Coffee House

Tory Wythenshawe response suggests inertia over blue collar vote

15 February 2014

7:00 PM

15 February 2014

7:00 PM

The Conservatives were never going to win the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election. But the way the party has spun its third place is slightly depressing. The Times today quotes a party source saying:

‘This is a safe Labour seat with the largest council estate in Europe. It’s not on our marginal list.’

Now, this is an understandably pragmatic way of viewing a by-election. It wasn’t expected, as it was prompted by the tragic and untimely death of a respected Labour MP, Paul Goggins. So the Conservatives were not embedded in the constituency in the way that they were in Eastleigh, for instance. Labour moved the writ for a short by-election campaign, which also meant that Ukip didn’t have as much time to make its case, particularly to postal voters, as it would have liked. The same applied to the Tories, but they coupled that slow start with an uninspiring campaign.

[Alt-Text]


And while a constituency with a large working class population and, yes, a large council estate (although there is some debate as to whether Wythenshawe remains the largest council estate – Becontree in Barking and Dagenham is also sizeable) in the north of England isn’t going to be the easiest seat for the Tories to win, it is quite depressing that spinners can make the existence of a council estate code for ‘unwinnable’ when the Conservatives are the party of Right to Buy and Macmillan.

There are efforts to improve the appeal of the Conservatives in constituencies such as Wythenshawe and Sale East. David Skelton’s Renewal campaign is one such ‘blue collar Conservatism’ group. But I do detect a funny inertia in many senior ministers and advisers about how to reverse the shrinking of the Conservatives’ electoral map. Some dismiss the idea of a ‘message for the North’ as a silly, patronising idea (the party did consider a manifesto for the North at one point, but dropped it). Others seem happier to accept that some parts of the country are no-go areas for the Conservatives rather than fret about whether the electorate there might quite like Tory policies. Boris Johnson explicitly attacked this last way of thinking in his address to the 301 group last week, telling them that there should be no no-go areas for Conservatism. But not all of his colleagues seem to have the same confidence – or indeed drive.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • Northerner1001

    I think the tories deliberately ran a weak campaign in Wythenshawe as they wanted UKIP to hurt Labour as much as possible thus get Labour fretting as much about UKIP as the tories are but it backfired as the left is united to get the tories out. There is simply no strategy from the Conservative party in the urban north, it’s all made up on the hoof. Even in the Blair landslide of 1997 the Tories got over 20% in Wythenshawe so it now shows how badly in decline the tories are up here

  • Littlegrayman

    While Political Parties and their candidates fail to work for every Vote nothing will change.

  • Mark McIntyre

    Why would the Tories ever want to represent these council estate scum / numpties ? !

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      Because the very first council estates were built under a Tory government.

      My late uncle was a fireman and lived in a council house until the day he died. Should Tory MPs not represent people like him.

      Also there are pensioners living on council estates. Should they be denied political representation.

  • CHRISTOPHER WHITE

    They selected 25 year old vicar with no political experience & avoided immigration – local issues! instead – local party couldn’t get HQ to see sense – Crosby not visible – BEYOND BELIEF – DC needs to stay off the boxed sets till May 2015 & try to get relected

  • andagain

    Gaining new voters requires doing things that the new voters would like, instead of the old voters and members. It would require the party to try appealing to the electorate, rather than itself. Not going to happen.

  • Smithersjones2013

    I think the last Ashcroft ProjectBlueprint Poll tells you all you need to know. The socio economic breakdown of that poll suggests that the Tories are supported by twice as many (68:32) upper class voters (ABC1) as lower class (C2DE) and frankly you can see why. The whole tone of the party and their behaviour under Cameron seems to be about creating an elitist sect rather than a big tent.

    To hear them recently respond online with such relief, if not celebration, if not condescending contempt to the idea that UKIP are the most working class party only further suggests that the nature of the Tories these days is an example of the worst class snobbery

    Of course the problem with such an attitude is there are more lower class voters than upper class voters. There is no benefit in being snobs in politics.

    What can you say in such circumstances other than once again the Tories prove they ‘don’t do’ political strategy and as such stand little chance of winning over working class voters

  • roma1950

    shock horror Labour has a local candidate.normally they are london born,and from
    Islington,the robotic wonks are parachuted into Northern Cities,and Towns into ‘safe’ seats.the local,and european elections might be interesting in may.

  • Tom Tom

    “with the largest council estate in Europe.” I take it Becontree in Dagenham is not in Europe ?

    • saffrin

      It’s in the Middle East somewhere, Londonistan i believe.

  • sarahsmith232

    What on earth is Cameron? For me this whole ‘sticking to the centre ground’ seems a lot more like carrying on the torch for Tony Blair’s mid-90s New Labour project (the now universally discredited and by the 2015 election extremely left-wing project). Debatable that this centre ground was the centre ground in 2005 when Cameron first set himself on this Tory ‘modernisation’ mission, the idea that 10yrs later, when every social attitudes survey going proving this country is moving decidedly rightward, every poll and election result proving Ukip’s soaring popularity and of course the big one – this so called ‘centre ground’ set of policies only proving popular with 36% of voters even against a clapped out Labour party with Brown at it’s helm. So just where, exactly, does Cameron believe is the evidence that any of these supposed to be centre ground voters actually exists? I’ve yet to encounter any of them myself.
    Ukip proves the Tories could still be popular in the North, don’t believe the hype out of Labour about this supposed to be austerity caused crisis the country is gripped by. It’s rubbish, they’re just talking about people who’ve had cuts to their welfare. People who have a mortgage and are working haven’t been affected (BBC discovered this when they surveyed people and was amazed to discover people believe their local services have improved with the cuts). Too many Toffs, not enough of a unapologetically right-wing policy agenda, that’s the issue.

