How seriously is Labour taking the Eastleigh by-election?

February 4, 2013 4:18 pm

As Chris Huhne resigns after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice, all of the major parties (and UKIP) will begin to look towards the Eastleigh by-election. Labour only just scraped over the 5,000 votes mark there in 2010 – but as Lib Dem support collapses across most of the country (but not Eastleigh, they’re still winning council seats there) how confident are Labour?

A Labour source told us this afternoon:

“We recognise this is an uphill struggle but as a one-nation party we fight in every seat and campaign in every part of the country. We intend to campaign hard against both coalition parties.”

But a little bit of digging puts the scale of Labour’s uphill struggle in Eastleigh into perspective. The seat would be 258th on Labour’s target seat list for 2015. Or to put it another way, if Labour won Eastleigh at a general election, the party would be looking at a 362 seat majority.

I certainly won’t be holding my breath…

Update: This excellent graph from Left Foot Forward shows how Labour have rarely been competitive in Eastleigh – and boundary changes have had an impact on Labour’s vote in the seat since the 90s:

Eastleigh-election-results-1955-2010

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Cameron/100001293790059 David Cameron

    Don’t be so bloody negative please

  • http://www.robbiescott.com/ Robbie Scott

    how about running a big name like a former cabinet member? Charles Clark ?

    • AlanGiles

      I imagine Mr Clarke would be as unpopular as me, Robbie!

      • rekrab

        I dunno about that Alan.Your the most consistent and meaningful writer on LL for the past couple of years.It seems to me you have all the qualities that many MP’s need to have.

        • AlanGiles

          That is very generous of you to say, but I doubt many would agree with you. This morning somebody told me that his wife considered me to be a Conservative “posing” as a Green.(!)

          I always try to be honest, and I genuinely feel that Labour has a good chance at Eastleigh, especially if Nigel Farage takes on Eastleigh. There is something about being party leader that make voters take that bit more interested (Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavillion, George Galloway Bradford West). I don’t think UKIP can win, but it might well split the Conservative vote dangerously, and it might well be Mr Farage does far better than the Conservative candidate, which will once again ignite talk of a leadership change for the Conservatives. Gove party leader?, possibly, but prime Minister? Never.

          To continue the honesty, I think Labour stands more chance of taking Eastleigh than the Greens do of retaining Brighton (especially if the “One Nation” stuff gets believed). The economic situation is appalling yet the Conservatives bicker about gay marriage, and a would-be party leader, Huhne tried to become leader after he had committed a serious crime. I don’t think those issues will be lost on the voters.

          • rekrab

            Alan, the fact that you induce such comments is testament too your brilliant honesty and comments.

            I’d echo all you’ve said and if Farage does run, it will set the cat amongst the pigeons.I think your right about ukips chance and that may be why Farage skips this one out?

            No doubt the economy and Europe will be all the talk and the chance of a changed party control of that constituency is very high.

          • aracataca

            ‘Alan, the fact that you induce such comments is testament too your brilliant honesty and comments’.

            Presume that’s meant to be a joke.

          • rekrab

            Why? are you related to Mrs Doubtfire? If one keeps on presuming, then how does one form an opinion?

  • John Ruddy

    Eastleigh is not as unlikely. We suffered a bigger than national drop in our share of the vote in 2010.
    Dont forget, we came second in the 1994 by-election…..a strong UKIP showing drawing away disaffected tories, and a strong labour campaign drawing back the anti-tory vote from the Lib dems could provide an interesting result……

    • James Jacobs

      Still might be interesting who’s selected. It may well be the case that those interested in being selected for Southampton Itchen might consider putting their name in for Eastleigh

    • AlanGiles

      I’m glad somebody sees it my way. However strong the LibDems in Eastleigh might be now, it is, I think, indicative of the British sense of fair play that if they see somebody flouting the law, they might punish the party. There is precedent for this for Labour in London. Dawn Butler was caught fiddling, so a very poor area (Brent) threw her out at the election and Sarah Teather replaced her. That is just one example. There were others, and I think where dishonesty, pure and simple is concerned, the public will cane the party concerned, however blameless the new candidate might be.

      • Jeremy_Preece

        This is often the case but not always. I lived in Bracknell in 2010 and thought that after the sitting Tory MP Andrew McKay was caught “double dipping” on his expenses, (he and his wife and another Tory MP, had each claimed 100% of all costs of the accommidation that they shared), then we were onto something.
        I got even more optomistic when the Tories brought in another unpopular candidate. However as they used to say, a dead animal with a blue rosette would win in Bracknell.

