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Tag Archives: by-election

Glenrothes By-election

So Brown is back as a colossus standing over the British political landscape. Apparently.

Well, I simply cannot bring myself to comment too much on the result of Brown’s bunch of Trots defeating Salmond’s bunch of Trots, other than to note that the Conservatives overtook the Lib Dems into third place (way-hey). Oh, and to note that there was a respectable swing to the SNP, so perhaps the BBC might want to balance its coverage a bit.


Sorry, I just re-read the last sentence above. BBC … balance … coverage.

Well, it made me laugh.


Glasgow East result: Conservatives’ 10% swing from Labour!

In this far flung corner of the Kingdom (the Kent/London borders), I couldn’t get much further from the action in Glasgow East, so I will confine myself to noting that, although our vote remained fairly static, we jumped into third place ahead of the Libs.

I must also mention, of course, Lib Dem style, that in the sometimes strange alternative universe that electoral statistics can create, we achieved a thumping 9.8% swing from Labour! Woo-hoo! Winning here!

Seriously though, well done to our girl Davena Rankin, who has been well and truly “bloodied” in one of toughest possible seats to stand as a Conservative.

What does it mean for Gordon Brown? Well, as an expert in Scottish politics I would say … pressure on Gordon Brown … men in grey suits … joke about men in white coats … ruin his holiday … moves to unseat him before conference … attempt to weather the storm … needs to listen.

There that’ll do. Just rearrange randomly and you have your ready made pundit’s guide to the aftermath of Glasgow East.

Henley: John Howell Sends Clegg Back to the Drawing Board

Headline coverage of by-election results tends to focus on the placings of each party (well, I suppose who came first is pretty important!) So there’s probably a muted sigh of relief at LibDem HQ in Cowley Street this morning, among the general despair, that the media haven’t picked up on exactly what a disastrous outcome the Henley result has been for the Libs.

The headlines are about the fact that, on his first anniversary in office, Brown’s candidate plummeted to fifth place behind the BNP and Greens. (On many BBC bulletins right now, they are leading on the Zimbabwean elections.) The Lib Dems, despite pulling out all the usual stops, scraped only a 1.8% increase in their vote. Lord Rennard, as I noted earlier, ran the usual personal negative Lib Dem campaign which has worked reasonably well for them before – well, pre-2007 anyway. Now it’s back to the drawing board. Thing is, it’s been so long, can anyone at Cowley Street find it?

They Just Don't Get It

So, Kelvin Mackenzie might step in to be Gordon Brown’s stooge stand against David Davis in the Haltemprice & Howden by-election. I hope Kelvin knows what he is letting himself in for by coming onto the other side of the media/victim fence. I would find it difficult to see Mackenzie, given his tabloid background, not getting personal in the campaign. This by-election was looking to be genuinely about the issue – if Mackenzie loses the plot then he will find himself reaping a whirlwind.

Add to the mix the fact that quite a few people will think that anything Murdoch/Mackenzie is for they are against, then I would say “bring it on”.

Of course, Kelvin has said he will do it if Labour don’t put anyone up themselves.

Thing is, Labour just don’t get it. Labour blogger Luke Akehurst, for example, is getting a good old kicking for suggesting, as indeed Nick Robinson was heard doing last night, that Labour should get a terrorist victim or retired Army or Police type to stand. Rachel from North London has put him firmly in his place as regards the first suggestion, and I can’t think of too many retired police or armed forces officers who would even give the government the time of day, with broken promises on pay rises, overstretched forces (both police and armed) and servicemen still at risk because of poor equipment. This seems to be a more specific form of the Yasmin Alibhai Brown “you are black/muslim/poor therefore you must vote Labour” way of thinking.

Labour – and indeed too many of the Westminster media – do seem to genuinely believe that there must be a grubby tactical motive to Davis’ actions, and that the Tories must have been just looking to give Gordon Brown a bloody nose on Wednesday. With a combination of arrogance and naivety, they sneer with derision the invocation of the principles of Magna Carta and feign deafness when mention is made of setting the boundaries of the State – presumably because the State is good, boundaries suggest constraints and why would one want to constrain Good?

Anyhow, one way or another it looks like there certainly will be a by-election. More interesting is how the last couple of days will affect that other parliamentary by-election in Henley….

David Davis Resigns

OK, so it’s a developing story – even as I had to break off to change a nappy (not mine) things have moved on – so what follows is something of a collection of random thoughts right now.

DD has given a spectacular demonstration of principle, and on a principle that I support. Reports were that he would restand as an independent (a position which his association seems to be supporting), but then Cameron says he will campaign for DD. I guess the “Independent” thing might be simply a condition of the no-stand deal with Clegg, though I doubt many Lib Dems will actually come out and campaign for DD anyway.

In fact, from the LibDem view point this isn’t good. Some will be disgusted that they aren’t fighting the by-election anyway and may even resign from the party in protest. Good. More to the point, I don’t see how the Clegg had much choice. DD has clearly made 42 days the touchstone issue, and even the multi-faced Libs could hardly oppose that one on the ground.

With Cameron publicly declaring his support for DD’s re-election campaign, presumably the various parts of the party machine, post 26th June (Henley) will be able to head up to Heltemprice and Howden to work there, albeit with white rosettes on?

What is already clear is that the initial chatter on the media about this being a falling out between Cameron and Davis is some way off the mark. That’s not to say that they are the best of buddies, but Cameron has moved quickly to show that this is about the erosion of individual freedom under Labour, of which 42 days is the latest, and a precursor to the monstrosity of the National Identity Database.

Of course, if Gordon Brown had any political nous, he woudl announce asap (ideally before the 6 o’clock bulletins) that Labour would not contest, thus making a go of rendering the whole episode a half day wonder. Then again, if Gordon Brown had any political nous….

The Ubiquitous Crewe and Nantwich Post

So I’m off shortly to work the phones for Crewe and Nantwich. Before then, though, my obligatory pre-post-mortem on the by-election result.

If we Conservatives do win (and it’s still “if” as I’m not one to tempt fate), there will be inevitable talk of the wise men in grey suits (or Labour’s equivalent – is it brown synthetic suits?) filing into Number Ten with offerings of scotch and revolvers.

They are wasting their time. If Brown is suffering from chronic bunker delusion, then so will be those in the senior ranks of the party. As I’ve said before, we Conservatives were here in the mid-Nineties. In fact, Dizzy has demonstrated the point quite graphically (literally). Despite the omens from Newbury to Wirral South, many in the party thought we could turn the tide, Canute-like, with a few popular initiatives, and anyway the polls were understating our support, just like last time.

I had a conversation along similar lines earlier this week with a local Labour councillor. Frankly, Labour could announce a cure for the common cold and it would only be worth a couple of points in the polls.

The “toff” campaign not only underlines how politically inept the party, once of Blair, Campbell and Mandelson, has become, but also how such plainly desperate measures are now being considered. Get rid of Brown if you will, but it is Labour’s entire political mojo that has disappeared – and neither Miliband, Johnson, Straw or any of the others will be able to fix it this side of a spell in opposition.

With any luck, it’ll be a long spell.