The irony of tomorrow's elections for some Labour councillors

It is perhaps fitting that Blair's last electoral test as Labour leader will be the same part of the electoral cycle that launched Blair's rise to power.

In 1995, Labour candidates, many of who had never expected to win, saw themselves elected in great numbers to councils across the country on the back of a simple message. "We're different and not Tory", Labour claimed in leaflets carrying Tony Blair's broad smile, and aside from that, very little else. Yet, on the back of Blair's grin and a number of national attacks on the Tories, Labour made new breakthroughs at a local level which lead in many cases to even greater success two years later in 1997.

So what's the irony ? Well most of the 1995 crop of Labour councillors held on in 1999. By 2003, things were not so good with many of the 1995 crop of Labour councillors disappearing. however, a few held on. So the irony of tomorrow is, with Labour more unpopular than ever, and with Tony' Blair's smile being the very last thing a Labour councillor would put on a leaflet, the last of the 1995 new crop of Labour councillors those that broke through in to virgin territory, should also lose their seats and depart with Mr Blair.

Still, if they need cheering up after defeat, a look at one of their old 1995 leaflets and Mr Blair's smile ought to lift their mood.

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