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How to unspin Norwich

Nick Robinson | 11:01 UK time, Friday, 24 July 2009

Here's my guide to what the main parties are likely to say about the by-election and what they'll really mean.

Conservatives: "It's a historic victory. Norwich has voted for change. It's time the country had that chance."

Translation: "Phew. We just had to win here or people would say the wheels were coming off Project Cameron. We always knew this wasn't going to be a Crewe and Nantwich moment, but if it takes six visits by the leader to win one seat when the government's in this much trouble, how hard will it be to win the 120-odd needed for a workable majority?"

(The swing needed in Norwich - 5.8% - is less than the swing needed for the Tories to win the general election - 6.9% - and much less than the 17% they secured in Crewe.)

Labour: "This was a unique by-election which tells us nothing about the result of the next election."

Translation: "Oh, I do hope that's right - but why do voters even prefer "Gibbo" - the local MP who used his expenses to help his daughter get a cheap London flat - to Gordon Brown who acted tough and kicked him out?"

Lib Dems: "This is a truly shocking result for Labour."

Translation: "Oh no. Why don't we win by-elections any more?"

Greens: "This result proves that the Greens are real players who can challenge the big three parties."

Translation: "Boy, it's going to be hard winning without PR. Even though we won the most votes in Norwich in the Euros, and are second on the council, no-one took the idea of us winning the by-election seriously."

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Nice, evenly balanced bit of humour, there, Nick.

  • Comment number 2.

    Translation - Nick would rather continue with his pro government bias rather than focus on the real issues facing the country.

  • Comment number 3.

    and if there's a sizeable vote for UKIP, BNP then somebody will HAVE to address the fact that the majority of English people want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

  • Comment number 4.

    How to unspin Nick Robinson:

    "...how hard will it be to win the 120-odd needed for a workable majority?"

    A damn sight harder if the BBC has got anything to do with it.

  • Comment number 5.

    The Tories may not even win, apparently there have been a high number of postal votes (which tend to go to Labour) so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    However, I doubt that anything can really be calculated from this by-election. More people are likely to vote for minor parties as they know the result will have no effect on the make up of parliment. The votes for these parties would likely drop off in a general election as the average voter will go for the major parties (although I would expect many would be going for the major parties to vote against another party).

  • Comment number 6.

    Anyone have any thoughts on what the parties will consider a good result?

    To demomstrate an unstoppable momentum, I reckon the Tories will want at least 37%, Labour would be delighted to get 25% and the Lib Dems would be disappointed not to beat Labour, so about 26%. But at least one, if not all, will fail to meet that.

  • Comment number 7.

    5. The postal vote is a sham and almost or even criminal.

    I know for a fact that absolutely ANYONE can ask for a postal vote and there is no control on who actually completes and returns it.

    I will say no more but you know what I mean and, you are right, Labour benefits enormously from them.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Oh, I do hope that's right but why do voters even prefer 'Gibbo' - the local MP who used his expenses to help his daughter get a cheap London flat - to Gordon Brown who acted tough and kicked him out?"

    Are Labour really that ignorant/oblivious Nick?

  • Comment number 9.

    "Here's my guide to what the main parties are likely to say about the by-election and what they really mean."

    Translation

    I hate the Tories and I work for Gordon Brown.

  • Comment number 10.

    #5 Mark WE
    '.....apparently there have been a high number of postal votes (which tend to go to Labour)'

    Now I wonder why that might be? Would it be that all the hard working Labour supporters, you know, those ones who travel the country every day trying to obtain business to make ends meet? Those business leaders out and about driving the UK economy forwards? All those natural Labour voters?

    Amazing, isn't it, how many postal votes goes to Labour? And it's only happened over the last few years. Just ask the council at Glenrothes. Oh, I forgot, it was they who, inadvertently of course, lost the elctoral register for their recent bye-election and therefore nobody could run checks on this sort of thing.

