The message from Wythenshawe and the polls

Labour did well in the by election. The top line score is a convincing Labour win on an 11% swing from the Conservatives. The Lib Dems suffered the biggest drop in their vote, followed by the Conservatives. UKIP picked up votes but ended a very poor second to Labour who were 37.4% of the votes cast clear of them, and who won an overall majority of the votes cast.

The losing parties can point out that turnout was well down on the General Election at just 28,17%. They can also compliment Labour on having a much better organised postal votes campaign than the other parties. Labour won the seat on being able to get its core vote to send in a postal ballot, just as the Lib Dems did in Eastleigh where the margin over UKIP was much narrower. They can remind people that governing parties often lose by elections on big swings, but also can go on to win the succeeding General Election.

So can we deduce anything about a future General Election from this? Not a lot. It reminds us that Labour are polling much better than in 2010. It underlines how the Eurosceptic side of the argument remains very split.

This message is reinforced by the latest poll for the European elections. That shows Labour top at just 35%, the Conservatives in second at 25% and UKIP third on 20%. This illustrates that there are quite enough Eurosceptic votes to win an election, but not all the time they remain split between two contenders. To those UKIP supporters who will now write in to deny that the Conservatives are Eurosceptic I would remind you I disagree. I would also point out if the Conservatives are not Eurosceptic then you have a lost cause, with only 20% of the voters wanting a Eurosceptic option.

For the General election the polls continue to show Labour ahead, with the Conservatives as the challengers. As we approach the election people will have to make a simple choice. Would they rather have Mr Miliband or Mr Cameron leading the country. Those who say neither can vote as they choose, but it does not look as if they will get their way.

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138 Comments

  1. Steve Cox
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the Conservative Party is attempting to emulate the Democrat’s strategy in the US presidential election. They conducted many local polls in the marginal states to try and determine which issues were of most importance to the swing voters there, and then concentrated their campaign and policy proposals on those issues. I assume that the Conservatives are doing much the same thing, and perhaps that explains why Mr Cameron is so pig-headed over reducing foreign aid to help the flood victims, or was so pig-headed over the gay marriage issue. I’m guessing that overseas aid and gay rights are important issues for the swing voters in the marginal constituencies that the Conservatives need to win to improve their position over the 2010 election.

    All’s fair in love and war I suppose, but I wonder if they’ve really thought it through? There’s not a lot of point in picking up a handful of marginal constituencies if your policies alienate core voters to the extent that they will either simply abstain or else vote for a genuine right-wing party such as UKIP. It would be ironic if this electoral strategy cost the party more semi-safe seats than it won them marginals, and yet I think that outcome is quite possible.

    This government’s performance has been pathetic. Its only important task in May 2010 was to get public spending under control and turn the deficit into a surplus. Yet here we are four years on and still running a £100 billion deficit. What reductions there have been have come mainly from tax rises, not from spending cuts. In the meantime, in the face of this abject failure to achieve the only thing voters expected from them they have increased overseas aid by 40%, meaning more money that has to be borrowed of course. In the face of such arrant stupidity and insensitivity to public opinion the Conservatives deserve to lose the next election.

    And as for a choice between Cameron and Miliband – well, as a saver and someone retired on a fixed income this government has been a disaster for me. I can hardly imagine that a Labour government could be worse, so personally I couldn’t much care which of them becomes the next PM. I’m sure that Miliband will make a rotten PM, but he can hardly be worse than the posturing and ineffective Mr Cameron. When the Conservative decides that it wishes to have a Conservative leader again instead of a liberal pinko then I shall return to the fold, but for now I have had it with this lot.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed the public do not always know what they want until it is actually presented to them, as it was with the three + times winning Lady Thatcher. Cameron is virtually the same as Miliband, perhaps slightly better in that he has 100 sensible MPs and is not the puppet of the state sector unions. Then again Miliband is not a proven ratter.

      I do not really see UKIP as being right wing but then, relative to the “BBC think” Cameron, surely everyone sensible is to the right. UKIP just propose what is sensible, logical and would work in the interest of nearly everyone but the parasites. Smaller government, a UK based democracy, controlled & selective immigration, cheap non religious energy, far less government, fewer parasites, fewer but better regulations, a bit or sensible dredging, pumping and sea defenses, a sound currency and some control of public expenditure and waste – these policies would benefit almost everyone.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Excellent piece – it is a pity a Conservative MP will not risk making such a forthright statement. The freezing of the “Bank Rate” cannot be justified economically, quite the reverse, but politically the theory is there are more over borrowed mortgagers than disgruntled savers.

    • Chris
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Wholeheartedly endorse this, Steve. I think many, who are in despair about the “Conservatives,” feel that the present Conservatives deserve a spell in opposition in order to sort themselves out and in order for them to “learn the lessons” from Cameron’s disastrous engineering of the Conservative Party. There is nothing like the threat of MPs losing their seats to focus a few minds, and as the election looms “eurosceptic” and “grassroots” MPs will take stock. I have no doubt that there will be a humiliating defeat for Cameron, that UKIP will have very significant support from the electorate (a support that is growing and based on huge enthusiasm among members and supporters, in contrast to the rapidly shrinking Conservative and Lib Dem membership), and that the influence of Lib Dems will be radically reduced. Very different times ahead, but Cameron et al seem oblivious to all of this, convinced in their own Westminster bubble that they will be in power, preferably in a coalition in order to force through more metropolitan liberal elite nonsense.

    • derek flaunty
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Great post Steve, could have written the same thing myself if I wasn’t such a useless typist.

  2. Arschloch
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “Labour won the seat on being able to get its core vote to send in a postal ballot, just as the Lib Dems did in Eastleigh where the margin over UKIP was much narrower. ” Well if you do not get the abuse of postal votes sorted out you deserve to lose the next election. Are we seriously to believe on a turnout as low as this over 10,000 voters would be so inconvenienced by a quick trip down to the polling station? Baroness Warsi has spoke about this before so why is nothing being done about it? On top of this Cameron also let the boundaries go against him without a fight. While the left liberal domination of the civil service and other organs of the state continues. Here is an interview with Chris Smith from mid Jan, just before the floods rose to dominate the news. As you can see he does mention he is in charge of the EA, however “culture and the arts” are the thing that take precedence in his working day. Why has he not been sacked? Its all to easy to pick on Cameron as being the Old Etonian who has never had a proper job but when you think of the above the word “cavalier” does not half spring to mind.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/10571967/The-world-of-Lord-Smith-of-Finsbury.html

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Indeed reading that, Lord Smith it seems (like most employees & especially in the state sector) just does the bits he enjoys. Forget about the engineering, dredging, pumping and sea walls and the protection of homes and jobs. Just open a bird sanctuary here, catch a ballet over there and fill in you expenses claim.

      The ASA always seem rather useless too. How can “Tax does not have to be taxing” ever be truthful?

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      The Env Secretary should have removed him from post as one of his first actions when coming into govt.

      Any Quango appointment should be based on Qualification/Merit like any normal job. There is something seriously broken at govt level.

      The EU and Agenda 21 loving EA has been a smoking gun for a long time.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Any Quango appointment should be based on Qualification/Merit like any normal job. There is something seriously broken at govt level.

        Indeed and jobs that need engineering and scientific competence the EA should get someone with it. Lawyers, fake greens and PPE grads should perhaps be banned – far too many already.

    • Chris
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Sadly, Arschloch, I believe that Cameron has no intention of sorting out the postal ballot “fraud”. It seems he thinks it is not in his interests to do this in such elections as Wythenshawe – this behaviour does Cameron no credit, as he appears an opportunist, lacking in integrity, and arrogant.

      • Arschloch
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        I am now beginning to think if you got a John Bull printing set and put some phoney polling cards together in the name of (any dictator ed), Kate Middleton or Mickey Mouse you would not have any trouble in casting a vote. I do not think the liberal establishment give a toss who you vote for or how many times you do it. As after all you are going to end up with a government that favours themselves rather than you. Remember JR has stated here it is not parliament’s responsibility to ensure that voters are not locked out the polling stations as they were in 2010, that’s up to the Council to sort out

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “It reminds us that Labour are polling much better than in 2010.”
    You be they are! If this election has taught anyone anything, it is that the postal votes scam is now turning into a fiasco. 1700 postal votes! This must be stopped forthwith. There is absolutely no excuse for postal voting and I would myself go so far as to say that anyone in favour of postal votes is not a democrat. If people are too lazy to get to the polling station, then they ought to be disenfranchised
    Then there were the graffiti, and( allegations about ed) the criminal damage and theft as well.
    With such a tiny turn-out things do not look at all good for our once very strong love of freedom and parliamentary representation.

    Reply There is no evidence that the postal votes were in anyway illegal. If some people did misbehave during the election that has to be reported with evidence. I think Labour won because they were the more popular party there.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      I agree that postal votes should be banned or perhaps only accepted via a notary public.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed if a few cannot then get to make a vote so be it. That is better than corrupt voting and it is unlikely to make any difference to the outcome as they will be from all sections.

        Systematic & corrupt postal votes might well affect the outcome however.

