This may well become a watershed moment in local politics.

The Labour Party might not like to hear this, but they did underestimate the amount of anger some people had towards their national leadership’s handling of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

It had been suggested international affairs should not affect local politics. But they do, because people feel helpless and find the only way to send a message is through the ballot box.

Could you be a good local councillor and not be affiliated with a main political party?

In Blackburn, some councillors were still relying on the tried and tested formula to get elected.

Some of the same Labour councillors who praised the Blackburn MP Jack Straw after he led the country into the Iraq war in 2005 were hoping people would vote out of habit again. 

One councillor shared a video with the former Foreign Secretary and was immediately criticised. Talk about not being able to read the room.

The simple question many Labour party members could not answer was – 'Why are you standing for a party that has not done enough to call out the massacres in Gaza?'.

It was a question that was being heard on the doorsteps in predominantly South Asian areas.

People were recording and sharing their experiences with Labour canvassers. In one exchange a mufti (religious leader) told of how he had little choice to tell Labour members of his disdain over the issue.

I got told it was becoming almost ‘embarrassing’ to be associated with the Labour Party.

I could find only a handful of people from a Muslim background who would openly share their association with the party. 

Blame videos, blame social media but the fact is people will vote when they feel aggrieved at not being listened to. 

Yet, the Independents did run a slick campaign at times in Blackburn, with some candidates choosing to ignore the wider issue over Gaza, and asking residents what they could do to make their communities a better place to live.

I am sorry to say, but some politicians also tend to be very patronising to some voters. There is always ‘wider picture’ to look at. Something more important than ‘one issue’, that the voter does not see the benefits of being associated with a mainstream party. 

Labour’s leaflet boasting that people should be wary of voting for someone else, as the ‘Independents would have no real effect on decision making’ must have been written by someone in a soundproof cellar with earphones on, hoping to drown out the noises of discontent.

Anyone saying Labour candidates don’t care about the ongoing bombing of Gaza is wrong. They do, but they failed to show it publicly and that may well have been their undoing. 

It is important to note that whilst some Independents were campaigning on the issue of Gaza, only one councillor, ‘Tiger Patel’ resigned within days of the bombing. Others took weeks to take a similar step.

We also had this tide of ex-Labour canvassers venting their anger at the party and former Labour colleagues which got ugly and nasty.

It was almost as if they were themselves attempting to appease their own ‘guilt’ for having supported the party for so long.

Others had stood for the Conservative Party in the past, despite its national leadership lurching from one crisis to another. Now, the same candidates found themselves wearing an Independent badge and boasting of ‘standing up for Muslims’.

In some cases, people were quick to share lies and misinformation as it was ‘fair game’.

In one video, entitled, ‘Blackburn Labour are lying’ a segment of the Blackburn with Darwen council leader's response to a question over Gaza states ‘he does need votes’ and ‘nor does he care if those gathered ever voted for him again’. 

Anyone who was there, and there many of us who were, know full well what he was talking about and how he wanted to tell the audience that he was attending the event as a human being and not as a politician.

Yet, the words were misconstrued and shared and were also mentioned at rallies, without a second thought.

The general election may be different but local political parties would be foolish to think they can take votes for granted. There is much work to do.