Round up: Oldham West byelection (unexpectedly) returns a safe Labour majority…

So, in lieu of any definitive account from me, here’s a round up on Oldham East West…

– Fascinating piece from Liam Young… “more importantly we won together. From Progress members to Momentum supporters, from those crazy Corbynista MPs and those dangerous Blairites, we all got involved and united behind a common cause and we won.”

– An apt and proportionate warning though from James O’Malley…

…if you’re a politics nerd like me, spending your days obsessing about politics, not only does that make you weird compared to everyone else, but it also gives you a poor vantage from where to judge what political news is “cutting through” to people who don’t usually care

– The Spectator’s Coffee House passes a harsh judgement on UKIP…

…it has proven that unless it can find money and the ability to effectively campaign, it will fail to make electoral progress and is set to be a declining force in British politics.

– Newstatesman’s George Eaton

The party’s vote share actually rose to 62.1 per cent from 54.8 per cent, while second-placed Ukip’s increased by just 2.7 per cent to 23.4 per cent. (A Lib Dem source told me yesterday morning that Labour was “smashing it”.)

– Unfair perhaps, but it is worth posting an excerpt from Matt Singh’s Red Box piece in the The Times yesterday:

Labour’s Ukip problem is even worse than pollsters thought. As Daniel Finkelstein wrote in The Times last month, “Ukip is eating away at the heart of Labour”, citing recent analysis from Number Cruncher Politics. The analysis found that the polling failure in May reflected Ukip votes coming more from Labour than pollsters had thought (and less from the Tories).

– If Labour people knew any different on the ground they gave nothing away to the press, even some of the sharpest commentators on Labour politics. Except this piece by the FT’s Jim Pickard demonstrates that not everyone was caught up in the UKIP hype.

Other than that, the columnists and opinion makers of London are rather quiet this morning. It’s just a by election after all, after the death of a well loved long term incumbent and a strongly embedded leader of the council. As Paul Mason noted last night:

Whatever it means to Labour’s warring factions, it will worry UKIP. And perhaps Nigel Farage’s rather intemperate comments will worry them even more so. His genius heretofore has been to play down the extreme end of his views.

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  • 23×7

    Another terrible week for Corbyn then. Great to see the voters of Oldham ignore the gutter press.

  • Think it shows how a local Party has a desire to win. The locals chose a popular well known figure, rather than one or two of the less well known an less moderate alternatives. It was a sensible choice, and not a Corbyn ‘win’ in an ideological sense – though there will be relief all around that this hurdle has been easily jumped. For the Corbyn crew, however, this was always going to be a long haul project. Does though question those who think realistic prospect in many seats. For the Corbynistas it may not just be a long haul, it may also be a mountain to climb.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I have to say it, the media weren’t trying hard enough. Surprising grassroots activists and a parliamentary party machine were able to win over mass media speculation.

    If the media tried just a little bit more, even non-readers would react to reflect the pesimissim of the press with a lot more zeal.

  • Richard Gadsden

    Oldham West, not East.

  • Dan

    Time for rules around postal votes to be tightened up.
    You can’t trust these election results

  • mickfealty


  • 23×7

    If you can’t trust a majority of 10722 and 62% of the vote what can you trust?

  • mickfealty

    Maybe. But all I heard Farage complaining about was the universal presence of the Labour party in OIdham. I sympathise because one party rule is not healthy anywhere, but it’s not actually undemocratic if the vote is fair.

  • Greenflag 2

    Indeed- some of the more gutteral press were even predicting a Labour defeat .Large parts of the media have now joined the neo con agenda as Murdochians . Not yet Volkischer Beobachter but getting there .

  • chrisjones2

    Yes he did very well to win a by election in an area with a large Muslim vote with a reduced majority

    This of course far outweighs having half his cabinet revolt in the Commons and in effect put manners on him, a major Leadership Candidate emerge who could unite both wings and his fanatical supporters start to target and abuse many of his MPs leading to some needing police escorts at meetings and events

    And the reality is that for Corbyn that genuinely IS a good week

  • chrisjones2

    All politics is both local and tribal

  • 23×7

    The Times even printed an article, or took a punt, in todays paper stating that Labour were damaged by UKIP in Oldham.