    • arschloch
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      You do not have to be an expert on voting behaviour for it to be a surprise for Labour to win a seat that is built around what was once the biggest council estate in Europe. The mugs there deserve everything they got or will get in future for voting for a neo lib party though. However here is an article from the BBC that covers Baroness Warsi’s claims on voter fraund, along with those from a Lib Dem MP on his problem with “ghost voters” in his own constituency and High Court judge Richard Mawrey QC who has described Birmingham as being “worse than a banana republic”.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11441382

      Reply In the article the BBC makes clear that no evidence came forward nor were the 3 seats named concerning 2010 alleged fraud.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Postal votes are clearly a very serious risk of corruption and should be tightly controlled.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      It wasn’t 1700 postal votes Mike.

      On a turnout of 28.24% there were 10,142 postal votes and just 13,883 cast on the day in person.
      I googled “wythenshawe election postal votes” and read the article from the Guardian.

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        And now you see why all three parties are in favour of postal votes (regardless of the corruption it encourages )If you discounted the 10,000 (or so) postal vote in the Wythenshawe by election, only 13,883 bothered to support any of the parties. So much for democracy.

        Even with postal voting 70% of the electorate put two fingers up to the whole farce.

        Postal voting is just the sticking plaster over the pretence of democracy in the UK.

        The three heads of the UK political party ( which is instructed by the foreign power in Brussels ) have no interest in exposing just how irrelevant their little clubs are.

        Reply POstal voting is a sensible convenience to many busy voters. Most postal votes are honestly cast by the stated person. If you have evidence to the contrary in any given case it will be investigated. The government is always willing to improve the security of such votes, just as it may also need to be attentive to impersonation when voting using the voting in person method. If the ballot in Wythenshawe had been entirely in person Labour would still have won.

        • APL
          Posted February 18, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

          JR: “POstal voting is a sensible convenience to many busy voters.”

          And when I was busy, on my way to work I was never much inconvenienced by a detour to the polling station (it being largely empty ). If I was travelling, then yes, PV might be a convenience. But 50% of those voting are not travelling at the same time for the purposes of work nor I suggest even holidays.

          JR: “just as it may also need to be attentive to impersonation when voting using the voting in person”

          One fraudulent ballot is unlikely to make much difference, the postal voting fraud is open to systematic fraud on a grand scale.

    • matthu
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      There has been evidence at previous elections about illegal practices surrounding postal votes. And in any case, prevention is better than cure: once the possibility of widescale abuse of the system has been exposed then we need to address the issue.

      Nothing has been done.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Mike, there were 10,141 postal votes and 13,883 vote votes; the campaign was the shortest possible with postal votes issued, three days after the poll was called; the turnout was 28%, giving a huge majority to the Apathy Party.

    • waramess
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply. Voting is by secret ballot. Secrecy cannot be monitored for a postal vote. A wife or husband may vote at the polling station in full knowledge that their vote will never be known by another person no matter how dominated he or she might be at home. This will never be the case with a postal vote.

      I would suggest the politicians look just a little further than overt illegality when suppporting the postal vote and consider more carefully the issue of privy and undue influence.

      Perhaps they have, particularly as many are failed barristers, and they find true democracy less than convenient

      • Martyn G
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Not true. The tellers pencil a number on the back of each voting paper to identify from the electoral roll to whom it belongs. I challenge this on each occasion and am always told that it ‘is a safeguard to be only used in extreme circumstances’. I did not and do not believe that and am quite sure that each person who votes can be identified as to which way they voted and that the information is sold on to interested parties.
        And that has been going on for decades and is unlikely to change in the future.

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Whatever the leadership may be. The problem exists. We have many cultures who are seemingly more qualified than us( in their country) , and we by our own stupidity have let them in. They then pose on the supposition of giving us support , when in actual fact , they are taking all our knowledge ( which should be shared .. even if the salaries are far better than ours!) and skills and sending the money home to the abroad. These non English people pose superiority and talk about their own superiority in our midst in a silly fashion that other countries may adopt in their social hierarchy and attempt to inflame the Brits.
    I will vote UKIP to keep these so called educated people down .

  5. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t add much trying to make play on whether “the Conservatives” are or are not Eurosceptic. There is no clean dichotomy: if there is a question it relates to whether the Conservative leadership, repeat leadership (Can’t blame everything on the Liberals), is Eurosceptic. Answer of course No. Agreed, the result is close to useless as regards the General Election but nevertheless Farage’s view that UKIP’s result represents good steady progress is undoubtedly true. The poll results you mention on the European elections were a surprise. Are these in today’s papers because I for one have not seen or heard of them (Shouldn’t you provide a link?-Joke, Sorry). On any basis try and absorb that UKIP are not only not going to go away but are going increasingly to keep on coming–they have barely started really. Logic or no logic, detestation of Cameron is going to remain and if that has consequences so be it. I detect that people maybe are taking the view that the combination of Brown’s having gone, plus a realisation that they (mainly he) made huge mistakes last time, mean that Labour would not be too bad. Admittedly it is a bit depressing that people apparently believe Miliband’s promising them the Sun and the Moon but again that is partly because they trust Cameron even less. One notes his latest turning on the subject of recall.

    Reply The last Euro poll was published in the Guardian.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Would that be the left wing, EU loving, global warming scam bunch of (people ed) Guardian John. What was the question and how many were asked. More to the point where were they asked???

      reply It was a properly conducted regular poll, I think by Ipsos.

  6. Cheshire Girl
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I am sorry to have to say this but I would like to see David Cameron replaced as Prime Minister. I had hopes for him at the last General Election but have been dismayed at how he has alienated so many who have been lifelong Conservative supporters. He pops up everywhere, says a lot, and in my opinion, would be better to keep quiet, as I visualise the votes tumbling. I am always astounded that he seems suprised the voters are so turned off by some of his policies. He never seems to see it coming .
    I will not be voting Labour at the next election as i dont trust a word they say. I would like to continue to vote Conservative but hope that a more suitable candidate for Prime Minister will appear. I suspect that others may share my view .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Who could usefully replace Cameron at this point? There is also no one who would be any better (at least no one who could command the support of the fake green, pro EU, big government lefties that comprise more that half the Tory MPs).

      No they are all heading over the cliff together. All for lack of a working compass and Cameron lumbering us with the Libdims.

      Booker in the telegraph today has it exactly right on the floods. January was not really that wet historically, the met office anyway predicted a dryer winter than average true to form with their predictions. Yet they still expect us to believe them on the Catastrophic AGW exaggeration, religion.

      The main problem seems to be EU regulations on disposal of dredgings rendering it far too expensive and the joke that is the “managed retreat”, fly the white flag, bird sanctuary producing EA.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      “He never seems to see it coming ”
      Is there any wonder? -He hasn’t got a clue what life he is creating for the majority of people here. -Its blatantly obvious that he , IDS, and others, just see British people as something (not someone) to be taxed and ignored. It has been reported he has £4m. What sort of reality is that? What %age of the population have that stashed away, never mind expenses for everything jobs? Yet he stands in his wellies in an inch of water , saying that he is STILL going to give away millions to foreign countries ?????

      Queues at foodbanks while freeloaders pile in to be given a free life and treated better than people who pay. Quite simply Cameron hates us, there is no other reason that can be used. HE won’t get freeloading(word left out ed) families next door to him, laughing as their new English slaves go to work, just to pay taxes so the freeloader can live here and be given the “slaves earnings”.

      etc ed

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Cheshire Girl: “I would like to continue to vote Conservative but ”

      You could always vote for your independent Conservative candidate.

  7. Livelogic
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The Tories are not Eurosceptic and under the current leadership are not even Tory they are big government, over regulate, tax borrow and waste, fake green EUphiles. They just have perhaps 100 sensible MPs.

    The have no chance of winning the next election, without a UKIP deal and even then they will struggle too. No one wants to elect Cameron again with his heart and soul, no greater Switzerland, expensive energy, no dredging, greenest government ever drivel – just to see him rat for a second time.

    It is alas a lost cause and all thanks to Cameron throwing away the last sitting duck election. He could not even win that one, he has far less chance at the next. He has not even fixed the constituencies and we now all know where he stands politically. He stands for saying whatever he thinks will win votes (often wrongly) then usually doing the opposite. A treaty is no longer a treaty once ratified so tough nonsense.

    I am no longer in the UK, but I could never vote for someone who has people like Ed Davey and David Laws in the Cabinet. I see he has also killed the MP deselection bill. But then he even has people in his cabinet who should clearly be deselected.

    Miliband with no be much worse and could well be better.

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    None of the Above seem to be gaining in leaps and bounds…

    The disgust of the people towards the political class gets bigger every day.

    Most people don’t think their vote will make any difference, and sadly mostly they are correct.

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill: “The disgust of the people towards the political class gets bigger every day.”

      It may be worth quoting that old Scot, Adam Smith; “People of the same trade [ in this case politicians ] seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

  9. JoeSoap
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    This post is about the Wythenshawe result?

    That result showed UKIP to be polling ahead of the Conservatives. We all know that there is more to this than Euroscepticism. Just look around you!

    Flood waters, brought to you courtesy of an Environment Agency run by a Labour, yes Labour placeman.
    Libdems making decisions about energy policy in a Tory-lead government, from a deposit-losing position in the polls.
    Immigration STILL not under control, STILL not capped after 4 years
    Debt STILL not under control, still rising after 4 years
    Welfare spending still not under control
    Education still split between comprehensive and private, no return to grammar schools
    Bonfire of the quangos? Not happened.
    Removal of red tape? Not happened
    Referendum on EU membership promised by Libdems and Conservatives? Not happened

    • uanime5
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget about some A&E wards having to pay consultants £3,000 per shift because they can’t recruit enough staff. Perhaps if the workload wasn’t so onerous these doctors wouldn’t keep emigrating or choosing to work anywhere else.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        That’s the sort of thing that happens when you have a monopoly provider and no market pricing system, as we have with the NHS

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, total incompetence in the NHS structures and management. They do not really care anyway as it is not their money.

