The Belfast Agreement decoupled Northern Ireland’s constitutional future from day-to-day elected politics, but the pro-UK parties failed to adapt.
The Government’s failure to do anything about London’s housing crisis means the capital is now starting to export voters into its wide commuter belt.
At the local level, they are well on their way to major-party status – and it’s in cracks in the Blue Wall that they’re growing most vigorously.
“The Prime Minister keeps entering a two-horse race and somehow finishing third”, argues Sir Keir Starmer.
The evidence from the local elections is not that the voters are abandoning the Tories to back Reform or Ukip , but parties of the centre and the left. Their situation is bad, but it can be made worse.
She tells Laura Kuenssberg that the Conservatives will “need to reflect” on this week’s local elections.
“The Conservative Party has a brand, which is ‘grown up and competent’, and that is what we need to recover.”
“We need to deliver on what matters to people, and I think what matters most to them is their day-to-day spending.”
The challenge for Sunak should not be underestimated. Outperforming Brown’s electoral tightening of 2010 may not even produce an outright majority. But politics is all about definition in the moment.