As the results for the local and mayoral elections come in, it looks like a mixed bag of results, with no party doing spectacularly badly or spectacularly well. The biggest disaster is for Labour in Scotland. In what was once a stronghold for the party, it has relinquished the role of official opposition to the Tories, who gained a shock 16 seats. Given some expectations that the hard-left policies of Corbyn’s Labour would appeal to Scottish voters, it will be difficult for the party leadership to explain this away. It also does not bode well for the next general election, where Scotland has historically been vital to Labour’s performance. However, the party hasn’t done as poorly as expected in the English local elections or Welsh Assembly elections so far, and Sadiq Khan’s anticipated victory in the London mayoral contest would give the party something to celebrate.
The Tories will be much cheerier this morning. Considering the party had a minimal presence in Scotland before yesterday’s elections, to become the opposition is a huge coup. Much credit will be given to the charismatic leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson. That Labour hasn’t completely imploded may actually also be to the benefit of the Tories, as it makes it more likely Corbyn will retain the leadership. The longer Labour is fraught with internal divisions and a controversial leader, the better for the Conservatives - they will benefit from a weak opposition both across this Parliament and at the next general election.