ON Wednesday, for the first time that this reporter can remember (ten years), the number of Labour councillors at a Thurrock Council meeting was in single figures.For most of the meeting, their leader, cllr John Kent looked, not necessarily despondent, but muted.He was surrounded by empty seats as a number of Labour councillors did not attend the meeting.To be fair. some made, such as cllr Jane Pothecary, valuable contributions but on the whole, they just saw the meeting out.Thurrock Labour seems to be going through a difficult period. They are now the third party in the council and will now have to wait until May 2018 to see if there is an upturn in their fortunes.Perhaps that is why, whilst, a few weeks ago, 321 constituency Labour Partys went out and campaigned against Grammar Schools. Thurrock Labour did not.And whilst our sister paper over in Harlow sees Harlow Labour out on the doorstep every weekend, again Thurrock Labour seem to be on the witness protection programme.At the same time, many Labour councillors are busy in their committees, doing valuable work and holding the ruling Conservatives to account.This maybe just a bit of a tough time for a party that have seen their fortunes decline before. They lost power in 2004 and it took six years before they regained it. It may take a few years again.Many may find it hard to go out campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn should the election be in May 2020.Some may feel they face a double whammy. The folk who voted in 17 UKIP councillors may not find any reason to do to the contrary in May 2018 indeed they may add more seats in Tilbury, Stanford and dare we say, Grays.To be honest, who knows where the UKIP story will end up. The true denouement may be in May 2020.By May 2020, no matter how (seemingly) unpopular Jackie Doyle Price is, Jeremy Corbyn is not going to persuade, many floating voters in Thurrock to move from Blue to Red.We have the feeling that people will stick with Theresa May for the long haul, whatever the price of Brexit.By then, UKIP will no longer have an MEP and they may not have the resources they have at present. However, I am sure they will argue that they will still have the energy and, more importantly the connection with a lot of Thurrock folk.Then again, politics is a funny old game. Who knows what will happen between now and May 2018 or 2020 or 2025 or new week.But going back to Labour, perhaps they need some fresh blood to you use running parlance, maybe they just need to, whilst going through this bad patch, sit at the back of the pack and wait for their energies to return.
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