Instead, in the context where London is everything, Labour looks broken and emasculated. Talking up the possibility of storming Tory citadels was unwise at best, suicidal at worst. Failing to engage with the far more insidious, institutionalised racism and antisemitism in the Conservative bunker was foolish - and may well have been the deciding factor in entrenching the venal and corrupt Tory council in Barnet - but the real battle was for opposition to what is without doubt the worst and most incompetent government in modern British history.
The situation outside London is dire. The Kipper vote has apparently reverted to its natural home amongst the far right hinterlands of the Tory party, undermining Labour's feeble mewling that it has to pander to the Leave hard-liners rather than its own natural supporters. Pursuing this to the extent of denying opponents of both austerity and the self-inflicted agony of Brexit has not resulted in either a breakthrough outside the London bubble or the kind of protest vote that may have misled many of the more flat-earth Labour supporters into believing that "one more heave" would be sufficient to achieve victory.
That this victory would be Pyrrhic has not been lost on many - given the windy and incredible rhetoric around policy promises that cannot be delivered in an economy that unravels and fails as a consequence of a Brexit enabled and cheered through by a party leadership in de facto coalition with the Tories. That it is impossible may be much harder for the Labour tribalisms to comprehend.
Commanding a Commons majority is not a matter of simple poll ratings, even in a corrupt and broken electoral system. The geographical disaster facing Labour remains - the party cannot break through in Scotland, nor can it secure support sufficient to topple the Tories across much of England and Wales. Modern politics is about pluralism and fluidity, not the kind of cap-doffing passivity that many of Labour's most hardened advocates assume is theirs by right.
Electoral arrangements, however informal, can deliver - witness the supremely satisfying sight of watching Richmond's council change colour under the nose of Zac Goldsmith. If the Liberal Democrats end up making larger gains than Labour it demonstrates that necessity and pragmatism are part of an armoury of opposition politics, as well as a clear rejection by many tactical voters of the catastrophic Janus-like equivocation of Labour on the key issues.
When and if this disgusting government falls, Labour cannot assume that it will step into the breach. It was highly amusing to watch the rhetoric shift from Corbyn Year Zero to how strongly Labour had performed in the equivalent set of local elections in 2014, under the hateful rightwing stewardship of Ed Miliband. Instead, much of Labour's venom remains focused on the Liberal Democrats - handy displacement activity for its own failings.
May has not done as well as she thinks out of the English elections - and Tory strategists will now be somewhat more concerned about the possibility of a Liberal revival given the recovery of ground in several areas of former strength. This may be a more likely source of toppling the Tories if peak Labour has now been reached - after all Blair recognised this and the 1997 election turned into a triangulated landslide on the basis of a clear repugnance at the Tories.
More analysis will determine quite how far Labour has fallen short of its professed ambition - but its rhetoric makes it look like the largest loser of the night. Tactical voting against Brexit parties may not have been sufficient to swing many results, but in a tight environment these are not voters to be ignored. Hagiography and the cult of personality does not substitute for the active or passive support of those who do not stick their heads over the parapet of activism.
Opposing the Tories needs to be comprehensive and opportunist. After these elections there is now the existential crisis of the Brexit fiasco to navigate - Labour will be judged by how much more damage can be inflicted on May and her farrago of inadequates. Playing the long game is more than just inaction, it is about convincing a much wider spectrum that there is merit in compromising principles for the sake of electoral necessity. Sadly the evidence is that Labour has not yet achieved either awareness or pragmatism.