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Does Labour's win tell us anything?

Nick Robinson | 10:31 UK time, Friday, 14 January 2011

Let's not waste too much energy trying to impose a single national party political narrative on the varied, local motivations of thousands of by-election voters in Oldham and Saddleworth.

Debbie Abrahams

We don't know why people voted as they did. Besides, by-elections this early in a Parliament matter as much for their ability to change the political weather as they do for their revelations about the public mood.

Labour - and more importantly Ed Miliband - will be mightily relieved. Despite the widespread internal and external doubts about their leader's performance he has secured his first, vital victory comfortably overcoming an awkward hurdle - the fact that this by-election was caused by a court throwing out the sitting Labour MP for lying about his opponent. Any other result would have fuelled the narrative "Miliband in crisis". For now that story is stilled.

The Liberal Democrats - and in particular Nick Clegg - will be relieved that their result was not significantly worse. Many Lib Dem activists will recall times when they would have romped home in a seat like this in a by-election caused by Labour's abuse of their man.

However, in the face of unprecedented national hostility they will comfort themselves with the fact they not only held but marginally increased their share of the vote. A rout would have fuelled the narrative emblazoned on the cover of this week's Spectator - "The Strange Death of Liberal England".

The proof or further confounding of that claim will now have to wait for May's local, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections and the Barnsley by-election.

So, what of the Tories? It was a poor result but one that will neither have surprised nor upset the party's leadership. Indeed, in some ways it will come as a relief for them too. David Cameron feared that the greatest threat to his coalition was a Lib Dem collapse, leading to a crisis of confidence in Nick Clegg and possibly even a coup attempt.

This morning the prime minister has a different lesser problem. A significant faction in his party will now add Oldham East and Saddleworth to their list of Cameron betrayals. That is the narrative that has been fuelled by this by-election. The alternatives - a crisis for Clegg or Miliband - could have been game changers. This result will not be.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    As the coalition government parties got nearly 45% of the vote, which is actaully more than the Labour Party, I'm not sure what it tells us.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Let's not waste too much energy trying to impose a single national party political narrative on the varied, local motivations of thousands of by-election voters in Oldham and Saddleworth."

    Too late Nick. Lefty's already extrapolated a one-off by-election result into proof that the Tories are all heartless owners of St Lucia villas whose main aim in life is to inflict as much personal misery on as many working class people as they can.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick

    A reasoned analysis and one which I can find no fault with.

    How disappointing.

    :-)

  • Comment number 4.

    To me the narrative seems simple. Despite Phil Woolas' shenanigans, on a vastly reduced turnout the Labour vote increased. The Lib-Dems got significantly less votes than in last May, but their percentage of the vote was salvaged by Tory voters switching to save Clegg's face. I can't prove the latter point, but I'd put money that this is what in-depth polling would reveal.

    Huge abstentions - many people hate all politicians as usual. This may not be a significant victory for Labour, but it is a defeat for the coalition, and the Lib-Dems in particular.

  • Comment number 5.

    There is good evidence from the result that there was much tactical voting from Tory to LD's. It makes sense but at the same time it conceals the damage that the coalition policies has done to the Lib Dems. The national poling may not be accurate but is there any doubt that the LD's vote has fallen away drastically. Let's see from more typical by-elections and the round in May what the effects have been not forgetting that the true effects of the cuts are only just beginning to impact.

  • Comment number 6.

    @1 It depends upon whether you see the Con-Dems as effectively a single party now or not.

    The general public might, but I bet Lib-Dem activists don't!

  • Comment number 7.

    "Let's not waste too much energy trying to impose a single national party political narrative on the varied, local motivations of thousands of by-election voters in Oldham and Saddleworth."

    I note that Laura Kuenssberg has done just that. Her, frankly ridiculously pro-labour, article made me cringe for its biase. I'm not one to go bandying about the 'left-wing bias of the BBC,' but this really was a bit much.

  • Comment number 8.

    It will be as interesting to see the narrative about this event as the event itself. I guess a bit of breathing space is going to be a good thing. Labour may well want to be triumphalist but i don't think they should be - when the cuts and pain are over and we get back to growth following the path the Tony Blair wanted to take, they will be left out in the cold.

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree.

    There was talk of Tories voting Lib Dem and Lib Dem's voting Labour - and bad weather affecting the turnout. So, can you actually make anything of the figures?

    You could talk about the impact on Labour if they hadn't won, or the impact on Lib Dem's if they came third. In which case, why talk about scenarios that didn't happen?

    I genuinely feel for the LibDem guy - he lost by a small amount, went to court, won his case, got his by-election and did worse due to conditions outside of his control.

    As for the Tory guy - if tory voters were told to vote elsewhere then he'd have a right to be miffed. Hopefully he'll get another chance in the future.

  • Comment number 10.

    Traditionally, mid-term elections favour whoever isn't in government, even more so if the constituency in question happens to be a staunch supporter of whoever is in opposition anyway.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think you've pretty much summed it up Nick. I would also comment on the poor turnout. Most of those entitled to vote stayed at home. If there had been a 'None of the above candidate' he or she would have romped home. Just over 20% of those entitled to vote turned out and voted Labour. My gut feeling is that there is a large part of the electorate that is reserving its' judgement on both the coalition and the Labour alternative. It will probably be another 12 months before the runes become clearer. I believe, on balance, result makes it more rather than less likely that the coalition will run the full five years.

  • Comment number 12.

    Chris Huhne was out of the starting blocks this morning saying how much this result strengthened the case for AV. It is a pity then that the LibDems, with all the people they had on the ground, didn't carry out an AV style survey when they were polling, this may have given more credence to their claim. I don't think it would be a good idea for senior Tories to be dismissive of this result in the way you suggested they might. I think a lot of Tory supporters would have been upset by the defence cuts favouring the RAF over the Navy and the proposals to sell off helicopter search and rescue. I believe they would have preferred other methods of reducing the deficit. As for Labour, they must be thanking their lucky stars that they actually had the candidate they did have, she only squeaked through the selection process by one vote, and that was a transferrable at that. I do not think the alternative candidates would have been anywhere near as appealing to the floating voter.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 13.

    In the past, the BBC has only been too happy to extrapolate by election results to a national level. So, please feel free to do so, Nick.

    Miliband will be relieved? I'd say he'll be more than relieved. Increased majority by many hundreds of percentage points? Tories badly hit, Lib Dems appearing to hold up?

    Not sure about Sasha's analysis and until the media provides the detailed analysis that this result deserves, this is all just conjecture.

    Is it just possible that the electorate, at least in one constituency, have seen through the Coalition lie and shown that they believe that the unpopular policies have been forced through by the Tories letting the Lib Dems take the brickbats?

