Local elections in Britain, Scotland and Ireland: what to watch for

    Local elections in Britain, Scotland and Ireland: what to watch for

    LONDON – Rarely has the American political maxim “all local politics” seemed more appropriate for Britain’s election.

    If voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect thousands of representatives in dozens of local municipalities in England, Scotland and Wales, their choice will be reflected in British national politics. potentially serving as a referendum about the Conservative Party and its scandalous leader, Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    Big Conservative losses could crystallize fears at a party attended by Mr. Johnson public gatherings that violated Covid’s restrictions hopelessly tarnished his political brand – and, accordingly, the party. This could provoke a vote of no confidence in his leadership, forcing him to resign.

    This is not to say that the scandal surrounding the Downing Street party is at the head of many voters. They are more concerned with day-to-day issues such as garbage collection, road maintenance and planning rules, issues that are controlled by elected local council members.

    Conservatives face fierce headwinds when Britain struggles rising energy and food costs. The scandal with illegal parties on Downing Street has deepened sentiment against the incumbent president, prompting some conservative lawmakers to worry that Mr Johnson could jeopardize their own seats in the upcoming general election.

    Although his strong support for Ukraine and its president, Vladimir Zelenskynow changed the subject, Mr Johnson is still facing several developments that could further undermine his reputation.

    Police may impose additional fines on him for violating Covid rules (he has already paid one). And a government investigator, Sue Gray, is due to make a report on the case, which many believe will paint a gruesome portrait of alcoholism on Downing Street under Mr Johnson.

    While the Conservatives lag behind the opposition Labor Party in the polls, the defeat is far from over. In 2018, Labor worked well when the last time many of these places were in the game, giving them fewer opportunities to advance. Although he may tear off some of the conservative bastions in London, he may have difficulty squeezing into the back seats “Red wall”, industrial strongholds in the north of England, where the Conservatives made their way in 2019.

    Voting is mainly intended for the election of “advisors”, representatives in the municipalities, who oversee functions such as filling potholes, garbage collection and issuing building permits. Whatever happens, there will be no change in the national government headed by Mr Johnson. Turnout is likely to be low.

    Elections are held everywhere in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as in parts of England. Politicians often look at the results as a test of public sentiment, but some voters think more of their patchwork than the big political picture. And because the votes are cast only in some places, this election gives at best a fragmentary idea of ​​what the electorate thinks.

    Even before the first vote was cast, the parties downplayed what they expected. It wouldn’t be a shock on Friday when the results spill out if they all claim to be surprised by the results, better than expected.

    This is all part of the game, because in local elections the formation of the narrative is especially important. In 1990, the Conservatives famously called the defeat a victory, noting the symbolic victories in two districts of London: Wandsworth and Westminster.

    Accordingly, the Conservatives were not surprised to see that they could lose 550 seats because it lowers the bar. Labor, for its part, has eased expectations, arguing that their strong results four years ago, when many of the seats were last contested, did not allow them to improve.

    The Conservatives would like to avoid losing more than 350 seats, but they could brush off 100 to 150 seats as typical mid-term blues. Gaining more than 100 seats would be a great success for Mr. Johnson.

    Labor leader Keir Starmer would have been disappointed if his party had failed to win significant victories; 50 to 100 seats would be a worthy performance. He also hopes to strengthen Labor power in London.

    With the results coming from all over England, Scotland and Wales, as well as from the elections to the Assembly of Northern Ireland, where there are different dynamics, Friday could seem staggering.

    But a handful of races can shed light on the state of British politics. In London, the Conservatives will fight for the content of the Wandsworth and Westminster districts. Conservatives have controlled Wandsworth since the time of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Westminster, where the Downing Street scandal is a local problem, never got out of control of the Conservatives.

    In London’s North Barnett district, where 15 percent of the population is Jewish, Labor, which has been criticized by its former leader Jeremy Corbyn for anti-Semitism, is seeking a lifeline. Led by Mr. Starmer Labor worked to eradicate anti-Semitism and mend their ties with British Jews.

    In the “red wall” the ability of Labor to cancel the Tory raids will face a test. Conservatives won the by-elections in Hartlepool, a port city in the north-east of England, last year. But local elections there are likely to be tough. The Conservative, who is vying for a seat in the city council, urged voters: “Do not punish local conservatives for mistakes made in Westminster.”

    In Scotland, the question is whether the Conservatives will be able to maintain the progress made during the last vote in 2017, when it received the second largest number of votes after the Scottish National Party. Polls show that Tory popularity in Scotland has been marred by a scandal on Downing Street.

    Elections to the Northern Ireland legislature could bring the most far-reaching results. The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party had a good chance of getting the most seats, which would be an unusual maturity for a political party that many still associate with years of militant violence.

    The results, expected only on Saturday, could change power-sharing arrangements in the North, which maintained a fragile peace for two decades. In last week’s polls, Shin Fein held a solid lead over the Democratic Unionist Party, which advocates the current status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.

    Sinn Fein has run a campaign highlighting kitchen table issues such as the high cost of living and medical care – and this diminishes her ideological commitment to the unification of Ireland, the legacy of her ties to the Irish Republican Army.

    The only direct result of Sinn Fein’s victory would be the right to appoint the first minister in the next government. But the allies, who have split into three parties and can still get the most votes, have warned they will not run for government with Sinn Fein at the helm.

    Previous articleAccident on a gravel road in Bromley: motorcyclist injured
    Next articleRecipe: Isle of Wight blue cheese quiche | Lawrence Murphy