The Tories overturned a 5459 Labour majority by 7,348 votes in the Norwich by-election on Thursday in a decisive and pivotal victory. Their turnout was 6% lower than expected, but 70% of the Labour constituency stayed at home watching Big Brother. The Lib Dems came third as usual, giving the lie to those who perennially hope that disillusionment with the two main parties will translate into a third way. Chloe Smith, 27, a fragrant middle class girl, will become the youngest Tory MP for more than 30 years and poster girl of ‘New’ Conservatives. Gordon Brown declared it ‘a bad night for everyone’ – another breathtaking example of Cnutian self delusion. Tory leader David Cameron disagreed, as well he might. A 16.5% swing, nationally extrapolated, indicates a landslide General Election victory margin of up to 240 seats. Whether it is achieved by Labour voter disillusionment will be academic to the victors. The Hartlepool monkey would stand a good chance against Grim Gordon and Mandy the Mendacious.
Norwich North came up for grabs early because the incumbent MP, Ian Gibson, resigned having been barred by Labour from standing in the next election, having sold his taxpayer-funded flat to his daughter at a heavily-discounted price. Casting round for something to spin, Labour-leaning pundits – there are still plenty – argue that this qualifies the result as exceptional, that when the electorate awake to the full horror of an Eton claque slashing public sector budgets and effectively putting the emergency brake on the gravy train, they will ‘come to their senses’ and support ‘New’ Labour. This ‘argument’ ignores the almost-universal rule that elections are lost by the incumbent rather than won by the opposition, especially after a long period in power and definitely if the country is economically decimated, the wealth gap has widened, unemployment rampant, parliamentary scandal and cronyism is rife and it is involved in one or more unwinnable wars. No offence to Chloe, who looks and sounds sincere and will probably do a good job, but Labour voters sat on their hands in Norwich (and Nantwich last May) because they cannot abide the current leadership and the unholy mire into which the country has sunk. The New Labour strategy of wallowing in the fudgy centre leaves undecided voters and radicals with even less choice than before. Those who can be bothered will vote for change for its own sake. Thus, barring a miraculous economic recovery which will reduce the record £600 billion national debt, itself requiring an equally miraculous reversal of the record trade deficit, unemployment falling from a projected 3 million next May to less than 2 million (ditto conditions apply), ‘victory’ in Afghanistan, peace in Iraq, obliteration of the Taliban, Al Quaeda, repatriating over 1 million ‘illegals’ demonised in the phony War on Terror and collective amnesia about the destruction of civil liberties which has been the hallmark of the Blair/Brown years, the Eton boys’ brigade will be ruling Britain next year.
Despite this record, recividist Hounhyms still ‘believe’ that electoral boundary changes introduced since 1997 will make it impossible for the Tories to achieve anything greater than a hung Parliament. They bluster that Cameron needs a swing of 6 percent to draw level, rising to 11 percent to achieve a working majority, while the Tories need a 40 percent share to get near to Blair’s margin of victory in 1997. This tells us more about the desperation in the Labour war room and the enduring capacity to favour fantasy over fact than it does about the state of the nation. The facts are thus: the Tories won the Crewe and Nantwich by-election last May with a swing of 17.5%, again on a reduced turnout. The recent European MEP elections put Labour in third place, 12% behind the Tories and 43% behind the combined votes of the Tories and the single issue UK Independence Party, most of whom would vote Tory in a General Election. Euroscepticism cost Tories votes in the past: in the next election, this will be an advantage. Were an election to be called tomorrow, the two leading opinion polls give the Tories a 16% lead over Labour. Most polls indicate a projected 40% share, and have done so for several months. Labour’s share would be 24%. This translates as somewhere between a comfortable Tory working majority and a landslide, despite what Labour’s frantic Panglossian spinmonkeys would have you and I believe. A big majority would be bad for Britain, but that’s another story. No shows will count as a vote against Labour. There is little to choose between Tory Tony and Tory Dave. Gordon IS a moron. Mandy is (fill in the blanks). Next question, please.