Did Corbyn succeed in the South?

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA
Image caption The "fear of Corbyn's dangerous, unrealistic strategy seems distant and London-centric"

It's the old mystery of the dog that didn't bark. The London-based political world really did think Jeremy Corbyn was about to disappear down the drain, especially in the Blairite, aspirational south of England. He didn't.

So the plans, and they were real plans, to get rid of Corbyn have to wait. That is a real, tangible, huge lifeline he's been thrown by the voters of Reading, Southampton and Portsmouth, much to the annoyance of many in his own party.

Just why the Labour vote held up in those places has set so-called experts in all parties scratching their heads.

Here's my take. In safe Tory areas many Labour die-hards relish the return to a true socialist party.

Also, it can appeal to the trendy middle-class who might otherwise have voted Green.

The fear of Corbyn's dangerous, unrealistic strategy seems distant and London-centric when you've had little prospect of power anyway.

Image caption In Eastleigh the Lib Dems held on to all of their 13 seats

Plus, cuts to local authority services are hitting harder, the easy efficiencies have gone. In southern councils Labour is seen to be acting responsibly.

Lib Dems have benefitted from that too - not just places where they used to have MPs like Eastleigh and Portsmouth South - in Gosport they added three councillors - but not as much as they would have before coalition

And all through we have had the European referendum campaign that has made a difference.

It seems to have boosted UKIP in some places, south coast retirement areas quite like Trump and Farage too, sticking it to The Man.

And they are taking from traditional Labour wards, so if anything the Corbyn success is understated.

Conservatives are subdued. Like their leader, usually loyal Conservatives are conflicted over Brexit.

There's a weird atmosphere at Leave rallies when that nice polite Michael Gove seems to be fighting the red corner. Turnout is high but maybe they've lost loyalty.

In the Local Elections our votes didn't change anything, Not a single council in southern England changed hands. But I still think this is an election we will remember in years to come.

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