    What was it that the judge said a few years ago - 'Our electoral system is akin to a banana republic'?

    New Labour New Scam.

  • Comment number 11.

    The things they might say:
    A lot about politics;
    Little on people.

  • Comment number 12.

    I suspect Camerons pledge to freeze the license fee is impacting on your (and other BBC journo's) impartiality again Nick.
    Why shouldn't Cameron make 6 visits to Norwich to campaign? GB would probably love to but knows that if he had, Labour would come in 4th or 5th! The country simply doesn't like Brown (not that they ever did) and they identify him as being the person responsible for NuLabs contribution to the current economic crisis.
    And it's worth mentioning that every by-election win reduces the required swing at the general election.

  • Comment number 13.

    It would be wonderful to see people abandoning the big three now and showing the way to go in the general election. Not likely but one can hope. As long as we keep voting in the usual suspects, then they are going to continue to mock us and fleece us for every penny they can. Personally I do not blame them either as each time we do we condone their behaviour. Fingers crossed for a good UKIP showing.

  • Comment number 14.

    So now stating a simple fact that if the tories only manage to scrape victory here then a general election victory may be beyond them is now anti tory bias?

    Jeez what do you people want, Nick to post nothing but glowing hagiographies of Cameron and his front bench?

    oh and the idea that a vote for UKIP and the BNP means people want a vote on the Lisbon treaty is about as flawed a piece of reasoning as I've ever read on here, and that's a mighty yardstick to clear. The vast majority of BNP voters wouldn't know the Lisbon Treaty from a hole in the ground.

  • Comment number 15.


    Independent Candidates: As Regional BBC didn't treat all candidates equally, it's impossible to challenge 'big party politics.'

    Translation: One only has to look at Berlusconi in Italy to realise that Money, Media Influence and National Parties determines who represents us.

  • Comment number 16.

    ...apparently there have been a high number of postal votes (which tend to go to Labour)...

    Do the Lib Dems have a challenger for *cough* 'motivating' *cough* the postal vote?

  • Comment number 17.

    According to Theresa May, Norwich voters want more women and young people in politics. Labour have blundered into abandoning the seat. Not many have a clue what the LibDems policies are. The Tories will continue to win by default (or of course because Norwich voters want more women and young people in politics).
    Incidentally, BBC, rather than strangle the BNP, why not allow a few of them to speak other than the articulate Nick Griffin? They would very soon strangle themselves.

  • Comment number 18.

    Where have you been hiding this week Mr Robinson, were you scared you'd have to report Brown's difference of opinion over Afghanistan with his generals and his ministers. You are right about Norwich, the result is irrelevant, it won't set any sort of trend apart from showing that Labour as a political force will soon be history.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Nick
    Before the predicables swamp this blog with their diatribes can I make one point. Norwich, being a University City will normally have a high proportion of young voters. This by-election being held during the summer recess will mean these "voters" will not be around so they will either vote by post (which as another comment state usually favours labour) or not vote at all. Therefore you can read absolutely nothing concrete into this by-election. Labour might win and lose in the GE, the Tories might win and lose it again at a GE when the full electorate votes. I remember the students at UEA voting a Rodent in as their V Chancellor in the early 80's so taking anything from a Norwich vote is fraught with danger!

  • Comment number 20.

    Seems a bit dd to wait a couple of days, then post about some election whose actually results will be anno9unced in a just a couple of hours...

    Maybe you could have taken a quirky look at Alcohol Disorder Zones. Remember a big announcement that these could be set up by local councils to force hostelries to take some responsibility for any street distrubances?

    None set up so far. But some idiotic "spokesperson" says that "Just because none have been established, it doesn't mean they aren't having an impact"...

    Where do they find these goons? And we pay for that sort of tripe!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Or:

    Could the people of Norwich actually want to vote Tory now that they have a leader who might actually make a decent PM? A leader who goes out of his way to meet the people and not hide behind the doors of No 10? It doesn't matter how many times he visited, DC made the effort.

