Friday 7 June 2019

Peterborough - What happened?
The new Labour MP has the lowest share of the vote for an MP, ever. Volatile times, but uncertainty and change are not guaranteed.
Labour held off the Brexit challenge. An impressive feat as it was assumed a loss was on the cards. Vote dropped dramatically. But they were fighting under some of the hardest conditions, with the biggest disadvantages due to candidates, that they will face. If they could hold on here, they can hold on elsewhere.
The Brexit Party did extremely well. Suffering gloom today really through expectation management failure. They don't have the resources or the organisation to ensure a victory. They will win some and they will lose some in the coming fights.

The Tories, though having a nightmare, are also currently, probably, at the low point of their fortunes. The failed May too toxic to make an appearance during the campaign. Managing to still keep 7,000 votes was a result of sorts. In that, it could, and should, have been even worse.

The Lib Dems got half the vote they got in 2010. The idea that a second referendum will win Labour many more seats than it loses, is a proven myth. The yellow surge is back to what it always used to be. Protest votes. And rich metropolitan or student areas. The Liberals former rural strongholds have not come back to them.
The clear message for anyone who wants to see it is,
1. Split Right Wing voters will allow Labour to keep its seats. And may allow them to pick up a few more. And they don't need many to form a rainbow coalition of idiocy. A Corbyn premiership is more likely, rather than less, after the result.

2. For the same reasons the screech of the majority Remain Labour MPs may be ignored a while longer as the losses sustained under JC may be subsiding. Labour Remain have been chipping away at Corbyn. Telling the Great Oz he cannot become leader of the un-free world, unless he embraces second referendum and no brexit. The Politburo need no longer have doubts in their dedication to the teachings of Corbynism.

3. For Farage, he has achieved a fantastic result. And characteristically diminished it through over promising and a slightly odd decision to not treat the result as a huge victory, if it was or not.
The new, more focused, single, simple, Trumpian messaging, is working. 
Previously UKIP was all over the place, all the time. Electoral reform. Immigration. Taxation. Privatisation. Deportation. Attacking Parliament. The NHS and the BBC and the media on as many issues as they could find. A strategy for getting noticed, to be sure. But one that seemed to stop paying off around 12% of the population. 
He is beyond that already.

The Brexit Party had all the advantages, except the most important one. Data. 
They cannot be as effective as their rivals without it. 
As it stands, TBP can win some seats from the Tories. But perhaps only enough to destroy them both.
 Somehow, Farage is going to need to hire the very best ground pounder and data manager in the business. 

I doubt he will call Dominic Cummings. 
I doubt Cummings will answer his phone, if he did. 
4. For the Tories, Judgement Day is here. There can be no more hiding behind the sofa and hoping the whole ghastly Brexit experience will just go away. The Peterborough Tory -29%, contrasts with the Brexit Parties +25%. To survive, Brexit must be delivered.
Not ignored. Or delayed. Or postponed or negotiated. But delivered. The only wriggle room is in how satisfactory to general leavers the exit need be. 
Any attempt to plant another false Leaver at the helm will be disastrous. Any attempt to avoid a decision by the next election will also be a disaster. 
 Every delay or deadline extension will just add more votes to the Brexit Party side of the electoral justice scales.
Appointing a die hard leaver might also be a disastrous strategy. As might a hard exit. But it might not. 
Three years wasted under May leaves little in the playbook but a massive show of courage, bluff and a Hail Mary pass. 
But it is now certain that unless Brexit can be removed as an issue, the election will be lost. And lost very badly. John Major levels of defeat.

5. Liberals. As with the BP, always worth remembering that a Euro election is not a Westminster one. It will take more than just loving Europe to be a force. Like the Brexit Party they are still doing very well, considering where they were. The Liberals have an opportunity to rebrand and from a better position than Labour or the Tories. 
Outgoing, ageing, Venerable Vince gets a clock and handshake, and enjoys his retirement. Incoming, youthful, millennial, female, young-mum feminist, Jo, comes in. Loads of media attention and new broom ideas. A rare chance for a second political chance for the Liberals.
A summary from the person who is having their last ever day as leader of the current Tory Party.




Anonymous said...

I think the only way of avoiding Corbyn as PM is for the Tory's to have a Canada++ style Brexit, that could just about get enough moderate Tory remainers on board and not alienate Brexiters any further.
Then do a deal with the Brexit party so they don't split the vote - let the Brexit party fight for the Northern votes and try and split the Labour vote and not put anyone to fight in the conservative marginals.

They likely hood of any of this is zero, so Corbyn for PM it probably is.

Raedwald said...

Good analysis.

I'm just hoping something turns up - a Eurozone collapse would be good

CityUnslicker said...

I am not sure this is the victory for Labour that they are happy to crow about. They are deep in it and had to throw everything to win by a couple of hundred votes- the Tories literally did not try and the Brexit party have no data as you say.

Even if labour hold on to Peterborough it wont be much use without London!

What a mess.

david morris said...

What happened ?

Postal Votes. End of.

Sobers said...

I read somewhere, no idea as to the veracity, that postal votes were at unprecedented levels in this by-election. If so I suspect a combination of an openly anti-semitic candidate and a religious voting bloc might be a reason for the Labour vote holding up...............

Edit, its true: postal votes were well up, and in other unrelated news, Labour allowed a convicted vote fraudster to work on their campaign:

Nick Drew said...

Yes, good analysis

Best thing that could have happened to the Tories. Fate clearly spelled out.