    As one of them, I can tell you that previous abstentionists have and will continue to be mobilised by the Conservative's return to power. The biggest threat to this government is their belief that people are too daft to see what they are doing.

  • Comment number 14.

    'We don't know why people voted as they did.'
    Hang on a moment - isn't it part of the role of journalists to try and find out?
    Too many journalists and bloggers never get out from behind their laptops to find out the mood of ordinary people.
    And no - living in the Westminster bubble is no substitute for this!
    C'mon - There could be a real story out there!

  • Comment number 15.

    Given that this was caused by the labour candidate being caught out for lying, and also given the previous slim majority my interpretation would be that this is a catastrophic defeat for the Liberal Democrats. Surely otherwise it should be astonishing that Labour won this eat with such a majority? What this goes to show is how much voters despise the really big liars - the Clegg Party.

    The Clegg party is now characterised by being unfaithful to the electorate, in particular over university fees. This, I think, is the beginning of their complete consignment to the dustbin of history.

    At least, I sincerely hope so.

  • Comment number 16.

    As Clegg, Miliband, Burnham and many more have acknowledged, this by-election doesn't really signify anything. But the arch-Tories are no doubt tearing themselves apart. Wonderful.

  • Comment number 17.

    The whole country has noticed the Deputy Prime Minister's remarkable transformation over the past few months from Winston Churchill to Marshal Petain.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm so pleased to see Labour retain this seat; I think it can be seen as the first small step for a party on the long road to recovery, and providing a viable alternative to this shambles of a Coalition.

    This result also shows that the Lib Dems are slowly starting to reap the rewards of their betrayal of core party principles, not to mention long-suffering genuinely liberal supporters (as I used to be). I have no doubt that their share of the vote was artificially and significantly boosted by their new Conservative chums.

    All in all, I think the political landscape is still in a mess, but hopefully this result represents the first gleam of light at the end of the tunnel... fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 19.

    I suspect the Lib Dem vote was shored up by Tories voting tactically to save their coalition partners from humiliation.

  • Comment number 20.

    There are so many issues here - local issues, normal by-election blues, the void election, people not understanding the idea of a coalition (including most MPs), quirks with the particular candidates as usual and, most of all, media confusion on how they are meant to report this, that what ever the result, it is difficult to conclude anything at all!

    Okay, Labour did best, but how much was that because Tory voters did not even know what they were meant to do?

    The problem is that we have a PR style government but created on the back of an inherently undemocratic and non-PR system.

    If we had PR, then people would have no problem in voting for their preferred manifesto without any tactical voting or confusion, because the result would be worked out as a percentage.

    There is a myth that anti-coaltion supporters love to use which is that with a majority government and FPTP you get what you voted for and it is neat and clean. They say "you cant have a pick and mix type of government"

    Of course, that is rubbish.

    I wonder how many people in this country agree with EVERYTHING that is in the manifesto of the party they voted for? Let's face it, even MPs never agree with everything in their own Manifesto.

    So, in a proper democracy, people vote not just for a party that they may feel loyal to, but also for specific policies. For instance, anyone with half a brain saw a coalition looming in the last general election. I know I voted LibDem for the first time not because I agreed with all their policies (I dont) but I thought it was important to try and get their influence into government. For me Libdem + TOry was a better balance than Tory on its own (Again, it was pretty obvious which concessions they would try and get).

    Friends in Europe do this all the time. They look at the make up of the current government, look at what is possible next time around and vote accordingly. Since they always end up with a coalition, they are looking for influences and best case scenarios - basically, pick and mix.

    I am probably not alone in feeling that the party that fully represents my views simply does not exist. I imagine that the majority of people, when pinned down, believe that.

    By elections under our present system are always meaningless - they are always skewed by one unusual fact or another. This one had triple the amount of twists and turns. Goodness knows what it means!

  • Comment number 21.

    One swallow does not a summer make. While it's nice to retain the seat for Labour, if the Lib_Dems had come third or even better lost their deposit, then Clegg would be in the clagg.
    However let's see what happens in the coming round of elections. By May, Osborne's stealth cuts and the job losses in the public and private sectors will be happening.
    Apprently Cameron is making a stealthly visit to the North East today, his Education Minister Michael Gove made a secret visit to a school in Consett, last week.
    Open government anyone.

  • Comment number 22.

    delarrn says: "I note that Laura Kuenssberg has done just that. Her, frankly ridiculously pro-labour, article made me cringe for its biase. I'm not one to go bandying about the 'left-wing bias of the BBC,' but this really was a bit much."

    Just read Laura's article hoping for some frankly ridiculous pro-labour bias; seems eminently balanced and reasonable to me.

  • Comment number 23.

    So Nick - you seem to be saying there is not much of a story out of the by-election.

    In my view it is bad news for the old right wing of the Tory Party. Not only did the Conservative leadership decide to "run dead" to help the LibDems but the party leaked votes to both the LibDems and UKIP.

    The Cameroons are increasingly revealing themselves as soft on Europe, soft on immigration, soft on crime and soft on defence. If the UKIP has any sense (perhaps debateable) they should be able to pick up a significant number of votes from disaffected old fashioned Thatcherite Tories.

    The interesting thing is I suspect thhe Cameroons will not be unhappy to see them leave.




  • Comment number 24.

    Demonising Phil Woolas plus the nature of the local LibDem Candidate are important factors in this election - Tory tactical voting must also have been a factor - and a significant number of voters clearly must have deserted the LibDems for Labour.

    Ask yourself the key questions - how many people who voted LibDem in the general election voted for them again in this bye election? Half? A Third?

    Did the Labour vote only go up this time because non-voters returned to them or did people who previously voted Tory moved all the way across to Labour? My money's on a shift like this - Tactical Tory to LibDem and disgruntled LibDems to Labour.

    So although their vote held up numerically, IMHO this result is probably just about the very worst outcome for the LibDems - why?

    Because it lulls them into a false sense of security about the coalition.

    Take out the tactical Tory voters - assume the ex LibDem voters are being lost long term to Labour - assume the abstainers in the general election are now back on side for Milliband.

    How would this all play out nationally?

    Firstly the LibDems will be squeezed heavily in Tory/Labour straight fights - secondly in three way fights the anti-Labour vote will swing behind the Tory - only in Labour/LibDem straight fights will they benefit from tactical Tory voting - and we know that Tory voters are the most reluctant to vote tactically...

    So I think we'll go on seeing the LibDems benefiting from being in coalition in bye elections by getting tactical voting by Tories, but come national elections they will be squeezed very much harder - and a large chunk of their core vote appears to have left completely to support Labour.

