Friday, December 2, 2016
Risky Business, Zac Goldsmith gambles his political future in a by-election and comes up short, Lib Dems narrowly claim by-election victory by capturing a seat they stuck a huge amount of resources to win, Brexit is still going ahead despite the Lib Dems saying they have a ‘mandate’
Politics can be a risky business especially at the ballot box, which is why few people tend to step down and take the risk of standing in a by-election, the public can be fickle.
The Lib Dems have managed to secure a victory over Zac Goldsmith who had stepped down on a point of principle over the 3rd runway for Heathrow which was certainly going to pass through the Commons.
What he had going for him seemed to stack the odds in his favour, a 23, 1015 and the Tories didn’t stand a candidate against him, in all, it looked like he was a shoo in, but the public thought otherwise and unseated him in favour of a Lib Dem, the only real challenger to the seat.
This is a shockwave and the question will be will this now affect the Brexit situation which the Lib Dems ran with as their theme.
Lib Dem challenger Sarah Olney won the contest by a slim margin to finish 1,872 votes ahead of Goldsmith.
She polled 20,510 votes which makes the swing 21.75% which is a real good effort.
The Lib Dems think this paves the way for Parliament to “override” the EU withdrawal referendum result.
“It does look now as if we can have a vote in Parliament that might override the referendum. And I will, obviously, be voting to Remain because that is always what I have believed.”
Parliament may or may not vote on something but if Brexit doesn’t go ahead and the majority of the people’s votes don’t count then that leads to a Constitution crisis which can have only one conclusion, a real shift in British politics. The voting system would in effect become meaningless because for the first time, it would sink into people’s head that their MPs don’t get elected to serve the people of their area, they are elected to carry out the wishes of their party.
The upshot of this development might mean that new parties have to be created in Britain both north and south of the Border to address the new dynamic.
Although Ukip can be seen as a driving force in Brexit, they were relegated to be excluded from the official campaign by the Leave camp, so the claim by Olney that her win was a rejection of the “Ukip vision” of Britain, and the politics of “anger and division is pantomine.
In her victory speech the Lib Dem said:
“The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government, and our message is clear: we do not want a hard Brexit. We do not want to be pulled out of the single market, and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win.”
If Britain remains in the single market, the people of Britain will have been cheated out of their victory, Brexit means leaving the EU and not being tied to the single market rules and regulations.
No free movement of people entering Britain.
Zac Goldsmith said:
“This by-election that we have just had was not a political calculation, it was a promise that I made and it was a promise that I kept.”
In politics keeping your promises do count, so I suspect that we haven’t heard the last of Zac Goldsmith as a politician.
The Labour Candidate Christian Wolmar lost his deposit as he trailed a distant third with 1,515 votes, this will not be a result that Labour wanted, they were never in line to get the win but the result is incredibly poor for them and it also shows that the Labour Party needs a new campaigning model.
A Conservative Party spokesman said the result would make no difference to Brexit plans, stating:
“This result doesn’t change anything. The Government remains committed to leaving the European Union and triggering Article 50 by the end of March next year. In addition, we will continue to take decisive action in the national interest to secure the UK’s place the world - supporting a third runway at Heathrow to secure jobs and business opportunities for the next decade and beyond. Commiserations to Zac Goldsmith on his defeat. We are sorry that he is no longer in the House of Commons.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said:
“The message is clear: The Liberal Democrats are back and we are carrying the torch for all of those who want a real opposition to this Conservative Brexit government. This was a remarkable, come-from-nowhere upset that will terrify the Conservatives. A year and a half ago, their man won by nearly 40% and had a majority of more than 20,000. In one fell swoop we have wiped that out completely. If this was a general election, this swing would mean the Conservatives would lose dozens of seats to the Liberal Democrats - and their majority with it”.
Although Farron can crow about the win, the Lib Dems were the only real contender for the seat and previously they had done well there in the past, so the claim about lose dozens of seats to the Liberal Democrats is bogus.
This is Farron trying to create an impression of the politically bankrupt Lib Dems making a comeback, they aren’t.
The Labour Candidate also chipped in his 10 bob’s worth by saying that the lost by Goldsmith was due to voters disliking Zac Goldsmith’s “ghastly, disgusting” bid to be London mayor. This wasn’t a good campaign for the Tories to run, as Labour accused him of running a racist campaign against Sadiq Khan.
The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston couldn’t have been that disgusted as only 1,515 votes voted for the Labour Party. Perhaps Christian Wolmar needs to learn the art of shutting up and only saying positive things in defeat.
Well, it’s Friday, and Zac Goldsmith is no longer an MP, he kept his word and stood in a by-election, so few in politics have that grit, so points to him for having integrity.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University