Don’t read too much into these coronavirus elections

Keir Starmer and the Labour party are in trouble but all may not be as it seems. Credit: PA

It would be a mistake to read too much into these elections, other than it helps to be a figurehead and in power during a crisis like the Covid-19 one.

Voters have rewarded every leader who they saw as enduring the stresses of trying to protect them and hear them, from Boris Johnson to Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford, Andy Burnham, Andy Street and Ben Houchen .

Which is not to say that there aren’t very powerful shifts of allegiance going on. But the importance of incumbency and not totally screwing up during the crisis means these were not “normal” elections.

Keir Starmer and Labour may be in deep, deep trouble. The Scots may be signalling they want another referendum on independence. But there is a lot of Covid-19 emotion and noise conditioning these votes, and when that emotion and noise subsides Johnson and Sturgeon may or may not look quite as indomitable as they seem, or Starmer as hopelessly lost.

If you accept the thesis that Covid-19 has been a unique catastrophe in our lifetimes then you also have to accept we simply don’t know whether voting shifts that have happened in its wake will be long lasting or temporary.

It would be foolish of any of the winners to take their supremacy for granted.

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