Friday, July 20, 2007

Ealing Southall and Sedgefield by-election results

The result of the by-election in Ealing Southall and Sedgefield were both extremely encouraging given the potential difficulties that by-elections can cause and the inevitable swing that nearly always takes place against the party in government.
Compared to the results of previous by-elections in the last ten years when Labour was defending, the swing against Labour was small and both seats were held with good majorities given the drop in turnout.

The big loser of last nights election was David Cameron and the Conservative performance was nothing short of disastrous especially in Ealing Southalll, the excuses they've peddled out can't get away from the fact that only a few days ago the party were talking of success in this by-election. Within the constituency of Ealing Southall the Conservatives had more councillors the Labour at 19(taking into account the five defectors) and without them they still had 10 councillors(14 if you include the wards split by constituency boundaries). They also won a number of Ealing council wards at the May 2006 elections. Indeed just last year they polled 32% across the seat and were only 5% behind Labour. Whilst Ealing Southall does contain pockets of deprivation, within the seat are some very comfortable middle class London suburbs with semi-detached/detached houses along with 2 or 3 cars that are more reminiscent of Surrey then London. For the Tory vote to barely rise over 2005 and to run 10% behind their 2006 showing is a truly dismal performance. I could think of a number of seats in London including my own seat of Mitcham and Morden(and still the last Tory by-election gain in 1982) where the Conservative are in a far weaker position electorally.

Given the time commitment and money Cameron put into this seat their failure to advance shows the weakness of the Conservative party. Coupled with the Conservative candidate Tony Lit and his attendance at a Labour Party fundraiser along with having his photo with Blair was an absolute PR disaster for Cameron and the Tories. They will no doubt learns the lessons from this campaign and I have no doubt be a bit more careful of their choice of candidate in the future, the Labour party certainly learned that lesson the hard was back in the eighties. Reading Conservative Home and Iain Dale today, Conservative contributors are scathing about their performance and the campaign in Ealing Southall.

The other great thing about the election is the defection of Gucharan Singh and his four colleagues from Labour to the Conservatives seemed to have had very little impact within the Sikh community, the Conservatives have probably done ourselves a great favour in ridding us of these divisive and polarising councillors.

While the Liberals may be crowing about getting second in Sedgefield and Ealing Southall their performance was a poor showing compared to other by-elections. The decision to have a short campaign I believe was the right decision, it was the failure of the Labour party to have an early campaign in Brent East in 2003 that contributed to the Liberals winning the seat In the election itself they had their usual dirty tricks including putting 12 years on Virenda Sharma saying he was 72 along with their bogus opinion polls showing them neck and neck with Labour. In many previous elections Liberals have come from far worse positions then in Ealing Southall to win the seat and unlike in previous elections they failed to squeeze the Conservative vote though I have no doubt that if it had been a longer campaign the Tory vote would've been squeezed. The result will also lead to Ming Campbelll being kept in post longer though I have no doubt that his long-term future as leader is not good.

Many are talking about an election in the autumn or next spring, it's important not to get carried away with our success last night and put at risk our majority in Parliament. I still think that June 2009 is the most likely date though I believe we are in an excellent position to win a fourth term and that if our poll ratings remain high then I can see some logic in an election next year. If I was David Cameron I would be a very worried man as it is clear that the Tories are certainly not on course to win the next election.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Usual dirty tricks"

As usual for you, unsubstantiated accusations about the Lib Dems - if you want to talk about dirty tricks, how about the Labour party leaflets saying "if you don't vote Labour you'll end up with a Tory MP". I don't believe the Labour Party thought the Tories had a chance of winning, I think they just wanted to scare their soft voters into backing them.

8:50 am  
Blogger Martin Whelton said...

The Tories had a substanial base in this constituency and bearing in mind five concillors had defected they has to be considered a threat giving the amount of resouces they were pumping into the seat.

Making someone 12 years older then they actually are is disgraceful and outright lies, at least this time the people were not taken in by the latest Fib Dem claim. It was all over their leaflet. Did you visit Ealing Southall??

11:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes actually. And didn't see the leaflet mentioning age. I saw plenty of our other leaflets, and none had anything that was questionable. I've also heard Labour people claim that it was the Tories who said he was 72.

I also saw lots of Labour leaflets scattered all over the streets, including the one containing numerous personal attacks on Tony Lit and the ones claiming that not voting Labour would let the Tories in. Whatever you might claim, the Labour party did not believe the Tories would win. They just used it to scare voters into sticking with Labour. And anyway, why should I take your word for Labour's genuine belief in the truth of their leaflets any more than you should take my word that getting Sharma's age wrong was a genuine mistake (if Lib Dem leaflets actually did say that)?

Remember, it was your colleagues in Tooting Graveney that published photographs of Lib Dem candidates' houses to generate resentment. Then tell me about dirty tricks. The Labour party's sanctimoniousness disgusts me (will you print this!)

9:20 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home