Regardless of where you see yourself on the political spectrum, Labour’s crushing defeat in the former red wall heartlands should be lamented by everyone.

Britain is starting to feel like a one-party state and Labour’s collapse in places like Hartlepool is further evidence.

The Tories have been in power for a decade, they’ve won four general elections in a row and despite questions over the handling of the pandemic and any number of scandals from Cummings to the Downing Street flat revamp, their poll leads continue to go off the charts.

This is almost completely unique. No party, no matter how popular - think of Thatcher's Conservatives or Blair's Labour - can cling on to power indefinitely. Voters become bored of the same thing, scandals stack up and internal fighting topples once great movements. It's the natural order of things. Or at least it has been.

How the political makeup of the north has changed

How the political makeup of the north has changed

At almost any other time in our history, the opposition would be poised to reclaim power but today Labour continue to sink into oblivion - and the prospects of a bounce back look worse than ever.

The political pendulum, it seems, has effectively stopped swinging and we should all be worried. Not of the Tories’ rise, which you will love or loathe dependant on your own political beliefs, but of unchecked dominance of any persuasion.

Functioning democracy only works when our governments are held to account by clear, strong opposition.

Sadly, we don’t appear to have one, and that puts our very democracy at risk.