    I feel very sorry for local Labour activists, they must feel that the national party has abandoned them!

    Should the Tories win the next General Election (despite the BBC), there will be one or two BBC editors facing a short trip to journalistic oblivion!

  • Comment number 22.

    Labour: "This was a unique by-election which tells us nothing about the result of the next election."

    Translation: "Oh, I do hope that's right but how can we hope to win when our leader can't even visit us because he's a vote-loser."

  • Comment number 23.

    "Oh, I do hope that's right but why do voters even prefer 'Gibbo' - the local MP who used his expenses to help his daughter get a cheap London flat - to Gordon Brown who acted tough and kicked him out?"

    I'd imagine: "'Gibbo' has sought to serve the people of Norwich whereas 'Gordo' has sought to serve those close to him in his party" would fit the bill nicely.

    Nick - any reason you never give the PM a "nickname" when others (Dave, Gibbo) receive the "privilege". I may be wrong (and am happy to be corrected) but I don't recall seeing one....

  • Comment number 24.

    I am glad you find all this funny Nick.

    In a week that has seen devastating news about the economy, £32bn loss in revenvue, Labour U turns on cuts, Failure of the flu websites, accusations at the PM about Afganhistan, contradictions within his own cabinet... and all you can come up with is a quick jibe at the Tories, a comment on a non-story about spin and a 'there, there poor Gordon'.

    The bias of your reporting is now totally proven. It is a disgrace that the BBC allow this kind of blogging in an alleged impartial way.

    Where's the balance?

    Hang your head in shame BBC

  • Comment number 25.

    "but if it takes six visits by the leader..."

    At least Cameron is leading from the front instead of cowering in the bunker like Brown!

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm amazed that people still actually vote for MPs from the main parties. They have behaved/misbehaved in such a way for such a long time that all of them can rightly, in my opinion, be labelled as spineless hypocrites! They look the same, sound the same, are the same. The Government we have is the sum of all the self important idiots, liars, fools, swindlers and thieves that seem, somehow, to rise effortlessly to the top in politics. It's why the Government is so poxy at everything it does: Crap in crap out!

  • Comment number 27.

    14. CHARLES Sexington. Do they have the equivalent of a UKIP or BNP in America then?

  • Comment number 28.

    Dearest Nick.

    This must be tongue-in-cheek.

    Either that or it's head-up-you-know-what.

  • Comment number 29.

    And they'll all be right to a certain extent. Anyone attempting to read the runes on the back of this result would be a fool (or possibly contractually obliged, if you're someone like Nick).

    By-elections always turn up freak results, and given the political climate (locally and nationally), the candidates standing (including a big Green effort and Craig Murray attempting to follow Martin Bell's lead), and the fact that a lot of people who would have voted for Gibson have become floaters, the result isn't likely to tell us very much.

    How many Gibson votes did Labour lose?
    Are they protest votes, or have they gone for good?
    Where did the votes for the fringe parties come from?
    Will they return to a major party in a GE?

    If we got answers to these questions, we may be able to make some sense of what it all means, but it would still be little help.

  • Comment number 30.

    I don't understand why so many people on here accuse Nik of being anti-tory, and pro-labour. Nik was the president of the Oxford university conservative association don't you know, and in the late 1980's was chairman for a year of the national young conservatives!!!!

    Perhaps he is just trying to maintain balance in his reporting, or more likely most of you are so biased in your own thoughts, that if you see a comment that doesn't agree exactly with your own, you immediately accuse the author of being a supporter of the other side. Ludicrous really.

  • Comment number 31.

    15. Richard_SM

    Spot on.
    No chance for the Independents against Troughers United.

  • Comment number 32.

    Tories : 6,700 -ish majority my prediction!

  • Comment number 33.

    Nick, your negativity re the Tories doesn't seem to be backed up by the facts, at least the latest poll reuslts.

