Coffee House

How can Ed Miliband make the most of Tory chaos over Carswell?

3 September 2014

11:56 AM

3 September 2014

11:56 AM

Ed Miliband would never have seen it coming, but he’s starting his first PMQs of the autumn term in a jolly good place. Labour MPs that I’ve spoken to over the past few days are now panicking not about how they can convince voters to back them but what on earth they’re actually going to do when they are in government.

Naturally the Labour leader can attack on Douglas Carswell’s defection to Ukip, but there are two reasons why he might not want to make this his first question. The first is that he would surely want to contrast some of the serious things that Labour has been talking about this week – on class sizes and deficit reduction – with the Tory party tearing itself up over Europe and Ukip. That would require the first few questions to be on schools or another serious matter.

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The second is that while Labour MPs are already stocking up on their supplies of popcorn to help them enjoy watching the Tory conference followed by the Clacton by-election, they should remember that Carswell has defected in a constituency that was once theirs, and where they now poll just 16 per cent. That the C2 voters in Clacton have moved from Labour to Ukip may well have been one of the things that spooked Carswell into defecting. But it is also something that senior Tories are taking a great deal of comfort from, and believe could be replicated in other constituencies where Labour relies on old/blue/working class Labour types who may not feel that the party still speaks for them.

And of course, just because the Tory party has lost its mojo, it doesn’t mean that Labour automatically picks it up. The challenge for Ed Miliband is just to get a hearing so that Labour appears to be the party with the energy, rather than Ukip.


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Show comments
  • George Smiley

    “Chou En Lai” (@chouenlai:disqus), I have been watching you literally for years. It is blatantly obvious that you are a Tory-voting ethnic Hongkong Chinese, born in Scotland but now lives in Beijing (you also call yourself “majorploquer” on Disqus and such like). My question to you is, why are you being so disloyal to the Country (Great Britain) that gave you an education?! I mean, let’s face it, you do NOT care about mass immigration per se, perhaps because you have no British ancestry and almost no British family left, and as long as the Government lets you keep most of your money, you don’t really care and you are happy about it? Daddy still has a Chinese restaurant in Britain, and would like to constantly have some cheap Chinese asylum-seeker labour?!

  • Conway

    The first is that he would surely want to contrast some of the serious
    things that Labour has been talking about this week – on class sizes and
    deficit reduction – with the Tory party tearing itself up over Europe
    and Ukip.
    ” Heaven forbid that he should touch on the abomination that is Rotherham.

  • Conway

    Labour MPs that I’ve spoken to over the past few days are now panicking
    not about how they can convince voters to back them but what on earth
    they’re actually going to do when they are in government.
    ” You mean like how they are going to pursue tax and spend policies when the Treasury is still empty after their last stint and people will be unwilling to lend except at exorbitant rates?

  • andagain

    Amazing isn’t it? One thousand four hundred children raped under a Labour council that tells its people to look the other way, and the Tory Right still manages to give all the advantage to Labour.

    I honestly would not have thought it possible.

  • ManOfKent

    But it is also something that senior Tories are taking a great deal of
    comfort from, and believe could be replicated in other constituencies
    where Labour relies on old/blue/working class Labour types who may not
    feel that the party still speaks for them.

    You mean in seats like

    Thanet South
    Sittingbourne & Sheppey
    Gravesend
    Dartford
    Dover
    Gillingham
    Rochester
    Chatham
    Thurrock
    Great Yarmouth
    Hastings
    Harwich
    Basildon

    Oh wait a minute these are all Tory seats which switched from Labour during the Blair/ Brown years.

    Poor poor Tories. The problem with that whizzo wheeze is that most of the most likely seats that might have fallen as a result of such a phenomenon no longer return a Labour MP and whilst UKIP are hoovering up the Labour vote in those seats they are also receiving sufficient large scale defections from the Tories to put the current Tory MP at risk and likely ensure that the Tories are so far away from a majority they would need a rainbow coalition to form a government (Con~UKIP~LD coalition anyone?). I don’t think so…

    Perhaps they could go into coalition with Labour?

