This article is an on-site version of our Inside Politics newsletter. Register here to receive the newsletter directly in your inbox every day of the week. If you are new to the FT, you can Sign up to Inside Politics free for 90 days.

Good day. The people have spoken, but what he has said is still not entirely clear. Most of the votes in the local elections are still being counted and we still have only a partial picture. What we can say is that it has been a very bad night for the Conservative Party. What is less clear is what it means for everyone else. Some more thoughts on that in today’s note.

Inside Politics is edited today by Leah Quinn. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenkb and please send gossip, thoughts and comments to

Something is happening but we don’t know what it is.

When Greg Hands took office as Conservative Party chairman, he told aides that the election they should be thinking about was 2015: a narrow majority, won in defiance of the polls.

Part of that was simply down to good management: Conservative wins in 1992 and 2015 are part of the party’s internal mythos, lifting Tories’ spirits whenever things look bleak.

But an important commonality between those elections is that while they were surprising given the state of the opinion polls, they were not so surprising given the state of the parties in the local elections that took place the previous year. In 1991, Neil Kinnock’s Labor Party was only three points ahead of John Major’s Conservatives. In 2014, Ed Miliband’s was only two points ahead.

Although there are many, many, many results yet to come, one thing we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty is that the Conservative party is doing much worse than it did in 1991 or 2014.

So far, the performance of the Conservatives is not what a ruling party expecting to score an upset election victory within a year would expect. But Labor’s performance is not what an opposition party hoping to win an election would expect. any.

Both parties can expect to do better than this in absolute terms. The ruling party, regardless of the circumstances, tends to recover some of the ground lost in the run-up to the general elections. This is one of the strongest findings in political science, although we don’t know much about why this is as we would like.

And the Labor Party tends to do better in general elections than in local elections, while the Liberal Democrats tend to do a little worse. I think there is a fairly obvious explanation for this: Labour, the largest party, is challenging the Conservatives for far more seats in the postal system at Westminster and, as a result, gets more tactical votes than the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrats do the same, but are the Conservative challenger in far fewer seats.

Looking at the results we have so far, if the Green Party vote behaves in the same way as the Liberal Democrat, it has been a very good set of elections for the Labor Party. But I don’t know if Green Party voters will behave in the same way as Liberal Democrat voters: none of us do!

From traveling the country talking to people and asking for election pamphlets wherever she goes (and the many pamphlets that internal policy readers have kindly emailed me) it’s pretty clear that the Green Party is borrowing heavily from the Lib Dem playbook in terms of its on-the-ground election material. In meeting these voters, I would say that they are generally a large number, with the important caveat that the most committed Lib Dem voters I have met tend to have a negative view of Jeremy Corbyn and Green voters a positive one.

But in the air war on TV and radio, Lib Dem politicians sound much friendlier to Labor (and vice versa) than Green politicians sound to Labor (and again, vice versa). That will surely have some effect on how voters behave.

What we can say from these results so far is that the Conservative Party is not where it would like to be in terms of achieving a 1992-style victory, and Labor is not where it would like to be on the question of winning. it is a parliamentary majority.

My feeling, just looking at the results we have so far, is that we are heading towards a result that looks a bit like the 2010 general election.

But I’ll have a lot more to say about that next week, when we should know a lot more about these results than I do this morning.

Now or never?

A brief note on the methodology. As I said before, the numbers that really matter in terms of understanding this election are the ones that will be spit out by political scientists on the BBC and Sky: the ones that simulate what the results would have been if the vote had taken place. in all the country.

The BBC team produces the PNS (projected national share), while for Sky and the Sunday Times, we have the NEV (national equivalent vote). Now, these metrics return slightly different numbers from each other, though none have been consistently better or worse. At the time of writing, they are producing quite different sheet music.

What is the reason for the discrepancy? Well, because neither team’s calculations are based on the 8,000 seats at stake. They are taking samples from them and sometimes this produces quite different results.

Since both numbers are perfectly reasonable, my advice to readers following these choices is to pick the one that makes you happiest and have the best weekend possible.

now try this

I spent the early morning hours at the BBC as part of their radio election coverage. (Apologies to those of you listening, for whom much of this email will cover similar ground.)

Before that, I spent a lovely evening yesterday listening to the Attacca Quartet in Kings Place. They played a wonderfully eclectic set of music old and new: string quartets by Maurice Ravel and John Adams, a wonderful composition by Caroline Shaw, and pieces from her disco. Real life. Place of the Kings ‘Unwrapped Sound’ Program it really is very wonderful. The quartet’s music is available to sample wherever you stream or listen.

Today’s best news

next week — Start each week with a preview of what’s on the agenda. Register here

FT opinion — Perspectives and judgments of leading commentators. Register here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *