Well the decisions of the Newark public came in last Thursday, the votes got counted during the night, and a MP got elected so after the partying & a celebration is now off to Westminster. So is that it then? Not quite perhaps?
The politicians and pollists will be rummaging through all the figures to try and establish exactly what it all means – what it means for each party, what it means for their strategies, and most of all what it means for their party’s policies to go into their manifestoes for next June’s General Election.
But what can us outsiders make of this by election then?
For a start the Conservatives held their safe seat – not much of a surprise to anyone with any sense surely in light of their massive sixteen thousand plus majority last time? But how did it actually go? Well they were well ahead with forty five percent of the vote – but that is 10% DOWN. That was with a majority much more than HALVED – and total vote slashed by ten thousand (of course with a lower turnout). More worrying though isn’t it that the swing against them was fifteen percent? Why? Because it wasn’t simply against their arch rivals the Socialists was it? No it was against the new kid on the block UKIP – how worrying is that? [This comes after of course losing out to UKIP and Labour in the UK European Election a few weeks ago (some 4 percent behind)].
That iffy result was despite an existing and substantial electoral infrastructure in Newark. That was despite all Tory MPs being instructed (by official whipping) to go to the constituency at least three times and give that so called ‘duty’ a preference over any other responsibilities. That was despite bussing in hundreds of helpers each day. That was despite Government Ministers demeaning their high office knocking on doors & handing out leaflets. That was despite their candidate being hidden away from media scrutiny for days before the vote. That was despite having a thousand helpers blocking the streets of Newark on the day. That was despite the Prime Minister David Cameron himself going there to campaign instead of running the country no less than FOUR TIMES.
That was despite the abject failure of Labour, second last time, to mount a credible challenge notwithstanding the unpopularity of the Conservative led coalition Government. That was despite the LibDems, only just behind Labour last time, NOT making a challenge either. That was despite UKIP, with little organisation or people to rely on, starting from a position of under four percent of the vote last time, being their sole challenger.
Oh yes, the Conservatives are now publically boasting that they have had a great success at Newark (at long last having won a by election when in power) and have seen-off UKIP the fruitcakes, loonies & closet racists’ (as described by our Prime Minister some years ago – as he changed his mind now?). But behind closed doors, are they not shaking with relief and have they not got their heads in their hands? There is no way that the Newark result gives any credence or hope for the party to get an overall majority at the General Election, does it?
Then there is of course the Labour Party DOWN 4% and polling only eighteen percent of the vote at a time when they should be smashing the ‘out of favour’ Tories to smithereens in ANY by election. They should even have been picking up the LibDem vote surely as that party’s creditability goes into freefall? Instead they also have taken a kicking from UKIP, seeing them race past them from nowhere to end up IN FRONT by 8%. And Labour’s explanation for all of this, a reason for their demise? God knows – they have scurried away to hide and lick their wounds no doubt. And this lot expect the public to vote them into power in twelve months time and give Ed Miliband the keys to Number 10, do they?
As for the LidDems, the old ‘by election kings’ ANOTHER lost deposit just sums it up. They are a spent force with their party in disarray and their previously reliable & loyal sandal wearing activists drifting off to join the ranks of the Greens, aren’t they? It is ridiculously suggested by senior members that their voters voted tactically for Conservative to keep UKIP out, but the facts don’t support that do they? The combined Tory LibDem vote last time was seventy six percent, but this time a mere forty eight percent – so where is the missing quarter?
So what about UKIP then, how did they do amongst all the hype? Well, the wholesale media anti-brigade is now giving them a good drubbing, you see They failed to win this unwinnable seat don’t you know? So their star is falling from the sky, isn’t it? The people’s army has been defeated in the political battle, hasn’t it? Because they ONLY increased their share of the vote by a factor of SEVEN didn’t they?.But they ONLY polled FIVE TIMES as many votes than last time in the face of a reduced turnout (down twelve & a half thousand voters indeed). All achieved in spite of being outnumbered and facing the heavy tanks and massed infantry of the Tory machine. Will they become a true forth force in UK national politics? Only YOU will decide that of course.
[The three main parties are in alliance to fight UKIP with all their might and with no doubt increasingly dirty tricks, and personal attacks on Nigel Farage of course, so we are all in for an interesting 12 months lead-in to the next election aren’t we?]