Thursday, February 23, 2017

How remarkable would a Conservative win in Copeland be?

If the normal rules of politics were in effect, the Conservatives would not have a cat in hell's chance of winning Copeland or Stoke today.

The normal rules are NOT in effect and everyone who has spent any length of time in Copeland realises that there is a very real possibility of a Conservative win. Copeland Labour party are more worried than I have ever seen them and their "babies will die" campaign should be seen as a sign of desperation more than anything else.

A by-election is usually seen as a cost-free opportunity for the local electorate to give someone a kicking, and on the vast majority of occasions the people they choose to kick are the government.

That is why even governments which are well ahead in the opinion polls very rarely gain seats in by-elections, and most of those occasions when it has happened have been freakishly unusual - for example, the last time a government of any party gained a seat at a by election 25 years ago was both while that government was winning a war, and the incumbent MP had resigned and stood for re-election for a different party.

There is a superb article in "Number Cruncher Politics" here.

It points out that the last time a governing party gained a seat from the main opposition party in a peacetime by-election by overturning a majority of more than 3 per cent, without a defecting incumbent, or a material change in the set of parties contesting the seat, was on 28th Mar 1878 when John Derby Allcroft took Worcester for the Conservatives, overturning a 7.6 per cent Liberal majority.

"Number cruncher politics" considers that a Conservative win in Copeland today would not be a once-in-a-generation event, but a once in a century event. A Conservative win in Stoke would be an off-the-scale event.

This graphic comes from the article:

Well, we shall see. By-elections are notoriously hard to predict, and the impact of Storm Doris makes this one even harder to call. But I think it is going to be very close and Trudy Harrison has an excellent chance of pulling off a truly remarkable victory. I would not write Jack Brereton off either. Every vote will count.


Anonymous said...

Not at all remarkable. People are disillusioned with the lot of you.

Chris Whiteside said...

A country gets the candidates and parties it deserves.

Anyone who is disillusioned with the candidates standing and does not like what is on offer has the right either to join whichever party is closest to their views and work to improve it, or do what two local residents have actually done in this by-election and stand themselves.

I am of course not endorsing Michael Guest or Roy Ivinson - I voted for Trudy Harrison who I believe is the best candidate - but I do admire the fact that instead of just twining about not liking the candidates on offer they did something constructive and put up themselves.

Jim said...

You have to admit, its a fair point Anonymous raises here. its a bit like shall we eat dog poo, cat poo or cow poo?

You may think the obvious choice there is Cow poo, but in reality people are indeed waking up to the fact they are now eating cow poo.

There is the problem, its not really a problem with the candidates as such, its a problem with the system itself. Its again something we thought long and hard about, but yes, it always came back to that same basic problem.

"People dont know what they are voting for" is the political term, erm yes they do, its just not what the political class want people to vote for that is the problem.

Jim said...

And please dont again tell me to stand in a system that is flawed from the start.

its the system that is the problem.

Jim said...

That is the main flaw with all political partys, you see you cant solve a problem if you cant understand what the problem is.

for example you dont solve measles by rubbing oil on the spots, hoping they will retreat until the next election. you have to cure the disease

and the disease in this case is the system.

Chris Whiteside said...

Yes, but you can change the system.

The catch is that to do so you have to first persuade enough people to vote for you under the existing system to create a majority to change.