Here's why. In the pre-election commentary on the Welsh Assembly elections, UKIP were widely tipped to secure its first seats via the list system. Presently the purple party has taken five seats and according to the newly-elected Mark Reckless, they're projecting a haul of seven in total. Yet what was missing from my own piece looking at the English local elections, and virtually all the Westminster-centric coverage was the overlooking of UKIP's reach. This, ultimately, is why 2016 differs significantly from 2012. Back then, UKIP were barely a factor in politics outside of the European elections. They came out of the local government elections with just seven councillors, a net gain of zero. As we know, since then UKIP have become a major force and continue to tussle with the LibDems over third party status in England, and at the time of writing are up 20 councillors.
In the focus on Jeremy's leadership and what would/wouldn't be a good result for him, a sober consideration of the dynamics of these contents and what UKIP meant for them wasn't undertaken. To illustrate, in Sunderland Central last year, polled 20% of the votes, and almost 17-point increase on 2010. Fast forward to last night, and Labour were down in the city by eight per cent. This was always going to happen in each of those council contests that haven't been up since the 2012 high mark and yes, again, this would have been the case regardless of the leader. That UKIP's rise hasn't damaged Labour too much, it could be argued, vindicates the arguments made by Jeremy supporters last year that only he could stymie the fragmentation of the core vote towards them. In effect Labour are challenging UKIP as the go-to choice for the protest voter, for good or ill.
So when the airwaves crackle later with the inevitable howls of outrage, a cool-headed comprehensive analysis of what happened in yesterday's elections can only conclude that comparisons with 2012 are as meaningful as comparing apples and pears. Electoral realities shifted decisively before Jeremy was a twinkle in party members' eyes, and have to be considered and assessed on their own merits.