        • AlanGiles

          I take your point Jeremy, but in the case of McKay, unfortunately, and (like a good many other MPs of all parties) though he SHOULD have had criminal proceedings bought against him, he was allowed to get away with it, but with Mr Huhne being, as it were guilty of a criminal offence even BEFORE he became an MP (I mean perverting the course of justice, not speeding which Iets face it, most people have done from time to time), and brazening it out as he has done for so long, I suspec there will be a lot of disillusioned LD supporters…….

    • Jeremy_Preece

      It is really unlikely true. Bust we should give it our very best shot.
      There is every reason to think that we are going to up our share of the vote and could also come second.
      There are some very angry LibDems voters, and as yet we don’t know if these are likely to vote differently nationally even if they still vote for their local LibDem councilors.

  • Charlie_Mansell

    My recollection is that we were really up for it in 1994 and as a result we knocked the Tories into third place?. Is this now being treated as a “West Virginia, Tennessee or Kentucky” in the new “UK Labour Obama” strategy? I think this could be very dangerous? There are 10% less inner directed in the UK compared to the U.S and over 15% more sustenance, safety and security driven. This is an opportunity to test our One Nation message in a tougher area, rather than retreating into the more urban comfort zones. If the Fabians’ recent report is right then voter motivation is vitally important and thus we need places to test voter motivation strategies (and understand motivational values that drive them) and tougher seats are the places to do this

    • Redshift1

      We can’t be going spending a load of money or sending half the country’s ROs over there though. This should be a case of SE region running a low-budget campaign, drawing mostly upon local activists and working the parts of the constituency that are underworked but are viable council gains in future local elections.

      • Charlie_Mansell

        There is an alternative approach. 1. I don’t think they need to send half the RO’s, but, based on my experience of seats in similar areas, I bet only a third of the wards have been fully phoned and each regional office could commit working with their CLP’s to complete the phoning of part of the CLP. 2. I would imagine the Southampton Labour Parties (who have a good campaigning record working with local TU’s) will be taking a lead to organise the target areas. 3. How about the Movement for Change using the by-election as a major training opportunity to get community organising out of urban, motivated mixed community environments into more suburban areas, where the poorer areas will have much higher levels of apathy due to lower social capital. 4. Finally people should dig the vast amount of excellent literature used in the 1994 by-election campaign. What we will need resourcing is lots of good colour leaflets to match the LD deluge.

        • Redshift1

          On point 1, I’d be surprised if they have even had that to be honest. On that basis can you seriously expect regional offices to take vital resources away from county elections in places like Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, etc – which in many cases is building towards parliamentary elections in marginal seats. You can’t justify that. There is MORE than enough resource within the South East to deal with a by-election that we have a very slim chance of winning.

          2. – good send Southampton over then.

          3. Well they could use community organising techniques here but only if they can get the campaign basics working first. I’d wager we don’t have things like proper leaflet rounds, even in the better wards.

          4. This again depends on what state the local party is in. No capacity and this becomes a bit academic.

          • Charlie_Mansell

            It’s a by-election and thus gets more news coverage than a generic County election. The new coverage over the coalition battle could squeeze us out if we don;t fight well.

            Totally agree with your point about leaflet rounds, but Contact Creator and Google Maps street view means these can be actually set up in any part of the country, thus we do not need to shift asd much physical resources. We have 100′s of people with access to Contract Creator who could be given a permission and this work can be crowdsourced to volunteers rather then tasking RO’s away from having to manage the egos of the stressed out leaderships of Northern County Labour Opposition Groups. However it does requires RO’s in the regions to be creative in their use of volunteers.

            We currently have probably around 100+ people seeking Euro selection, who want to show how hard working they are. Those applying for the South East List should certainly be encouraged

            The logic of the argument then ends up as

            a) Let’s downplay this.

            b) The modern day Rennard’s make sure Lib Dems leaflets in Eastleigh are full of material quoting Labour people on websites saying it is not worth it.

            c) Lib Dems secure a victory based on Labour tactical votes for possibly an April by-election and get some good news coverage. This result would be different to the 94 by-election where our vote went up and the LD’s squeezed more of the Tory vote

            d) Anti-Tory voters who voted Lib Dem in less strong Labour areas who have swung to us go by 2 or 3 % back to Lib Dems costing Labour some ‘One Nation’ result County seats in some of the more tougher marginals up north. The ICM polls (the most accurate for the Lib Dems) show a lot of potential Lib Dem voters are currently Don’t Knows. This by-election will have more impact on them than the last six.