    What about the Tories? The coalition allows Cameron to disarm his right wing which will tend to peel off into UKIP if Europe becomes a hot potato again because Cameron will compromise with Clegg, whilst there is the spectre if Clegg's front bench face the real risk of losing their individual seats at the next General Election, IMHO they will be "welcomed" into the Tory fold and found safe seats.

    This would leave the LibDems in a VERY deep hole - probably decimated in the HOC, their leadship split to cross the floor and a large chunk of their membership in the country joining Labour.

    Simon Hughes will then hold his first Parliamentary Party meeting of the next Parilament in the back of a London taxi - again.

    Milliband will be free to ditch many New Labour policies, rebuild the party on a more radical manifesto just as the coalition's economic policy comes home to roost.

    It will come down to the Office for Budgetary Responsibility's forecast coming good or not - 2.7m NET NEW jobs, £400 Bn investment in industry and exports up by a third. If these figures are missed the deficit will rise, GDP will fall and UK PLC will slip back into recession.

    Given the radical nature of the coalition's policies, if they fail as comprehensively here as they did in Eire, public opinion will be set against the libertarian, free market agenda for a generation.

    So far from redefining British politics, Nick Clegg will have set back the liberal agenda for a generation.

  • Comment number 25.

    Her, frankly ridiculously pro-labour, article made me cringe for its biase.

    Please elaborate...

    Andy Burnham, who took the lead on the ground in the campaign, was clearly delighted. But he acknowledged it would be "wrong to read too much into" the result"

    Hardly triumphalist? Any by election win is reason to be happy and such a significantly increased margin is surely fair reason for satisfaction.

    "Yes, it's true that the party that lies in third place often gets squeezed in a by-election. But a fall of more than 7,000 votes was surprisingly large."

    Hardly unfair? Are conservative voters on this site happy with that reduction - does it match your expectations.

    I think its fair to say that the two BBC journalists even the coverage out here to some degree. Neither set of comments alter the facts.

  • Comment number 26.

    Nick

    I note that the standard reporting in the MSM has airbrushed the smaller political parties into the "Other" category. Is this to spare the blushes of the main political parties complete failure to address the issue of BNP and immigration in front of the electorate as the BNP polled 1,560 votes?

    How mant votes will have to be cast for the BNP before our useless politicians take some action? Do we really want to wait for a situation before this movement gains an unstoppable momentum?

  • Comment number 27.

    This result is not going to cause the coalition many sleepless nights nor will the Barnsley Central by election when that falls. Even the local elections will become an early protest against the cuts,which some people dont want . We have to allow Labour its moments of popularity. This year the coalition will get more unpopular because of the decisions the take to try and get the country back on its feet. Then if they are working the mood may swing back and thats when we will see if Labour have any answers.

  • Comment number 28.

    "The alternatives - a crisis for Clegg or Miliband - could have been game changers. This result will not be."

    Fair summation Nicholas. Safe-seat-returns-another-of-the-same-flavour-in -predictable-by-election-result shocker. Nothing has changed. The balance remains the same.

    "Is it just possible that the electorate, at least in one constituency, have seen through the Coalition lie and shown that they believe that the unpopular policies have been forced through by the Tories letting the Lib Dems take the brickbats?"

    No. They're not that bright. You could have rolled a cowpat in glitter, pinned a red rosette on it and they would still have voted for it.

    All last night's result shows is that there is, in what is an overall Labour safe seat, a not insubstantial number of LibDem and conservative voters who are not happy with the coalition.

    Big deal.

    Not.

  • Comment number 29.

    So ANGRY are the people of this country that in the by-election, 20.2% of the electorate voted for the main opposition party and 52% didn't bother to vote at all.

    If that's not a sure sign of the people's fury at the government, I don't know what is.

  • Comment number 30.

    106. andy c555.
    Which bit of what I said isn't true? You think Labour wouldn't have had to make cuts or raise taxes? The point about either of those is that they are unpopular to those they affect. There were never going to be any tax cuts or increased spending - popular measures.
    -----------------------------
    Never ever said or suggested any of that. Straw clutch. An argument full of nothing.

    Your response suggests your even more of an idiot than I previously thought. Which is saying something.
    ------------------------
    Yawn. Back against the wall. No arguments,. Weak.

    And I see that although I can answer your questions, you don't have the ability to answer the points raised at 63 or 88. Why am I not surprised?
    ---------------------------------
    Answered in full.

    By the way, who IS buying a villa in St Lucia? My guess would be one of those heroes of the working classes, a professional footballer, but I don't know as I don't follow celebrity tittle-tattle. Maybe you do over your morning cakes?
    ------------------
    Drifting again. No content. Means nothing.
    classic c555

  • Comment number 31.

    Ady C555 and RockRobin

    I would be really interested to hear your views on the Government's policies on

    - immigration

    - crime

    - defence

    - Europe.


    Do you see these as -

    (a) Realpolitik: Changes in policy that are required because Cameron could not win a majority at the election and needs the LibDems to form a stable government to govern and deal with the deficit. Are these new much softer policies being driven by thhe LibDems?

    (b) Reform: Part fo a longer term trand of moving the Tory Party away from the more right wing version that existed udner dear old Maggie towards the middle ground. De-toxifying the brand as the Cameroons describe it.

    I see Tim Montgomerie at Copnservativve Home is very concerned that it might be (b) - part of a loger term attempt to reposition the Tory Party. What do you think?

  • Comment number 32.

    22. At 11:50am on 14 Jan 2011, RedRag wrote:

    delarrn says: "I note that Laura Kuenssberg has done just that. Her, frankly ridiculously pro-labour, article made me cringe for its biase. I'm not one to go bandying about the 'left-wing bias of the BBC,' but this really was a bit much."

    Just read Laura's article hoping for some frankly ridiculous pro-labour bias; seems eminently balanced and reasonable to me.
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    with a tag like RedRag... hmmm. If your tag reflects your political views, its not a great leap to take is it, that you'd find it "balanced and reasonable"? :o)

  • Comment number 33.

    Does Labour's win tell us anything?
    --------------------------
    its a small start of a process which will end in removal of the libdems and the conservatives from govt.

  • Comment number 34.

    Another blog rounds up some interesting views on the result...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2011/01/daily_view_labours_by-election.html

  • Comment number 35.

    I think one thing it does tell us is that the electorate are not enthused by British politics.

    The first by-election to test the coalition Government, a marginal one at that. The first few months of the coalition is probably the hardest time for them, they have made all the nasty decisions early in the hope that things start improving before facing a General Election, but the fact remains the tax increases, tuition fees issue, and never-ending announcements of cuts should make voters want to oppose or support those decisions yet there was a turn out of just 48%

    Add to this that the Labour party attained less votes in than in the General Election is hardly a ringing endorsment of Ed Milliband. Whislt the Lib Dems can claim an increase in the share of vote, the drop of 20% in the number of supporters from May will need addressing.