    • Two Bob

      ‘centre ground’ is to attract marginal ‘swing voters’. UKIP does not prove the Tories can be popular up north because the Tory brand is toxic.

  • Tony_E

    It can’t be reversed.

    Labour is the party of benefits – the more they increased the size of the welfare system, the more generous it became, the more likely they were to be re-elected against a Conservative party which believes that the welfare state must be more selective in how it assists people.

    Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Benefit recipients are similarly unlikely to vote themselves less money and higher hurdles to jump over to receive it.

    Labour is the default party of power.

    • Ron Todd

      The answer to that is to reduce the numbers dependent on welfare before the next election.

      • sarahsmith232

        Yep, that’s exactly right, turn the takers into taxpayers and watch as Labour’s popularity disappears in a puff of smoke.

        • Tony_E

          Won’t happen. You would have to increase median earnings so far that it would take people out of the welfare system altogether.

          Labour foresaw this attack, and raised the threshold right up to the lower middle classes, simply to increase traction for the welfare state amongst the better off.

          In this way they gave themselves a permanent advantage, because to raise median earnings far enough to undo the rise of the welfare state would be impossible in a globalised market where we have to compete with lower wage economies. Add to that the depression of service wages brought about by largely Labour supporting immigrants from the eastern EU states, and you can see how the entire project slots together to move the electorate firmly into the Labour camp.

          It was clever politics, of low cunning and deception. But it’s done and it’s probably too late to undo it.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Insolvency will undo it.

            • Tony_E

              Yeah, but its a way off yet. Maybe.

          • sarahsmith232

            Would prob’ need your post a few times to understand it but get your drift. They have the country stitched up, everyone is on the take. none is affordable, 52% of the country is taking out more thatn they’re putting in according to The Times. a party saying that they’re not going to do anything to alter that is going to have mass appeal. it’s v.frustrating.

  • mahatmacoatmabag

    “a staggering 42.2 per cent chose to vote by post” I bet the Post office’s in Karachi, Kabul & the local Unite HQ are celebrating on a job well done

  • Swiss Bob

    Wythenshawe has voted Conservative in the past, and it’s quite possible one or more of my family voted for them, perhaps not but it sure has changed a lot in the past forty years.

    • sarahsmith232

      Just like so much of Greater Manchester, heart breaking to see it. I spent part of my childhood in Salford, looking at all now, have you seen it? Worse than the 3rd world, the place has been brought to it’s knees by long-term welfare dependency, I went in an Asda, I wasn’t in a supermarket I was in a zoo. It makes me want to put Labour up against a wall.

      • Swiss Bob

        I went back to my grandparent’s place in Benchill, it used to be full of the working class, now it’s full of people standing around in the road, in dressing gowns, slippers, smoking ciggies. As you say, third world. Sad.

        • sarahsmith232

          don’t know whether my other reply is going to upload, it’s been deemed offensive, why I don’t know. so i’ll not bother again, but enjoy day.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    This is serious stuff – a Labour hold by a margin of 3,700 basis points! Political economists take note: UKIP are a regional phenomenon (if that).

    But let’s not forget the big picture – the Scots have long made up their minds. They have long grasped that ‘the South’ has gone nuts. Completely crackers. Full blown fruitcakey. They will deliver the message in September and end this farce.

    The end is nigh, not in 15 months time (sorry viceroy).
    Camoron’s head’s on the spike in a mere seven months time (!)
    6…5…4…

    • Wessex Man

      oh my word, no wonder you chose the moniker you did!

  • Jambo25

    The Tories are now a regionalist party. There are a few Tory pockets in rural areas in the North and in the odd wealthy suburb such as Tatton. It even looks quite impressive on maps when you see large splodges of blue until you realise that all that blue is covering only a very few sparsely populated rural constituencies.
    The reality is that the Tory Party has been a southern suburban party for decades now and due to that is likely never to form a majority government in the foreseeable future if ever again.

    • Tom Tom

      It is basically a regional party like the SNP or Ulster Unionists and restricted to Berks, Kent, Wilts, Surrey, Suffolk, Hants, N Yorks, Bucks, and affluent London postcodes…….it is irrelevant in most urban areas

      • Jambo25

        Well, as an SNP voter I’d say that the SNP is a ‘national’ party but I get your drift and agree with it. The reality is that the UK needs a proper Christian Democrat type centre right party to install some sense back into centre right politics. As a self identifying, boring centrist/centre rightist I’d say we desperately need one in Scotland. Not the political menagerie which is the present Scottish Tories.

  • Conway

    “So the Conservatives were not embedded in the constituency in the way that they were in Eastleigh, for instance.” Where they also finished behind UKIP.