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LJ563477.htm

    Or is your blog merely labour spin?

  • Comment number 34.

    You might have waited for the result, then you could, accurately comment on what has been said.

    As usual you put words into peoples' mouths, then say that they did not mean that and set out what you say they meant.

    Is this all getting to you - the wheels falling of your favorites? Are you panicking because the unbelievable is actually happening, if not what causes you to undergo long periods of inactivity followed by this excuse for political comment.

  • Comment number 35.

    Labour will lose, gordon will ignore yet another hint from the electorate and will cling deperatly and pathetically to the job he claims 'he could walk away from tomorrow' (despite being widely known to have spent at least 10 years plotting and backstabbing to get it) for as long as he possibly can.

    Another demonstration that party politicians don't give a stuff about whats good for the country - just keeping their party in power, no matter how powerless and mandateless they are...

    (gordons pretty much made his decision to do no governmental work until he is forced to hold an election clear by kicking every single piece of even vaguely contentious legislation into the long grass).

  • Comment number 36.

    Nick, 10 months till P45 time I say.

  • Comment number 37.

    Spinning the spin Nick?

    Is that to prove you haven't got swine flu?

    How about all of the BBC bloggers doing a group session on the Economy, with each one of you dissecting a different bit that you overlook, then maybe we might actually get a "full" picture

  • Comment number 38.

    33. Ian the Chopper. I don't believe Nick is pro Labour, he is paid by a pro-Labour organisation - say no more!

  • Comment number 39.

    "rockBigPhil wrote:
    Or:

    Could the people of Norwich actually want to vote Tory now that they have a leader who might actually make a decent PM? A leader who goes out of his way to meet the people and not hide behind the doors of No 10? It doesn't matter how many times he visited, DC made the effort."

    I think it is far too early to even suggest that DC would make a decent PM. He certainly talks a good talk (without actually saying anything!) but we don't know if he can walk the walk.

    I didn't really trust Blair before he was elected as he seemed to want to be all things to all people and I don't really trust Cameron because I have no idea what he stands for!

  • Comment number 40.

    BTW Nick, at his pre-holiday press conference, Brown said that the resignation by Speaker Martin from his MP's seat was somehow different from others, which is why there is so far no by-election set in Glasgow.

    They were both Labour MPs.

    Care to explain what is the difference between a "normal" MP resigning and a Speaker resigning? Why does one constituency have a right to elect a new representative, but not the other?

    Simply curiosity.

  • Comment number 41.

    19 barrylowry

    Certainly in my time as an undergrad, the vast majority of students were registered to vote in their home constituencies, rather than where their university accommodation was. I've no reason to think that has changed now.

    Therefore your inference about students being the innocent explanation of a large number of postal votes is, I think, probably wrong. Equally, I think your assertion that there is nothing to read here of the wider voting prospects, because of the vagiaries of the local student vote, are also probably wrong.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sounds about right to me.

    It's odd how a completely balanced post like this always brings people out from the fringes to talk about how biased you are.

  • Comment number 43.

    "Nobody told you (Jeff Hoon) to stand down and your expenses were on par with his. (Ian Gibson)"
    - David Dimbleby (BBC Question Time, Thursday, 23 July 2009)

    ???

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick,

    Oh how you love to hate the Tories. You've progressively become more predictable and rather boring by the day. Every week that goes by, nearer to the end, you work harder for the cause. Your desperation is for all to see. Your posts only question or discuss, be it directly or indirectly the Conservative Party. Other political debate no longer applies. Its all about the Tories Nick.

    You are, of course, just what the BBC want though. Through gritted teeth does our national broadcaster acknowledge anything positive related to the Conservative Party.

    It's hilarious really.



  • Comment number 45.

    The BBC have been spinning this election unashamedly and this blog entry is another example.