            I am surprised for all the anger against the coalition and the Lib Dems I often see in the comments section of this site that people are defaulting into a ‘its not our seat’ approach. The coalition has changed the dynamics of politics. In my experience in recent months LD’s in these sort of seats are taking votes off the Tories. The combination of that and UKIP and a Labour increased vote – if we campaign – should mean we should be framing our local attack there as an attack on the coalition with the aim of driving Tory votes into the arms of the LD’s and UKIP and actually aiming to knock the Tories into third place. What worries me that with a poll rating comparable to 1994 we seem to be completely conceding Eastleigh when last time we came second

          • Redshift1

            I’m not saying it shouldn’t be fought. I’m just saying that if the South East office can’t deal with this without milking a load of totally unnecessary resource out of all the other regions then we may as well pack up and go home.

            I think a win is very unlikely, but I also think there is no point in being scared of the Tories taking a Lib Dem seat. Firstly, that might not happen because of UKIP nicking Tory votes anyway. Secondly, the Lib Dems made their bed in coalition with the Tories and have fucked over the country as a result, they can’t expect us to go soft on them. Thirdly, the Tories and Lib Dems fighting one another isn’t exactly bad news, could lead to more vote defeats in the commons, which makes the government look weak.

            I think our approach should be to focus heavily on the better parts of the constituency for us. Build some serious Labour-presence. Train people. Most voters probably haven’t seen us about campaigning there for the past 15 years. You could win council seats out of that approach in future even if we have sod all chance of winning the by-election, but it would still help improve our vote share in the by-election.

            BUT it is a bad suggestion that you can take resources (staff or volunteers) out of the West Midlands, East Midlands, North West, etc now, when they have incredibly important county elections on in order to fight a by-election we’re so unlikely to win, when the South East office is more than capable of mounting an appropriate campaign.

            PS – drag London people in if you’re going to take anyone from outside South East region. They’ve no elections this year.

          • Charlie_Mansell

            I don’t think the Tories will win the seat and I do have a reasonable public track record on predictions!:) http://www.electiongame.co.uk/

            I also do agree with a lot of what you are saying and don’t think we need to drag out many resources from other than the South East, however it should be noted we do have County elections in the South east and in some places we could see some reasonable Labour gains as well as some hung counties where Labour can fight the cuts more effectively. I would agree this is an opportunity to utilise London resources as a thank you to those who helped our GLA campaign. That is why I suggested things like deploying prospective Euro-candidates (lots of photo-ops with MP’s for them) and crowdsourcing some of the CC admin work so Northern staff are not dragged down. That requires someone at HQ or SE region to approve the CC permissions and set some.

            I recommend you read the Luke Akehurst article on the by-election. He goes further than me on how far we should fight it. http://labourlist.org/2013/02/labour-has-nothing-to-lose-in-eastleigh-and-should-throw-the-kitchen-sink-at-it/

            I hope we get a campaign that is a mix of your points (don’t take away full time staff from everywhere) mine (crowdsourcing, London and Euro candidates) and what Luke suggests

          • Charlie_Mansell

            The early date of the by-election makes it more like a good idea to put some effort in to increase the Labour vote on 28th February http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21349422

            It will now have little ‘ground war’ organisational impact on the Counties, but a good Labour result and a Tory meltdown in the by-election – which I think is on the cards – could have a good ‘air war’ political impact on the County Council elections over two months later!

          • Jeremy_Preece

            If this were a GE we might not be throwing everything at it, but it is a byelection and as such, with no other elections happeneing on that day, why not give it our best shot.

            I also agree that if we start saying that it is hopeless then we will get nowhere. If we go at it as if we could win then….

            Then what if we did better than expected, or quite well, or came second or even won it.

            Just imagine!

  • http://twitter.com/AndyJSajs AndyJS
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

    A divided coalition squabbling amongst themselves over who gets a new MP instead of running the country. If the Lib Dems win it couldn’t come at a worse time for Cameron. If the Tories win it represents the scale of the defeat the Lib Dems can expect in 2015. Either scenario is beneficial to Labour, provided UKIP doesn’t produce an embarrassment.

  • http://twitter.com/AndyJSajs AndyJS

    If you’re using the BBC’s target numbers, they’re wrong. They don’t take into account the need to overtake the second-placed party. That’s why the swing required for Labour to win Eastleigh is 29.7% not 18.5%. (I’m using the same method used by Rallings and Thrasher).

  • AlanGiles

    You SHOULD take it seriously. Any Labour supporter listening to Radio 4 this evening between 1700 (PM Programme) and the 6.00 news will have heard how out of touch Conservatives are.

