A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Not sure whether to laugh or cry about the Henley by-election result. Labour crashing to fifth place certainly isn't a reflection on the campaign run by Labour candidate Richard McKenzie and Regional Director Malcolm Powers. I'm told they worked their socks off. Unfortunately I don't remember receiving anything from the national party encouraging people to go there and help. If we decide we are going to get a catastrophic result and don't try to put in resources then guess what, we end up with a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm not saying we could have done well, given the territory and the national polls, but it would have been nice to save our deposit and beat the Greens and BNP. Interesting that Lib Dem whispers that they were running a close second turned out to be a total fantasy.

Also out last night was a YouGov poll that was at least moving in the right direction - Con 46% (-1%), Lab 28% (+5%), LD 15% (-3%). This may sound academic but the narrowing of the Tory lead by 6% represents an extra 44 Labour MPs, and 44 fewer gloating Tory newbie MPs elected by surprise in heartland Labour seats.

There were some council by-elections last night as well:

Park Ward, Blackpool UA. Con gain from Lab. Con 977 (55.1%, +28%), Lab 448 (25.3%, -8.4%), BNP 218 (12.3%, -4.8%), LD 97 (5.5%, -9.5%), UKIP 30 (1.7%, -6.7%). Swing 18.2% Lab to Con since 2007. Stunning result for the Tories at expense of all other parties in a ward in a parliamentary marginal.

Hatfield C Ward, Welwyn & Hatfield DC. Lab gain from Con! Lab 425 (33.2%, -7.5%), LD 329 (25.7%, +8.9%), Con 319 (24.9%, -17.6%), BNP 138 (10.8%, +10.8%), Ind 69 (5.4%, +5.4%). Swing 8.2% Lab to LD since 1 May. Labour picks up 3rd seat in a split ward on a council where we only got 5 councillors on 1 May.

Diss Ward, S Norfolk DC voted on Friday. Con hold. Con 1041 (55.6%, -3.2%), LD 768 (41%, -0.2%), Lab 63 (3.4%, did not stand last time). Swing of 1.5% from Con to LD since 2007.


Anonymous Stuart King said...

The Labour gain from Con in Welwyn Hatfield intruiged me so I looked into it. Turns out the by election was a caused following the resignation of the sitting Tory councillor after he was exposed as having lied about having cancer. Nice bloke.

9:34 am, June 27, 2008

Anonymous Labour Matters said...

Not only was there no call to help out in Henley, but my email to McKenzie shortly before the campaign started offering to help get his message out went unreplied. I wasn't at all surprised by the result after the campaign ended without hardly a word from McKenzie in the press or any Labour-supporting websites.

I see that one of the excuses Labour made for the drubbing was that the Lib Dems ran an unpleasant campaign. That's hardly unusual, but you don't counteract lies with silence.

10:01 am, June 27, 2008

Blogger robr said...

The Henley vote with BNP above labour says more about the Henley electorate than the Labour party. The people of Henley should be ashamed of voting BNP in this most white upper class area in the UK.

10:03 am, June 27, 2008

Blogger Matthew said...

If someone in the party thought that the LDs had a good chance of winning so we shouldn't make an effort then it was a serious and profound misjudgement.

I don't think we finished behind the BNP and Greens even in the Winchester or Romsey by-elections, both where we lost our deposit but where the calculation was right.

10:30 am, June 27, 2008

Anonymous Oxbridge Prat said...

In 1997 Labour managed more than 12000 votes in Henley. Now they can't even scrape together 1200. Blaming the BNP is laughable.

10:52 am, June 27, 2008

Anonymous cassandra said...

"The Henley vote with BNP above labour says more about the Henley electorate than the Labour party. The people of Henley should be ashamed of voting BNP in this most white upper class area in the UK."

robr, This kind of ignorance shows why Labour is moribund.

Not everyone in this constituency is upper/middle class.

Wait for the election, Labour will be routed and the BNP vote will scare the socks of many comfortable/elitist fools.

1:17 pm, June 27, 2008

Blogger Dave Cole said...

Perhaps the party knew that Henley was going to be ugly (didn't take a genius to predict) and so didn't want to dishearten campaigners but keep their powder dry for a fight with a better chance of winning.

Not an unreasonable point of view.

2:50 pm, June 27, 2008


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