    The excuse (trotted out continously by the BBC)that the Labour vote is split because Ian Gibson was treated badly by Brown is utterly fantastic and farcical. The Labour vote is collapsing around the country because the Labour party constitutes the worst government in history.

  • Comment number 46.

    Patricia, post 38. I believe they call it the Nuremburg defence.

    I was only following orders.

  • Comment number 47.

    So do we know how many fraudulent postal votes Labour have in this election yet?

  • Comment number 48.

    This postal vote situation does seem very odd - there seem to be consistent reports of quite serious fraud (particularly in Birmingham a few years back) but nothing ever seems to happen. Why? Also, can anyone explain why the boundary changes are regarded as being so disadvantageous to the Tories? Surely this is supposed to be done by a neutral body?

  • Comment number 49.

    Post 43. I too have noticed David Dimbleby being a bit harsher on the labour politicians recently on QT.

    Is he perhaps bending with the wind or merely now that McBride et al have been neutered some parts of the political classes feel able to act a little more on their own initiative?

  • Comment number 50.

    Nick, you forgot UKIP:

    "UKIP remains the only party committed to the majority wish to renegotiate bla bla bla Europe"

    Translation: "Hellooo...? Anyone there...? Why isn't our strategy of spamming the BBC's message boards working?"

  • Comment number 51.

    Post 41. I imagine losing an eminently loseable seat in East Anglia is one thing for labour, as Nick is trying to spin above, however getting destroyed by the Scottish Nat's in one of labours safest seats in the country in Glasgow would be much worse.

    If the speakers seat election was conveniently after the labour conference that would be ideal for Gordon. If it came before expect blood on the carpets at the labour conference.

  • Comment number 52.

    How much are you paid for this 'analysis'?

    However much it is, it's too much.

    is it any wonder people are so fed up with politics when the standard of journalism keeping us in touch with it is so low?

  • Comment number 53.

    sorry nick but in spite of the BBC's best efforts the conservative majority is 7348...well above any predictions..

  • Comment number 54.

    Sky reporting Tory majority of 7,348 on a 14% swing. That's Crewe and Nantwich teritory!! Result is imminent.

  • Comment number 55.

    Another great BYE election.

    Well done Norwich.

  • Comment number 56.

    14% swing and over 7000 majority

    Guess it was a tight squeeze Nick

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick,

    Unspin this: Tories with over 7,000 majority.


    Brown is hated. The Tories are not. Simple as.

  • Comment number 58.

    7000+ majority... looks like a lot of commentators are going to have to rip up their scripts.
    That, by anybody's measure is a thumping win.
    Let's see how this spun....

  • Comment number 59.

    Confirmed, Chloe Smith wins with a majority of over 7,000!

    Well done to Chloe and all worked on the campaign!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Politically, by-elections are a strange beast.
    Looking back over my long history I can remember so many times that by-elections have produced an interesting and suprising result.
    How many times have we seen the Liberal Demorcrats win a by-election only to find that their vote has disappeared as quickly as the morning mist once the general election comes around.
    How often have we seen leaders of the 'secondary' parties crowe that this is a break-though for their party and that they now have the confidence of the electorate, only to find that come the 'big one' voters return to their traditional voting patterns.
    By-elections (like local elections) can be seen as the closest we come to a referendum. They are the chance that people have to register a complaint; give the majority party a kick up the a**s; and send the message to Westminster that the people of the U.K. cannot be taken for granted.
    How this translates into voting patterns for general elections is anyone's guess.
    We shall have to wait and see next year.

  • Comment number 61.

    49. At 12:40pm on 24 Jul 2009, Ian_the_chopper wrote:
    Post 43. I too have noticed David Dimbleby being a bit harsher on the labour politicians recently on QT.

    Is he perhaps bending with the wind or merely now that McBride et al have been neutered some parts of the political classes feel able to act a little more on their own initiative?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Utterly untrue ... Dimbers has a dig at the Tories as much as Labour.

    Frankly his comment to Hoon was spot on

  • Comment number 62.