    What the OES result does tell us is that all political parties need to start engaging the voters by making politics more relevant to the constituents and less about party politics.

  • Comment number 36.

    So another victory for the Abstention Party!
    Should it not be the case that when in an election if less than 50% vote, then no candidate is elected to the House of Commons & on each vote in the House, that constituency's vote is classed as an abstention?
    Food for thought I believe.

  • Comment number 37.

    Shock! Horror! Everything went as predicted!
    What would have been real news is if the Tories had romped home with a nice majority.

  • Comment number 38.

    If we take to its logical conclusion Baroness Warsi's claim that the tories' ran a vigorous campaign in Oldham, then the only explantion for her party's poor performance is voter discontent with the government!

  • Comment number 39.

    This was a clear win for Labour but not a surprise. I was a little surprised that the Libdems improved slightly but I think thats because disatisfied Libdems voted Labour this time and lots of Tories backed the Liberal Democrats hence the large fall in the Conservative vote share. I am however astonished by the fact that the voters put their confidence in Labour despite the fact that Ed Miliband has been a useless leader and have they forgotten all the terrible things they did in government. I agree the coalition government haven't been great but I can understand why they are doing a lot of what they are doing. Labour on the hand, haven't offered the electorate alternatives to the cuts, they haven't apologised for what they did in office and they haven't cooperated with the government.

  • Comment number 40.

    The courts got rid of Woolas, because he was a lying liar who lied lyingly like the lying liar he is. But the voters of Oldham still want a Labour MP, which is fair enough. They do not want a po faced Lib Dem whinger which is understandable.

    So, good news all round

  • Comment number 41.

    Was this an analysis Nick – I couldn’t see much?

    You don’t need a degree in politics to work out what has happened in Oldham: a shift from LibDem to Labour and a tactical vote by Conservatives. The reality, therefore, is that the LibDems have haemorrhaged votes from one wing and gained them from another; the Liberal’s natural constituency has drifted to the right.

    I would say that was a significant change in British politics. The issue is not whether this trend will continue, but what is its likely affect nationally - that would be analysis.

  • Comment number 42.

    What this result tells us is that the electorate of Oldham and Saddleworth are unhappy with the direction of the current govt but that Labour isn't doing enough to gain their full confidence. Labour's vote increased by 700 or so votes, the other parties increased their support by 50 or so votes and yet the Tory vote collapsed and the Lib-Dem vote only fell by 3000.

    Where did the missing votes go? The only assumption I can make is that a large number of people are unhappy with the govts policies but are equally unwilling to back/forgive Labour.

    Those missing voters are the political battleground. The Con-dem govt has to try and prove its policies work in order to repair the trust/faith of those missing voters. Labour has to up its game, if they can only put 700 votes on their majority at a time of economic hardship then clearly Labour cannot rely on govt unpopularity alone to win the next election.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm surprised more Labour voters didn't vote Lib-dem. Why back a horse that has already lost? I guess bad habbits die hard :)

    Tatical voting for Lib-dems over the next few years would give them a bigger voice in the coalition and be more effective than little Ed shouting across the floor.

    Simon Hughes (bless him) called it right on R4 this morning. If anyone's not happy there is a vote for AV in May that can turn it all around.

  • Comment number 44.

    Personally I am in favour (but certainly do not always agree)of this new era in politics - the electoral co-operation between LibDems and Conservatives makes sense when they are in coalition.

    And though I do not like many of the Coalition's policies I think the new (i.e post election) Government policies on immigration, crime, defence and Europe are much more sensible (liberal//left wing) than the policies Cameron took to the election.

    Things have gone so far that even Boris is now allowing a huge statue of a blue (French?) cockrel on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Can you imagine that happening on Maggie's watch?

  • Comment number 45.

    "No. They're not that bright. You could have rolled a cowpat in glitter, pinned a red rosette on it and they would still have voted for it."

    Really. Maybe, just maybe, they'd rather have a cowpat in power than conservative or lib-dem. And who could blame them. I hope this sort of "they're not that bright" pomposity is rewarded correctly in years to come. For all parties.

    See the signs; watch the cycle. At some point, when this free market boom and bust roundabout stops, real reform will have to happen because the number of "winners" will eventually dwindle to the point where a party of the priviledged cannot succeed.

    Gordon knew it but didn't have the stomach for it. The conservatives never will (watch as they roll over and banks tickle the bloated tummy they helped fill).

    But I could be wrong, because I'm not that bright.

  • Comment number 46.

    And to think I got an email from the Lib Dems saying Labour had absolutely no chance of winning. What was it, humm, "Lib Dems and Conservatives close at around 30%. Labour around 3%. Can't win here" and then one of those stupid bar graphs.

    I'm glad Labour won. I joined the Lib Dems to support my local Lib Dem MP, not support some other Lib Dem elsewhere, yet they still sent be the bloody emails (must have been in excess of 10).

  • Comment number 47.


    29. AndyC555 wrote:
    So ANGRY are the people of this country that in the by-election, 20.2% of the electorate voted for the main opposition party and 52% didn't bother to vote at all.

    If that's not a sure sign of the people's fury at the government, I don't know what is.
    -----------------
    Agreed. Not bothering to vote at all is a sign of anger and a loss in confidence in all politicians, especially so in Oldham and Saddleworth with recent events. Although labour won here which is a clear sign of voters political direction in this area (or at least a sign of who they dont want).

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    45 - "See the signs; watch the cycle. At some point, when this free market boom and bust roundabout stops, real reform will have to happen because the number of "winners" will eventually dwindle to the point where a party of the priviledged cannot succeed.

    Gordon knew it but didn't have the stomach for it."

    Wasn't Gordon the one who said that he had ended the cycle? The boom and bust roundabout? If he knew what you're saying he knew, makes you wonder why he said what he said.

  • Comment number 50.

    33. At 12:07pm on 14 Jan 2011, lefty11 wrote:
    Does Labour's win tell us anything?
    --------------------------
    its a small start of a process which will end in removal of the libdems and the conservatives from govt.

    =======

    Small start indeed. Labour increased it's vote by under 700 persons. This tells us that there was no significent 'defection' from either Liberals or Conservatives to labour. Given that there was a real anti GB/Labour feeling in 2010, this small increase is not really much to work with if you ask me.

    nb - the fact that the total number of voters is significently lower than 2010 makes it clear that accusations of Conservatives voting Liberal, whether true or not, is of no significence. The real determinate of the the outcome here was the non-voter (yet again!)

  • Comment number 51.

