Friday 9 June 2017

Back from the Front

There will be plenty to say on the national level of politics soon, but for now I'm keeping it parochial.  Shortly after 9 a.m. yesterday, I reported here from my two hours of early telling: "a higher proportion of heads-down, grumpy, won't-give-their-polling-number than I recall before: a more divisive atmosphere".  I also said there were no Labour tellers at the polls, which might have had an optimistic interpretation but - "may be some new tactical use of troops".

Well, it was.  As the day went by it became clear they were mounting a massive election-day door-knocking campaign, and they succeeded: our ultra-marginal blue has gone red, notwithstanding the predicted UKIP slump, and no change on the (small) LibDem turnout.  Purely 5,000 incremental Labour votes.

This makes me think two things.
  1. arithmetically, it looks a lot like the 2015 UKIP vote came nearly all from Labour (though that's not what our extensive private polling said at the time) - and voting UKIP didn't prove to be the 'gateway drug' to voting Tory that some on the left feared
  2. maybe it was equally that 2015 was aberrational: Labour stay-at-homes on that occasion.  the demographics tend to support that.
There's something else, too: our ex MP - a newly-minted junior minister - was bizarrely made a Privy Councillor in the spring.  He's highly regarded by CCHQ, and I thought at the time this must mean they reckon he's toast but want to give him a decent chance at the first safe by-election opportunity.

There was certainly no stinting on the Tory campaign here: as I wrote back when the election was called (sheesh, that seems a long time ago) the mood was extremely bouyant, and it stayed that way right to the final day, with volunteer turnout growing all the time.  Politics really is becoming more engaging, on all sides - a pretty universal post-referendum phenomenon.  In all the febrile political chaos that will now ensue, things could get very bitter out there.


Footnote: a telling anecdote.  At our final party gathering on Wednesday evening prior to hitting the streets with our eve-of-poll leaflets - the biggest turnout we'd had, really huge - after the peptalk our man thanked several people who'd come to join the throng from outside the constituency including, he said with a flourish, "the Head of Policy from No.10!"  At which, a strong and caustic voice from the back (not mine) shouted "what policy?" - and there were cheers ...


Steven_L said...

And the markets have hardly moved. A couple of cents on the dollar. Lloyds down only 3%.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I see Theresa is still there. Gone by lunchtime, perhaps? I live in hope. She was useless as home secretary and useless as prime minister. Strong and stable, my arse.

But there are positives, no? The Union is more secure today. Clegg is gone. The remainiac vote is actually down.

A new Tory leader who won't steal my house and actually does something about Islamic terror would be most welcome.

mike fowle said...

A "snap" election that lasts seven weeks. How not to do it. (And jeopardising the boundary commission reforms.)

Bill Quango MP said...

The list of failure is long. From the length of campaign to the dismal preparations NHS for it.

But, take away the hindsight. When the election was called the very very worst imaginable result was voter fatigue might lead to only a very slightly improved majority. No one was expecting this defeat result.
I wouldn't have gambled myself. But only because I would have feared increased Remainer Liberals. Mostly At labour'sexpense but also London and university towns. So calling an election and risk only having thirty majority would have made caution advisable for a bit. Corbyn wasn't going anywhere and wasn't getting any better. Wait until negotiations have begun with eu and boundary commission begins.

It was a gamble and all the intelligence pointed to an easy win.

But a truly dreadful campaign and some assumptions that turned out to be incorrect have created a disaster.

HD said...

The campaign has been by far the worst I have ever witnessed from a government. Although on the positive side this is the best possible result Corbyn can possibly achieve. Even a semi competent leader with a manifesto that doesn't rinse their main support base should be able to crush this commie nutter.

Gummer is gone too, the electorate has dragged him behind the shed and put him out of his misery for this atrocious manifesto he has designed.

Steven_L said...

On Radio 4 this morning one of the correspondents claimed the tory party a coalition between "swivel-eyed brexiteers" and remainers. I expect the "swivel-eyed brexiteers" narrative will continue.