  • Like the rest of the media Slugger/ Mick makes no mention of the collapse of the Tory vote. Down from 8000 to 2000. Now if Labour’s vote had done that Slugger/ Mick & other would be all over it.
    Still think Corbyn is unelectable Mick?

  • Greenflag 2

    Oh dear even the Times 🙁 But surely not the Telegraph 😉 I only ever read the Independent ( not the Free State Journal I hasten to add ) when I get a chance these days .

  • 23×7

    Looks like maths isn’t a strong point of yours either.

  • 23×7

    That was a interesting result for the tories. If Corbyn was as toxic as we were led to believe the tories should have gained a little, with the caveat that this was obviously not a General election.
    We also need to remember Labour don’t need have to have anywhere near a majority for Corbyn to become PM.

  • chrisjones2

    You are doing the equivalent of predicting the Irish GE from one poll in a Town Council election in Tipperary where the ward has a 40% polish vote

  • 23×7

    Your last two posts have mentioned minorities. Should I read anything into this?

  • John Collins

    ‘Free State Journal’
    Would you by any chance be referring to the polity called the Republic of Ireland?.

  • John Collins

    Yea Yea
    He had a majority of something like 12,000 and Farage is going on about postal vote discrepancies. By any chance would he be pulling our irony chain.

  • Zig70

    The BBC coverage was shockingly biased on the run up. State tv at its best.

  • Greenflag 2

    No just to the newspapers former name which I see I mispelled should have been Freeman’s Journal -its become a kind of Irish Daily Mail for those whose attention spans can last anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute 🙁 Why waste time reading when ignorance is instantaneous as the man said .

  • Gingray

    Ha! Very good re Chris and his dismissal of minorities 🙂

  • Gingray

    Oh dear, people in danger of reading too much into a by election unfortunately. This story was overblown by hysterical, partisan media on both sides, which is reflected in the links Mick has included.

    For a more dispassionate but factual analysis check UK polling report.

    “By-election are extremely strange beasts. They take place in a single constituency that may be completely untypical of the country as a whole, they normally have no impact at all upon who will be running the country the next day, they have far greater campaigning intensity than any other election.”


    “After every by-election I post the same conclusion – if they show much the same as the national polls suggest they tell us nothing new, if they show something different it’s probably to do with the unique and different circumstances of by-election. In this case the opposition party has held onto a safe seat. This is exactly what we should expect unless they are tanking in the national polls, and Labour aren’t: despite Corbyn’s poor ratings and the constant news stories of Labour infighting their level of support is still pootling along at around their general election share. There is no reason to expect UKIP surges either – in the last Parliament UKIP had soared from 3% to the mid-teens, so almost every by-election saw them surging, but now we are comparing their support to what they got in the 2015 general election, after their breakthrough.”

    Do read the piece folks, some awful analysis going on in the comments already, most of which ignores the facts and picks an outcome that favours their “side”.

  • Pete

    Tactical voting for ukip presumably?

  • chrisjones2

    What dismissal of minorities.

    First are Poles an ethnic minority? They are a national group but of white, western European descent like most of us in Ireland

    In Bradford there is a huge east Asian vote who would never touch UKIP with a barge pole – who would anyway. My point was that this is a not a representative case on which to base any national projections though Corbyn clung to it like a drowning man on the Titanic who has found a floating deckchair. He needs to realise that the water is still freezing

    Still boys (or girls, trans-gendered persons or whatever you are – I do not mind) if you need to invent spurious racial issues because you cannot cope with the points I have made then I must be winning the arguments. Have a nice day

  • Gingray

    Chris, not sure why you are mentioning Bradford, other than to get a mention of a minority group in?

    Election was in Oldham.

    In terms of ethnic minorities, not sure I mentioned that term, it was minorities in general and your views I was “ha”ing at. I just have you down as a Tory/WASP know what’s best/dismiss the rest.

    As I’ve stated previously, this by election was meaningless except for the spin put on it – you to dismiss it, others to build it up.

  • Slater

    Why can’t we have postal voting at will as they do in England instead of filling in endless forms and getting them countersigned by doctors or nurses attesting to your ailments?