Ouch!

In the Henley by-election the Conservatives retained Boris Johnson’s seat comfortably but the big news story is that the Labour Party lost its deposit and was beaten into fifth by the Green Party and the British National Party.The result at the last general election in Henley was:
Conservative (Boris Johnson): 24,894 (54%)
Liberal Democrat (David Turner): 12,101 (26%)
Labour (Kaleem Saeed): 6,862 (15%)
Green (Mark Stevenson): 1,518 (3%)
UKIP (Delphine Gray-Fisk): 1,162 (3%)
Turnout: 68%

  • Dewi

    FD – u know we are all geeks – what’s the score?

  • Donnacha

    Dewi: it’s in the link.

  • abucs

    Was the recent issue of Brown ratifying Lisbon an issue ?

    Just asking like.

  • heck

    FD ,am I missing something?

    Your figures show labour 3rd not 5th (I wish you were right).

    I wish you were correct. Until the labour party (the party of honest Tony- partners with the right wing US neocons and the DUP) is finished there will never be a left wing party in Britain.

  • abucs

    I made the same mistake heck.

    The figures displayed are for the previous election. The new figures are contained in the link.

  • ZoonPol

    I empathise with the frustration allowed the reasonable voter to consider – if not lend – their vote to the BNP: and one does hope it is only a lent vote. I remember a case in point when the anchor presenter of the Daily Politics show made a comparison between the DUP and the BNP in their misuse of the Union Flag but we are living in a society were, in theory, is secular and lovely; but, in practice, becoming more authoritarian socially, capital orientated economically, void of morals, and whose underlying current of unrest is feeding the extreme right or left.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Helney is as safe a Tory seat as you can find, but Labour losing four fifths of its vote in three years is quite a kick, even on a reduced turnout. I wonder if the odds on Gordon being “retired due to ill-health” before Xmas have got any shorter…

  • Can anyone, anywhere, give a credible reason for voting Labour in a constituency where the only real opposition is LibDem? This is a phenomenon known as the “third-party squeeze”.

    Voting Green is, to me, a principled if pathetic “gut” vote. In this case, as in the London Assembly election, I am grateful to those who went this way, thus denying the nasty racist Right even greater swagger and braggadocio. As for such BNP thugees, it’s more of a “knuckle-retread, tattoo and beer gut” vote. Both are irrelevant to the main game. At least, until we have PR for Westminster elections.

    The only real surprise is that the LibDems didn’t do somewhat better. They needed, and given more time — say to the autumn — were possibly capable of the necessary 15% swing (a shade above they achieved at Bromley in 2006). That is where any loose Labour votes should have been “lent”. The Tories were acutely aware of that, which is why Blasted Boris, showing some reluctance, was ordered off the pitch, and the by-election was pushed through with remarkable haste.

  • Dewi

    Malcolm – it’s disastrous for Labour – being beaten by the BNP and Greens. Such a Labour collapse is also bad newes for the Lib Dems – seems like the Tories have the zeitgeist….which remarkably has been caused by the dithering and too clever by halfness of a single individual..

  • Dewi

    Trying to find the last time Labour polled as low as 3.1% (31 people in every thousand!!) in a by-election….

  • Dewi

    Not too difficult actually – Newbury 1993 – 2%- roughly the same sort of demographic I suppose.

  • Dewi on Jun 27, 2008 @ 12:15 PM:

    Der Zeitgeist, perhaps. A fawning Press, most definitely. Policies? Ah, that’s somewhat different.

    As I have pointed out elsewhere, in recent days the wind has subtly shifted. There has been a whole raft of commentators trimming to meet it. For examples, try

    David Aaronovitch in the Times a full month ago;
    Peter Riddell’s column, just this Wednesday;
    The Economist throughout, not excluding today’s Bagehot opinion column, for which see next paragraph but one.

    The consensus here is that two things have counted against Labour and Gordon Brown:

    “It’s the economy, stupid”, and
    Image rather than any reality.

    Now that Economist piece. It cogently argues two main reasons for the Brown debacle:

    [1] Part of the problem is —- how to put it politely? —- the prime minister’s proclivity, under pressure, to be prudent with the truth. It isn’t only his tricksiness with statistics, his fondness for misleading historical comparisons (for example, on inflation) and self-serving exaggeration (such as his wild rounding-up of poverty-reduction figures)…
    [2] The situation needed someone who could reassure the public about rising inflation and falling house prices. Mr Brown honed his droning, attritional approach to economic chat in a different job and in different times: during a boom, when voters were complacently content to be bored by their seemingly alchemic chancellor. Now they are listening to him harder. They want to hear the prime minister persuade them that things will get better, or at least that he feels and shares their pain. Instead he offers a sort of deflating miserablism.

