them fall away. While Reform is not close to power either, but the SNP will probably be resurgent. So, Labour could easily suffer a loss of a hundred seats, down to about 310, still the largest party, but potentially needing a deal to rule.

That is the real reason for Starmer to govern from the centre. For that he might actually win votes next time.

The  extreme alternative outcomes are about the Tory/Reform issue: how the already dominant right-wing  vote is divided. As in Europe, they are now numerically strong, and the deals to stifle those voters voices’ increasingly seedy and unstable.

If the Tories spurn their right wing, it splits to Reform.

If the Tories spurn their left wing it splits to the Lib Dems.

Either split creates a third party with over 100 seats and hence a route to power.

Instead, the Tories need unity, a cap on recriminations, no triumphal ascendancy, no coups, and an end to the chaos of central office, and its hapless parachute candidates. The party needs true devolved powers to the associations – and the party must spend money on good agents.  That is where they will rebuild to back over 200 seats.

Then it has a chance.

Will it take it?

Despite the noise, as we listed above, successful political parties don’t add voters, in the main, they just don’t lose them.

Otherwise, markets feel dull, and thin. Central Banks have a sparse diary. France might excite, but likely will see stalemate. The big story remains the clash of the dwarves.




Charles Gillams