    At 12:20pm on 14 Jan 2011, MyVoiceinYrHead wrote: Tatical voting for Lib-dems over the next few years would give them a bigger voice in the coalition and be more effective than little Ed shouting across the floor.

    What voice? The one they use in cabinet (tea or coffee? how many sugars?) or the one they use when speaking to constituents (oh these tories are terrible)?

    This was supposed to be an era of new trustworthy politics but only the colour of the rosettes changed. Didn't Gordon Brown get caught out by private comments that were opposed to his public ones?

    Don't count on tactical voting for the Lib-Dems Myvoiceinyrhead, the trust ship has sailed and they've been left on the quayside.

  • Comment number 52.

    45#

    Yeah, alright mate. Go on back to reading your student Fabian Society fanzine. "Gordon saw it but didnt have the stomach for it..." ....do me a favour.

  • Comment number 53.

    Those that think the AV is going to benefit from coalition politics need to think again.

    IMHO a vote for AV is in effect a permanent vote for coalition government.

    As so many voters are now clearly anti-Clegg, who in their right mind would hold those views and be prepared to make him the Kingmaker for evermore?

    I voted tactically LibDem last time on the basis of their opposition to tuition fees and being opposed to rapid, deep cuts in public spending which was clearly stated in their manifesto - but we now know from leaked papers that Clegg intended to do the exact opposite on both issues before polling day - the dictionary definition of being untrustworthy.

    A vote for AV is a vote for Kingmaker Clegg.

    Ain't gonna happen - people like me are never going to trust him again - and by doing what he has done, Clegg has holed the case of AV below the waterline.

  • Comment number 54.

    OK, its true that this cannot be extrapolated into national significance but ignore the cleggisms, the Lib Dems were truly spanked here, despite significant propping up by the true blue brigade & a distinct lack of the name Liberal Democrat on their campaign literature. When middle england wakes up to the fact that the health service, public services & access to education for all are either being sold or destroyed, that is when the national mood will reflect the reality of condem policy. I just hope its not to late for their, & my, children.

  • Comment number 55.

    The tories came into power just as the world economy was/is coming out of recession.

    Since then they have cut growth, increased unemployment, increased inflation - basically trashed the UK domestic economy. All of this by pushing through an ideologically driven plan to deliberately put a million people out of work. Amazingly they have acheived this disaster against a background of continued global recovery.

    However you look at the collapsed tory vote - they may well have switched to their co-conspirators in an attempt to save face - the fact that a party as shoddy as labour can win on an increased majority says all we need to know about a verdict on the tories.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'd certainly not be claiming any victory, but all parties are consumed with spin of some sort. The truth is the vast majority of the UK simply don't rate our political captains, unfortunately those that bother to cast their vote smog the real feeling in this nation. I understand that another by- is just around the next corner, so I ask all those in that region to speak for the silent, send a message to all the major parties! Tactics of another nature, perhaps..............

  • Comment number 57.

    This really a poor result for the coalition and an especially poor on for the Libdems.
    This was a fairly traditional labour seat which was a close run thing at the last election thanks to the improved publicity/relevance of the Libdems.
    Since the alliance with the Tories many of the "give the Libs a chance" floating voters have been dismayed by the adoption of policies more suited to the right wing than the perceived socialism(with a small 's')of the old Libdems.
    In addition, labour have been favourites for the seat for some time now (especially with the national opinion so against the Libdems), so allied to the poor weather many votes for the expected winners will not have been cast "they're going to win anyway, my vote won't matter".
    The people who would probably vote at all costs are the ones with a point to prove - the Libdems.
    Thus ALL Libdem supporters have probably cast their vote PLUS very many conservatives will have voted tactically (hence the increase in share for the Libdems) and STILL they have come a poor second!

  • Comment number 58.

    While I agree one swallow does not make a summer, there are important factors that must be borne in mind.

    The media reports that it was a low turnout. Some playing of ducks and drakes I think. It may be low for a general election but it is quite HIGH for a bi election of nearly 50% despite the fact that the Lib Dems pushed for the election in Jan and not Feb. Perhaps they were hoping to capitalise on voter apathy after Xmas and the Lab candidate only getting a six week run after selection. The events seem to have thwarted the Tory led coaltions plans.

    On top of that the weather was appalling and Labour voters tend not to turn out in such high numbers in the rain.

    I believe it now strengthens the case for voter reform as some right wingers tactically voting for lib dems have spared lib dem blushes at the expense of their own modesty.

  • Comment number 59.

    I still think that Phil Woolas was robbed. I hope he will return to politics. Having a setback will strengthen him; he is a dedicated young labour politician of the old school. He was my friend and I have faith in him.

  • Comment number 60.

    It tells me something Nick.The hidden message from the Bullingdon Kid to Tory activists, the Blue Rinse Brigade and the Tufton Buftons that run the party in the shires is to continue to abandon our own candidates and support the Lib/Dem Tory stooges. It is the only way I can stay in 'Hackers Haven' which is far more important than fools running around with blue leaflets.

  • Comment number 61.

    You could put a red rosette on a colly, and a labour voter would still vote for them

  • Comment number 62.

    In the Oldham & Saddleworth by-election (taking national opinion polls into account) I wonder if the Lib Dems have considered how many of their votes were from supportive Con voters... and if they can really count on that group to support Lib Dem in a GENERAL Election. I also wonder if the Conservative leadership expected as many of their voters to switch straight to Lab. Student fees, withdrawal of financial support from poorer students, VAT increases, Fuel increases, redundancies, Banker's Bonuses and restructuring the NHS (in no party's manifesto). Will the BBC's Robinson include these in his next unbiased political report?

  • Comment number 63.

    28. At 11:59am on 14 Jan 2011, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    No. They're not that bright. You could have rolled a cowpat in glitter, pinned a red rosette on it and they would still have voted for it.
    ===================

    I'm not a labour supporter but I am happy to confirm that you can roll a cowpat in any colour of glitter and I will rush to vote for it in preference to the people we currently have as a government.

    The cow pat is unlikely to do much in office, but at least it would not be inflicting the level of disaster being actively created by our current over-lords.

  • Comment number 64.

    By-election victory: nobody won.

    Labour candidate was elected to a Labour seat: shock-horror.

    It is what we could call a non-event.

  • Comment number 65.

    Did I really hear Simon Hughes say something along the lines of:

    "The share of vote for the Lib Dems was the same as in May, if people hadn't voted Labour we would have won'

    Don't spin Mr Hughes, second place is still first loser.

  • Comment number 66.

    This was a good result for Labour. Nick why so keen to play it down. Strange how voters dont always seem to follow the media 'narrative'.

  • Comment number 67.

