Latest Issue

Do local elections tell us which party will win the next general election?

No—their true significance lies elsewhere

By Tom Quinn  

It is widely assumed by politicians and pundits alike that local elections are less about rubbish collection and street lights, than they are about national politics. Local polls offer voters the chance to pass judgment on national governments, and it is often a negative appraisal—hence the lament of “mid-term blues” by ministers in television studios on election night. There is indeed a lot to be said for the claim that national politics predominates. In the 1990s, the Conservatives withered away in local government as John Major’s unpopular administration governed in Westminster.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect