Saturday, September 22, 2007

Three victories in one night.

'David Davis, George Osborne, Iain Dale, John Redwood, David Cameron - can you hear me David Cameron? Your boys took one hell of a beating... one hell of a beating...'

Defeat for the Tories in council by-elections in Worcester and right here in Birmingham, plus a Lib Dem loss in Nuneaton as well. Oh happy day.

I'm always reluctant to put too much onto any one by-election victory, as these campaigns can turn on peculiar local issues and are always affected by low turnouts. This time round, the Labour vote held up remarkably well, losing just 400 votes on the May elections, while the Tories haemorrhaged 1000 votes in a few months. It might indicate a dissatisfaction in the Tory ranks for Cameron - or just a poor ground campaign by Whitless' boys. It could also indicate that Ken Hardeman's personal vote - which can come from non-traditional supporters - was stronger than thought.

Distressingly for the local Lib Dems, who did campaign a little - just enough to keep the flag flying and honour satisfied, but not enough to affect their best mates in the Tory party - their vote collapsed by around two thirds and they dropped into third place behind the BNP, whose own vote had halved. All that in the week of the Lib Dem conference can't really give them much cheer at all.


Bob Piper said...

The Lib Dems shameful performance may be explained by their unwillingness to upset their coalition partners and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happening in other seats where effectively there is a coalition candidate standing as the main anti-Labour candidate.

However, these coalitions don't last forever, and I suspect in the long run they will regret standing aside and allowing any sort of electoral base to dwindle.

Richard Allen said...

While Ken Hardeman was a popular figure among those interested in politics he had no personal vote in Brandwood. In the 2004 all out election he finished third.