I wish I'd listened more to that chap (or chapette?) who was on here saying its all a swizz designed to create a hung parliament because of brexit.

Are we really expected to believe "We'll bring back fox hunting and confiscate your house" was just an error of judgement?

dearieme said...

I thought the case for calling the election was decent but not overwhelming. As said above, a seven week campaign was bonkers. But what really mattered (I assume) was how badly she campaigned, starting with the folly of putting the (rather rational) care proposals in the manifesto.

What now? Boris? Oh my giddy aunt!

E-K said...

I said it was a swindle but not as accurately as My Today's Name (whatever it is today)

The fact is May went to the country for her Brexit Means Brexit mandate (which she had already) and lost it.

Delay and obfuscation from 24th June 2016 onwards.

The election was tidy ploy to wreck Brexit by the Conservative Party and two of us here spotted it. Designed to look like an innocent mistake.

E-K said...


I said the intention was to reduce Eurosceptics in Parliament - to avert full Brexit. Remember?

Miller/Blair have won.

andrew said...

EK, another way of looking at it is that there are still some true conservatives left in power.
The ones that instinctively think that
'things are bad enough already, please dont change anything'.

Brexit will still happen.

However, they will make sure
-the NI/ROI border remains 'not really there'
-access to the EU single market (even if we are still subject to the ECJ in some commercial areas and have to pay) still exists so the UK economy is not badly damaged.


i.e. if they get it right, not much change.

Steven_L said...

Except that if we're now begging to be allowed back into various bits of the EU before the 2 year deadline they can ask for 'stuff'.

Maybe we'll have to increase our subs, or join the Euro?

barnacle bill said...

Putting the old tin foil hat on maybe this was the outcome "They" wanted? A gert big spanner thrown into the Brexit negotiations before they have even started.

Now who was twisting her arm and what dirt do they have on her?

Jan said...

Hats off to "my name.....". The other main gain is to get rid of/or at least reduce the aggro of the thorn in the side which is the SNP, whoever gets to be the boss. Maybe we've lost some Blairites too which would be a relief.

I wonder if the remainiacs of both parties and Brexiteers of both parties will be able to swallow their pride and work together?.....Some hopes but it looks like left and right may be less important than heretofore with regards to Brexit. With regards to everything else though the gulf is huge.

I see Wales has returned to type.....thank the Lord I no longer live there.

Anonymous said...

This election was fought on the existing constituency boundaries, which give a 5-6% advantage to Labour. That means that a 44% Conservative vote was not enough to gain a majority, whereas an equivalent percentage for Labour would have given them a landslide.

The Boundary Commission is due to report in 2018, so if the present Government can survive until then, and get the reformed boundaries through Parliament, the next election should be fought on a more level playing field.

If they don't, you can imagine the alternative ...

CityUnslicker said...


Well done to those who got this right, I certainly did not.

However, democracy is served, Labour up for their youth motivation, tories down for their Sodom & Gomorrah campaign.

Any parties that wanted another referendum on anything got nowhere.

People are tired of elections and campaigns (they punished May for this too!).

Why does everyone forget that the EU decide our Brexit, not us. They have decided on HARDS Brexit, so that is what it will be. If Labour dump Corbyn for Clive Lewis or some such, they will get in easily next election. Somehow I don't think May will ever be allowed to fight another one.

All this soft brexit stuff is for the birds.

Anonymous said...

No doubt Labour will fight tooth and nail to prevent the reform of constituency boundaries.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

Mandelson on the World At One, complimenting Corbyn on his campaign and recommending he reach out to "those with experience of government" i.e. the Blairite invade-the-world/invite-the-world bunch who've spent the last year briefing against him.

Take his advice, and perhaps we'll see a Prime Minister Corbyn bombing Iran!

gmorris said...

Would have been better to lose, let Labour cock up brexit, bungle their domestic policy then have the tories come back in in 2022, tell junker whatever deal you agreed with the last lot is in the bin. Atleast the students who think they're smart enough to vote would get it out their system

CityUnslicker said...

gmorris - no thanks, once the taxes are put up high and the economy wrecked it would be decades before they ever came down again. After the 19070's it was practically the 1990's before the top rate of tax went to 40%.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the stages of grief bit at the moment although I have concluded that his election was thrown.

