Are Labour’s hopes to take Barnet going to get trimmed?
London was horrific for the Tories in last year’s general election, seats like Tooting which were a Tory target saw Labour win with a majority of over fifteen thousand. In Battersea, where there was a near eight thousand Tory majority became a Labour gain. Overall there was a Tory to Labour swing of 6.3% in London, which was three times the 2.1% swing in Great Britain as a whole.
With Labour only needing a net gain of two seats to win a majority in Barnet you can understand why Labour are the 1/8 favourites to take Barnet with all 63 seats in the council up for election in May. But I’m going to advocate why Labour might not win a majority in Barnet in May despite the Tories only having a majority of one*.
The Parliamentary seats that encompass the Borough of Barnet are Hendon, Finchley & Golders Green, and Chipping Barnet last year saw Tory to Labour swings of 2.8%, 4%, and 6.9%, which for the most part were well below what we saw in London, and at the 2015 election all had smaller majorities than the Tory majority in Battersea.
Now why didn’t these three seats fall to Labour? It might have something do with the borough of Barnet ‘continuing to have the largest Jewish population in the country.’ From my viewpoint the perceptions around Jeremy Corbyn and some Corbynistas by the Jewish community is extremely negative, and who can blame them for voting to stop Labour winning.
(The larger than average swing in Chipping Barnet could be explained by the MP Theresa Villiers being a prominent Brexiteer, the MP for Hendon also backed Leave, but he wasn’t quite as prominent as the former cabinet minister.)
If this market was on Betfair, I’d be laying Labour to win a majority on Barnet Council for the reasons above, but since only Ladbrokes are offering a market on this council I’m going to back the Tory Majority and No Overall Control options which is effectively laying a Labour majority in Barnet.
With 39 days to go until voting day there’s plenty of time for Corbyn’s past and current day approach to antagonise Jewish voters further. One of the world’s leading experts on Adolf Hitler could also intervene, again, not necessarily to Labour’s advantage in Barnet, as in the tweet below.
I suspect perceptions of anti-Semitism will trump any antipathy towards Leave/The Tories in this part of London for Jewish voters. The contrast to 2014 when Labour were led by Ed Miliband, who was of Jewish heritage, is stark.
— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) March 21, 2018
*Note, the Tories lost overall control of the council earlier on this month when a councillor resigned the Tory whip over re-selection issues. For the purposes of this piece I’m using the 2014 results as the benchmark.