    • AnotherDave

      At the time of the by-election every councillor in the constituency was a LD, so the Conservatives can’t have been embedded very deeply.

  • Gareth

    It’s more than a little revealing that the examples cited by the author as demonstrating that the Conservatives can appeal to council estate voters are a policy enacted in 1980 and a PM from the 1960s. Perhaps voters may have more recent evidence in mind, such as the “spare room subsidy” and Osborne’s “strivers and scroungers” rhetoric.

    • sarahsmith232

      Well, they certainly have lost the ability to say ‘trust me, i’ll get something done about immigration’. That ship certainly has sailed.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    If you want a Muslim for a neighbor, vote Labour.

  • monty61

    Maybe Cameron’s grand ambition is to lead ‘the natural party of coalition’ not unlike Merkel’s CDU?

  • Ron Todd

    I am an actual blue collar worker. I go to work in a shirt made from materials that has little natural organic material in it, has the company name on it and has a blue collar. I am in many ways a Tory I want a smaller state support free enterprise and the rights of the individual and the family. Yet I look at Cameron’s Tories and the only reason I can find for voting for them is that they are not quite as bad as the other lot.

    • HookesLaw

      You ignore record numbers in work falling unemployment falling numbers in public service – hundreds of thousands of public sector job losses.
      From a blue collar perspective I see that only today jaguar landrover opened its doors to a new engine factory employing 1400 people.
      This is before we talk about a process of taking education away from lefty and union local govt control, cutting welfare and reforming health and lowering corporation tax and NI and raising tax allowances

      Right from the start nothing of this would have happened under Labour who by their own words would have spent and borrowed more and increased taxation. its absurd to link Tories and Labour.

      • JoeDM

        No mention of immigration and EU membership which are central to many peoples concerns.

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          Report immigration figures without adding foreign student numbers. It’s non-sensical and no other nation would do that. Why are we?

      • Ron Todd

        Yes there are economic improvements. my job security is probably better than it was in 2010 but I am not getting any pay rises I earn the same I did ten years ago only I now have a worse pension scheme and less overtime. More and more of the people I work with are foreign born. My dealings with HMRC and the local council do not suggest that our public services are in any way well run or efficient. The unions are getting restless Boris has surrendered to the rail unions the police union is politicised so much that it can try to bring down a government whip. the somerset levels are left to drown for weeks while the posh home counties get the army out on day one. Theoretically the numbers are better my life is not better the life of most of the people I work with is not better. Every time Cameron talks about the Scottish referendum he looses the no side more votes. His interests are greenism, keeping us in the EU and avoiding doing anything about immigration. Most of the people I know either directly oppose his views on these issues or have little interest in them.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          Vote UKIP get Labour.

          • Tom Tom

            Vote Tory get The Equalities Act – Harriet Harman Lives ! Get Maria Miller and Elizabeth Truss

            • sarah_13

              The tories need a majority. They have the lib-dem’s opposing them at opportunity, most of the time for no discernible reason. Maria Miller is rubbish, I agree, but if the lib-dems hadn’t allied themselves with labour then press freedom would not be an issue today. If they’d had a majority then milliband would not have been able to let hacked-off determine policy and the tories would not have acquiesced, they would have been in a strong position as they would have had a majority. The tories are looking half baked because they have the lib-dems opposing them from within.

              We need to give them a majority. The truth is, if ukip voters don’t look pragmatically at the political situation they will assist miliband and his pals mcluskey etc to win the election in 2015. If labour wins there won’t be much left to save. I’m a bit tired of explaining the reasons for it but the difficulty of ever winning a majority after another 5 years of labour might be too great to overcome. The more difficult the situation gets with a labour government, which it will, the more anger will be generated and more extreme characters will be attracted to ukip. This will be a shame for Mr Farage and the many decent ukip members. Many of the commentators say things like, if it means having another 4 years of labour then thats fine because it will be so bad the country will vote ukip in numbers at the next election. I simply don’t agree. Dissappointment and a feeling of disempowerment is the most likely outcome, people feeling hopeless, misplaced anger will then result.

              The best outcome is to enable the tories to keep the country on the right course by voting for a majority Tory government. Once they don’t have the lib-dems breathing down their necks in cabinet they can really do what they want to do, the excellent back benchers will be able to get on with what they do best and cameron will stop having to appease parts of his cabinet. The most pragmatic and sensible solution for the country is a tory majority.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You cannot “keep the country on the right course”, simply because you Camerluvvies have it on the wrong course. That’s the reason Call Me Dave is set to have his head mounted on a spike, 15 months from now.

                • sarah_13

                  Not sure that is a very productive comment.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …so, it’s like the Camerluvvies in government then.

              • Tom Tom

                Equalities Act was passed by Teresa May……..the thought of giving these clowns a majority does not disturb me in the least because it never crosses my mind they will EVER again gain a majority unless they stuff the ballot boxes

                • sarah_13

                  She agreed the amendments with the libdems, they would only agree to certain amendments not all that the tories wanted. The labour party are responsible for the majority of the problems we have. The tories have been unable to make any headway because the libdems are sitting in government with them. A very difficult situation. It may not disturb you but it the prospect of the labour party finally ruining the country does disturb me and I shall vote for a tory majority.