        • forthurst
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          Apart from the deluge of foreigners, A & E is under chronic pressure as a result of the Labour government’s new ‘negotiated’ GP contract absolving them of providing total primary care; as a consequence, many attendees are either going to A & E when it is ‘out-of-hours’, or because they are so advised by the derisory out-of-hours backup services provided in many areas.

          Just add it to JoeSoap’s list.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

            Indeed the GPs so often totally fail to deliver (rationing by delays, inconvenience and simply being unavailable in a timely manor as the economics drives then that way). So everyone heads for A&E there to wait for hours. Perhaps just for some antibiotics or something totally trivial that takes but a minute, but is needed.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I think many voters have simply given up on politics.

    Many believe that most politicians (I exclude our host) live in a completely different World from the one they have to survive in.

    Trying to do the best for your family, attempting to provide for your future as best you can, with a pension and some savings, appears to have been a complete waste of time, when for the past decade the only people the government appear to want to support are the feckless who have overspent.

    Just look at the scenario:

    Why work for minimum wages when you can get up to £26,000 tax free without bothering.
    Why work harder in a reasonably well paid job when the Government take more than 50% in tax and national insurance.
    Why save, when having anything over a minimum amount, excludes you from all financial help.
    Why own your own home, when if you need care it needs to be sold.
    Why save for a pension when you have to live over 20 years after retirement simply to get your own capital sum back without interest, such are the present annuity rates.
    A National health service that is not National at all, with a postcode lottery on drugs and treatment, with some age discrimination thrown in.
    Eventually when you pass on, the government wants yet another slice of your cake with a 40% tax over £325,000, the price of a 3 bed semi in Wokingham, or a wardrobe in London.

    Now it has been shown we have had newts and birds being looked after before people in some areas which have flooded.

    We have had a government for decades who cannot even govern our own country, with the majority of our laws, taxes, and regulations being made by a collection of individuals from foreign countries, and we actually pay millions for that service as well !

    I would guess that most of us on your site attempt to rise above it all and carry on regardless, for the sake of our own families and our own so called dignity, but it is increasingly looking like we really are simply wasting our time, as more and more contraints are being put in our way, by governments who think they alone must have the answer to all of our lifes problems.

    It really is all quite depressing when you take stock, is it any wonder the voter turnout was low, but that people would simply sign their name on a piece of paper if it was shoved under their nose on their own doorstep.

    Democracy, the voice of the people, not in this Country any more I am afraid, those in power simply do not want to listen to those who pay for all the promises.

    What a legacy we are leaving our children, grand children, and great grand children.

    • formula57
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

      Any candidate offering that analysis and a determination to take corrective action would get my vote. It would take skill and courage though to devise and implement a workable programme of measures: I have no expectations of ever seeing such.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Alan–I am worried about my boyhood approach to newts which was to catch as many as I could and keep them in jam jars. I’m sure I hope that it wasn’t illegal (indeed it was encouraged) but I rather suspect it would be now. Daft world we live in.

    • Hope
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely fantastic post which most of endorse wholeheartedly. As a Tory voter all my life, I will never vote for the likes of Cameron. I would prefer Miliband if forced to choose. The past four years have clearly evidenced there is no difference between the LibLabCon. So if you want change there is only one other choice, UKIP. It might take two or three elections to put them in office, but as it stands Tories will be in opposition for another long spell. So why waste a vote on the Tory party. Vote for something you believe in.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Why work for minimum wages when you can get up to £26,000 tax free without bothering.

      Because you’d get minimum wage, all these benefits, and tax credits. Working doesn’t prevent you claiming benefits.

      Why work harder in a reasonably well paid job when the Government take more than 50% in tax and national insurance.

      Even with a 50% tax rate you’re still getting more income working in these high paid jobs than low paid jobs. Also earning over £150,000 puts you in the top 1% of earners.

      Why save, when having anything over a minimum amount, excludes you from all financial help.

      Well this financial help is designed to help people who don’t have any money.

      A National health service that is not National at all, with a postcode lottery on drugs and treatment, with some age discrimination thrown in.

      Since each area has a different mix of people it’s no surprise that they promote different treatments. For example an area with a lot of elderly people will favour the treatment of the elderly.

      Eventually when you pass on, the government wants yet another slice of your cake with a 40% tax over £325,000, the price of a 3 bed semi in Wokingham, or a wardrobe in London.

      So if you have £325,001 the government will get 40p. Thus this won’t represent a major loss unless you’re a millionaire.

      Now it has been shown we have had newts and birds being looked after before people in some areas which have flooded.

      Are these newts and birds getting sandbag to prevent their homes getting flooded or having supplied shipped in by boat? If not then the people are still being treated better.

      We have had a government for decades who cannot even govern our own country, with the majority of our laws, taxes, and regulations being made by a collection of individuals from foreign countries, and we actually pay millions for that service as well !

      Actually the majority of laws, taxes, and regulations are make by the UK’s parliament. Also we can influence EU laws using our MEPs.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Uni

        So what do you suggest.

        We just carry on, and hope others continue to pay for it all through more and more taxation ?.

        • Hope
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          Once more, Social drivel Uni. A left wing rant without substance that the rest of us do not want to pay for. Nor do we want to be tax slaves for the Eau and third world migrants flooding into the country.

      • Deborah
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Why work for minimum wages when you can get up to £26,000 tax free without bothering.

        Because you’d get minimum wage, all these benefits, and tax credits. Working doesn’t prevent you claiming benefits.

        Working a normal week (ie more than 20hours) reduces your benefits

        Why work harder in a reasonably well paid job when the Government take more than 50% in tax and national insurance.

        Even with a 50% tax rate you’re still getting more income working in these high paid jobs than low paid jobs. Also earning over £150,000 puts you in the top 1% of earners.

        Silly numbers. You pay 50% in tax and national insurance once you get over about £40k .

        Why save, when having anything over a minimum amount, excludes you from all financial help.

        Well this financial help is designed to help people who don’t have any money.

        Quite. So why not spend your money on having fun and then take advantage of the state help?

        A National health service that is not National at all, with a postcode lottery on drugs and treatment, with some age discrimination thrown in.

        Since each area has a different mix of people it’s no surprise that they promote different treatments. For example an area with a lot of elderly people will favour the treatment of the elderly.

        And in some areas it has been leaving the elderly to rot in their hospital beds…

        Eventually when you pass on, the government wants yet another slice of your cake with a 40% tax over £325,000, the price of a 3 bed semi in Wokingham, or a wardrobe in London.

        So if you have £325,001 the government will get 40p. Thus this won’t represent a major loss unless you’re a millionaire.

        Silly numbers again. All your belongings are valued and added to the cost of the house for probate.

        Now it has been shown we have had newts and birds being looked after before people in some areas which have flooded.

        Are these newts and birds getting sandbag to prevent their homes getting flooded or having supplied shipped in by boat? If not then the people are still being treated better.

        Fatuous.

        We have had a government for decades who cannot even govern our own country, with the majority of our laws, taxes, and regulations being made by a collection of individuals from foreign countries, and we actually pay millions for that service as well !

        Actually the majority of laws, taxes, and regulations are make by the UK’s parliament. Also we can influence EU laws using our MEPs.

        The majority of laws, taxes and regulations made by the UK parliament are simply rubberstamping EU rules. Our MEPs have no influence.

        Perhaps you should learn a bit more about tax….

  11. stred
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The Coalition needs to make fraudulent postal voting much more difficult. This should be done by altering existing regulations and requiring independent interview of voter and certification that they exist, with finger dying and done on the same day.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      The Coalition needs to make fraudulent postal voting much more difficult. This should be done by altering existing regulations and requiring independent interview of voter and certification that they exist, with finger dying and done on the same day.

      How exactly are you going to do this? Visit the home of everyone who sent a postal vote and hope they happen to be in? Require every voter to prove that they exist before every election?

      • stred
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Make it as difficult as possible, so that only those who really exist and want to vote a particular way succeed in getting a postal vote. Don’t visit afterwards but before and on election day. They use finger dyes in other countries where cheating goes on. Birmingham was likened to a Banana Republic, but that may have been unfair to banana growing areas.

  12. Jools B
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    John,

    There was no doubt Labour would always win Wythenshawe, the biggest council estate in Europe where a huge proportion are on benefits. On top of that Labour were massively pushing the postal vote which we all know is rife with fraud which is why Labour encouraged it so much in their thirteen corrupt years in office. Postal voting should be banned except for those who genuinely cannot get to the polling station because of frailty or ill health. If able bodied people cannot be bothered to get themselves down to the polling station every few years then they should lose their right to vote.

    After nearly four years in power, why hasn’t the coalition done anything to stop postal voting and the bogus votes that go with it? Yet another thing along with the English Question which the Cameroons are turning a blind eye to.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      If able bodied people cannot be bothered to get themselves down to the polling station every few years then they should lose their right to vote.