    That second argument is then expanded into three sub-sections:

    [a:] how he became prime minister without a whimper of internal dissent—an accession that has already come to look like a case of bizarre group-think;
    [b:] what would have happened had he swallowed those polls and gone to the country last autumn and
    [c:] Mr Brown’s failure has been intensely political, and it has an elementary political cause. The prime minister, who lambasts his main rival as a “shallow salesman”, has been unable to sell himself.

    The message is the medium, indeed.

    Yet, that leaves you, Dewi, to aid us by explaining what the great British electorate expect to get from a Cameroonie government. Is it some, as yet undefined, unexplained and unscrutinised set of policies? Will the housing market instantly recover (but “affordable” housing also provide itself), fuel costs fall, road congestion vanish, “good” school places be universally available, the “broken society” superglue itself, knife-crime be eliminated, a seat on the commuter train be always there for the taking, and the Daily Mail thus able to pronounce that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds? Oh, and the lads brought home, world peace established, global warming be solved and the fear of terrorism evaporate?

    Or is it all some vague wish for sympathetic magic, a snake-oil salesman, a shaman to take away each and every care and problem? Does it come down to the Blasted Boris appeal: “If you vote for the Conservatives, your wife will get bigger breasts and your chances of driving a BMW M3 will increase”?

    On the other hand, when (and, alas, it’s not realistically a case of “if”) the next atrocity — the bomb on the London Tube, Glasgow airport, whatever — comes along, that same great British electorate might positively reassess the public image of said G. Brown.

  • Dewi

    “Yet, that leaves you, Dewi, to aid us by explaining what the great British electorate expect to get from a Cameroonie government. Is it some, as yet undefined, unexplained and unscrutinised set of policies? Will the housing market instantly recover (but “affordable” housing also provide itself), fuel costs fall, road congestion vanish, “good” school places be universally available, the “broken society” superglue itself, knife-crime be eliminated, a seat on the commuter train be always there for the taking, and the Daily Mail thus able to pronounce that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds? Oh, and the lads brought home, world peace established, global warming be solved and the fear of terrorism evaporate?”

    Very good Malcolm but you forgot free sweets all round…..Of course the rotten Tories are no good – why is why Brown’s performance is so disappointing (Economist good above but I have to say over the years it really tries to find out the way the wind is blowing before supprting or opposing – with the noble exception of Berlusconi) Brown just so foolish over that election calling dithering which started this seemingly irreversible rot.

  • culligan

    The problem with Brown is….he’s that dodgy Scottish bloke who lives on his own in the run-down house on the corner.
    Goes to Church a lot, alway reading books. His front room is a tip, you can see it from the street. Tracey says he used to be a chef in the Army. I don’t trust him myself, whatever happened to his kitten, by the way?

  • Dewi

    The more I look at this the worse it gets for Labour (and the Lib Dems)

    In competitive by-elections sometimes a squeeze drives a pile of people to abandon traditional voting patterns temporarily – this was not a competitive election.

    So, of those people in Henley who knew the Tories were going to win, more of them voted for the BNP and the Greens than voted Labour. This is terrifying for the Brownites – I know Henley is posh but everywhere has Railway workers, postmen, council workers and methodists – to get barely a thousand votes implies meltdown.

  • Dewi

    Very interesting from Scotland Brown needs a Glasgow by-election like a hole in the head.

  • Peat Blog

    I guess if Wendy Alexander did stand down it would be very bad for Brown, particularly given her family and other connections to the Brownites. I can just picture the smile on smug Alex Salmond’s face.

    However, a poll in today’s Independent did suggest that Scotland is the only GB region where Labour still has a lead.

  • Dewi

    Peat Blog – 89 people only in Scotland element of sample. The total sample is big enough to generalise but not specify by area.

    http://www.comres.co.uk/page190403950.aspx

  • Peat Blog

    Dewi,

    Apart from the SNP, I don’t really see who can significantly dent Labour in Scotland. Not aware of the BNP having much support and somehow I don’t think the Scots have yet forgiven the Tories. Who therefore can attract a significant protest vote?

