Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Could Labour Come Third in Norwich North?

I just did a short piece on Radio 5 Live about the Norwich North by election, alongside the LibDem supporting Norfolk Blogger, Nich Starling. Nich said something which gave me real pause for thought. He believes the Labour vote is going to collapse so dramatically that Labour will come third. He didn't go so far as to predict a LibDem win (wise boy) but he is absolutely convinced that Labour is in for an absolute hammering.

My own view is that the turnout is going to be dreadful and that many Labour voters will simply stay at home. But Nich possibly underestimates the solidity of the Labour vote in the City wards. It will be interesting to see what they do. If they do turn out to vote then Chloe Smith is in for a fight. If they don't, well, we'll see.

But let's imagine that Nich is right. If Labour came third, what effect would that have on Labour MPs as they troop off for the summer?


TrueBlueBlood said...


What a way to start the summer holiday for Labour. If they come third, the summer holiday will only make them more paranoid and add for the bandwagon for a change of leadership at the Labour Conference.

One thing is for certain, we are in for a golden era in blogging in the next year.

Peter Mc said...

In the local elections the Labour vote here in N. Yorks went into Italian Tank Reverse, and that in a constituency that had a Labour MP 97-2005.

3rd place would be great because it would send a shiver up the place where Labour MPs spines should be. They should have dumped GB months ago, and elected someone recognizably human to lead them to their electoral slaughter in a dignified manner.

But no one had the cojones to say 'infirm of purpose, hand me the knife'. Harman or Milliband could have done it. Too late now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain,

TBH this bye-election and all the nosense that will follow it is a waste of our breath.

Read the spectator's report on all the equality measures (that they had to drag the info out of the ONS with an FOI request) On Labour's biggest, most extravagant pet project, they have failed utterly.

Then add in the economy, bankrupcy of the country, pensions, education, immigration, law and order, the assassination of Dr David Kelly (as the 14 doctors now point out) and the boys getting blown to bits in Afghanistan for the want of a decent vehicle or chopper...

We shouldn't be debating trvial by elections, we should be marching on Downing Street. And if David Cameron would show more commitment and integrity, we'd be marching behind him.

Armchair said...

You little tease.....Oh please let it be true.

The result of Norwich North will undoubtedly have an effect of the Public. We need to make Labour appear as complete no hopers.

Unfortunately for Norfolk Blogger I doubt that the Limp Dicks have the wherewithal to actually pick up the baton and run with it.

What was it Blair said....."Never underestimate the Tories and never overestimate the Liberal Democrats."

kenny murphy said...

It will make no difference. Labour MP's are a spineless lot unfortunately.

For the good of the country and the party they ought to ditch Brown.

Maybe it is the very idea of ditching an unelected leader that they are uncomfortable with...

They are a disgrace and should be thinking of Labour supporters like me who want to see Cameron given a contest...

Oh and i hope Labour come second last behind the BNP.

subrosa said...

Who do you consider be first and second then Iain, you never said.

Anonymous said...

You are beginning to sound like Political Betting!


Siberian Tory said...

Even if Labour come in third I can't see another anti-Brown plot forming. The MP's although away from the ministers and whips over the summer won't be able to meet, gossip and plot.

I wonder if they'll be a wave of industrial action over the summer months? It would be devastating for the government but even more so for the UK so fingers crossed it won't happen.

Oliver from Norwich said...

I think Labour will able to keep their hold in wards such as Sewell, Mile Cross and Crome where the traditional Labour vote is but not in the outer fringes which are traditionally Conservative.

Do not underestimate the traditional Labour vote in Norwich city but I would I would agree that there is a lot of political apathy.

Rupert Read might gain the disaffected Labour votes and split the left wing vote.

If the Labour vote collapses it could mean a number of things... (1) National disenchantment with the Government which translates in the decline of the Labour vote.
(2) Political apathy - particularly among Labour voters.
(3) Following on from the earlier point voters might think it rational not to vote because they are unable to make a choice due to insufficient information.
(4) Split of the Left Wing vote.
(5) significant shift of votes to the Conservatives from Labour & Lib Dems.
(6) Weak candidate who has not had sufficient time to establish himself as a credible PPC.

Furthermore the Conservatives are able to gain political capital by reacting to Government policy but still need to establish a credible alternative. I do feel that Chloe Smith has yet to give an alternative policy platform other than criticise government policy. One credible policy question would be - If she doesn't agree with the fiscal stimulus what does she propose to put in its place?

Joe Public said...

Only if they do exceedingly well.

The Oncoming Storm said...

It would just make them realize what a mistake they made when they couldn't find the cojones to oust Brown after the Euros.

They will deserve everything that they are about to receive.

Hamish said...

Surely not.
So who would be in the first two?
UKIP, BNP, Green, Independent?
Could it be your bete noire April Pond?

Old Ned said...

So who will be second, the Greens or Craig Murray?

Oldrightie said...

what effect would that have on Labour MPs as they troop off for the summer?

I imagine they will be calculating how much they can filch before leaving.

Warsteiner said...

Does it really matter ? did you observe the grief displayed at Wootton Bassett on our behalf today?

Have you nothing to say on this subject?

Curmudgeon said...

My understanding is that Norwich historically does have a very solid Labour core vote.

Newmania said...

Much as this Chloe Smith fills me with despair about the future of the Conservative Party I would still love to see NewLabour resume fighting.
The ICM Poll looks bad for Labour and better for the Lib Dems could be could be ...

Anonymous said...

Well your very own Tory Activist will be down there this weekend to try to play a part in ensuring a Conservative victory! :)

Jeff said...