          • Wessex Man

            what a stupid silly refrain that now is, can’t you read UKip came second the Tories came third, if you Tories hadn’t split our vote we would have won!

          • Smithersjones2013

            Over half the Libdem support from 2010 has defected to Labour. If you add them to Labour’s 8.6 million 2010 voters you end up with 12.3 million. Now take the Tories 10.7 million voters and add UKIP’s vote from 2010. You end up with around 11.6 million votes.

            Whichever way you slice it if Cameron won every UKIP vote from 2010 and kept every 2010 Tory voter chances are thanks to the Coalition Agreement they would end up some half a million votes short of the Labour total.

            It’s not vote UKIP get Labour, it’s vote Tory AND LOSE!

          • WatTylersGhost

            Vote Tory or labour- you get the same

            • Tom Tom

              How many Tories on the A-List stood as Labour candidates ?

          • helicoil

            Vote liebour get Unite

        • Tom Tom

          You
          should get a job with HMRC, no need for GCSEs at all since Brown
          changed that game – and you can retire on an index-linked pension after
          34 years service, so if you start at 18 and retire at 52 on full pension
          it is great ! Job security and a job without any structure and largely
          clerical……wonderful way of soaking up the indolent

        • Mynydd

          The police union was politicised during the minors strike.

          • Tom Tom

            Child labour was abolished in the 19th Century so Minors could no longer be Miners

      • Lady Magdalene

        A few improvements yes. But they’re still determined to transfer our Sovereignty and governance (permanently) to the EU.
        The election slogan for each of Lib Lab CON should be “vote for us. We want to abolish the United Kingdom.”

      • Shorne

        That’s the Jaguar Landrover whose CFO has expressed concerns about the firm’s future in the UK if we leave the EU is it?

      • Mynydd

        Local government has no control over education. Fact.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        ‘You ignore’? You patronising tw@t.

      • Cyril Sneer

        Falling unemployment = zero hour contracts, ‘training’ schemes that pay £2.68 an hour and are effectively very cheap labour, that teach little. (I know because this is what my girlfriend does).

        It would be nice if the government released the real unemployment figures, i.e. those who are earning a wage below what is required to pay the bills, rent/mortgage etc etc. In other words a LIVING WAGE.

        If that was the case you’d probably take your 2m unemployed and times it by two or three.

        Falling unemployment – Don’t make me laugh.

      • Northerner1001

        I’m glad you’ve pointed out the car industry. Yes car sales are booming but also there is a report out that says car workers on the factory floor have had their pay cut by average 7% yet execs pay has increased 18% thus showing exactly why people are struggling & not feeling the so called ‘recovery’. Tories simply do not get that this cost of living crisis is a very key issue on the doorstep. I campaign in a tory held marginal seat & many people with decent jobs are still finding things tough going yet the conservative party are the only party at Westminster who will not admit there is a cost of living crisis. They even had the gaul to say people are better off yet this boast was then smashed to pieces by the IFS only 2 days later.

    • telemachus associates

      “they are not quite as bad as the other lot.”
      You have a lot to learn.
      They do not have your or the vast majority of citizens’ interests at heart.
      They favour their own over all as evidenced by the 5% tax cut exclusively for their rich friends.
      And they pay for it by robbing the disabled of their benefits and the socially challenged of their housing allowances and more.
      Take off your rose tinted spectacles.
      (T minus 3)

      • gerontius

        “They do not have your or the vast majority of citizens’ interests at heart”
        Neither does the modern Labour Party, stuffed as it is with millionaires, tax avoiders and expense fiddlers.
        You have more to learn than Ron.

      • Ron Todd

        Do we tax the rich at the level that brings in the most long term money or do we set the level that punishes them for being rich? The number of disabled people that managed to find jobs when the benefits were cut suggest the old system needed reform, When I struggle to pay for my own housing why should I subsidies others to have more bedrooms than they need? I appreciate the way it is implemented is not perfect that can be sorted. Rich posh boy Milliband is not even pretending he will give us a EU referendum and will no more stop potential Labour voters immigrating here than Tony Blair did.

        • Mynydd

          If you struggle to pay for your own housing blame the government, they are in charge of the country.

          • Ron Todd

            My financial situation has to be my fault more than it is the governments. Having said that if they left me with more of my own money it would help.

            • Mynydd

              Like reducing VAT back from the 20%, imposed by Mr Cameron/Osborne, to 17.5%

      • Ooh!MePurse!

        Nonsense. Never have more of the rich contributed more in tax than now. Never have the low paid contributed less. At no point in 13 years of Labour did more wealthy voters pay a bigger marginal tax rate than 40%. If you put your spectacles on you might see the truth. You cannot deny any of the points I’ve made without looking ridiculous.

        • Tom Tom

          You really don’t know the figures do you ! Tax CREDITS operate as
          NEGATIVE Income Tax reducing the Tax Revenue from those receiving Tax
          Credits which automatically exaggerates the share of Income Tax paid by
          those not receiving NEGATIVE Income Tax but paying POSITIVE Income Tax.

