As the dust settles on Thursday’s election, it becomes ever clearer that—with the exception of London—these were awful results for Labour. They were bad enough to suggest that the party is on course for a third successive general election defeat. But, as I say in The Sun, not disastrous enough to persuade the Labour membership that they need to dump Corbyn. One Tory Minister remarked to me yesterday, ‘Labour have done well enough to keep Corbyn. I can live with that.’ Before adding, ‘Corbyn’s survival is the single most important thing for 2020’.
The result that should worry Labour most, though, is the Scottish one. As the third party of Scottish politics, they now face being written out of the script as Holyrood turns into a clash between the Nationalist centre-left, represented by the SNP, and the Unionist centre-right, represented by the Tories.
Without a Labour revival in Scotland, it is almost impossible to see how the party could win a Commons majority at a general election even with a competent, able leader. This means that, as some people have been pointing out with unseemly relish, the Tories will be able to play the SNP card at every general election. They can ask, do you want a Labour government if it is dependent on the votes of Scottish Nationalists. The final weeks of the last general election campaign showed what English voters made of that prospect.