    Gosh, surely you're not suggesting that politicians don't just say exactly what they mean, are you Nick?

    How terribly cynical!

  • Comment number 63.

    good bye Labour!

  • Comment number 64.

    #41 jrperry:

    Students will all be at home now for the summer, so that's irrelevant.

  • Comment number 65.

    sorry Nick, but Spitting Image did this little parody when Mrs T was around.

    It was based around call my bluff and was slightly funnier than your attempt!

  • Comment number 66.

    "The swing needed in Norwich - 5.8% - is less than the swing needed for the Tories to win the general election - 6.9%"

    Mmmm. Nice humour. And no doubt you're right. But what swing did they actually ACHIEVE, Nick? Can't be many BBC "leftward-thinking" folk left in Norwich these days. I suggest cutting costs to offset your loss of licence fee income by moving to Sunderland, which will be much cheaper than Portland Place and will be about the last place in the country where the political climate will suit you.

  • Comment number 67.

    27 flamepatricia

    Actually, CHAD Sexington was a character on The Simpsons. Doesn't mean that the person using it is American, does it?

  • Comment number 68.

    So what actually WAS the swing from Labour to the Conservatives? Just interested to see what impact the 12,500 vote shift has on Nick's "unbiased" view of the party responses.

  • Comment number 69.

    I cannot be bothered to read people's comments on this blog anymore.

    It's amazing how many people beleive they're politically aware when they're just bile spewing party worshippers...be different from your MP- THINK FOR YOURSELVES!

    Taking this blog off my front page now. Toodles.

  • Comment number 70.

    Nick, the Tories polled more than double Labour's vote.

    That seems pretty emphatic to me, and probably most of the recent post above.

    Any update?


  • Comment number 71.

    14% Swing.. How big a swing does the BBC need before it recognises that Labour are finished.. I bet the corridors of Broadcasting House won't be strewn with champagne bottles after the next election, will they Nick?

  • Comment number 72.

    I now agree with a number of other comments in recent blogs. Nick Robinson does appear to be completely biased against David Cameron, trying to ridicule him whenever he can despite the fact that all the evidence over the last 2 years suggest that the country as a whole is totally fed up with this government and Gordon Brown in particular.

  • Comment number 73.

    "oh and the idea that a vote for UKIP means people want a vote on the Lisbon treaty is about as flawed a piece of reasoning as I've ever read on here..."

    So how should it be interpreted? A vote for the UK Independence Party which hates the EU should be read as... we would like tea and biscuits perhaps?

  • Comment number 74.

    16.5% swing from Lab to Con.
    Very little appears to have changed in the political landscape since Crewe & Nantwich - certainly no sign of Labour's fortunes improving... and time is now running out fast.
    Perhaps it's time to book the removal van, Gordon???

  • Comment number 75.

    Go on Nick, it was only a narrow win for the Conservatives (14% swing), I mean it's really a moral victory for Labour, it's all about expenses, it started in America.

    You can spin all you like, but once again the voters have told Brown/Labour what they think, it's a simple message, you're finished.

  • Comment number 76.

    7,000 majority and a Labour rout. Obviously it was all the fault of the swine flu thing...yes, that must be it. Repeat to yourselves Comrades: Gordon is a Glorious Leader, Gordon is a Glorious Leader,...

  • Comment number 77.

    Nick you are naughty boy

    39.54% for the Cons
    18.16% for Labour

    The Tories must be terribly upset. Spin that Robinson.

  • Comment number 78.

    17% swing to the Tories - shows the momentum from Crewe and Nantwich has been maintained despite the expenses scandal.

    A note of caution to the Tories however, don't for heaven sake get complacent. There is often a swing back to the Governing party ahead of a General Election and some of the protest vote may also return to the major parties.

  • Comment number 79.