  • Dewi

    “Apart from the SNP, I don’t really see who can significantly dent Labour in Scotland”

    ….Why the “apart” bit peat blog? SNP gaining all the time (Annie Lennox came out in favour of independence yesyerday)

    Scotsman thinks she’s gone

  • Dewi
  • Peat Blog

    Dewi,

    Appears like I’m walking on broken glass…

    I have no axes to grind with the SNP or any other party (I’m equally skeptical about them all) but nevertheless feel that Labour could not be beaten into 5th place in Scotland given the dearth of other protest type parties (as they were in Henley).

    Obviously coming 2nd in any future Glasgow by-election would probably still be on a par with 5th in Henley, and therefore catastrophic for Labour. Coming 3rd, perhaps behind the Tories, would be goodnight Vienna for Brown.

  • Dewi

    I misunderstood sorry PB. Now get your point – it is however Glasgow where the Scottish Socialist Party still has some support. However it’s a huge ask for the SNP to win actually – a 13,000 majority.

    P.S. What a shame they have chosen such names as East, West etc for Glasgow constituencies – used to have Anniesland etc – much better.

  • DavidD

    I am now convinced that the New Labour leadership is riddled with Tory moles, probably led by Harriet Harman. These traitors initially tried to direct the party into actions of straightforward incompetence, aided by a couple of illegal wars, to achieve their ends. This worked too slowly so they decided to take the party into full kamikaze mode. A new leader was selected with a personality that made John Major and Edward Heath seem charismatic. This was followed by a series of hilarious scandals and blunders. Then on the day of the Henley by-election, the arch-conspirator Harman with faultless timing introduced a bill to legalise discrimination against white males. The results so far have been most satisfactory, only slightly marred by the fact that Labour still managed to poll nearly 800 votes more than the Monster Raving Loony party. So it’s still work in progress.

  • Peat Blog

    Would tend to agree over SNP in Glasgow but it will sure be a hell of a fight. Internecine battles between and within political parties in the city seem to be par for the course.

    Don’t know when they changed the names but the city in general got brutalized (M8 motorway, wholesale tenement demolitions, Greek Thompson church destruction etc.). Thankfully the vandals didn’t win the day in Edinburgh.

    The Scottish Socialist Party certainly know how to get publicity (at least in the recent past)!

  • Dewi

    Interesting if PE is about- I’ve an idea that this is one of the more “Catholic” Glasgow constituencies where Labour loyalty part of that tradition. Not an expert however.

  • Peat Blog

    Yes, it would be considered more “Catholic”, also due to the fact that Celtic is based there.

    According to Wikipedia it had the third highest Labour majority in Scotland at the last election. The Daily Record < http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/06/28/gordon-brown-faces-by-election-test-as-veteran-scots-mp-david-marshal-quits-over-illness-86908-20624177/> suggests that the by-election may be held before the end of next month.

  • Peat Blog

    Interesting Dewi.

    Elaine used to star in Rab C Nesbitt. I wish Rab would stand also – The String Vest Alliance for Cheaper Booze or something like that. The Beeb used to have to subtitle his comedy programme for Londonites and it would be great to see the London-centric media types having to strain themselves trying to comprehend his slurred Glaswegian.

    Maybe Billy Connolly might be persuaded to stand or that other great Scottish stand up George Galloway (he could step down from Bethnal Green and therefore force another by-election!).

    I suspect the lingering issue of 10p tax compensation might come back to haunt Brown again in such a deprived city as Glasgow…

  • Greenflag

    What was the name of that ‘harried ‘ PM in the House of Cards series ? Not Brown IIRC? .Although as pressent events unfold it seems as if it might as well be . Where o where did it all go wrong and now as we head into recession fortuna that most inconstant God has deserted the Scot . Salmond may yet laugh all the way to independence as Labour implodes in Scotland and England goes permanently Blue with Scotland mostly nationalist with a few red pockets ?

  • dewi

    Eoghan has made the point before that the Labour vote in the last Holyrood elections actually held up well – I certainly don’t see a Henley type meltdown. Rapid organisational logistical effort now required by SNP – a small opportunity window to take advantage of lack of Labour leadership – Holyrood on holiday so get the MSPs out on the Glasgow streets. Best wishes to Mr Marshall for a recovery – an honest bloke.