Coffee House

The runners and riders in the Corby by-election

10 August 2012

5:10 PM

10 August 2012

5:10 PM

Ed Miliband knows that the Corby by-election is going to be a crucial test for his leadership. If he wins, it will be his first constituency gain since he became leader and serve a nicely timed blow to David Cameron’s autumn relaunch. Expectations are high: Bradford West aside, Miliband has managed to increase Labour’s share of the vote in every by-election held in this parliament so far. If he loses, it will be seen as a bitter blow: voters normally punish the party that caused an unnecessary by-election. With a slim majority of 1,895, the Tory candidate faces an uphill battle to hold the seat. If Labour can’t take Corby when the government is trailing 10 points in the opinion polls, it doesn’t bode well for the party’s ability to make gains in the 2015 general election.

This would explain why Miliband has already pounced; visiting the former steel town just three days after Mensch announced her resignation. He told local voters:

‘It’s going to be a tough fight. We’re going to fight for every vote. That’s why we’re here just three days after Louise Mensch announced she was standing down.’

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The exact timing of the election will also be important for Miliband. If the by-election is, as strongly rumoured, held on the same day as the police and crime commissioner elections, both outcomes will be tied together. If Labour does well in both, it could be a double whammy for the party.

Corby’s mixed electorate presents a challenge for Labour’s candidate Andy Sawford. The seat consists of ex-industrial workers (on whom Labour will depend), and more rural constituents (who will look to the right). Labour will have to appeal across both categories, as Miliband acknowledged in his speech.

But Labour isn’t the only party keeping a close eye on the by-election. There have been murmurings of James Delingpole — of this parish — running for UKIP. In a blog sounding out opinion, Delingpole says he’d ‘love to do my bit in parliament to help Chris Heaton-Harris MP with his campaign to stop this gorgeous and much-underrated county becoming the wind farm capital of Britain’. But do UKIP have much of a chance of making an impact in Corby? Take a look at how they’ve done in recent elections:  

The results suggest that UKIP voters, who are supposed to be disenfranchised Tories, are few and far between in Corby. The party didn’t even stand a candidate in 2010. Any impact they can muster would be minimal, beyond the publicity that comes with by-elections.

If the national opinion polling is correct, it will be the Lib Dem vote that collapses and is redistributed to Labour. It is going to be a closely-watched fight that will set the political tone for 2013. The timing of Mensch’s resignation  is extremely bad for the Tories, but given recent economic news she knows when to leave a party. Combined with his early visit, it looks like Miliband will seize the upper hand.


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Show comments
  • 8thColour

    What do you make of this Peter Reynolds guy standing for the cannabis party in the Corby by-election. There’s lots of stuff online about him being a racist and an antiSemite?

    Take a look at this http://peter-reynolds-watch.com/

  • justinian

    james delingpole is not the ukip candidate for corby

  • Hexhamgeezer

    What on earth are LibLabCon going to offer to entice folk out?
    As I see it there are only 2 sane options in Corby for those taking the trouble to go to the poll.
    1) Vote UKIP
    2) Spoil your ballot.
    BTW I wonder which photogenic candidate the Cameroons have in mind this time.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    What on earth are LibLabCon going to offer to entice folk out?
    As I see it there are only 2 sane options in Corby for those taking the trouble to go to the poll.
    1) Vote UKIP
    2) Spoil your ballot.
    BTW I wonder which photogenic candidate the Cameroons have in mind this time.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    What on earth are LibLabCon going to offer to entice folk out?
    As I see it there are only 2 sane options in Corby for those taking the trouble to go to the poll.
    1) Vote UKIP
    2) Spoil your ballot.
    BTW I wonder which photogenic candidate the Cameroons have in mind this time.

  • http://www.camalg.co.uk/ Nigel Sedgwick

    Sebastian Payne writes: “Ed Miliband knows that the Corby by-election is going to be a crucial test for his leadership. If he wins, …”

    Erk! And erk again!

    One hopes (or at least I hope) that whichever candidate wins this bye-election will be given the credit.

    The UK is not the USA: we do not have use for political leaders who start with ‘you did not do that’ and follow with ‘I did’.

    Best regards

  • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

    2.5 million people voted for UKIP in the last EU elections. More than voted for Labour. I’d say that this gives UKIP a significant mandate to be heard in the UK political arena. It needs to make a breakthrough in the UK local scene, and IMHO it should become outspokenly patriotic and conservative in a common sense manner, without becoming a pseudo-Tory party.