          Since
          you need to earn £38,000 pa to pay more in Tax than receiving in
          Transfer Payments/Tax Credits it is easy to skew the distribution.

          You
          could also look at Income Tax Revenue as £155bn NIC at £105 bn VAT
          £84bn Corp Tax £51bn Fuel Duty £26 bn Council Tax £25bn Business
          rates £24bn SDLT 13.5bn Beer Cider Wine Duty £7 bn

        • Mynydd

          The rich contribute more in VAT on fine wines, than I do on plonk, and even more so now the rate is 20%

    • Aarash UK

      well said, I am getting sick of all these communist Robin Hoods who think riches should be punished. Then, who will pay for millions of lazy benefit consumers who can only sit on sofa, drink beer and watch TV? And until when, 30% of the budget should be spent on benefit? When I am looking at the government expenditure, I can easily see that by abolishing all kind of taxes and government services I will not lose anything. I will pay for private health insurance, private school, etc. Only defense, police and justice should be offered by government. Britain becomes a communist country as most of its people are still thinking by increasing the tax they will be better off. The ideal country is a country with minimal tax (say 5%) and almost no welfare state (only for very disabled people). I cannot understand why there are many uneducated people here who think socialism, big government, large spending, high tax, etc. are good. If they are good, why you did not emigrate to USSR or Cuba?

  • Alexsandr

    how on earth can you write stuff like this and not mention UKIP?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You’ll have to give the young lass a break here. She’s a phase behind in her progression through the sequential stages of these political dynamics. She’s only now coming out of the initial stage, of constant insults to UKIP. She’s dropped the insults and moved into the ignore UKIP phase. The rest of us are further advanced in our analysis, and recognize that the establishment is now being forced to play down that which had been previously insulted and then ignored.

      She’ll catch up, maybe.

      • Ron Todd

        On two issues the EU and immigration UKIP is closer to the majority of the people I know than the other parties. Unfortunately that alone does not make them a viable party of government or even of coalition. A party has to be not only clear about what it is against but also what it is in support of. It not only has to have policies it has to have a plan to implement these policies in a practical way. Could anybody name two UKIP people they would like to having running a major government department Diane James might be one any others?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Funny thing is, people have a way of deciding for themselves what determines a viable party of government or coalition. As of now, it appears an overall 15% or so are deciding UKIP meets that standard, and that number appears to be waxing.

          Contrary to your implication, you’ll find that the majority of people vote the negative in electoral politics. That is, they discount certain voting directions first, then work out from there. You’ll also likely find that that’s what’s so far driving UKIP’s waxing share of the electorate, that a chunk of voters discount LibLabCon as clones.

          • Ron Todd

            How many of that 15% see UKIP as a viable party of government? . Most of the population is against mass immigration and probably a majority have severe concerns about the EU yet the only party that agrees with them on these issues is struggling to get more support than the Liberals.Our three rich posh boy party leaders might drive people towards a protest vote, does not mean that the party that gets the protest vote is considered a viable party of government.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Who knows? You’ve set some arbitrary standard as to what UKIP must do and be, but the point is that voters do that on their own time, perhaps to your chagrin.

              If your point is that people do or should vote on only a couple issues, well you’d be mistaken, self evidently.

              You’re not recognizing the complexities of politics, furthermore. UKIP’s goals, and those of the people who vote for them, are to affect politics and government. They aren’t to meet the arbitrary standard you seem to be fixated on. And you shouldn’t confuse UKIP with the LibLabCon clones, whose goals are merely to secure power.

              In fact, UKIP’s goals are being met now, at least partially. Poor Dave is now slogging around having to answer every UKIP harangue. And if he answered them all to UKIP’s and the electorate’s satisfaction, perhaps we’d never get an answer to your fixated standard, as UKIP would disappear. But they’d have met their goals, no?

              I think you’re viewing this through a prism, and it’s a distorted view, consequently.

              • Ron Todd

                The standards I would set for any political party is to have a set of practical policies that could reasonable argued would make this country a better place and to have the ability to implement these policies. As I clearly see UKIP as a protest party I cannot be confusing them with the other parties. A party that wants power to implement its policies at least can show conviction. A party that wants to influence without ever taking responsibility for how the country is governed is no more than a child criticising the gropwn ups when they have to make difficult decisions.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Fair enough, you don’t like UKIP, for whichever reasons you find relevant. UKIP will see off one of the LibLabCon clones shortly, one in coalition if you notice, and we’ll see if another clone is also subsumed. It’s possible. In fact, if the Millipedes slip badly, and they’re capable of that, the whole show could get interesting. Events, dear boy, events.

                  You’d be mistaken in thinking that LibLabCon clones seeking power shows “conviction”. It shows greed, perhaps, but little else. They’re clones. That’s a large reason why voter turnout appears on steady decline. People recognize the 3 cheeked backside isn’t showing “conviction”. It’s just showing its 3 cheeks to the electorate.

                  Your last sentence is just useless rhetoric, lad.