    54. At 12:47pm on 14 Jan 2011, als_seaham wrote:
    the Lib Dems were truly spanked here

    ==============

    How do you get that? they lost 3000 votes over a general election - that's easily par for the course for non-turnout, let alone when you take all the other factors (anti GB/Labour fealing) into account.

    Missed an opportunity, maybe, but a spanking? no way.

  • Comment number 68.

    I remember that this was a by-election called in Jan to upset Labour. That the turn-out was low as a result and that lower turnout particularly was from Labour voting areas. On the day it was heartland wards that Labour were working, that was becasue the vote was not coming out under its own steam.
    Therefore the LD's did well as others say by Tory voters switching. If there is a truism of elections it is Tory voters are more likely to vote than Labour ones. So why is it important for tory voters to vote LD? firstly to stop labour but secondly because the LD poodles are required for stable Govt. If I was Labour I would sit back and await that realisation by LD's

  • Comment number 69.

    I really can't understand why anyone would have voted Labour in this by-election. Forget the economy, tuition fees, and all that: the only reason why we had this by-election is because the Labour candidate at the last one lied and cheated his way to victory.

    How on earth can people vote for the same party that was responsible for that?

    Now that politicians know they can lie and cheat and will not be punished by the electorate, it's only going to encourage them.

    Is it just me who finds that hugely depressing?

  • Comment number 70.

    55#

    Now had it happened in a true marginal you may have been on to something. Old&Sad wasnt exactly "Jack Dromey" safe Labour, butnear as spit. As a Labour candidate, you could have cut their legs off, micturated on the stumps and they'd still have voted for you. The tories had as much chance of winning this seat as you have of posting something that isnt laced with anti-tory bile.

  • Comment number 71.

    55. At 12:47pm on 14 Jan 2011, jon112dk wrote:
    The tories came into power just as the world economy was/is coming out of recession.

    Since then they have cut growth, increased unemployment, increased inflation - basically trashed the UK domestic economy. All of this by pushing through an ideologically driven plan to deliberately put a million people out of work. Amazingly they have acheived this disaster against a background of continued global recovery.

    However you look at the collapsed tory vote - they may well have switched to their co-conspirators in an attempt to save face - the fact that a party as shoddy as labour can win on an increased majority says all we need to know about a verdict on the tories.

    ===============

    If you look at Oldhams voting in the last 3 general elections Labour got

    14,186 in 2010
    17,968 in 2005
    17,537 in 2001

    The Oldham council data doesn't go any further back, but it seems reasonable to suugest that the core labour vote is 17 - 18,000. Thus a result of 14,718 may be an increase from 2010 - but it still represents a huge decrease from their core vote.

  • Comment number 72.

    58. At 12:53pm on 14 Jan 2011, The_Maven wrote:

    On top of that the weather was appalling and Labour voters tend not to turn out in such high numbers in the rain.

    =====

    That's just asking for a kicking! Come on - surely you can see what you've written here!

  • Comment number 73.

    50. Justforsighs

    Funny old thing politics, isn’t it jfs. The Conservatives haven’t won a majority at a general election since 1992, 19 years ago. And even then with a majority of 21. Strange how now, the country is being hammered by conservative policy. And even stranger how those who will be worst affected by these policies are mostly not conservative voters.

  • Comment number 74.

    Come on Andy and Robin - let us have your views on the softer more centrist version of the Tories. Is it the Cameroon's choice or forced on them by their failure to win a majority. And what now for the poor old Thatcherite Tory Right.

    I am genuinely interested in your views.

  • Comment number 75.

    "36. At 12:13pm on 14 Jan 2011, Tony Bradley wrote:
    Should it not be the case that when in an election if less than 50% vote, then no candidate is elected to the House of Commons & on each vote in the House, that constituency's vote is classed as an abstention?"

    That's a cery good idea. I like the idea of "None of the above" empty seats in the commons.

  • Comment number 76.

    Northern English constituency votes Labour;
    By-election isn't won by the incumbent party;
    Relatively low turn-out.

    It's no surprises then - the 'core supporter' Labour Party contributors can fool themselves into believing that they are on the road back to power...., that is a mistake.
    When Labour win some fairly strong Tory and Lib Dem seats only then they can be sure they are on-track again.
    In some ways it would have been better for Labour if they had done badly - at the moment I feel they are complacent. The leadership need to face up to their mistakes and make some changes.

  • Comment number 77.


    Plenty of tactical voting going on. Surprisingly for a by-election, all the three main parties should be pleased with their results.

    I strongly suspect that Tory voters were quietly instructed to vote Lib Dem to try and keep Labour out.



  • Comment number 78.

    @ 2. ... The Tories are all heartless owners of St Lucia villas whose main aim in life is to inflict as much personal misery on as many working class people as they can...

    AndyC555 - YES THAT'S EASILY THE BEST AND MOST ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSERVATIVES, AND THOSE THAT FINANCE THEM, THAT I'VE EVER HEARD! VERY WELL DONE 10/10..! WHY DO PEOPLE VOTE FOR SUCH A MEAN SPIRITED LOT AS THE TORIES? (THANKFULLY THEY DIDN'T VOTE FOR THEM IN THIS BY-ELECTION)
    ANOTHER DESCRIPTION I'D CLASS AS ACCURATE ABOUT THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY IS THAT THEY APPEAR TO BE REGULARLY LED BY PEOPLE WHO EXHIBIT THE BEHAVIOURS AND TRAITS USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH DIAGNOSED SOCIOPATHS.

  • Comment number 79.

    63#

    No great surprise there then mate. You continue to decide that the future for yourself and for all those around you should be decided on what you dont want, rather than what you do, or for the greater good, what the country needs - not that I'm saying that the tories are what the country needs, its plainly evident that they are not, on many levels.

    But you're deciding it at a much more visceral, tribal, bilious level than that. Looking for political wisdom in your posts is a bit like panning for gold nuggets in the Kandahar Sewage Farm.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think this was a good win for Labour but not for obvious reasons. The problem Cameron has is that he has very little political instinct and he does not understand the British people. Love them or hate them Blair and Thatcher had natural political instinct in spades and an understanding of what makes Brits tick. This is what made them successful at their peak. I like Cameron, I like the fact, that he often, apparently, put the needs of a disabled son over political gain at times. I think he is probably a nice bloke as many would put it, however he is not the leader that is needed now. The British are a bit like the Russians with regard to leaders, they like them strong and decisive. They may not like what they do all the time, but they know they are being led. Putin for instance would work well in Britain with different politics.

    It is quite possible that with the good candidate, that the Conservatives had, they would have done much better if effort had been put into the campaign. It is also possible that Cameron did want the Lib/Dems to do well for the reasons stated by Nick. However, what Cameron has not thought through, as his impulsive nature very often does not allow him to do, I think, is how this slightly shifts the balance in the Coalition. The nature of the Lib/Dems is that of an opportunist, they will on the strength of this better performance start making demands. This in turn is going to upset many Conservatives, already alienated by Camerons leadership, even more unhappy. Thus the strain will begin to show, I believe.

