Blues' victory does not deliver knock-out

The Tories

After four weeks of political scandal which began with the MPs' expenses scandal and ended with a messy Cabinet reshuffle and carnage in the local elections, Gordon Brown will be relieved that he did not have to resign, last night, as Prime Minister.

David Cameron will be similarly relieved that it was not necessary for him to appear outside Downing Street with the oxygen mask. Mr Brown's premiership remains alive – albeit on a life support machine. The last thing Mr Cameron wants is for Mr Brown to be replaced as Labour leader this side of a general election.

Of course, the Prime Minister's authority is shot to pieces. This is not a Cabinet of his choice or of his making. With guns pointed at his head by Alistair Darling and David Miliband, he was in no position to move them. On the other hand, with so many vacancies created by the numerous departures, the Prime Minister is justified in presenting a "new look" to his government. Not that any of this will make a blind bit of difference to voters.

The question yet to be answered is whether the Parliamentary Labour Party will buy any of this. Its ranks have now been swelled by Ms Blears, Ms Flint and Mr Purnell, who will no doubt play an active part in the plotting. It may just be, however, that even if the calculations of many MPs are that they are doomed to lose their seats under Mr Brown's premiership, inertia and torpor will yet triumph over these attempts to mount a backbench peasants' revolt.

The actual results indicate that the country wants rid of this government – Labour no longer controls any county council. According to Professor Tony Travers, local government expert at the London School of Economics, the number of seats gained by the Tories far exceeded their best expectations; they took control of Lancashire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. They also won Devon and Somerset from the Lib Dems, who will be concerned about the improved chances of Tory parliamentary gains in these battlegrounds. But the Lib Dem national share of the vote, at 28 per cent, was substantially better than last year. Prof Travers notes that if this had been a general election, the Tories' 38 per cent share of the vote is still not good enough for an overall majority, and is down on last year's results. Labour's national share at 23 per cent, however, is their worst ever.

Mr Cameron is therefore the clear winner of all the three party leaders. And he has the bonus of a potential by-election victory created by Dr Ian Gibson's resignation in Norwich South. The Tories should have little trouble overturning his 5,459 majority. Labour would bumble on to an election next May.

No one in this febrile atmosphere can conclude, however, that Mr Brown will survive this civil war. Margaret Thatcher carried out her last reshuffle in 1990, following the resignation of Geoffrey Howe, only for her resignation to occur a month later. The full effects of the Labour wipe-out can only be fully assessed next Monday when the results of the European elections will be known.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on Scotland's oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
i100
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week