      Given the low voter turnout anything that increases the number of people who vote is a good thing. You’ve also failed to explain why walking to a polling station is somehow better than walking to a post box.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Uni
        You have obviously not read the numerous reports of how postal votes can be used by those keen to cheat including court comments by a judge saying how open the system was for abuse.

        Apart from the lack of privacy for an individual who maybe under pressure from a family member or employer to vote in a particular way.

    • Terry
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      If this is true, then it is about time that a Law was passed preventing those on State benefits from voting in a General election. This will stop ALL Governments from using OUR Welfare State system to bribe their potential voters and this has been going on since 1913 when the State Pension was introduced. A hundred years ago and more.

      • Arschloch
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        FFS that must have been a real game changer for the Liberals! The pension did not pay out until age 70 and average male life expectancy was in the mid 40s

  13. Richard1
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    If euroscepticism is the issue the choice is very simple. A vote for any party other than the Conservatives means no referendum. Vote UKIP, get Labour. Labour will deny a referendum and, especially if in coalition with the LibDems or with a a small majority, will gerrymander the electoral system so as to ensure there can never be a eurosceptic government. Probably by introducing PR with no referendum.

    • Gr
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      A vote for the Tories just means Cameron reneging on another referendum promise

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      “Vote UKIP, get Labour”

      Again, does that still apply if somebody votes UKIP instead of voting Labour?

      Have a look at the right hand side of the four opinion poll charts here:

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

      Do you see Labour increasing its lead over the Tories as more people support UKIP? I don’t; I do see that as the support for UKIP has trended upwards the support for the Tories has trended downwards, but I also see that the support for Labour has also trended downwards and to a similar extent, so that the Labour lead over the Tories has remained more or less the same.

      You need to revise your theory on this, because the empirical evidence is that if support for UKIP shrank back, or even if UKIP completely disappeared, the net benefit to the Tories vis-à-vis Labour would much smaller than you assume.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        No, because Labour can get a majority with far fewer votes than the Conservatives would need, any vote for UKIP which costs the Tories a seat will help to let in Labour.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          You’re not paying attention, are you?

          Over the past eighteen months or so there is no evidence that the gap between Labour and the Tories, at present a Labour lead of about 6%, changes significantly with the level of support for UKIP.

          And nor of course does the 6% or so bias of the electoral system in favour of Labour over the Tories change significantly with the level of support for UKIP.

          So to summarise: the chance that the Tories will win a majority at the next general election is not significantly changed by the level of support for UKIP, at least within the 3% to 18% range where it has been so far.

          That may surprise you because of your assumption that virtually all UKIP supporters would otherwise be Tory supporters, and in fact it rather surprises me as well, but that is what the opinion poll charts say quite clearly.

          Reply What nonsense! Of course some of the UKIP vote has come from the Conservatives, so it has made it more difficult for the Conservatives to beat Labour.

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            JR: “made it more difficult for the Conservatives to beat Labour. ”

            What has made it more difficult to beat labour? The refusal of the Tory government to revise the constituency boundaries, and the refusal of the Tory government to reform the shambolic postal voting system.

            In the recent Wythenshaw by-election, UKIP came second, the Tories deservedly third, are you saying UKIP stole the election from the Tories? No, clearly not.

            But in that election, the number of postal votes deserves investigation.

            Nor should it pass mention that 70% or thereabouts of the electorate didn’t bother to turn out to the latest two bald men fighting over a comb, contest in Wythenshaw.

            Reply The Conservatives are very willing to change the boundaries but do not have a majority to do so. The government has tightened rules on postal votes.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            Before the 2010 election the Tories were claiming that they were at a systematic disadvantage vis-à-vis Labour because of the constituency boundaries, and the numbers that were often mentioned were in the region of 6%.

            Looking at the number of votes per seat won in the election, I find that it actually came out as the Tories needing 4.9% more votes than Labour. Incidentally that contrasts with the 1992 election, when I find that Labour needed 1.7% more votes than the Tories per seat won.

            Because the LibDems blocked the boundary changes that the Tories wanted that systematic bias in favour of Labour will still be there at the 2015 election, and it may even have increased slightly if the same processes which have got the constituencies out of kilter have continued.

            Anyway that bias has evidently been built into the predictive model used on the Electoral Calculus website because if you put in the Tories being 6% ahead of Labour in a variety of ways with the remaining support being distributed between the LibDems and UKIP in a variety of ways then the Tories will usually just fail to get a majority.

            In my current view this is the second greatest obstacle to the Tory party getting an overall majority at the next general election, and obviously it is one which cannot be changed now before that election takes place; it is there because the Tories failed to get an overall majority in 2010 and the LibDems ratted on their promise to allow the boundary changes; hence if the Tories fail to win in 2015 one reason can be traced back to their weak campaigning during 2009 which largely allowed Labour off the hook of their gross economic and financial mismanagement, and it is clear enough who should be blamed for that.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            “What nonsense! Of course some of the UKIP vote has come from the Conservatives, so it has made it more difficult for the Conservatives to beat Labour.”

            That is a non sequitur; if only “some” of the votes taken by UKIP would otherwise have gone to the Tories, where would the rest have gone?

            This has been a thorny question ever since UKIP started to contest elections and possibly change the outcome, and I have to say that UKIP activists have not necessarily been consistent in the answer they give at any time, wanting to say on the one hand that their party is a particular threat to the Tories so the Tories had better look out and change their policies, but on the other hand claiming that UKIP takes votes away from other parties as well as the Tories and also gets votes from people who would otherwise not have voted at all.

            And the correct answer now would not necessarily be the same as the correct answer in 1997 or even 2010.

            There have always been practical problems with finding out the correct answer by simply asking people who say that they voted UKIP, or will vote UKIP next time, what they did at a previous election or what they would do if there was no UKIP candidate to vote for.

            For example this poll conducted by Lord Ashcroft before the Wythenshawe by-election:

            http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Wythenshaw-Sale-E.-poll-Full-tables.pdf

            starts out with a decent sample of 1009, but by the time he gets to Table 3 and is asking those who are most likely to vote and who say they will vote UKIP in the by-election how they voted last time he is down to a much smaller sample of just 67 respondents able and willing to give an answer.

            However for what it is worth, not too much in my view, this is how those 67 respondents split:

            14 said they voted Tory in 2010
            13 said they voted Labour in 2010
            7 said they voted LibDem in 2010

            Which leaves 33, about half, unaccounted for because they didn’t vote in 2010, or they didn’t remember how they voted in 2010, or they remembered but didn’t want to say.

            I come back to the more reliable empirical observation that for the past eighteen months or more there is no sign that Labour’s ca 6% lead over the Tories has been significantly increased by the increase in support for UKIP; as you can see from the right hand side of the charts here:

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

            a movement in the level of support for UKIP is accompanied by an opposite movement in the level of support for the Tory party, but it is also accompanied by a very similar opposite movement in the level of support for Labour, and so that crucial gap between Labour and the Tories, ca 6%, does not change to any significant extent and so it makes it neither harder nor easier for the Tories to win a majority.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Until very recently, I believed that UKIP captured most of its vote from the Conservatives. That was true in UKIP’s early stages but more recent data is interesting.

            The BBC has a summary of opinion polls going back to May 2012 and every week or so does a Poll of Polls average. Below are the 3 most recent and the 3 earliest in that period.

            Date………………Con/Lab/LibDem/UKIP/Others
            12/02/2014…..34/38/10/11/7
            02/02/2014…..32/39/11/10/8
            20/01/2014…..32/39/9/13/7
            27/05/2012…..32/42/8/8/10
            21/05/2012…..32/42/8/7/11
            17/05/2012…..31/44/9/8/8

            This data suggests that over the last two years, on the basis of averaging the first 3 results and the last 3 results, Labour’s vote has softened by 4%. The Conservatives have gained by 1.33% and UKIP has gained by 3.67%.

            Let us not forget, though, that it is very unlikely that UKIP can convert their share of the poll into parliamentary seats under FPTP, although they may pick up one or two in the north of England. If UKIP were to soften their economic policy and play the Orange card, they might pick up a seat or two in Glasgow. Why not target Bearsden?

            The more mainstream calculation is for the Conservatives to harden their Euroscepticism, picking up slightly more from UKIP than from Labour, in order to hit their target of 43% of the poll in 2015.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      If Labour introduce PR then UKIP will be massive beneficiaries.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      PR will make gerrymandering impossible because PR involves determining how many MPs a party gets based on all the votes cast, rather than how many votes each MPs got in a specific area.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        It just moves the gerrymandering process to after the election, Uni.

    • Bob
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      @Richard
      Cast your mind back to Oct 2011.
      There was a vote in Parliament on whether or not to hold a referendum on our membership of the EU, and Cameron whipped his party to deny us that referendum.

      This man cannot be trusted.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Had there been such a referendum during this Parliament it is most likely there wouikd have been a vote to remain in. That would make any attempt to renegotiate worthless. David Cameron’s position is EU membership can make sense if we can secure significant changes in the basis of membership. It makes most sense to have a referendum after attempting this.

        • Bob
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          @Richard1

          Had there been such a referendum during this Parliament it is most likely there wouikd have been a vote to remain in.

          Oh I see, so would be why all the EUphile parties including Mr “Heart and Soul” used a three line whip to prevent a referendum in case we voted to stay in. :/

  14. matthu
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “…there are quite enough Eurosceptic votes to win an election…”

    What on earth is a Eurosceptic vote: one that supports a referendum?