    The things that most British people, and especially English people, care about are all naturally conservative, not Tory. The conservative impulse is found among most ordinary indiginous voters. It needs to be tapped.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

    Let James Delingpole stand. It will help obliterate UKIP

  • Daniel Maris

    This is most definitely not a BNP advert, but BNP took nearly 5% in the general election – that’s a lot. I suspect a lot of them would have been much happier with UKIP being concerned more with immigration than race. That would probably give the UKIP candidate another 3%.
    I think it’s ludicrous to write off a UKIP challenge.

  • David Lindsay

    A Labour victory in the forthcoming Corby and East Northamptonshire by-election is effectively guaranteed.

    The selection of the Labour candidate is therefore the test of the depth and stability of Ed Miliband’s reversion of Labour to its historical norm as the voice and vehicle of a many-rooted social democratic patriotism in all directions, inclusive of social and cultural conservatives as well as of social and cultural liberals, inclusive of rural as well as of urban and suburban voices, inclusive of provincial as well as of metropolitan contributions, and inclusive of religious as well as of secular insights.

    The 2010 intake is very largely “classic Labour”, the boys in their dads’ suits having
    decided to sit out the hard work of Opposition. As a result, Labour has long enjoyed a commanding lead both in the opinion polls and at the actual polls. But we all know that these things cannot be taken for granted.

    Ed Miliband, over to you.

    • Publius

      “Ed Miliband, over to you.”

      How would Miliband cope without you, Lindsay?

  • Percy

    Mr Tony’s at a loose end these days…..

    • David Lindsay

      And very loose his end is, too, since he stopped selotaping it we all know where and calling himself “Louise Mensch”. Could he indeed be planning to come out as an Honourable Member?

  • woolfiesmiff

    Oh this is a top analysis. I’m sure you ran the same kind of charts for Bradford and proved conclusively that Galaway didn’t have an iceberg in hell’s chance.

    This kind of stupid wonkery is another reason the electorate don’t bother.

  • alexsandr

    What will matter will be turnout.
    can labour and the tories get their vote out? Can UKIP get a decent number of the usual stay at homes to get out and vote?

    Lets remember this is a 2 part constituency. Part old Scottish steel town where they still sell lorne sausage and haggis in the butchers, and part countryside villages.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714245657 Michael Reed

    I’m not familiar with the local scene, but is it possible that UKIP basically stood aside as they realised that a Tory win was possible?

    • james102

      It seems to be dawning on UKIP that we have a political
      class and the Conservative party is just a wing of it.

      They are likely to stand as they no longer see much
      difference between an extra Labour MP and an extra Conservative MP.

  • Mudplugger

    If the results of the People’s Pledge ballots are any guide, the electorate (from all party bases) is simply crying out for a referendum on the EU – nothing else gets close as a key issue.
    If UKIP were to field a serious, media-friendly candidate, using that as the principle manifesto commitment, they will Hoover up most of those who voted ‘Yes’ in the People’s Pledge samples. And that was 87% in a Lib-Dem-friendly area – think what they could gather in distressed Corby, deserted by jobs and then by its latest, self-obsessed MP.
    What UKIP have polled there in the past is irrelevant – the world has changed so dramatically that past electoral performance is no guide – it’s a whole new ball-game today. The ‘man on the Corby omnibus’ is now only too aware of the EU omni-shambles and how it threatens his family’s future, and he wants out.
    Decision time, Nigel – it may be your time.

  • Mudplugger

    If the results of the People’s Pledge ballots are any guide, the electorate (from all party bases) is simply crying out for a referendum on the EU – nothing else gets close as a key issue.
    If UKIP were to field a serious, media-friendly candidate, using that as the principle manifesto commitment, they will Hoover up most of those who voted ‘Yes’ in the People’s Pledge samples. And that was 87% in a Lib-Dem-friendly area – think what they could gather in distressed Corby, deserted by jobs and then by its latest, self-obsessed MP.
    What UKIP have polled there in the past is irrelevant – the world has changed so dramatically that past electoral performance is no guide – it’s a whole new ball-game today. The ‘man on the Corby omnibus’ is now only too aware of the EU omni-shambles and how it threatens his family’s future, and he wants out.
    Decision time, Nigel – it may be your time.

  • 2trueblue

    Not the greatest timing. None of the parties have a great deal to offer. Labour have managed to escape responsibility for running the most corrupt parliament ever, getting us into a financial mess, destroying our culture, increasing child poverty in the UK when things were meant to be so good, allowing the borrowing culture to froth up both in the public and private sector, increasing our PFI bill to grow to a level which is now crippling our hospitals, (leaving our grandchildren with the debt) agreeing the massive changes to our EU contributions……. The list could go on and on…..

