Friday, November 30, 2012

English by-elections, Labour retains all three seats but the story of the night was massive rise in UKIP support, Lib Dems destroyed and lose deposits, Westminster politics gets interesting again!

Dear All

Labour has won three by-elections, retaining Commons seats in Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham.

You could say that the story is not the win by the increased share of the vote in all three seats.

The majority was down in Rotherham; however the previous MP had quit over expenses claims.

For me the other interesting story was the rise of UK Independence Party coming second in Middlesbrough and Rotherham, and finished third in Croydon North.

Although UKIP has been around, the real big breakthrough has quite happened yet, by their star is on the rise.

And that is a worry for the Conservatives in England.

The real bad news of epic proportions is the Lib Dems, in Rotherham; they fell from third place to eighth, behind the BNP, Respect and the English Democrats. The party got less than 5% of the vote, losing its deposit, in two out of the three contests.

It seems that not only hasn’t the public forgiven Clegg, it is still of a mind to punish the entire party. Clegg is getting in the neck for being the Conservative Party’s human sandbag.

The Conservatives saw their vote drop in each of the seats, coming fifth in Rotherham and fourth in Middlesbrough, this they will put down to the protest vote and try to shrug off. But it would be foolhardy to simply dismiss this; their austerity programme isn’t winning friends.

The lib Dems are looking at a massive collapse in next election, coalition possible?

They might not be able if Labour hoover up their seats in England.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who attended the count in Rotherham, called the result across all three seats "UKIP's most impressive result in Westminster elections so far".

And he has reason to be upbeat, UKIP has been going well, some people have jumped ship from the Conservative Party and there is a vocal euro sceptic group in the background of Cameron’s own party, decidedly unhappy and biding their time.

Nigel Farage said:

"The political establishment is just going to have to wake up to the fact that UKIP is here and here to stay as a significant and rising mainstream part of British politics."

Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the results as an endorsement of "One Nation Labour", the slogan he is expected to fight the general election under.

However, it isn’t all plain sailing just yet as he acknowledged that his party still had work to do to win back the trust of voters.

Miliband said:

"Voters in Croydon, Rotherham and Middlesbrough have put their faith in a One Nation Labour Party standing up for young people trying to find work and standing up for people whose living standards are being squeezed."

Or it could be that the voters in large numbers thought that there was no viable alternative.

Business Secretary Vince Cable tried to put a brave face on by saying the government was unpopular, but was dealing with a difficult economic situation. It is actually more than that; the Lib Dems are minor members and taking a disproportionate hit than the Conservatives. It is patently more than a difficult economic situation.

To give it a name, people who voted Lib Dem feel betrayed.

All the Labour Party won all three seats, the real story is UKIP, they can feel a sense of achievement, but it should be remembered that in some respect it is on the back of others unpopularity. They need to transfer the protest vote into a core vote, then we can see a clearer picture but hats off, they are travelling along in the right direction but the real game changer hasn’t happened yet.

Where that will come from and when is anyone’s guess but the austerity programme and events in Europe regarding riots may make people think about whether the traditional vote to a mainstream party serves them anymore.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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