Friday, December 30, 2016

Forthcoming Copeland By-Election: the task ahead

The Conservatives will work flat out between now and polling day, whenever that is, to maximise our chances of winning the forthcoming by-election in Copeland.

And we're not just going to throw the kitchen sink at this election.

We're going to throw the kitchen sink, the fridge, the oven, everything else in the kitchen and everything in Ed Miliband's second kitchen as well.

For anyone who doubts that the Conservatives are going to pull out all the stops for this by-election, you might like to be aware that

* today we have our fourth action day in Copeland over the Christmas break, with a former cabinet minister among those expected to join us,

* we had ten parliamentarians and about twenty other people out campaigning two days before Christmas despite everything Storm Barbara could throw at us

* we had not far short of a hundred people campaigning around the constituency three days after Christmas

But that is absolutely nothing compared to the effort which will be put in in the New Year.

Ironically on the same day that we had a nearly a hundred Conservative activists campaigning around the constituency one of the smaller number of Labour supporters gathered in Whitehaven market place told a journalist from the Business Insider that the Conservatives would have "barely anyone" campaigning on the ground here and that Labour will "bury the Tories" at campaigning.

Oh no you won't, Marra!

The comments in "Business Insider" are exactly the sort of arrogant complacency that no candidate of any party can afford. The other thing that nobody who wants to win the votes of the people of Copeland can afford to do is take them for granted. That is what Labour have been doing for decades, which is why their majority here at last year's General Election fell to 2,564 and why they lost the Mayoral election.

It's a mugs game making forecasts at this stage about the result of an election which has not even been called, to replace an MP who has not resigned yet, merely announced his impending resignation, when no party has selected their candidate yet and we don't even know the date of the election.

If the Conservatives win it will be a remarkable achievement. A party in government gaining a seat in the House of Commons by winning a by election is something that has happened three times in the last ninety years.

It is a third of a century since the last time, in the Mitcham_and_Morden_by-election in 1982, and that was while the government was in the final stages of winning a war against a fascist military dictatorship which had invaded British territory.

Not counting the by-election awarded by an election court to the runner-up because the winner, Tony Benn, had not yet been allowed to renounce his peerage, the previous time a government gained a seat at a by-election was the Brighouse_and_Spenborough_by-election on 17 March 1960 which is before I was born.

The time before that was the Sunderland South by-election on 13 May 1953, and the time before that was in 1924, more than ninety years ago.

So if we win this, it will be a once in thirty years achievement. But we are certainly going to try.


Jim said...

What exactly will change for the people of Copeland if you do win?

People are sick and tired of false promises, we want details, this will happen that will happen, kind of stuff, and it has to be C**k on the block things, so when it does not happen well you know.

Thats why the turnout will decide the vote, once again, and because the general understanding is they are all the same, then "my mother would turn in her grave" will more than likely win it for the chimp with the red rose

Chris Whiteside said...

Jim, the election has not even been called yet and to the best of my knowledge nobody has taken any decisions about who will be standing.

I could make the political point that if the Conservatives win it would send a very strong signal to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party that Corbyn's anti-nuclear policies are regarded as disastrous by the people of this area.

It is early days yet but I am sure that when the election campaign actually begins all the candidates will, if they want the votes of intelligent voters in Copeland, have to give much more detail about what they will do for the area if elected.

Jim said...

That is the bit I don't get. As you say "the election has not even been called yet and to the best of my knowledge nobody has taken any decisions about who will be standing."

So why exactly is there already a campaign, with nothing to campaign for?

Chris Whiteside said...

Well, I don't know what the Labour party have been doing other than standing around in Whitehaven Market place holding up posters, but the Conservatives were already expecting a set of County Council elections in May 2017.

Before we had any idea that Jamie Reed was going to announce his impending resignation we had already printed tens of thousands of newspapers, leaflets and survey forms making points and asking questions respectively about the issues we expect to be important in the County Council election.

There are one or two issues - you can probably guess which - which we will need to make much more of going forward but there is a huge overlap of expected issues. Essentially the material we had already printed will also by highly relevant to the by-election when it is called.

The original plan was to get a few thousand out in mid December and deal with the rest through January. But as we have suddenly had rather a lot of help over the past fortnight we've completed in 2016 the work we were expecting to do in January 2017.

No doubt in January we will be able to find things to say to the electorate of Copeland and survey their views of general political rele3vance to the area, but we will not be asking for or canvassing support in the by-election until it is actually called.