    Many Conservative voters have lost faith in Cameron and will not have voted and would certainly not consider voting Lib/Dem.

    This was a good win for Labour, not only because it gives them a more firm footing but also for the less obvious reasons of the problems now that will stir within the Coalition.

    It is also very possible Labour will do well in the Scottish elections, the gloss of the SNP has fallen off since the recession. The Lib/Dems are seen by the Scots as a party who have betrayed them and they never vote Conservative.

    Interesting times ahead.

  • Comment number 81.

    Common sense tells us that the LibDems lost votes to Labour and some Tories lent their votes to the Liberals. Result: Labour majority increased, LibDems remained unchanged and Tories vote declined. If the Tories had been the ‘second’ party it would probably been different with the LibDem vote reducing and being split between Labour and the Tories (in what proportions I know not).
    However, if we then look at the likely outcome if AV were the electoral system then I think Labour should be slightly worried. One could assume the Tory vote would eventually go to the LibDems making them the likely winner.

  • Comment number 82.

    68. At 1:02pm on 14 Jan 2011, Jeremy wrote:
    I remember that this was a by-election called in Jan to upset Labour.

    That the turn-out was low as a result and that lower turnout particularly was from Labour voting areas. On the day it was heartland wards that Labour were working,
    =========

    Not another one! Have you any FACTS to support these accusations and do you really believe that only Labour works?

    These weak arguments only support the growing conclusion that Labour actually did pretty poorly here.

  • Comment number 83.

    Nick, as you have said the labour win tells us that Cameron has the most immediate problem, but his is the easiest to deal with. Whilst the right of the party do not see him a Tory Prime Minister (as Redwood etc. many time point out, he is a coalition Prime Minister) he remains in a very strong position, so why even pander to them? Warsi already keeping the right in their corner, the Europe issue is "dead" politically, what can go wrong for him? Where can right wing Tories defect to? The battle is for the middle ground right? Lid Dems moving to the right of centre every day, Alexander a "phoney Lid Dem", its just too easy for Cameron right now and this is no game changer. Even the Libs getting massacred in locals will help herd them to him overall as a party, he knows it, even if Clegg does not know it. I think Cameron is leveraging true politics, the question is what can Milliband do to make the Tories or Dems play a game changing role....

  • Comment number 84.

    It's hard to know who to feel most sorry for as everyone pores over the results of a election that carries no meaning whatsoever.

    Turnout down 22%, Labour vote up by 500 has all the makings of 'Labour holds seat in not key marginal at all that has never been anything but labour' about it.

    Still if this is what we are to expect in the future from Ed Miliband there is not a lot to fear. Arguing that this has 'sent a message' to the coalition, when the message is about as thrilling as the fact that Queen Victoria is dead, makes you wonder what form of words this man will use when something really important does happen. Indeed, it seems almost perverse that the man who couldn't be bothered to register as the father of his own child, feels that this is an important event. What does he do for fun?

    There is, quite simply, no denying that labour do not have an economic policy to their name and the man who shafted his own brother appointed a shadow chancellor who doesn't know what was in their own budget or what the rate of NI is. It's so dysfunctioanl as a working opposition as to make you understand why they were so hopeless at delivering anything in government. It's all high minded posturing and puffing. Even in opposition labour members look like dreadful charicatures of themselves, made more ridiculous by the remnants of their party hanging around in useless jobs like Baroness Ashton's 'High Representative for Foreign Affairs'.

    Labour always were a comic opera, taking themselves terribly seriously; now even more so.

    It's grim up north London...

  • Comment number 85.

    So much bile today, I wonder what can be causing it.

    I continue to be amused at all the frothing and posturing. The political cycle is more or less set in stone. The Tories will be in control for 4-5 years, and possibly win another term afterwards (it will be a trickier task than any other second term has been in living memory due to the situation the country finds itself in). Over that time, they will be blamed and dragged through the mud for every minor issue that comes up. At some point enough people will decide to switch sides, and we will get
    a Labour government again for another 2-3 terms. Process repeats, then you get a Tory government. Then Labour. Then Tory. Then Labour. And so on and so forth.

    My personal political leanings asside, can't you see that none of this makes the blindest bit of difference. We will oscillate from one to the other, Labour will increase public spending at the expense of the economy, the Tories will improve the economy at the expense of public spending, and they will more or less cancel each other out.

    By the way, I can understand how those who voted lib dem might be a bit disappointed that they didn't get what they wanted, but you must realise that the lib dems didn't win the election. You must realise that the party with the most votes has the most power. If you feel strongly about something, your only choice is to vote for a party that has a realistic chance of actually winning the election, otherwise you are going to be left completely powerless. Your party didn't win the election, therefore you don't get what you want. It just goes to prove the old adage. "A vote for the Lib Dems..."

  • Comment number 86.

    73 "And even stranger how those who will be worst affected by these policies are mostly not conservative voters."

    Well, D'uh. It would be a pretty daft party that arranged things so that it's own voters were worst hit by any adverse results of their policies.

    Got any other scintilating insights into party politics?

  • Comment number 87.

    63. At 12:55pm on 14 Jan 2011, jon112dk wrote:
    28. At 11:59am on 14 Jan 2011, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    No. They're not that bright. You could have rolled a cowpat in glitter, pinned a red rosette on it and they would still have voted for it.
    ===================

    I'm not a labour supporter but I am happy to confirm that you can roll a cowpat in any colour of glitter and I will rush to vote for it in preference to the people we currently have as a government.

    The cow pat is unlikely to do much in office, but at least it would not be inflicting the level of disaster being actively created by our current over-lords.

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

    I am sure your view is not unique to you. Flag wavers on either side are so entrenched in their views that they become blind to the reality of the situation.

    People don't commit themselves blindly to one party out of intelligence, insight or morals. They do it because they are too ignorant to do anything else.

  • Comment number 88.

    73. Lefty11

    It surely is. 'Course to be accurate we don't actually have Conservative policy at this time, we have Con/Lib policies, unless you are referring to your view on the policy rather than who is enacting it - in which case a fair part of the last 19 years could also have been Con policies, since you dodn't approve with all that Labour did in that time do you?

    Actually, that probably is the truth here, true Labour policies went out of fashion so long ago that we can't even remember them. We just have differing varients of Conservative polices. Interesting.

  • Comment number 89.

    31/74 - Cassandra

    Hopefully it is A but I am also worried it might be B.