    If Labour suddenly supports having a referendum just before the election, would that convert them overnight into Eurosceptics?

    If Clegg suddenly decides to honour his previous pledge and supports the people having a say about Europe, does that mean that a vot for Clegg is a Eurosceptic vote?

    If I vote for David Cameron, is that a Eurosceptic vote? We judge Eurosceptics by their actions, not by their soundbites.

    And speaking about manifesto pledges, what happened about the right of recall that all political parties supported before the last election? So much for manifesto pledges.

    There is absolutely no way that the Conservative Party currently qualifies as a Eurosceptic party. (No way that Cameron qualifies as a climate sceptic either.)

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Matthu: I totally agree with your post. Misleading terms all. If Farage is now suddenly claiming that UKIP are the party of the working class – why are they described as right wing? Does a party of the working class vote or believe in a flat rate income tax system.? Of course not. Is a vote for Conservatives a eurosceptic vote when you have Cameron and Carswell in the same party?

      Our neighbouring MP is Tim Loughton, a Conservative, and I recently attended a political public meeting which he attended. He gave a resounding and eloquent speech on how loathsome UKIP was in all its forms. Is he a Conservative?

      • JoeSoap
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        It sounds as though by “working class” you mean people who don’t work. Why would anybody working for an income oppose lower income tax, if as supposed flat rate tax is lower than present rates?

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          Joe: because the indications are that a standard flat rate of income tax would be higher than the current starting rate. For the exact figures ask Nigel Farage.

  15. Old Albion
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    So let’s see;
    Labour held a rock-solid Labour seat in a by-election. I read somewhere (blowed if i can remember where) just under half of Labour’s votes were postal …….mmmmmm.
    Some Conservative MP’s may be Eurosceptic. The Conservative party is most certainly not.
    Looking forward to the General election 2015. Should Labour or the Consevatives win or a new Coalition involving the Lib-Dems form the next government, then nothing will have changed. Lib/Lab/Con all the same, all tied to Europe, all anti-English.
    The only possibility of change is to vote in someone/something new. It may start with only one MP (the Greens managed it) Why waste my vote on the same old same old?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      So the jConservative party are anti English? The party of Eton, Marlborough College and Eric Pickles are anti English? I don’t think you can get more English than these people and their institutions.

      Some would say that is the problem.

      • forthurst
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Attendance at Eton is an excellent route by which people who are not in point of fact wholly English, either in pedigree or loyalty, may masquerade as ‘one of us’.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

          I agree. There are those who masquerade as English who are more English than the English. That’s why they go to Eton et al.

          • forthurst
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

            “more English than the English”

            don’t be absurd!

      • Old Albion
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re confused.

    • BobE
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Correct. A vote for any of the big three is a wasted vote. We have to get some real politicians into the house. UKIP is the new conservative party.
      Bob

  16. oldtimer
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    One thing that can be deduced from the Wythenshawe is the efficiency of the Labour postal voting machine. Apparently most of its votes were cast by postal ballot. I imagine the changes to the postal ballot system were devised by the then Labour government with this end in view – namely a simple way to get the core Labour vote out without the bother of having to visit the polling booth.

    The only way I can see a non Labour government being elected next time is if some accommodation is made between UKIP and the Conservatives. That seems extremely unlikely as earlier comments on your post reveal. Trust is lacking.

  17. acorn
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Mixing religion with politics!!! We spent centuries trying to disconnect States from Religions. Do I assume CCHQ checked out if voters would vote for the combined Conservative / Church of England candidate?

  18. Kenneth Morton
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The Conservative party are now fighting at a disadvantage with the left arm tied behind their back ( the Lib Dems) and their right arm broken at the wrist ( UKIP). In other words their opponents, Labour, are just dancing in the ring not needing to land a punch.

    In my opinion, the actions taken by the Conservatives in the coalition are broadly along the right lines but they must nor leave it much longer to differentiate them selves from the other parties. Their only real opportunity to do this is in May with the local and Euro elections. Then they must break down the coalition agreement, the LibDems have started doing this already. They must also come to some kind of understanding with UKIP before next May.

    Oh well it is Sunday morning, an opportunity to dream!

    JR Good Luck to you and like-minded colleagues.

  19. me
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Stop the postal voting fraud.

    reply What fraud? You need evidence. Maybe a lot of Labour supporters anted to9 vote Labour in a postal ballot.

    • Arschloch
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      No proof of any hanky panky in Wythanshawe however as the following link shows “In total, more than 100 people have been found guilty of electoral malpractice in the UK since 1994. The vast majority of convictions have involved postal or proxy ballots, often in conjunction with attempts to manipulate the electoral registers by registering bogus electors or adding electors to the register at empty properties.” So you can hardly blame me and the rest for being cynical

      http://www.democraticaudit.com/?p=1870

      • stred
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        I am working to renovate and repair two properties, previously occupied by many sharers who sublet. The tenancy was for a small family size let. It would be possible to open the electoral registration forms that litter the floor and enter up to ten persons, who would receive votes, postal or otherwise. Who checks ID at polling stations? Postal votes could be sold or given to anyone I wished to support.

        Reply Yes, it is always possible to commit a crime. IF you did fill in someone else’s form you would need to sign that you were someone else. Similarly you could go to a polling station knowing someone was away or had moved or was not going to vote and impersonate them to get a false vote. That also is a crime.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      “reply What fraud?”

      A neutral party needs to check a sample of postal votes by interviewing the voters, confidentially, asking them whether they voted, and if so, in which way. If there is a good suspicion of fraud, then the electoral commission should be alerted and every postal vote should be checked back to the alleged voter.

      It really is not good enough to assume that people are behaving honestly without checking that postal voting, in practice, is as robust as voting in an election booth on election day.

      • forthurst
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        ….the postal voters should also be asked to countersign their postal vote as well.

  20. Amanda
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood; in your party there are around 100 MP’s who see the issue with our EU membership. Nearly all of you are consigned to the backbenches, and have achieved absolutly nothing by way of pushing back the bonds of Brussels. You have not even managed to win over more MP’s to the cause.

    You do nothing about the fraudalent posting voting systems, or the unfair boundaries. You do nothing about the BBC propaganda. You don’t even complain when the Coalition Energy Minister stands up and exposes his bigotry and (unhelpful ed) tendencies!! ( What Davy said about climate change debate has no place in a democracy!!) You are banging your heads against a brick wall, doing more of the same, which has not worked.

    We don’t want Cameron or Miliband, but we do want a choice – the only way to do that is to get rid of Cameron, and all the Tory wets who have done so much damage over the years. That isn’t going to happen by voting Tory !!! But it might happen [getting rid of Cameron and the wets] if we vote for a party that stands for an Independent Britain.

    UKIP have the capacity to be a ‘one nation’ party, the Tory party does not; and neither does Labour. The biggest lesson from Wythenshaw, and indeed the floods is the sham that our democracy actually is. Yet, there you all sit, your little group of rebels, playing the game by the old rules, and being trounced.

    Reply Where is the evidence that postal votes are fraudulent? I know many people who value the flexibility a postal vote gives them in their lives who exercise it legally and sensibly.
    I and my Eurosceptic colleagues have achieved changes to Conservative policy and to government policy by being in Parliament, speaking and voting accordingly. We could not have done that from outside as part of a party that so far has won no Westminster seats.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      I don’t understand this argument- you are basically saying that there are more voters in Wokingham who would vote for a chimpanzee in a blue rosette than for somebody such as yourself with experience in the job and known views standing for UKIP? Your views are closer to those of UKIP than the present Tory leadership, and frankly the bulk of the party excepting 100 or so MPs. Why not have the courage of your convictions?

      Reply I was elected as a Conservative and will keep my word and do the job as a Conservative. As I intend to offer myself as a Conservative voters do not have to choose between me and a monkey, nor would the Conservatives field a monkey if I were not the candidate.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    JR: “To those UKIP supporters who will now write in to deny that the Conservatives are Eurosceptic I would remind you I disagree.”
    The votes by your MPs on the EU show that you are deluding yourself.
    There are many excellent contributions here today but I wonder if you take any of them seriously. You want your party to win regardless of the views of the electorate. You will be disappointed if you and your colleagues do not respond positively and, frankly, just threatening us with Labour if we don’t vote Conservative isn’t good enough.

  22. M Davis
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    It is so depressing, that it is almost a given, that the Labour Party will win the next General Election and that is because many of the usual tory voters have absolutely no faith at all in David Camerons’ Government and will not vote for the Conservatives. Voting in the European Election in May is easy but it will be a dilemma come 2015.

  23. Jim
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    One thing we can deduce from this vote is that only 28.17% of the electorate actually think that voting for anyone is worthwhile. Personally I’m surprised that it is that high a percentage. If more people thought and read about the alternatives to being ruled by an unaccountable elite there would be a lot less than that. Still we can hope that the internet is reducing it all the time.

  24. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Cameron had his chances in 2010 and blew them. We had hope at that time and he, and his Party, have let us down badly.

    He has compounded the Conservative Party’s problems and not only made the Tories more unpopular with the public but has achieved the alienation of his own members and supporters. Crucially, he has incurred the wrath and contempt of people who he could have otherwise counted on to support him with the difficult decisions and who would have stood firm for the greater good of the country. Morale in the Conservative Party must be low just now. Where, exactly, are you going from here?