If Labour are smart, they will move the writ for the Glasgow North East by-election this week rather than wait until October.

A defeat in Norwich, even coming 3rd, but closely followed with a win in Michael Martin's old seat would steady the ship.

Then again, 2 by-election defeats within a month could be the end of Brown, hence why Glasgow is expected to be in November...

Mark Senior said...

It is not unusual for a government party to come 3rd in a byelection in a seat it held . See Eastleigh and Littleborough and Saddleworth in the 1992-1997 or Brecon/Radnor in 1985 .
Labour lost 3 of the 4 Norwich North wards in the CC elections 1 to Conservatives 2 to Greens hardly a solid vote .

Anonymous said...

The OTT ramping of April "Who?" Pond ought to work no more than it did in Crewe & Nantwich, where the Limps ran their standard Rennard campaign of "smear everyone and put 800 leaflets through the doors in two weeks".

I agree the Labour vote in the city proper will be resilient, will keep at least second, and indeed as a Tory I hope it well: Lib Dem campaigns are nauseous.

Sally Roberts said...

You haven't mentioned the Greens, Iain! When I was there on Saturday they were much in evidence - canvassing and delivering and were winning the "poster war" by miles. I don't think it will be the Lib Dems who will be second - it will be them.

Anonymous said...

New Labour is a corpse.

If they come third then the deluded 'believers' such as Miliband will still regard it as some kind of victory "in the midst of a global economic crisis".

Dave S said...

'How can we absolutley sure of losing the seat?'.

'We can ignore any local worthies and impose a candidate from London, preferably a spotty youth with a foreign name who has not had a proper job'.

'Can he be gay?'.

'Excellent, that should do it'.

Martin said...

Iain, don't underestimate how thick Labour voters are. Most of them would vote for a Paedophile if he was wearing a red rosette.

How often do you hear Labour voters say "I've always voted Labour, my dad voted Labour and his dad did as well"

They are like sheep, except sheep have bigger brains.

Graeme Archer said...

I was with Sally on Saturday and formed the same conclusion. We were in Sewell ward which others have said is traditionally Labour (to my east end eyes it looked incredibly affluent!). The Greens were certainly, definitely, well ahead of labour.

Anonymous said...

Norwich has an enormous County Hall as I remember. Huge steps leading to huge doors leading to hige entrance foyer.

The plebs being made to look suitably small in the presence of the great god, local government

Andreas Paterson said...

I seriously doubt it Iain, Lib Dem campaigning has been incredibly nasty and as far as I can tell, it's turning people off them in a major way. A colleague of mine said to me this morning that he wanted to be canvassed by a Lib Dem just so he could say exactly what he thought of their campaigning.

This one's going to be a straight Labour-Tory fight, no doubt.

golden_balls said...

As a labour supporter i don't think it really matters it will add more doom and gloom but brown for the moment is safe.

I did read that a plan being hatched by labour was to dump brown in january if things hadn't turned around.

Johnson would be leader and although the tories would still win the new pm honeymoon would help lower the landslide people are expecting.

I go along with this and hope it happens

the only negative is that the tories have to go along with the plan and try to persuade the electors they are a serious party.

something even after browns problems isn't a certainty people don't like brown but imo the tories haven't convinced us yet either.

Chrome Diplomat said...

The fact is that Gibson was hugely respected- even by members of other parties. I remember hearing him speak when I was at UEA and nodding along very happily despite being LibDem.

The thing is that a lot of local Labour support simply do not want to help the party in their assassination of him. Yes he may have done something wrong with regards to expenses- but as much as many of the Government loyalists- I think not.

Without the local support on the ground Labour are in for a hammering- and they truly deserve it.

I hope we can be in with a shout of a win but I certainly agree Labour are on the verge of a 3rd place embarrassment.

Duck Island Blue said...

A better question would be "Where do the Tories want Labour to come?"

Chloƫ Smith is a racing certainty (odds range from 1/10 to 1/40 and are shortening). Despite this Pickles is still claiming it is a close two horse race. Why?

1. To keep the activists motivated

2. To shut out the risk of the Greens gaining momentum.

3. To win 'on points' rather than by 'a knockout' thereby lessening the chance of Brown being toppled in October.

A knockout blow would be a 20% swing to the Tories with Labour beaten into 4th place by both the Greens and Lib Dems. However, this is not what the bookmakers see happening: Labour is still a distant second favourite close to the Greens but with the Lib Dems another mile away. So the knockout is currently possible but not probable.

So that makes Iain's radio debate with Nich Starling an interesting move. Not part of the 'official' Tory campaign: a plausibly deniable leg up to the Lib Dems perhaps?

The key of course is where the Labour votes go. Some will switch to the Tories and some will stay at home. What about the rest? This is the unknown.

Let's see who promotes the by-election as a "referendum on Brown's leadership". "It's your last chance to force Brown out in October and get a leader that can challenge the Tories". We are all listening.

Brandon Lewis said...

It is surprising to see so little Labour posters and literature in the city areas. We are struggling to find anyone who has been contacted by labour in much of the city area.

Pat said...

Surely the only effect on Labour MPs will be to reinforce their motivation to look for another job- and hang on till they get one. The only result that would change their attitude would be one that gave them hope of winning a general election. Short of a coup- or a lot of offers of alternative employment- we won't get rid of Labour until the last possible minute.

Anonymous said...

I see that "Nich" is applying proportional representation to the abbreviated spelling of his name.

Here's a man who clearly lives for his Lib Dem principles.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone vote for the LibLabCon?