    The problem the Tories face is that a lot of their policies are 'grown up' policies but the appeal of the 'child-like' give-em-all-the-sweets-they-ask-for policies of Labour is that they appeal to the masses, no matter how many times they are shown to be unsustainable.

  • Comment number 90.

    75. At 1:16pm on 14 Jan 2011, potatolord wrote:
    "36. At 12:13pm on 14 Jan 2011, Tony Bradley wrote:
    Should it not be the case that when in an election if less than 50% vote, then no candidate is elected to the House of Commons & on each vote in the House, that constituency's vote is classed as an abstention?"

    That's a cery good idea. I like the idea of "None of the above" empty seats in the commons.



    I missed this the first time (at 36). I do like this, seems to have the potential of making the voters sit up and take notice, or alternatively show up the members don't actually deliver anything to the constituency anway. Either way a win for democracy I'd say!

  • Comment number 91.

    Filipinomonkeys two-part handy timesaving guide, just replace X and Y with the names of your favourite/loathed parties.

    Part 1. This by-election result is a great result for X and a terrible result for Y and I can say this due to a careful and impartial analysis of the results and not just because I support X no siree.

    Part 2. Cut and paste the sentences that apply:

    Labour won because VAT went up to 20%
    Labour won because Gordon left.
    Lib Dems held up because Tories switched to try to keep Labour out.
    Labour won due to the charisma and policies of its new leader.
    The government got beat in a by-election.
    X is the best thing since sliced bread and Y are pants.

  • Comment number 92.

    55. At 12:47pm on 14 Jan 2011, jon112dk wrote:
    The tories came into power just as the world economy was/is coming out of recession.

    Since then they have cut growth, increased unemployment, increased inflation - basically trashed the UK domestic economy. All of this by pushing through an ideologically driven plan to deliberately put a million people out of work. Amazingly they have acheived this disaster against a background of continued global recovery.

    =====================================================================

    Ah there it is again, that 'ideology' word. Why is it that since the election everything done by the conservatives has been 'ideology' based? I guess its just labours latest attempt to discredit the party brave enough to give us the medicine we needed, by saying they're giving us the medicine because they want to make us suffer.

    As to the idea that the tories want the countries population to be out of work - do get a grip. Since when did the long term unemployed vote tory? And why would they want to ruin the UK? Gordon already did that - you must have been sleeping.

    Maybe one day you'll wake up and we can welcome you to the real world rather than labours fantasy one.

  • Comment number 93.

    68. At 1:02pm on 14 Jan 2011, Jeremy wrote:
    If there is a truism of elections it is Tory voters are more likely to vote than Labour ones.
    ---------

    eh?

    Truism = load of old coblers invented in the hope of making an argument.

  • Comment number 94.

    At 1:03pm on 14 Jan 2011, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    I really can't understand why anyone would have voted Labour in this by-election. Forget the economy, tuition fees, and all that: the only reason why we had this by-election is because the Labour candidate at the last one lied and cheated his way to victory.

    How on earth can people vote for the same party that was responsible for that?

    Now that politicians know they can lie and cheat and will not be punished by the electorate, it's only going to encourage them.

    Is it just me who finds that hugely depressing?

    I think it is you. You seem to have discounted Lib-Dem party lies and concentrated on the lies of a candidate who has been disqualified and thrown out of office by the powers that be. All well and good but the true powers that be, the people, only get a few chances to punish mendacity. At the last election Gordon Brown's dishonesty was punished. Last night it was the turn of those currently in govt. How can people forget issues such as tuition fees when they saw every Lib-Dem candidate make a pledge, a party pledge, and then break it. There cannot be one rule for Brown and another for Clegg/Cable. A liar is simply a liar and the entire country has seen the proof. Last night the people of Oldham and Saddleworth just acted on it. Roll on May for a bigger test of public opinion.

  • Comment number 95.

    73. At 1:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, lefty11 wrote:
    50. Justforsighs

    Funny old thing politics, isn’t it jfs. The Conservatives haven’t won a majority at a general election since 1992, 19 years ago. And even then with a majority of 21. Strange how now, the country is being hammered by conservative policy. And even stranger how those who will be worst affected by these policies are mostly not conservative voters.

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

    Just as Labour policies effect those who don't vote Labour the worst.

    I can't think of a more compelling argument for deciding which way to vote. "I know, I'll vote for the party that will do me least harm."

    Does that count a epiphany for you Lefty?

  • Comment number 96.

    46. At 12:26pm on 14 Jan 2011, Tams wrote:
    "And to think I got an email from the Lib Dems saying Labour had absolutely no chance of winning. What was it, humm, "Lib Dems and Conservatives close at around 30%. Labour around 3%. Can't win here" and then one of those stupid bar graphs."
    "I'm glad Labour won. I joined the Lib Dems to support my local Lib Dem MP, not support some other Lib Dem elsewhere, yet they still sent be the bloody emails (must have been in excess of 10)."

    Does your leaflet qualify as lying about your opponent?,or is it just honest to goodness political lying like on VAT,tuitions fees,cuts et.etc which the courts apparently find acceptable.

  • Comment number 97.

    It would be useful to read an informed & impartial analysis of why traditional Conservative supporters voted tactically on this occasion. One of the reasons would be to support the Lib Dem candidate against Labour.

  • Comment number 98.

    Labour got more votes this week than in 1997.

    On a reduced turnout, they increased their vote by 700. You can't on one hand use the reduced turnout as justification for the lib dem vote disintegrating and at the same time ignore that, albeit in a "labour seat", despite the low amount of votes cast, labour increased its percentage share.

    Percentage share wins seats. I think common parlance amongst the younger voters would be "simples".

    Move on, it changes nothing. There are bigger battles to be fought and won against this headlong rush back to the old days of hats doffed to the educated, priviledged few. We ALL need to remind politicians that they work for us.

  • Comment number 99.




    86. At 1:37pm on 14 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:
    73 "And even stranger how those who will be worst affected by these policies are mostly not conservative voters."

    Well, D'uh. It would be a pretty daft party that arranged things so that it's own voters were worst hit by any adverse results of their policies.

    Got any other scintilating insights into party politics?
    -------------------------
    Your arguments are so weak and inane that sometimes they often provide ammunition to shoot you down with, such as what you wrote above. But I shall resist.
    Anyway Cassandra is asking you for some policy. Please don’t ignore her. I would like to hear it. I will start you off. A subject we never got to discuss properly.
    Your idea of building camps for unemployed people. (later changed to hostels).
    Please roll out your rough policy idea............
    over to you...........

  • Comment number 100.

    'Any other result would have fuelled the narrative "Miliband in crisis". For now that story is stilled.'

    Thank goodness for that. The last we thing we want is for Labour to ditch the vacuous buffoon before the next election.

 

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