Unknown said...

End of?

I'm pretty sure Peterborough going from nigh on 90% white-British the last time it was a Tory safe seat in the early 1990s to 64.4% white-british in 2011 (and quite possibly minority-majority as of 2019 if the rate of change between 2001 and 2011 has been maintained) might also have more than a little to do with its transfer to, what I believe will be a Labour safe seat from hereon in.

Stewart Jackson, the last Tory MP, noted that over 70% of schoolkids in P'Boro dont even speak English as a first language. That figure was 10% at the turn of the century.

Few fully comprehend the degree of the demographic shift in these kinds of places over the last 20 years.

DJK said...

Wot Unknown said (12:26).

The Islington Labour party heirachy have obviously given up pretending to represent the working classes, indeed, they now openly despise them. Instead, they champion ethnic minorities --- other religions especially. (Not jews, natch!)

Another data point for me is the Seven Up! TV programme and subsequent follow ups. In 1964 British society was assumed to be divided by class, and the participents were chosen accordingly, representing the different classes supposed to comprise the population. I think we can all agree that a 2019 program would be made differently.

To see what the Britain of the future looks like one need only see schoolchildren and compare to 1950s/60s school photos.

One final point: Boris, and indeed all of the political class, subscribe to the view that unlimited immigration is an undoubted good.

Nick Drew said...

@ Seven Up!

Bizarre fact: although I was not at school with any of the 7-uppers, in later life I came to know two of them quite well. And separately. (I actually keep up with one. The other nearly killed me in a blue-on-blue shooting incident...)

Anonymous said...

@DJK - part of the "immigrations === absolute good" is that we live in a transactional world now. Everything happens in its own little snapshot, there are no consequences, no chains of events, just isolated vignettes like a French art house movie.

Well, we don't, but it is perceived to be.

So with immigration, there is then no impact on housing stock. When building new houses, to support the increase in population there is no impact on the surrounding infrastructure. When we build new infrastructure, there is no environmental effect. And so on.

It's not just the left either, witness the moans that Widdecombe's freedom of speech is being trodden on. It's not. She is entitled to hold those views, just as those who find them unseemly are entitled to withdraw any commercial offers. I mean, you're free to guzzle 10 bottles of vodka, arguments that the fatal results of doing so impacts on your right to do will fall on stony ground.

That is what needs challenging. Charge the Greens with their pro-Remain stance being incompatible with their values. Instead of being on the backfoot with "think of the kids!" *use* it!

Instead we get Gove exclaiming "regret" at having used coke 20 years back. Coke's been endemic to London's professional classes for decades, and anyone who travels about the nation and spends time aplenty in bars can see how it's spread. In rural Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire it's readily available from parked BMWs and Audis with dark windows, with a wide range of customers from Yummy Mummys to Da Yoof. Dealers even have business cards now. O brave new world!

Fun fact - I was asked to leave a bar due to wearing shorts a little while back. I pointed out a couple of lads who'd been 'tooting' coke in the toilets and got a shrug from the bouncer. Guess my bare shins are the true threat to society. Thankfully I wasn't in my kilt, might have been a wicker man moment otherwise.

I'd rather he just own up to having enjoyed it at the time, but tell us all that hindsight and growing older has given him pause at how it supports the less desirable elements of society and is a scourge on society.

E-K said...

The biggest take away from this is the low voter turnout in this most febrile of times.

Fewer than 50% in Peterborough and only 37% in the EU elections.

I had canvassers coming to my door during recent elections and ordered them off my property and I don't think I was the only one - the majority who don't vote are not indifferent, they are angry and their default position is to Leave.

If Remainers insist on reading indeterminable votes as a barometer on Brexit opinion rather than viewing votes at face value then let's include abstentions.

All parties except UKIP, BP and CHUK are offering mixed ideas yet Remain want to take 100% of those for themselves.

Abstaining means doing nothing to revoke Art 50 - aka Leave. THOSE are the votes up for grabs.

E-K said...

Nick Drew - So the pheasant shooting back is a 'red on blue' I suppose ? (Or a blue on red if you're a pheasant ! They'd be spitting pellets !)

andrew said...

many a true word.

Stating the obvs:
Looking at the sundays, it will be boris.
Was it ever otherwise - reading tim shipman's book, the only reason he didnt get pm in '16 was his own utter incompetence - and there ... nothing has changed

To the less obvs:
After a lot of blather, he will push something v.v.v. like (new persil washes cleaner) mays WA once he has worked out that the alternative is (even) worse.
Big speeches on how we need to draw a line under the past and the new economic and political relationship is the important thing - the future.
So ... nothing has changed.

To the 'no, you ware making it up now':
Reading about $politician took drugs shock in the press, I did not get the sense that the next story will be ... and surely now it is time to revisit and reform our laws that are not fit for the 21st century.

It feels like this is still something that is ok for the upper classes, but the working classes - your cleaner (it used to be housekeeper) - should still be given some time in chokey
So ... nothing has changed (since 1960)

Belgraviadave said...

Crisp, insightful analysis.

Anonymous said...

If Labour could hold on here (in Peterborough) they can hold on elsewhere."

That would depend on the size of a certain ethnic group in a given constituency, ready to carry out electoral manipulation on a sufficiently large scale to enable the Labour Party to "hold on", as in Peterborough.

There are many such constituencies, but the Electoral Commission is more interested in threatening the Brexit Party with accusations of hypothetical illegality in its recording of small-scale donations from its own supporters.