Friday, 24 July 2009
Firstly one has to congratulate Chloe Smith on her election victory today. I'm not going through all the statporn here but it's enough to say that a 16.5% swing and a 20% margin ahead of the nearest candidate is a pretty comprehensive win.
With parliament in recess, it is no surprise that the blogosphere has been attracted to this story like a moth to the only light left on in politics. I myself have succumbed as well, simply because there is no other news, but generally I don't like to look into by-election results too closely. With so much attention from the press and political parties alike the results are often not a true representation of either local or national feeling but how recent events are spun in the local and national press.
Furthermore the Conservative win wasn't all too surprising. We can't say that we now know that the Conservatives are likely to beat Labour in the next general election because the man on the street could have told you that. It would be unfair to even guess the results of the next general election from this for the reasons set out above.
Perhaps we can learn two things from this but I'm afraid neither are good for the Lib Dems. I've honestly not got some vendetta against the party, I'm just pointing out what I see. Firstly, the Liberal Democrats have actually lost out in terms of share of the vote going from 16.2% to 14%. I know this may be just a by-election which isn't necessarily LD-friendly but one expects them to be taking votes from Labour, not losing out to the Conservatives.
This brings me to my second point. it appears that the expenses scandal is over and has had little effect on the voters. The Conservative party were arguably the biggest losers in this debacle but seemingly gained votes from the Lib Dems who came out from the affair reasonably unscathed. If this is the public's fickle attitude only months after the Telegraph broke the story then I have little doubt it will be gone and forgotten by the next general election.
I suggest that the public are fickle but, in my opinion, it's not a bad thing this has gone both from the news and the minds of the electorate. There are much more important issues at stake which must be considered when casting a vote.