    The Tories and the Lib Dems are continually hampered by the lack of growth both here , in the EU zone, and worldwide. We have a biased media which is full of journalists who had no idea when, what etc actually happened before and during the crisis and now are just as vacuous about how to clean it up. We have the Levenson enquirey which became a circus, and frankly I have lost the will to care who wins the seat.

    Whatever happens the BBC and Sky will talk about Milliband as if he had something to offer. This man was part of the team who designed our present structure and walked away when it collapsed without having decency to say sorry. Depressing.

    • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

      I agree, but all that matters is what the people of Corby hear and believe. I’d design and print a whole series of leaflets myself, pointing out the truth about Milliband and Clegg, and deliver them to every house in Corby every day if I thought that UKIP would make an effort, and try to break out of the impression of being a one issue lobby group. I don’t believe it is illegal to distribute such materials if unassociated with any particular party.

  • ArchiePonsonby

    Might be a bit of an uphill struggle for UKIP in Corby; not many Telegraph or Speccer readers there, I fancy. Plus the electorate are the children and grand-children of Scots steel-workers, hence the marginality, still I’d dearly love to see Cameron get a poke in the eye from UKIP!

    • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

      22,000 people in Corby voted Conservative in 2010. I would imagine that quite a few of them read the Telegraph or Spectator, even if their grand-parents were steel workers.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        You might be right, but having lived most of my life thereabouts, we can only hope so!

    • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

      22,000 people in Corby voted Conservative in 2010. I would imagine that quite a few of them read the Telegraph or Spectator, even if their grand-parents were steel workers.

    • james102

      These tribal loyalties no longer go through generations.
      Most voters accept we have a political class and don’t see there is a great
      difference between the parties. In fact it is the chattering classes that still
      believe in the myth.

      Corby will either be a very low turnout or have a high
      protest vote for an independent or UKIP.

      Is the BNP standing? If so they could take Labour votes.

      • David Lindsay

        It never has yet. Anywhere.

        That the BNP vote comes from traditional Labour supporters has been
        repeatedly exposed as lazy drivel, and based on the assumption that
        Labour could ordinarily expect every vote cast in, say, the North West,
        or the East End of London, or much of Yorkshire. Or, for that matter, an old steel town in the Midlands. Well, long may the Conservatives continue to tell themselves that.

        Without exception, ward by ward and box by box, BNP support is in the
        relatively more upmarket end of the given town or locality, however
        little that might be saying in any objective terms. In Glasgow North East, the Labour vote held up sufficiently that Labour kept the seat, while the Conservative vote went down so far and the BNP vote went up so far that they were almost even at the end. Did the Labour vote collapse at Barnsley Central when the BNP did, by its own standards, so well? Well, there you are, then.

        If the BNP has a consciously working-class following, then it is the only Fascist party in the world ever to have had one. It does not. It is like all the others, including the BUF and the NF in their respective days: a vehicle for those who see themselves as a cut above their neighbours; for, in British terms, “Tories” in Labour areas.

        Far from being the voice of the self-identifying white working class, the BNP could not manage an MEP in the North East in 2009, and I am not
        sure that it has any councillor above Parish or Town level here. It certainly has no one on the newly unitary Durham County Council, nor had it on any of the preceding District Councils. Are the North East in general and County Durham in particular not white enough for them, or not working-class enough for them, or both?

        For that matter, the BNP came nowhere near actually winning Barnsley Central, or Glasgow North East. Is Barnsley Central, or Glasgow North East, not white enough for them, or not working-class enough for them, or both?

        • james102

          They seemed to panic Labour in Barking & Dagenham at the
          last election. Middle Class canvassers shipped in and how much money spent ,officially
          or otherwise, will never be known.Cruddas saw the writing on the wall and has
          attempted to warn the leadership of the danger.

          Labour is a white collar public sector dominated party so
          its voting base will shift. People vote out of self interest and Labour’s
          policies, particularly open borders as revealed by Andrew Neither, is against
          the interests of the white working class. The non-working welfare dependants
          probably don’t vote in sufficient numbers to make up the shortfall.

          Low turnout of their traditional supporters is the biggest
          threat to them as it is increasingly to the Conservatives.

          • David Lindsay

            Drivel. Don’t believe everything that you see on the BNP-fixated telly.