                • Ron Todd

                  If they are not willing to take the responsibility of power how are they seeing off anybody. Seeking power and being greedy are not mutually exclusive. Wanting to affect policy as you put it without daring to take responsibility is more likely to lead to a low turn out than parties just having bad policies. Though I am not sure that you analysis of UKIP as merely wanting to influence other parties policies is correct. I am now well past my bed time so I will check in again in the morning.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Again, your prism seems to be distorting your vision. UKIP is seeing off at least one of the LibLabCon clones. I’m not guessing that, I’m staring right directly at it. Apparently you can’t see it, for the prism effect.

                  Agreed, seeking power and being greedy are not mutually exclusive (and the LibLabCon clones certainly prove your observation). But your point was that they were showing “conviction” in their greed, and that would be mistaken. Clones aren’t conviction oriented, by definition. They’re just clones.

                  Again, your prism is affecting your vision. Voter turnout is dropping now, and has been for many years. Fantasizing otherwise is just more useless rhetoric.

                  UKIP is out to influence politics and government, lad. That’s indisputable, as it is true for any committed group. Again, your vision may be distorted and you can’t understand that.

                • Ron Todd

                  If all the other parties are clones what are they clones off. You make UKIP to be more of a pressure group than a political party. Then complain because people like me don’t take them seriously enough as a potential government.

                • crosscop

                  What UKIP might be like in government does not concern me in the least – as long as we get out of the EU and stop the colonisation of this country by the 3rd World. As far as I’m concerned UKIP can disappear into the ether as soon as that is done. The survival of the British people in their ancestral homeland is what really matters.

                • Ron Todd

                  What they would be like in government would matter. Yes leaving the EU and controlling immigration would be good but they cannot do that in complete isolation from other concerns. To slightly change my original question which has not been answered how many people in UKIP would you trust to implement major government policy?

                • crosscop

                  How many? What’s the total UKIP membership these days? I’d trust any of them over Labour, Tory or Lib-Dem politicians.

                • Ron Todd

                  The majority of members of all parties would not be fit to hold high office. Including a fair number that do get high office. Could UKIP form a plausible government and how many voters would be frightened off if they thought they were voting in a government rather than voting against the other parties.

                • Wessex Man

                  see above!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They’re clones of each other, lad.

                  I don’t make UKIP anything, they are what they are

                  I’m not complaining, lad, I’m pointing out the vacuity of your statements.

                • Ron Todd

                  Bad wording above. I was referring to your interpretation of what they are not what you created them to be.

                  ‘UKIP is out to influence politics and government’ as you put it.

                  ‘Clones aren’t conviction oriented, by definition. They’re just clones.’ why by definition please explain. If a clone is a clone of something with conviction why would the clone not have conviction?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Speaking of bad wording, your first paragraph is indecipherable, lad.

                  If I have to explain to you what it is to be a clone, and why conviction politics represents a distinguishing feature antithetical to that of clones, then you may wish to move on from this discussion, lad. It’s well beyond you.

                  Do you have something to contribute, or are you just asking foolish questions argumentatively?

                • Ron Todd

                  You claim clones by definition don’t have conviction. Only if your definition of a clone is something without conviction then you have a perfectly circular argument. Explain to me why a clone can’t have conviction then I will move on.

                  Conviction can be good or bad, depends what you have conviction in.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Again, your first paragraph is indecipherable, and appears to represent your zeal to argumentatively blather foolish questions.

                  Nobody needs your interpretation of conviction, lad. It appears such would have little value.

                  Again, you may wish to move on from this discussion, lad. It appears to be well beyond you.

                • Ron Todd

                  I did not give an interpretation of conviction didn’t think one was needed. As you did not answer the question other might well conclude that it is you that is blathering boy.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, lad, you blathered useless rhetoric about it. Scroll up. Apparently, you’re now getting well confused.

                  Perhaps you should retire to the student union, lad. Your type of useless, argumentative blather fits better there.

                • Ron Todd

                  If you think I gave a definition of conviction give us the quote. Calm down old man before you give yourself a seizure.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, first, I said you gave an interpretation, not a definition. Try to focus, lad. You’re getting and staying confused .

                  As recommended previously, scroll up and read your interpretation. It’s just as valueless as a few hours ago, lad.

                • Ron Todd

                  You have no answers just insults .

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No insults, lad. I’m pointing out the vacuity of your statements, and your confusion about same.

                • Ron Todd

                  Still no answers. the man is an idiot.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You actually think you’re owed something, lad?

                • Ron Todd

                  Where did I say I was owed anything? The man is still an idiot.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  It’s like you’re brain damaged or something. You don’t even know what’s in your posts from an hour ago.

                • Ron Todd

                  I know I didn’t say I was owed anything and as yet again you haven’t been able to answer with a quote just more insults you might want to consider the state of your own brain.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, you must be brain damaged. You deny what’s in the very post you’re posting.

                • Ron Todd

                  Waite a minute; statements you can’t back up; won’t answer questions insults people, you’re a UKIP candidate aren’t you.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Still a vacuous internet crank, I see.

            • Tom Tom

              There is NO viable party of government. Labour wasted £5 billion on Foot
              & Mouth and destroyed the livestock sector. the Tories are busy
              showing the world the flood plains their developer friends want to build
              on

              • Ron Todd

                I have never run a country so I am not speaking from direct experience if you have run a country I defer to your greater experience. It must be a difficult task the full consequences of policy cannot be reliably predicted. A balance has to be found between popularism to get a short term electoral boost and long term policies for the good of the country. It is inevitable that mistakes will be made. One of the main concerns of government should be to have robust institutions that can overcome these mistakes. Most actions they take will adversely affect some people for which they will legions of people complaining and proposing alternatives they claim would do only good while really what they propose is what would do them good.