  • Mukkinese

    What’s that eerie sound?

    Oh yes, it’s Tories whistling in the dark…

    • GUBU

      We’ll all be whistling in the dark if Mr Milliband gets his hands on the national light switch.

      • andagain

        Eight months to May 5th now. Of course, the lights won’t go out immediately.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      You’ll get to whistle in the dark for real if that idiot Miliband is elected. It will be power cuts for all.

  • RavenRandom

    Miliband has done one thing very well recently… and that’s kept quiet. Never interrupt your enemy when they’re making a mistake.
    I despair at the choice before me. A Labour govt that no one really wants, led by a nobody whose ideas are prices and incomes and soak the rich from the 1970s. What’s worse we can see what that has done to France.

    • andagain

      Does Milliband have any enemies? His allies would appear to include:

      The Shadow Cabinet.
      The Labour Party
      The Liberal Democrats
      The Conservatives
      UKIP

      I suppose the existing cabinet ministers are opposed to him. Maybe.

      • GUBU

        I can think of one man who thinks Mr Milliband is a complete and utter sh*t.

        Who’s also called Mr Milliband…

        • andagain

          Even if that is true, he is no longer in politics.

  • Holly

    I have just watched Emily Thornbury set out Labour’s agenda.

    Now usually I turn off the TV whenever this creature graces my TV screen, but after the Rotherham cover up, I decided to hear her out.

    She did everything she could to talk down any possibility to keep the nutjobs from returning to these shores.
    She poo poo’d the idea of the government looking to see if there is any way to stop their re-entry, in a way that would be quicker than if we were to pull out of the ‘hand tying’ treaties, to solve it.
    Thornbury reckons it is an affront, and it is against the nutjobs human rights to be stopped from re-entering Britain, but it is all fine and dandy to lock them up indefinitely….
    Well until that is, our courts let them go free, because….
    Yes you’ve guessed it…Their human rights were breached.

    • ButcombeMan

      I agree, Is Thornbury not one of the most loathsome creatures in UK politics?

      Any more suggestions?

      My next one is Anna Soubry.

      Why would any sane press officer, let either, near a broadcasting studio.

  • sfin

    Douglas Carswell certainly was not “spooked into defecting” because the C2 vote had switched to UKIP.

    The C2 vote had, in fact, switched to Douglas Carswell. Just as the C2 vote in Essex at large had switched to the conservatives when Margeret Thatcher was leader and the conservative party was…conservative.

    Douglas Carswell gained his personal support by being an extremely hard working, conscientious and, above all, conservative, constituency MP.

    He still is – which is why he will romp home under true conservative colours.

    • Mukkinese

      Actually, the C2 vote had been somewhat diminished, since the constituency boundaries changed, cutting out many skilled and semi-skilled, working class (C2+D) voters and handing the seat to the Tories…

    • Mynydd

      He told Conservative money for ten years and what have they got a turn coat.

      • ManOfKent

        And the establishment parties took the taxpayers money and all have broken their manifesto commitments to us. Particularly the Tories in regard to their view of coalitions (no plans to raise VAT was a bit of a doozy as well). so its ‘turncoats one and all’.

        In anycase, if Carswell is kicked out by his voters at the by election they will agree with you. If he doesn’t they won’t. At least he’s had the decency to ask them. Can’t say fairer than that can you?

  • Michael Powell

    Honestly, Isabel, you’re supposed to know about this stuff – Clacton was a Labour constituency when it had completely different boundaries, because it included the port town and Labour stronghold of Harwich. That is no longer the case. The issue of C2s deserting Labour is valid, but once again we have the impression of London journalists commenting on the provinces with little or no knowledge of what things are like on the ground.

    • Mukkinese

      Well, you have to take into account that this is a largely rightwing publication. I mean, look at the photo’s they choose…

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Well better that than a socialist nutter publication lad.

      • ManOfKent

        You mean there is a good photo of the misfit somewhere?

