Friday, July 20, 2007

Autopsy

Where do we stand this morning then? Well, I'm not sure that there's all that much that can be read into it. Obviously, it was a better night for Labour than for either of the other parties, though a reduction in vote share of nearly 8% in Ealing, and 14% in Sedgefield isn't quite as rosy as it might have been. The Tories will be very disappointed indeed not to have made any headway in either seat - though their vote share remained steady. The Lib Dems did well but not spectacularly.
Any wider trends? The Conservatives still haven't won an opposition by-election since 1982, the Labour Party have managed to stop losing them on vast swings to the Liberal Democrats, and the Liberal Democrats have, um, stopped winning them in vast swings from the Government. So no real change then? If you're a Conservative there might be a tiny crumb of comfort in that the Tory vote wasn't annihilated. When the Liberal Democrats won in Brent East and in Dumfermline the key point was that the alternative opposition vote collapsed to nothing. When they ran the Tories very close in Bromley the Labour vote was reduced to embarassing levels. In both races yesterday the Tory vote held solid. That's not great news - it really should have been increasing - but it might just suggest a more solid base.
And Ming's safe, surely. Two solid, if unspectacular results should enable him to retain his position - which will be probably the only bright spot on David Cameron's agenda this morning. Nil desperandum, however. The Tories weren't considered very good at by-elections yesterday, and they still aren't. That Cameron failed to win two rock solid Labour seats is hardly, on the face of it surprising. Labour won Sedgefield with 58% of the vote in 2005; Ealing Southall with 49%. These weren't exactly marginals. The news isn't good for the Conservatives, but neither is it entirely awful.
UPDATE: Could still use a hug though...

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