    Just to follow up on my previous comment on Nick's words put in the mouths of the Conservatives: "We always knew this wasn't going to be a Crewe and Nantwich moment". At Crewe and Nantwich, the Conservatives had a swing of 17.6%. At Norwich North today, the Conservatives had a swing now confirmed of 16.5%.

    Sad to see a starry-eyed public servant choking on his Schadenfreude and thus unable to eat humble pie, having failed to await the hatching of his chickens before counting them.

  • Comment number 80.

    Apologies, bad maths.. I think the swing works out at just shy of 17%... Crewe and Nantwich all over again.

  • Comment number 81.

    30. oralmed wrote:
    "I don't understand why so many people on here accuse Nik of being anti-tory, and pro-labour. Nik was the president of the Oxford university conservative association don't you know, and in the late 1980's was chairman for a year of the national young conservatives!!!!"
    =
    Shaun Woodward, Labour Minister, ex- Tory front-bencher.
    Your argument is facile.

    ****

    42. Dayvine wrote:
    "Sounds about right to me.
    It's odd how a completely balanced post like this always brings people out from the fringes to talk about how biased you are."
    =
    Many people think the Telegraph and the Daily Mail are a Tory papers. Many think the Guardian is a Labour paper. Are they all wrong? Are they all from the fringes? All subjective, isn't it?

  • Comment number 82.

    Nick time to blog congratulating the Tories on their massive victory. Go on show some of that great BBC Integrity and how you are just here to report facts.

  • Comment number 83.

    There should als be the Tory claiming to have fought a hard but Fair Campaign.
    Translate Hope they don't find out how much Ashcroft money we spent to get this result.

  • Comment number 84.

    #69 tengearbatbike:

    for information, people here DO think for themselves. If thinking for yourself involves not just taking the party or media-driven line, and assessing the state of the nation for themselves.

    It's clear that the country, when given the opportunity by this power-craving government, are well prepared and able to turn towards the ivory towers of Downing Street and the Westminster Village, identify anyone with a red rosette, and calmly raise a solitary middle digit.

  • Comment number 85.

    Another bye bye election

  • Comment number 86.

    So does this result mean that Labour will be posponing the Bye-election to replace Speaker Martin indefinitely.

    They certainly seem reluctant to allow his erstwhile Glasgow constituency to choose a new representative...

  • Comment number 87.

    If this had just been a 2 horse race between Tories and Labour, would Nick's spin of the result go something like this?:-

    Against a background of tough global economic conditions, public outcry over MP's expenses and the Afghan war, Labour confounded expectations by finishing runners up. However, despite a huge lead in the polls, a Goverment up against the ropes, and making 6 personal visits to the constuituency, Dave must be worried that the Tories finished last but one.

  • Comment number 88.

    What does this by-election result demonstrate?

    1. That the 'swing' was'nt strong enough for the Tories to assume anything about the future.

    2. That the majority of the electorate, who stayed away, think that most of the mainstream party candidates should swing (from a gantry).

    3. That the power of 'branding', in a political context, gave the Tories a default win.

    4. The ignorance of the electorate can never be under-estimated.

    Seems to me that overall, we English, due to our general lack of interest in politics, are still relying on the Scots to do the right thing in November 2010.

  • Comment number 89.

    well nick here are the facts that require no spin whatsoever..

    Conservatives triumphed in Norwich North with a massive majority of 7,348 after a 16 per cent swing....

    Labour's share of the vote slumped to just 18.6 per cent of the vote.....

    turnout was around 45 per cent, which is around normal for a by-election of this kind.

    now the real story for the BBC political editor is ...Apparently there are nearly 8000 postal votes,could nick investigate as if this is accurate it is over 20% of votes cast!

  • Comment number 90.

    78. At 1:16pm on 24 Jul 2009, oldreactionary wrote:

    "A note of caution to the Tories however, don't for heaven sake get complacent."

