Wednesday, 25 September 2013

By-election results

After all the good work by previous speakers at the annual general meeting of Labour in Brighton, implicitly offering an olive branch to Liberal Democrats by attacking the Conservative side of the coalition government, Harriet Harman's viciously partisan and wrong-headed closing speech showed how difficult it will be to produce a progressive coalition after the next general election.

She failed to give any credit to Liberal Democrats in government for giving certainty to state pensioners (which makes me wonder whether this is an area where Labour aims to make savings to pay for the two Eds' extravagant promises) or for making sure that other state beneficiaries would at least receive a 1% uprating where the Conservatives were proposing no increase. Nor did she mention the pupil premium.

That was misleading by omission. But she did worse on polling results. She was right to say that Labour had made gains in UK council by-elections, and that Conservatives had made great losses - also true, but the beneficiaries were UKIP and others as much as Labour. She was wrong to say that Liberal Democrats had also had big losses. We are just one down on the year so far, and in 2012 we finished five up. Overall, the period 2011-2013 shows a net gain of 1.

The inference is that we are holding our own. The best chance for Labour to be part of the next government is to remove Conservatives in Con/LibDem marginals. Presenting voters with the illusion that Labour can achieve an overall majority at the next general election will see more Tories elected, not fewer.

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

As if on cue:

Sevenoaks, Crockenhill and Well Hill ward, Sept 26, 2013

Steve Lindsay UKIP 216 35.7%
Rachel Waterton Labour 188 31.1%
Allrik Burch Conservative 139 23.0%
Philip Hobson Lib Dem 62 10.2%

Total votes cast 605

The election was caused by the death of the sitting Labour councillor. UKIP gain the seat from Labour.