  25. mick
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Morning John, it was`nt a unexpected result for labour i use to vote labour for over 30yrs but my eyes were opened, admittedly a bit late in the day, there is a lot of people out there with very short memories and if you were to stick a red Rosette on a donkey these people would vote for it

  26. Chris
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    It would seem that Nadine Dorries has a rather different message from yours, Mr Redwood, with regard to UKIP: she acknowledges the threat and the damage UKIp can do, and furthermore acknowledges that they are a growing trend.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2560408/MP-NADINE-DORRIES-Launch-secret-weapon-Dave-Get-Boris-Number-10-make-Deputy-Prime-Minister.html
    “…On Thursday, UKIP came second in a by-election for the fifth time running, increasing their share of the vote to 18 per cent. That won’t win them seats in Westminster during a General Election, but if they reached 24 per cent they certainly would. Having come second in five consecutive by-elections, second place for UKIP is now without doubt a trend. One which could cost the Conservative party dearly if it continues into 2015, allowing Labour in through the back door..”

    Her “solution” is interesting: Boris, declaring him to be the Cons Party’s Heineken. I had reserved that title for Nigel Farage, simply because of him reaching out to so many who are so disillusioned with the current Lib/Lab/Con. I suspect her suggestion will meet with considerable opposition amongst the higher echelons. Interesting times.

    “…It is time for David Cameron to deploy our secret weapon. Boris Johnson. He is the only Conservative to have won a major election in 22 years. We are months away from the Euro elections and the party should have him out there on our screens, with David Cameron, carrying the Conservative message”.

  27. Roger Farmer
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Show a little generosity. Wythenshawe is a rock solid Labour seat, so it is no surprise that they won. UKIP did not “Pick up votes”, in the disparaging way you suggest. They gained 18% of the vote from 3.4% (2010) and from being none existent in 2005.
    Labour improved their percentage from 44.1% (2010) to 55% (2014). The Lib/Dems were a disaster, dropping from 22.3% (2010) to 4.9% (2014). Recognise that Lib/Dem supporters in many instances are rampant socialists and are now disillusioned with Clegg, so it is not beyond logic that much of the 10.9% increase in the Labour vote came from the 17.4% decline in the Lib/Dem share of the vote.
    Now we come to the Conservative vote, down from 25.6% (2010) to 14.5% (2014). A disaster by any standards, and you only have to look at the leadership, or lack of it, of the Conservative party to understand why. This has led to an almost complete disconnect with their core base.
    It is legitimate to question the way in which postal voting is allowed to work. It’s weakness in terms of democracy is that there is insufficient time between the declaration of a bye election and the issuing of postal votes. No time for political argument to develop, the candidates to become known, before many of the votes are cast. There are many other weaknesses in the postal voting system that need overhauling. It is too open to abuse by the opportunist and the dishonest in politics.
    If the Conservatives are Eurosceptic, they are like virgins unwilling to advertise their status.
    As to the European elections in May, wait and see what happens on the day. Predictions are fingers in the wind or wishful thinking.
    Make whatever you will of the success of UKIP. Whether they get MPs or not in 2015 there will be many fewer Conservatives in the subsequent HOC.
    It is a truth in UK politics that parties loose elections rather than win them and do so by their disconnect. The Conservatives have been busily disconnecting from the UK electorate since their stumbling arrival in 2010.

  28. ITF Tory
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s fair to assume that all Conservative voters are eurosceptics, and by extension that all Labour voters are europhiles. You almost seem to say that this vote was about Europe. It wasn’t.

  29. Terry
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    You would gain more credibility if you dropped the bitchy denigration. UKIP, “A poor second”.

    What would be the description if the new LiblikeTories had come in second? – “Gallant runners-up”?
    The Tories also lost this election but dropped DOWN in popularity and those hopeless Libdems were kicked into touch for being out of touch. That UKIP ROSE through the rankings within a Labour stronghold should tell everyone that the LibDem Con just ain’t doing it anywhere..And as for Dave suggesting this was just a “protest vote”, well he would say that wouldn’t he? He should wake up and see the protest coffee before him. Us true Brits do not like his policies that favour the foreigner over the true Brit. Address those concerns and you might get back our votes. Maybe. ‘Maybe’ because you are no longer trusted to listen to us and do what WE want for our country. You have shown your true colours too often. Those of a Blair clone.

    • Terry
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      It is to be commended that my comments above were not moderated nor obliterated.
      Unfortunately, in my experience, that has not been the case on many Socialist-leaning Blogs. And there lies evidence that Socialism does not value an individual’s point of view.

      On the contrary, it seeks to obliterate such an idea that one should have a contrary view to that of their own ideal. So much for ‘socialism’ – the left -leaning ‘champions’ of us poor people when our true freedom really rests with the right-side. The side of the individual and the freedom to say what we individuals believe.

      • Bob
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        @Terry

        my comments above were not moderated nor obliterated.
        Unfortunately, in my experience, that has not been the case on many Socialist-leaning Blogs.

        Socialists suppressing dissent? Surely not?

        • Bob
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink


          Socialists suppressing dissent? Surely not?

          The Green Party of England and Wales has called for a purge of government advisers and ministers who do not share its views on climate change.

          Any senior adviser refusing to accept “the scientific consensus on climate change” should be sacked, it said.

          Party leader Natalie Bennett said the rule must apply to all senior advisers, including those with no responsibility for environmental issues.

          David Cameron says he suspects recent storms are linked to climate change.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26187711

  30. Martin Ryder
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Whatever happens in the 2014 and 2015 elections the odds are that:
    (a) we will remain in the EU;
    (b) immigration will continue at high levels, both EU and non-EU;
    (c) our debts will continue to grow along with the deficit between income and expenditure;
    (d) the balance of payments between low exports and high imports will continue to get wider, especially as we are spending vast amounts on importing windmills;
    (e) the NHS will continue to struggle;
    (f) our schools and universities will continue to fail our children;
    (g) energy will rise in price, regardless of the costs of producing and delivering it;
    (h) the new aristocracy of senior public ‘servants’ will continue to get richer at our expense;
    (i) and on and on and on…

    The Sun is shining, as I type this, but I do not feel at all cheerful. Whatever we the people think or do the Muppets running the asylum will remain in charge. The Muppet-in-chief could not even manage to sort out the boundary system and probably doesn’t even know about the scandal of postal voting. What are the chances that he will get anything right before the next election when the really stupid Muppets take over?

  31. Bob
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    @Mr Redwood
    Wythenshawe is solid Labour, so the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion.
    If a true blue Tory like yourself had stood for Labour you would have won. That’s the sad truth about our dumbed down and gerrymandered population. They have no idea what they’re voting for, it’s more akin to the way people mindlessly support football teams. Try asking them about policies – most of them are completely clueless and can barely string a sentence together.

    So it really is beneath you to hold this up as a rejection of ukip.
    If that were the case then it says even more about the parties that took third and fourth places. Remember ukip’s share of the vote improved by 14% and the Tories fell by 11%.

    The Tories have not won an general election in over twenty years, even after 13 years of the disastrous New Labour government with the inept Brown & Balls at the helm. The Tories share of the vote continues to decline as does it’s membership, while ukip continues to gain support.

    At least the Tories didn’t join Labour and the BNP’s violent intimidation of the ukip party workers in Wythenshawe. I guess that a lot of Tory supporters secretly agree with ukip’s position but just cannot bring themselves to throw away years of support to the party that so takes them for granted nowadays; don’t count on this inertia lasting much longer though Mr Redwood.

  32. Freeborn John
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    As a eurosceptic I will vote UKIP in 2015 because of the likely consequences. It will mean the defeat of a man who intended to lead the Yes to the EU campaign in a national referendum in 2017. With Cameron taking such a position it would very likely mean a certain kind of unthinking Tory voter, perhaps making up 10% of the electorate would vote to stay in the DU and that well be enough to condem this country to a future as a province of federal European state. Far better than that would be to have the referendum (either in 2017 or the next parliament) with a real eurosceptic as Conservative party leader urging his supporters to leave that emerging EU federal state. Milliband as PM for 5 years is small beer compared to that likely indestinguishable anyway from Cameron in any matter of serious importance.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, you sometimes need to go 1 step back to go 2 forwards. 2015 will be one such time.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    “The top line score is a convincing Labour win on an 11% swing from the Conservatives”

    That is how many people look at it because it is the conventional way, but the results can also be interpreted in an alternative way as involving a massive swing from the LibDems to Labour, a switch which concentrates an extra chunk of the leftish anti-Tory vote on Labour rather than largely wasting it on the LibDems, thus spelling doom for the Tory party at the next general election far more surely than anything that UKIP has done or is very likely to do in the meantime.

    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 what has happened to that huge amount of support lost by the LibDems, leading to their lost deposit which we all celebrate?

    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.

    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, as shown on the left hand side of the charts here:

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

    Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that what is being interpreted 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 swing 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.