        • Wessex Man

          Steve Crowther, Stuart Wheeler, Neil Hamilton, Paul Nuttall, Hugh Williams, Lisa Duffy, Matthew Richarson, David Chalice, Hilary John, Stuart Agnew, Carol Lovatt, Winston McKenzie, Lord Hesketh, Roger Helmer, Gerald Batten, Amjad Bashir, Deborah Hodgson, Jill seymour, Jane Collins, George Konstantinidis, Louise Bours, Gavin Towler

          • Ron Todd

            Tell us more what would make them good at running the country other being UKIPs leadership?

            • Tom Tom

              Well I am much better qualified than Cameron or Osborne and I know i could run the place far more effectively by ignoring their backroom String-pullers

              • Ron Todd

                Easy to say when you will never have to put it to the test.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …you damn yourself with faint praise. My kitchen vase is more qualified than Cameron or Osborne.

      • ButcombeMan

        Very good. Enjoyed that.
        She remains ahead of Cameron

        I do not believe he understands why previously utterly loyal supporters have abandoned the Tories or that he, personally, is largely the cause.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Well, Dave is not very intelligent, that’s clear, to the point that it makes him self-destructive. Those types have no business near the levers of power .

  • Denis_Cooper

    Really, Isabel, rather than wandering around the periphery of this by-election looking for suitable material for an article you’d do better to get to the heart of the matter, and then start considering the implications for Tory prospects at the next general election.

    And the heart of the matter is the spectacular collapse of the share of the votes taken by the LibDems, from 22% in 2010 to less than 5%.

    Now ask: where did the 17% who deserted the LibDems go?

    Answer: most of them transferred their support to Labour, and what you and others have diagnosed as an 11% swing from Tory to Labour was in fact a major transfer of support from the LibDems to Labour.

    Which process can be seen on the left hand side of the opinion poll charts I have recommended before, here:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

    with the yellow line slanting down steeply, a total drop of about 14%, while at the same time the red line slanted up almost as steeply, a total rise of about 11%.

    An 11% transfer of support from the LibDems to Labour on those charts, the same number as the 11% swing from the Tories to Labour in this by-election as you and others have misinterpreted it; no doubt it’s a coincidence that they are exactly the same number, but that is what has happened and that increased concentration of the leftish anti-Tory vote on Labour will be the greatest obstacle to the Tory party winning a majority at the next general election.

    • HookesLaw

      Meantime UK Polling Report says –
      ‘ I’ll only repeat my normal warning about not reading too much into by-elections. They are extremely unusual beasts – an election in just one single seat that won’t be representative of the whole country, intensely fought but often with low turnout, and where who wins does not make any difference to who the government is the next day.’
      ‘ If UKIP had done much better it would have given them a big publicity boost and probably set off a narrative about them threatening Labour seats… but they didn’t.’

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …things are moving into a next phase now. You Camerluvvies are now grasping for a downplaying narrative, re UKIP. In other words, you lot continue to stumble through all the classic response phases to a political threat:

        1. Hysterical shrieking and insults (always boosts an initial insurgency)

        2. Completely ignoring that which you only shortly ago found insult-worthy (by definition, this identifies you as feckless and ineffectual, and elevates the opposition by comparison, via its calculated omission)

        3. Belittling and pooh-poohing that which previously merited an initial scornful insult and then an affected disregard (a continuation and amplification of the effects of 2., and an assurance that future phases will firmly confirm the political prominence of that which had been previously scorned/ignored/disdained, in stages)

        You hysterical socialists are UKIP’s best salesmen. I still think you are on Farage’s payroll, lad.

        • HookesLaw

          You are the hysteric. But anyone who takes lessons from an aryanluvvie freak like you really needs psychohelp

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, you’re stuck in phase 1. , to UKIP’s great service.

            Come on, lad, ‘fess up. You’re on Farage’s payroll. You can tell us, lad.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          Do not ever call me a socialist. I know what I am and I know what I am not. I’m old enough and pay enough tax to know what I am. Just because I might not completely agree with you it does not make me socialist. Perish the thought.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Oh bologna, I can just picture you in a safari shirt like Fidel, or maybe one of those Che print tees, marching to save the gay whales or something, and spending out daddy’s trust fund in Aruba. You aren’t fooling anybody. Now how is it you replied to my post, comrade? I don’t recall directing anything to you?.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              We agree on more things than we disagree. Just don’t call me a socialist.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                I didn’t. But now that you mention it, comrade, you may have a few threads of Das Kapital running through your posts.

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  I bloody don’t! Do I? Where? Mortified. Tell me where so I can chose to rectify it.

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  Where is Das Kapital reflected in my posts?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …take a break, lad.

        • Wessex Man

          You are quite correct, the fact that the three major/minor parties have all formed ‘think tanks’ to discredit UKip tells all we need to know, they haven’t a clue how to run this country and rather than put forward policies they seek ways to try and destroy UKip!