  • chouenlai

    Well done Carswell, all of you kippers can watch PMQ and see your next PM. He is the goofy one who talks bollox all of the time. Not the posh one who only talks bollox some of the time.

    • mattghg

      Made me laugh

      • Peter Stroud

        Me too!

      • George Smiley

        Ignore him and his daft Chi. Com. moniker. He is a Chinese ex-immigrant formerly in Scotland (which explains his flowery language), now in Beijing. He is no and never a true Briton nor a true blue Tory.

    • sfin

      It doesn’t matter – they are the same.

      You will be choosing between Blair and Brown.

      Or, as they say here in France, – Cholera or Diabetes.

      • sir_graphus

        No, they really aren’t the same. We’ll find out painfully from 2015-2020.

        • chouenlai

          Thank you Sir G, at least someone has 3 brain cells still working. Have these numbskulls forgotten the little matter of the British economy. This the most important aspect of many “differences” between Labour and Tory.

          • southerner

            I loathe all 3 socialist parties equally but Chouey you are being somewhat selective in your recounting of recent history. Gideon promised to match all of Labour’s spending plans. Then in power he failed to even match Darling’s.

            They are all the same. Destroy the lot (starting with the pretend conservatives) and let’s go again.

            • realfish

              Carswell said something similar, last night, and that he wouldn’t mind if Labour got elected. He also said that the Olympic opening ceremony’s portrayal of the NHS made him ‘proud’.
              Carswell is wrong, they are not all the same, as we will see as Miliband, brought up a Marxist incubator, emerges and takes Britain leftward down a road to ruin (and an ‘ever closer union’).
              All of this begs the question, ‘Who actually is Douglas Carswell and what does he really stand for?’

          • ManOfKent

            Indeed it is clear you only have 3 brain cells each. Hence your childish mantra. The rest of us have many many billions.of them.

            The ‘At least someone line’ is so easy to ridicule. Why are Tories so crap at this banter? It just another indication of what a divided dysfunctional washed-up broken party the Tories are!

            Why would anyone vote for the Broken Tories?

          • George Smiley

            You are obviously an expat (probably of non-British descent) who had emigrated long before the rise of UKIP (and have not really properly followed the news; and why should you?! Britain is never really the true home for you and your parents, is it?!)

      • Inverted Meniscus

        The Conservatives, however witless, tend not to leave £168 billion structural deficits lying around. Labour does.

        • Mynydd

          No only £100bn

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Same old lies from a Labour Troll.

          • P_S_W

            What’s in a number, eh?

    • ManOfKent

      Instead of the arrogant sneering condescending one who tells lies all the time and insults his and other parties’ members?

      Tough choice!

    • Mynydd

      Be sensible UKIP will win 400 seats no problem.

    • andagain

      He’s the person they want as PM. Being in government means having to act like a sensible person sometimes. Much more fun in opposition, where you can sit in a big circle with all your friends and tell each other how great you all are all the time.

    • George Smiley

      Farage from Kent is posh?! Only to an expat ex-Scot (of non-European descent) like you!

      You are not of British descent, and neither do you live in Britain any more, so the idea of Britain being overwhelmed and swamped by immigrants from all four corners of the World does not really particularly concern you, as long as you get to keep as much as you have earned. Care to refuse my charge?!

  • Swiss Bob

    Spot on as usual. . .

  • itdoesntaddup

    And all Cameron has to do is to work in the idea of “Vote Labour, get Rotherham”, and Miliband will go to pieces. He can leave the “Vote UKIP get Labour” idea unspoken.

    • Mukkinese

      Is even Cameron that crass?

      • Riesler

        He is a politician.

      • hamurana

        Of course. Did you not notice?

    • dado_trunking

      Who campaigned tirelessly for Savile to be knighted?
      Nige will think twice about declaring himself a FATCHERITE again.

    • hamurana

      NOW that is a slogan: “Vote Labour and get Rotherham.” Put it on the UKIP billboards.

      UKIP’s slogan; “Vote Labour and get Rotherham. Vote Conservative and get the Bullingdon buffoons. Vote UKIP and get Great back in Britain. “

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