    • Chris
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if this has dawned on Lynton Crosby? The trends that you have described simply reinforce what a disastrous and misguided experiment Cameron undertook to change the Conservative Party. His efforts to occupy take the Party to the left to make it more appealing, or so he thought, to left leaning voters has failed. These Liberal deserters have not been attracted by Cameron’s conservatism one bit, but have preferred to join forces with Labour. Maybe they are also influenced by the trust factor – they do not see Cameron as genuine, but as fickle, and prefer the tried and tested devil they know, in the form of Labour.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      People were seduced by the sweet-talk of Clegg in 2010. Cameron was the posh boy, Brown the failed Scot and there was young Nick, ready to steady the ship, any ship. What they now find is that Brown has disappeared, Cameron is still a posh boy, and Nick Clegg’s promises mean nothing. The only real alternatives are Labour if you’re on benefits or a public servant, and UKIP if you’re “other”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed “the LibDems losing 17.44%” and who is a Libdem to his heart and soul but Call me Dave. He should ditch the green crap, big government, high tax, high immigration, pro EU agenda like a hot potato – but he seems to be genetically incapable of it. The green loons nowhere too I assume other than endlessly on the BBC that is.

  34. bigneil
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    My other half has a saying
    Fool me once- shame on you
    Fool me twice- shame on me
    apply this to DC. He ( and therefore his party) have lied (just like TB) and are NOT trusted. It is only when he is losing by elections that suddenly “I am listening” comes out !! – -Think about it -he ratted on the previous referendum, now he is saying they are the ONLY party who will offer one, but he has openly admitted that he wants to stay in !!!

    unbelievable – -there is not a person in the land would believe him – –It would not surprise me to see mockup posters of his face on a leopards body.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Vote for me we ratted on you last time, but we are not quite as crap at Miliband is not likely to win the election.

      7/2 betting odd for an overall Conservative Majority so virtually no chance. Libdums will go with Labour this time. But are unlikely to be needed or indeed have many MPs.

  35. ian wragg
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I think it was only last week when Lord Ashcrofts poll showed UKIP in 3rd position in Wythenshawe. What happened to those predictions???

  36. Antisthenes
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Postal voting as reformed under Labour would appear to be (questionable ed). Even if it was not it can be perceived if not proven ( although some evidence suggests that proof there has been) to be a mechanism for electoral abuse so should return to it’s original form.

    UKIP is a thorn in the side of those who are eurosceptic or do not wish to have Labour in government. It is in no doubt that on present form UKIP voters will ensure RedEd resides in no 10 come 2015 which neither UKIP or Conservative supporters will in the least relish. The time has come for us on the right to thank UKIP for stirring the political pot and make the Conservative party think more out of the centrist box. However a way must be found for both parties to work together to keep Labour away from government and making our lives even more miserable. A tall order I know as one party has a long tradition, experience, expertise and a reasonably working party machine and the other not much of any of that. But then necessity is the mother of invention and can on occasions lead to having strange bed fellows.

  37. Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    There is more than one way to read the results from Wythenshawe and crude number-crunching may not be the most accurate.

    The size of the postal vote is a clear indication that the trend towards cheating is alive and well there, just as has appeared in other recent by-elections. It is naïve to think that the figures show a more efficient Labour Party, rather than a more unscrupulous one. Nothing could more clearly demonstrate the failure of the present system than the proportion of those who had a vote recorded by post before polling day. this is yet another problem that the current government has failed to tackle.

    As for your relation of these figures to the likely outcome in 2015, you cannot have it both ways. If this result has no bearing on a General Election, then all the figures, good or bad, are irrelevant. if they do have a bearing, be sure the figures represent political reality, rather than corrupt method.

    The percentages you quote from the poll on the European Elections for the Eurosceptic view are also suspect. You may believe that Cameron is a Eurosceptic. His actions and his worthless conditional promises demonstrate that he is not. Moreover, he leads a Party in Parliament which is in favour of our continuing membership of a Union intent on greater integration – a view shared by his Coalition partner and the so-called Opposition.

    You continue to suggest that the country faces a choice between Cameron and Miliband after 2015. You still fail to recognise that such an outcome is no choice, so far as the important matters are concerned and so far as many are concerned. I, for one, am fed up being asked if I would rather be hanged or shot. What I want to see is those parliamentarians who have broken their oath to the Queen, instigated or supported treasonous legislation, lied to the electors or cheated on their expense claims brought before the Common Law Courts.

    John Wrake.

    Reply It is unbecoming each time UKIP loses to claim the election was unfair or rigged. When Conservatives lose an election I assume it is because the party was not popular enough. If you wish to establish postal votes were fixed you need to produce some evidence.

    • matthu
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      John – are you the only person contributing to this blog who fails to see the risk of fraud via postal voting?

      There are numerous reports from the police, from parliament, from watchdogs, from the elctorate detailing fraudulent practices. Perhaps for some reason, it suits MPs not to look into this. Here are sevaral links to major newspapers, to parliament and the like.

      Postal voting open to abuse, say Met police
      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2006/oct/24/uk.localgovernment

      Postal voting and electoral fraud
      http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-03667.pdf

      Postal fraud common practice is Blackburn
      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/mary-ann-sieghart/mary-ann-sieghart-how-dodgy-postal-votes-may-decide-our-next-government-7646617.html

      Restrictions on postal voting and identity checks at polling stations may be needed to help crack down on fraud, the elections watchdog has said.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22518404

      The votes scandal Labour buried for 16 years
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2156065/The-votes-scandal-Labour-buried-16-years.html

      Election register is open to abuse via postal votes
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/election-register-is-open-to-abuse-via-postal-votes-1-1106466

      Reply Yes, I do know postal votes can be abused, as could votes in person, as people can misrepresent themselves at polling stations as well. The law has been tightened to make it more difficult. The question I put is why do you immediately assume the votes were rigged in the last by election? It is quite possible people wanted to vote Labour there, and did not want to vote Conservative or UKIP. That is after all what the polls indicated before the election. I would be more prepared to allege rigging if the polls before the election had been out of line with the result.

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        JR: “The question I put is why do you immediately assume the votes were rigged in the last by election?”

        Because as your other contributor (matthu) has pointed out, there is a clear trend in the abuse of the postal voting system. Not only that, but the number of postal votes as a proportion of the total turn out leads to suspicion. At the very least a public investigation is warrented.

    • Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      With 17,000 postal votes in this constituency and, like Eastleigh, the shortest possible campaign in which well organised Labour activists were seen to follow the postmen round on their deliveries, the ballot was clearly rigged.

      Remember, Labour only scored 13,261 votes against UKIP on 4,301.

      I suspect the postal votes were decisive and Labour won it before polling day.

      I am deeply uncomfortable about the ease of which it is possible to get a postal vote and how the system has been manipulated in mainly Labour areas.

      I would far rather see polling switched to Sunday than the present postal voting system as the method chosen to try and increase turnout.

      Reply It is an election offence to manipulate postal votes. How do you know the people who voted Labour by post did not really want to?

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

        Have you ever tried to get over the threshold of a council controlled old peoples’ home in a Labour constituency to canvass for support Dr Redwood?

        Reply Yes. That is a different matter from rigging postal votes, though I accept that a Care Home Manager/Warden is in a position to break the law if they wish.

  38. Bert Young
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    My computer has been disconnected all day , so apologies for my late response . I see Wythenshawe as a wake up call to the Conservatives . No matter how low the turn out was and how “secure” the seat was for Labour the fact is UKIP did better than the Conservatives . The result points to the disaffection the public have with the leadership of the Conservative Party and its failure to accomodate its eurosceptic element . I believe the electorate wish to “protest” at the interference of the EU and will emphasise their feelings in the forthcoming EU election . Cameron has little choice but to get to grips with this sentiment and make a case with UKIP . An ex Minister of Margaret Thatcher has written to say ” he is disgusted that David Cameron has done nothing to re-establish Home Rule “.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I think that for the General election you are relying on the fear factor, that keeping Labour out is going to be the over riding factor. You may be right. But do you think that the leaders of the Conservative Party have done enough to MERIT the return of UKIP voters? If not, then you can’t guarantee their support.

    Let’s look at the composition and voting record of the Conservative Party. There are 303 CP MPs. You can generally rely on 100 MPs to support Eurosceptic motions. There are about 100 Ministers, of whom about 80 are Conservatives on the payroll vote. Of the rest, I would guess there are about 20 out and out pro-Europeans – MPs who are happy with the Lisbon ‘Treaty’ and would like us to join the Euro. That leaves around 100 whose views are not known to me. Many of these vote the way that the Whips tell them to vote. So is that a proper Eurosceptic Party?

    And listen to the words of the Conservative Party leader. He has said that regardless of the outcome of any renegotiation, he will personally vote to stay IN. That suggests to me that he is liable to ‘do a Harold Wilson’ – a half hearted renegotiation followed by a recommendation to stay IN. The onus of proof is not on me to justify my cynicism; the onus of proof is on David Cameron to demonstrate that I am wrong.

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    After some searching, I found that Wikepedia listed the results of MEP polls undertaken in 2013 (9 No.) and 2014 (3 No.). Overall, Conservatives were ahead of UKIP in 5 and UKIP were ahead of Conservatives in 7, both parties usually having 20 odd % of the popular vote.

    The two January 2014 polls showed Conservatives 23%, UKIP 26%. The poll summarised by John Redwood is the February 2014 poll.

  41. Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    “This illustrates that there are quite enough Eurosceptic votes to win an election, but not all the time they remain split between two contenders”.

    Exactly the point I and others here have been making for months, based on what we saw at the Eastleigh by-election.