    Quite right. Labour will throw every dirty trick in the book at the next election, and of course, as we are constantly reminded here, they also have the assistance of the state broadcasting service to count on. The Conservatives have to remember what John Major did in 1992, and fight the election

    a) on doorsteps
    b) from soapboxes
    c) in new media
    d) every day from now until polling day

  • Comment number 91.

    TheBlameGame wrote:
    30. oralmed wrote:
    "I don't understand why so many people on here accuse Nik of being anti-tory, and pro-labour. Nik was the president of the Oxford university conservative association don't you know, and in the late 1980's was chairman for a year of the national young conservatives!!!!"
    =
    Shaun Woodward, Labour Minister, ex- Tory front-bencher.
    Your argument is facile.

    No Blame game. You actually prove the latter half of my point perfectly, that you are so biased, you perceive others who disagree with you as Pro-labour. I am by the way a tory voter. I am not, however, blinkered like you. I have the intelligence to think for myself.

  • Comment number 92.

    Oh Dear Nick, 14 per cent swing! - BBC expenses/inflated salary/over staffed gravy train looking a bit shaky today? Keep your pecker-up; get an interview with Mandy pronto. The Downing Street spin machine will be in action soon.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nice to see the BBC having fixed the caption under Chloe Smith - it *was* saying she was a Labour MP rather than a Tory... Oops!

    It's no wonder the BBC get accused of bias on here, perhaps it's time to stop funding the upper management fat cats and investing more on staff who actually work on the services?

    Almost as amusing as when a Newsnight caption described Brian Paddick as an 'Ex Ass Commissioner'!

  • Comment number 94.

    JohnConstable you are Mandleson and I claim my £5

  • Comment number 95.

    One other notable feature of this result is how the Greens, who have a large contingent on the city council, were beaten into 5th by UKIP, who to the best of my knowledge don't have much presence in Norwich (please correct me if I'm wrong). Caroline Lucas was crowing this morning about how the Greens had taken a seat on Brighton Council off the Tories yesterday and how this sets her up to win one of Brighton's Westminster seats, what actually happened was that the Tory vote was static but the Labour and LibDem votes collapsed and went to the Greens. The implication of these 2 results is that when voters are given a straight choice between Labour and Tory for Westminster, they will go with whichever of the big two they most like. Ms Lucas may well become the first Green MP next year but she should refrain from counting the chickens!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    It indeed will be very hard for the conservartives to win a workable majority.

    I agree with Mr Robinson on this point, although he should focus on far more important issues than spin lines (postal voting, Brown's budget deficit of 3% prior to the summer 2007, the structural budget deficit of 100 billion pounds per annum post recovery, labour's placing of public sector jobs adds in The Guardian and on its website in return for favourable coverage).

    Hurdles for the conservatives:
    -the electoral system and gerry mandering mean the conservatives need more votes per seat than labour (about 6,000 I seem to remember, but not sure);
    -postal votes, despite all parties having been involved in fraud with them, seem to have been abundant in contested seats and labour marginals in the past;
    -with a public sector pay roll of 6 million and a few million receiving means-tested benefits, labour has bought itself a large client state filled with voters induced to voting for them. O.k., maybe not every civil servant subscribes to labour, but all those on the public sector payroll and benefits recipients have family with voting rights too.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nick is more neutral in his pieces to camera than on here. I think he does it on purpose. Look at the reaction he gets.
    Most of the folk on here are a bit wonkish if we are being honest and I think Nick loves to wind everyone up. But on the news he is often more balanced.
    I, for one, can't wait to see the news to see how he puts his opinion across. That, after all, is what he does - offers his opinion as political editor.

  • Comment number 98.

    General Election now please. An emergency budget is needed to save the gilts strike.

  • Comment number 99.

    still no change then party politics rules.
    party politics is the reason this country is in such dire position, get rid of the parties and have a government aimed at working for the country first and foremost not a government hell bent on towing their parties line.
    its good to see a neu-labour loss but nothing has changed in reality.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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