      • Denis_Cooper

        Look how the % shares of the votes have changed since 2010:

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/wythenshawe-byelection-ukip-knocks-tories-into-third-as-labour-wins-9127405.html

        Labour + 11.21%
        UKIP + 14.50%
        Tories – 11.03%
        LibDems – 17.44%

        Numerically the greatest change was not actually UKIP gaining 14.50% but the LibDems losing 17.44%, and yet like many other commentators Isabel says nothing about that.

        In the absence of any other information one might devise a scenario in which most of the erstwhile LibDem supporters had switched to UKIP while some of the erstwhile Tory supporters had switched to Labour, that supposed 11% swing from Tory to Labour which has Isabel wondering whether the Tories ran a poor campaign.

        But we do have other information, among which is the empirical finding that in the eight months or so after they went into coalition with the Tories support for the LibDems in the national opinion polls dropped steeply by about 14% while support for Labour rose almost as steeply by about 11%, with support for UKIP remaining more or less static at 3 – 4% during that period.

        Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that what Isabel interprets as a simple 11% swing from the Tories to Labour in this by-election was in fact the resultant of several movements including a large switch from the LibDems to Labour, and if that is repeated across the country at the next general election then it will be the greatest obstacle to the Tories beating Labour by the 6% plus that is still necessary for them to get a majority, absent the boundary changes which were blocked by the LibDems.

    • AnotherDave

      Peter Kellner wrote an interesting article the other day, showing how voters had migrated between the various political parties since 2010. It’s a lot muddier than than you’d think.

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/11/truth-about-britain-volatile-electorate-election-2015

      • Alexsandr

        Kellner nly v=briefly alludes to local factord. The limp dumps have been good at getting a foothold in a seat then hanging on to it. Like Eastleigh. Thats why they have managed to get so many seats despite their low popular vote.
        I think votes will transfer from tory to UKIP but in a few select places. I suspect in the East.
        But on-one does the analysis at constituency level. so the piece is worthless.,

      • Denis_Cooper

        Well, I think he’s right to say that things may be more complicated than would seem just from examining changes in the overall poll ratings as in the charts I look at:

        http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

        Seeing the yellow line going down diagonally after the 2010 election while the red line goes up diagonally with almost as steep a slope it is tempting to assume that many of the same people who supported the LibDems at the election switched directly to supporting Labour once they’d seen what the LibDems were doing in office, but there may be more complicated processes operating.
        The 1.8 million people he says have switched from the LibDems to Labour would be about 4% of the total electorate, or about 6% of those who would actually vote in an election with a 65% turnout – those charts do not have a line for the percentage of the electorate who are either “uncertain how they would vote” or “too fed up with them all to even be bothered to vote” – and clearly that 6% would fall well short of both the observed 11% increase in support for Labour and the observed 14% decrease in support for the LibDems.
        Nevertheless, it remains an important empirical observation that it was during that period to the end of 2010 or thereabouts that the 7% lead which the Tories had over Labour at the general election was wiped out and instead Labour edged ahead of the Tories by a few percentage points, even though the Tories’ own poll rating had not changed much and nor indeed had UKIP’s poll rating.
        And at the other end of the charts there is another important empirical finding, which is that for the past eighteen months or so the Labour lead over the Tories has shown no great sensitivity to the level of support for UKIP; and we are still in a regime where the outcome of the next election will be predominantly determined by the contest between Labour and the Tories, so that gap is the most crucial factor, not the levels of support for UKIP or the LibDems which will be part of a sideshow.
        Yes, as support for UKIP has trended up support for the Tories has trended down, just as would be expected if UKIP was only or very largely pulling supporters away from the Tories; but what cannot be explained on that preferred Tory theory is that support for Labour has also trended down with the rise of UKIP, and to a similar extent, and so the Labour lead over the Tories has not been significantly affected by the increase in support for UKIP; the corollary is that even if UKIP shrank back or completely disappeared the net benefit to the Tories vis-à-vis Labour would be much smaller than some Tories assume.

    • sarahsmith232

      Spot on, was thinking this. Surely the real story out of this by-election is the evidence that the Lib Dem’s are really looking like they’re on their way out. Do you know Sale? It’s not into the same league as your North London Metro lot but it’s into that direction. That section is affluent and if they’re going to vote Left they’d be more inclined to be your Green/Lib Dem type than Labour. So this 5% would be bad enough but it’s in what should have been fertile Lib Dem territory. ‘Cause the London media commonteriate don’t know the North it looks like this aspect has passed over their heads.

      • Tom Tom

        Not quite, only the Brooklands Ward (trafford-side) in Sale is Conservative. The other two Sale Wards are solid Labour. Whoever created the Constituency in 1997 did so with purpose

        • sarahsmith232

          Oh really, looks like you know the place better than me. I only know it a bit. So the Didsbury-ish sections the Tories have hovered up then? Still, must be some of the Green/Llib Dem lot even in the Labour voting section, i’m still going to go with a shocking result for the Lib Dem’s.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    …more alms for the albino poshboy, lass?

    And no mention of Speccieville’s former heartthrob, poshboy Dave?

Close