    There is easily a combined Eurosceptic/right of centre majority in the UK at the moment, with or, preferably, without Scotland.

    However, we will almost certainly lose the General election and let Miliband into Number 10 on less than 30% of the vote if there isn’t a deal done !

    With a deal in place, the UKIP side, aided and abetted by members such as you, John, will ensure that the renegotiation and referendum take place.

    Surely this is too important to put at risk ?

    Heads need knocking together !!!

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      To get a deal with UKIP or find favour with UKIP voters, the Conservative Party needs to move its policy a long way. In particular, it needs to define its ‘red lines’ – the powers that simply must be recovered from the EU. Once they are agreed within the Party, that’s when a meaningful discussion with UKIP can take place. The Conservative Party needs to do this fairly soon.

      Once the ‘red lines’ of our renegotiating position have been defined, we may as well promise in our 2015 manifesto to implement them unilaterally. My red lines are to repeal our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties. What are yours?

  42. JA
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Voter turnout 28.2%

    The people are telling you this:

    The British political ‘industry’ is redundant. It costs vast amounts of money. It is self serving, employs Spanish practices – its work has been outsourced to the EU.

    THERE IS NO POINT IN VOTING.

    (Probably less than 28.2% if the votes were skewed by corruption.)

  43. Daedalus
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Its about time postal votes got binned in a big way. The only people who should be able to make use of a postal vote are the armed forces, merchant navy and people such as air line pilots who cannot get to a polling station. Plus of course the older people and disabled with limited mobility.

    Daedalus

  44. Neil Craig
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    John it doesn’t seem that long since you were saying people shouldn’t vote UKIP because it was the smaller party and outside the south of England, nobody much was going to vote for it.

    I have expressed regret that the Tories have consistently used this argument against “splitting” in preference to any serious debate on why you believe Tory party policies are superior to UKIP’s. The moreso since the argument that splitting is bad is inherently an acknowledgement that our electoral system is corrupt and disenfranchises a majority of the population (very few MPs getting the votes of over 50% of voters). Unfortunately, for whatever reason, your party is absolutely opposed to having a democratic electoral system whereas UKIP supports one.

    Now we see that in northern England, at least, it is the Conservatives who are the smaller party and therefore the ones “splitting” the anti-Labour vote. If the Tories sincerely believed your argument you would, in honour, now have to be advising Conservative voters in half the country, to vote UKIP to keep out Labour.
    ———–
    The by election also showed up how damaging to democracy the postal ballot system is – once described by the judge in the Birmingham voting fraud trial as “short of writing steal me on the envelope they [Labour] could not have done more to encourage fraud” and perhaps it is well past time for the coalition to reform it – if the LDs didn’t go for Lords reform they probably would for this.

    40% of the votes in Wythenshawe were postal and previous experience suggests above 70% of them will be Labour. Labour would probably still have won but only by a few thousand votes.

    Reply I have said I continue as a Conservative because we have the best chance to form a government and offer everyone a referendum on In/Out. That remains the position. I am often asked to join UKIP because I agree with some of their policies! I have not changed my stance on these matters, but UKIP have come along and agreed with me on somethings. That is no reason to have to join them. As Mr Farage said, their Manifesto in 2010 also contained lots of nonsense – like 3 high speed rail lines we could not afford. It will be interesting to see what he replaces this with in 2015. Maybe he will copy more of the policiesI like and advocate.

    • Neil Craig
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      A fair response John and I have to agree that I would like my party to move further towards many financial and technological policies you promote too, though I think we average closer than yours does. Our previous policy on rail was as foolish as the current Conservatives’.

      I have little faith in Cameron’s current cast iron promise & none that even that much would have happened without UKIP. My point about splitting is nonetheless valid – the Conservatives are not going to get people who support UKIP to come to them “by hereditary right” – indeed I am quite certain that a much higher proportion of Tory voters would choose UKIP as their 2nd choice (or, for those held to you only by past loyalties, even as their first) than vice versa. In those circumstances, if your party goes into the election, under Cameron’s policies & refusing any sort of deal with UKIP again, the only thing the Conservatives can do is put Labour in. In which case a melt down of the Conservative vote replaced by UKIP might be the best thing even for Conservatives.

  45. Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Reply to reply to my comment at 5.46p.m.

    Mr. Redwood, My comment had nothing to do with UKIP and its placing in the election, (which you classify as UKIP losing) and everything to do with the figures relating to the Labour Party. Your reply indicates great sensitivity on the subject of UKIP.

    I note that you make no reply at all to my charge that the Houses of Parliament are too full of those who deserve to be put before Common Law Courts for their treasonous or self-serving or deceitful behaviour.

    Reply Your silly posturing helps no-one. No MP is about to be charged for treason.

    If you deny the truth of my accusation, have the courage to say so openly, so that I may have the opportunity to refute your denial by quoting instances.

    John Wrake

    Reply Your silly posturing helps no-one. No MP is about to be charged with treason. You need to try to understand just how far changed from your world of Magna Carta the modern UK is.

  46. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Would they rather have Mr Miliband or Mr Cameron leading the country.

    And yet you, Mr. Redwood, regularly defend the system that provides us with such a poor choice. A system that makes people vote for A to avoid getting B when, in reality, they want C.

    It suits A and B. I just wish you’d be honest about it being undemocratic. And, as to the argument that it leads to effective government, a massive, bloated, inefficient state and a debt in the region of 1.5 trillion for future generations to repay would suggest otherwise.

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m intrigued by all this talk of fraud regarding postal votes. What do you have to do to identify yourself when you cast your postal vote?

    Reply The vote is sent to you in your name at your registered address, and you have to sign a paper confirming that you are the voter, as well as filling in the ballot form and putting that in a different envelope.

    • stred
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      The form asks you to put down other names in your house as well as your own. The house may be rented and have been sublet to many people who may have moved away. Although criminal, an activist knows that he is unlikely to be caught and any punishment will be minimal. He can easily fabricate many voters names in a house, forge signatures, copy the form then give it to someone else to sign and vote in this name. I do not know of any sharers or ex tenants in this sort of property who would vote for any party except Green, Labour or further left. Vote early and vote often as they say in NI.

  48. Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    On your reply to my comment at 5.46 p.m.

    Mr. Redwood,

    Now at last we get to the nub of the problem facing this country. An M.P. and an ex-Minister in a previous Conservative Government, who has enjoyed his reputation as a leader of Eurosceptic opinion in the House of Commons for a considerable period, can openly write that a call for the implementation of Common Law is “silly posturing”.

    You are right that no M.P. is about to be charged with treason, because those guilty of treason have purported to change the rules, so as to avoid the charge.

    I understand clearly how the modern nation of which you are a legislator has departed from the freedoms enshrined in Magna Carta and in the Declaration of Right, and that fact alone confirms the treasonous nature of those in power who have brought about the change.

    It is clear that you and those like you in Parliament have cast aside the basic concept of Common Law, that all in this nation are subject to the same law, and arrogate to yourselves a superiority above the common herd which demands different treatment and different standards.

    Sir Winston Churchill did not refer to Magna Carta as an outdated and outworn Charter, but as the bastion against the enslavement of the common man by wickedness in high places. It is a pity that you do not share his opinion.

    Let others decide where the posturing resides.

    John Wrake.

    • APL
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      John Wrake: “It is clear that you and those like you in Parliament have cast aside the basic concept of Common Law,”

      And with it their own legitimacy to govern.

      But the country John Redwood and his claque in Parliament envisage is not a country governed by a constitution with constitutional restraints on the use and abuse of power, but a free for all, where Politicians do whatever seems expedient for the moment.

      It isn’t much different from Zimbabwe, really. Just a matter of time.

      Reply I am a continuing opponent of our present constitutional settlement. It is however far from the concentrated power you suggest – the actions of the UK government and Parliament are much circumscribed and controlled bv the EU, ECJ and ECHR.

  49. Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Once again, I see that my comment on your reply to an earlier comment has magically finished up at last place in the comments section.

    I acknowledge your willingness to post my comments which are critical of the positions you continue to take on the subject of Parliamentary misbehaviour, but I would hope that those comments did not so frequently end up at the bottom of the pile.

    John Wrake.

  50. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I hope Doctor Redwood retains his seat but |I would personally prefer to see Milliband in Number 1o. To all intents and purposes a Cameron Con and Milliband Lab party are the same. The will and numbers of the few sensible Conservative Mp’s is not great enough.
    This way the smug Modernising wing of the party can finally be put in the bin, with the hope that a properly conservative party might emerge from the ashes. In short a Conservative party that leans to the left is political suicide but a strategy followed by the current leadership.

  51. Chris S
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    “As we approach the election people will have to make a simple choice. Would they rather have Mr Miliband or Mr Cameron leading the country”.

    Voters will not “chose” Milliband he will likely get into Downing Street on less than 30% of the vote because the Conservatives will allow him to “win” the election because they won’t work with UKIP to ensure the election of a Right of Centre Government.

    Who will we blame when we don’t get our referendum and Labour, egged on by the LibDems, embroils us deeper in the disaster that is the EU, gives away more powers to Brussels and gives Scotland Devomax while ignoring the wishes of the population of England ?

    I’m sorry to say it will be David Cameron and the Conservative party, that’s who.

    Reply Labour is currently on rather more than 30% of the vote and the people who promise to vote for it do want Mr M as PM.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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