            As its loss of every council seat there on that occasion illustrates, the BNP is a busted flush, effectively defunct. Again, this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the subject. Like the BUF and like the NF, it made a lot of noise, but nothing more than that, for a few years, and then it went away again. It will be 30 or 40 years before anything similar resurfaces in this country. If it ever does.

            In similar vein, how much has UKIP spent over the last 10 years? 10 million pounds? 20 million? 50 million? It has never been remotely short of cash. Only of voters, for all that expenditure has yielded precisely no seats. Even the Greens have managed one. Respect has managed two, even if they have both been held by the same person. But UKIP, not a single one. Yet since the last General Election, the Leader of this tiny minority party has been on Question Time more often than anyone else apart from Vince Cable.

            Again, as with the lavish coverage of the BNP in the run-up to the last European Elections and at other times, the media may despise the lower-middle-class Right (see this week’s programme on relatively low-born Tory Boys at Oxbridge), but they has a horrified obsession with it.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Not true at all! As regulars hereabouts have heard before, I have family “oop North” and they would rather fuck a six-months dead badger than vote Tory; as it was for their parents and grand-parents.

  • Daniel Maris

    Wow – that’s way too early to dismiss UKIP. It wouldn’t be the first time someone went from zero to hero in a by election.
    Whether Delingpole could do it remains to be seen – I doubt he’s a safe pair of hands or lips perhaps one should say.
    But in this context I could imagine a UKIP candidate putting a big hole in the Tory vote, picking up a fair few Labour and Lib Dem votes and bringing out some people who don’t usually vote. The idea they would repeat their previous performance seems unlikely to me – I think they would do much better.

    • telemachus

      Delingpole is an opportunist.
      Those devotees of his blog(and it is important to keep an eye on these people) will know of his mixture of extreme arrogance and revanchist views.
      The actual result is not in doubt but the significance to the Tories will be that with extinction predicted for the LibDems and their conference looming, they will deny the coalition the required Rose Garden Relaunch.
      Afterwards of course there will be ushered in a regime of constructive disengagement.
      It will do the LibDems no good.
      Reasonable folk have made up their minds

      • telemachus

        Just a flavour of this UKIP hero
        *
        “Also, though I can’t claim to have taken quite as many drugs as Louise Mensch apparently has…….”
        *
        “I speak rather too honestly for my own good.”
        *
        He should stick to his vampire squid quangocracy.

        • Hepworth

          And your problem with those comments are Mr Mucus?

  • Mirtha Tidville

    Never mind UKIP, just imagine what would happen if Boris threw his hat in the ring….Now that would cause panic in No10…..tee hee hee

  • itdoesntaddup
  • Davee12

    Watching the tory vote will be interesting.

    I wonder how many disillusioned Tories will vote UKIP or just stay at home. Do not think Dave will get these back at the next election. Rather have red Ed than a plastic tory.

    • james102

      Yes this is the point I make about the BNP above. Low
      turnout is a result of traditional supporters no longer indentifying their
      interests with the main stream parties.

      If you look at the background of the parties’ hierarchy you
      can see why. They have much more in common with each other than even the
      average party member let alone the general electorate.

    • Victor Southern

      Let Nigel Farage stand if UKIP are so strong in Corby. If not the party should not waste its slender resources on this bye-election. After all they did not contest it in 2010.

  • Alan Eastwood

    Lets face it the only conservative with any chance of winning is Boris. Cameron would never agree to that. BUT the Corby Conservative Association should have a EGM and by a democratic vote of the members present. Vote for Boris to be their candidate…Local Associations were always automonous Corby should make a stand and demand Boris be their man. Then politics within the parliamentary conservative party would definately be interesting.
    It wont happen and the communist boy will win.

  • AnotherDaveB

    UKIP take votes from the LDs as well as the Conservatives. So if the LD vote collapses a UKIP candidate should benefit too.

    • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

      If UKIP is serious then it should field a candidate and arrange for a massive influx of volunteer patriots to help campaign in Corby. They need to choose their ground. Pick a few sound-bites to explain the locally relevant policies, and then keep repeating them over and over again.

      e.g.

      Only UKIP believe that the people of Corby should have a say in our EU membership, meanwhile every voter in Corby is having £X of their hard-earned money sent to Brussels by Labour, the LibDems and the Conservatives. Did you know that Nick Clegg is paid by the EU and is not allowed to criticise anything they do?.

      • james102

        Yes we need to explore the affect of collapsing party membership.
        In Barking and Dagenham Hodge & Co. had to ship in Labour members from
        across the country to counter the BNP.Can the Conservatives mobilise local
        canvassers?

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