Nick Drew said...

much as I enjoy that thesis, it is built on an assumption of strategic nous and competence on the part of T.May that she just ain't got

Steven_L said...

Maybe ND was in on it?

Botogol said...

May stumbles from mistake to mistake. She had no need to make a deal with the DUP, or anyone else. She could have simply run a minority government. The opposition parties would not have forced a no confidence motion and another election. It's going to be a long time before any politician ever again calls an unnecessary election
She needed nothing from the DUP . The deal is all downside , no upside .
Again she has rushed into a poor decision

K said...

Where even was Boris, Gove, etc? Admittedly I don't watch TV but I haven't seen any of them except May and Rudd and maybe a few others for what seems like weeks.

Hopefully they are working hard on Brexit but the campaign was too much about May and her wacky ideas about internet censorship and fox hunting.

roym said...

Heart of stone not to laugh

Hubris of the government thrown well and truly back at em. Kensington went red!

Frankly, I think we should all welcome a period of limited govt, the last 2 years have been murderous.

CU what's all this about the EU enforcing hard brexit? Barnier has repeatedly said the single market and customs union are on the table. It's the swivelled eye brigade who st Theresa rushed to embrace that have tried to paint us into a corner. Why though I will never know.

Anonymous said...

roym - freedom of movement was why Remain lost. Single market = freedom of movement.

(It's also why real (inflation-adjusted) male wages in 2016 were lower than in 1997. The 'benefits' of the EU include 19 years of lowered living standards.)

Anonymous said...

Cock-up or conspiracy regarding the result?

Is May really that politically naive not to have considered a hung parliament? And if she is really that stupid, why is she still there?

It would appear there are decisions being taken in the background and the people behind these are keeping May in place for no other reason than they are not ready. And the DUP might be a bit more politically savvy than the LibDems who were carved up and spat out by the Blue machine.

So onto Brexit. If the men in the shadows are looking for a sacrificial lamb, they have one with May (who is hoping Davis will be hers). But which way do they want the discussion to go?

Time will tell.

Electro-Kevin said...

ND said "much as I enjoy that thesis, it is built on an assumption of strategic nous and competence on the part of T.May that she just ain't got"

Well let's start from the perspective that May is a Remainer (I can no longer give her the respectful 'Mrs')

Thereafter she has sought to lead by hold-me-back consensus. Every step of the way, dilly-dallying and generous time advantage to first, Miller then Corbyn.

Who put a Remainer in charge of Leaving ?

Brexit has been hobbled from the outset.

I wish we'd never had the referendum in the first place and the reason is not because I think Leaving is wrong but because we are not allowed the leader we need to get us out.

Electro-Kevin said...

It's like watching a schoolgirl prefect who doesn't really want to run the sports day sprint, first tying up her shoelace halfway along, still getting ahead of the retarded kid and then tripping over a daisy at the finishing line to let him break the ribbon.

A proper Brexiter would have literally stormed this election and got the retard his orange juice.

Electro-Kevin said...

Pathetic !

andrew said...


You are so right

Bet may wishes she had thought of that

Anonymous said...

Good grief, I got it wrong!


Electro-Kevin said...

What it takes to make a success of Brexit:

- work *bloody hard* at Brexit

What it takes to sabbotage Brexit:

- not work *bloody hard* at Brexit

Throw in the odd prevarication too, ie a General Election. There is no strategic thinking required.

Anonymous said...

Ulster to the breach again, for the fourth time in British history :

The Battle of the Boyne, 1690

The Battle of the Somme, 1916

The Battle of the Atlantic, 1939-1945

The Battle of Brussels, 2017 - 2019

Graeme said...

Corbyn seems to want to get another go at an election csmpsign

L fairfax said...

If the Tories had made houses cheaper it would have helped. Of course voting Labour to get cheaper houses is stupid - but people often are.
Fox hunting and the dementia tax were own goals.