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The Conservative Party looks set to storm to victory in council elections across England after securing a historic win in Harlepool.
The Tories snatched the northern seat from Labour first the first time since the constituency was created in 1974.
It marks a shattering blow in the Opposition’s once impregnable “red wall”, with party members now questioning the future of leader Sir Keir Starmer.
But as Labour is consumed by infighting, the Conservatives’ continued election success is being likened by critics to Stockholm Syndrome.
The psychological response occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers.
So, essentially, social media users are comparing local election voters to hostages, and the Conservative Party to their captors.
The theme was picked up on Twitter, with the term soon becoming one of the platform’s top trends on Friday.
‼️|| #StockholmSyndrome Is trending in the uk! https://t.co/9QjyEqm7gl — LS UPDATED (@LS UPDATED)
Here’s a look at just some of the tweets from the scores of would-be psychoanalysts:
The fact that people are still willing to vote for a Tory government that has wilfully destroyed the country with a… https://t.co/Jb1A5SFUaG — James Melville (@James Melville)
It's like this whole country has fucking Stockholm syndrome!
A bent PM who lies every day, gives cash to his mrs a… https://t.co/dpFJg0Udwd — Chris Anderson (@Chris Anderson)
I didn’t believe an entire constituency could experience Stockholm Syndrome but here we are. Depressing. https://t.co/EqejTyQ6FL — Nick Carter (@Nick Carter )
Is it possible for an entire town to suffer Stockholm Syndrome?
Anyone in Hartlepool care to comment? — Andrew Parnall - Brexit can't/won't work, ever! (@Andrew Parnall - Brexit can't/won't work, ever!)
We’ve a kind of Stockholm syndrome going on now with the Conservatives. We don’t want to be released. — Tim Walker (@Tim Walker)
@cactus_woman For the residents of Hartlepool to return a Tory MP after 11 years of austerity (that has adversely a… https://t.co/2PMTXgwBC9 — Matthew of Calverton #FBPE 🇬🇧🇪🇺🇷🇴 (@Matthew of Calverton #FBPE 🇬🇧🇪🇺🇷🇴)
Food banks in Hartlepool started becoming the norm in 2010.
Child poverty has been on the rise in Hartlepool since… https://t.co/5zgpELDndL — Liam (@Liam)
Twitter knows 😏
#ElectionResults2021 #StockholmSyndrome https://t.co/8BzEvIYYiV — Carrie (not Princess Nut Nuts) 💙🇪🇺💨🪁🏄🏻♂️🦋 (@Carrie (not Princess Nut Nuts) 💙🇪🇺💨🪁🏄🏻♂️🦋)
Even TV personality, Gillian McKeith got involved:
many are clearly developing a psychological bond with their political captors — Gillian McKeith (@Gillian McKeith)
But numerous users condemned those using the term “Stockholm Syndrome” as patronising to the residents of Hartlepool and other voters.
Some noted the irony in light of Labour’s support lockdown restrictions, since Stockholm Syndrome is most commonly associated with people trapped by captors.
"Stockholm syndrome" isn't just voting for the Tories, it's voting for Labour as well who simply want to lockdown harder and sooner. — Gilbert Jackson (@Gilbert Jackson)
It's just comedy gold that the 'twitter left' is saying the country is experiencing Stockholm syndrome by voting fo… https://t.co/D6XbQHR5HD — BatFlu (@BatFlu)
The Red Wall is now The Blue Wall and what’s the reaction of the left?
iT’s noT oUR FauLt, thEY’vE alL gOT StoCKhoLm SyNdrOme!! 🥴😭 — Working Classman (@Working Classman)
While others hit out at the arrogance and naivity of anyone dismissing people’s choice to vote for whom they please:
my favourite post-election ritual is accusing working class and impoverished communities of Stockholm syndrome - so… https://t.co/140wny6wuZ — mia (taylor’s version) (@mia (taylor’s version))
Elsewhere, One Direction fans were left confused at the trend, believing it to be related to the band’s song of the same name.
not me coming onto the stockholm syndrome trend thinking its about the 2nd best one direction song — (sharn)🥨 (@(sharn)🥨)
me seeing stockholm syndrome trending and assuming it’s about the song when it isn’t🧍♂️ — g 🎸 (@g 🎸)
Stockholm syndrome is trending and my first thought was one direction ahahahha — hannah (@hannah)
If we’ve learned anything from this trend, it’s that politics is just as divided as ever and that One Direction’s Stockholm Syndrome is a banger.