    I don’t need to remind anybody about the flatlining economy, the bedroom tax about to bite etc, if you had listened this evening you would have discovered:

    The most pressing issues for elderly Tories of both sexes was gay marriage (many threatening not to vote Conservative if Cameron presses ahead), with plenty of hints many would turn to UKIP (and Norman Smith of the BBC feels that Nigel Farage himself might stand as UKIP candidate for Eastleigh). Then on the news Andrew Mitchell was complaining yet again of losing his job last Autumn, blaming No 10 and the Cabinet Chief Secretary for his downfall (he still denies saying “pleb” but admits to swearing at a policeman. I notice nobody ever asks the one question I would ask him – did he or did he not tell the officer to “know his place”?, which I would say is suggestive that he did regard the officer as his inferior.

    Anyway, Tories obsessing about gay marriage, the EU and one embittered old has-been still whining about losing his temper and his job.

    On the LibDem side, we now know (if we hadn’t already guessed) Huhne has been lying through his teeth and at the time he stood for his parties leadership he knew he was guilty of perverting the course of justice. Another former cabinet minister caught out in dishonesty (Laws being the other) when there are only 5 LibDem ministers to start with.

    I should say if Farage does stand for UKIP, he will split the Conservative vote so much you stand a very good chance of taking the seat.

    • aracataca

      I assume this is the usual nonsensical mischief making Alan so that when we lose you can say- ‘look you didn’t even win Eastleigh’. This is a seat where the Fibs are still strong and so regrettably we have to face facts – this is a seat we are going to lose.

      • reformist lickspittle

        I’m not exactly Alan’s biggest fan, but think he is being sincere here.

        A Labour win here is, indeed, very unlikely – but nothing ventured, nothing gained ;)

    • JoeDM

      Spot on.

      I would have thought that Labour would be putting a in a big push to capture as many Limp Demoprat votes as possible.

      UKIP will take an increasing proportion of Tory votes as Cameron continues with his wet Heath/Major approach to party leadership.

  • NT86

    This is actually shaping up to be a pretty intriguing by-election IMO. Without the coalition, the Lib Dems would been a shoo-in for holding the seat. They’re the dominant force on the local council, occupying all but four seats. Even now there’s a decent chance they’ll hold because of the grassroots support they have there.

    Labour have nothing to lose here so I reckon they should throw as much as possible into campaigning in Eastleigh. Now seems like a good time to test the waters in a southern seat. Nearby MP’s like John Denham and Alan Whitehead would probably be on hand to help out in a campaign. Had a by-election been somewhere like Portsmouth North or Hastings and Rye, then Labour would have a lot at stake to gain those again.

    The Tories have much more to lose here. They lost Eastleigh in 1994 and have failed to unseat both David Chidgey and Chris Huhne in that time. They actually got quite close in 2005 when Huhne took over. This is pitting both coalition parties against each other so will be interesting how they get along in Parliament. The Lib Dems are unpopular nationally, but the Tories themselves aren’t doing well.

    UKIP might be Labour’s biggest trump card to make any impact here. But even so it’ll be interesting if their candidate (Farage possibly?) has a Bradford West style victory.

  • AnotherDaveB

    Don’t Labour need to show they can win in the south? With all the LD>Labour switchers the polling companies tell us about, a LD seat should be a good target.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I don’t think Labour is in the frame to win. realistically. It hasn’t been a seat in reach for a very long time. However, we should give it our best shot. There may be a drop in the tactical vote for the LD’s and if UKIP enter then Farage will no doubt take some votes from the Tories

    • aracataca

      Quite right Mike. The Fibs are still very strong in Eastleigh. We are not in the frame.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Crow/688777864 Terry Crow

      Why would you vote tactically for the LibDems in this by election? My ex, hard core Labour, did in the General, to keep the Tory out (despite my warnings!) – but the LibDems are keeping the Tories in, so there really is no point.

      And voters will view a national election differently from a local election.

    • Jeremy_Preece

      Today, 5th Fab 2013, LabourList history is made. Mike Homfray and myself are in complete agreement about something.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

        There is nothing to lose. This is not a target seat, so even just increasing the vote share is a good result. If UKIP puts up a strong campaign then Labour could end up doing surprisingly well.

  • Hamish Dewar

    “All of the major parties, and UKIP”. Nice one, Mark.

  • Brumanuensis

    There are two targets for Labour, vote wise. Neither involve winning the seat, which is impossible.

    The first target is 20.6%, which is what Labour obtained in 2005.

    The second target is 26.8%, which is Labour’s highest vote in the true three-party era (i.e. since 1983), obtained in 1997.

    The first should be the goal. Anything above that is a bonus. The second is high-water mark stuff, but if it can be reached then that would be cause for celebration.

    • AlanGiles

      Good morning Brum. These days, politically, IMV, nothing is impossible. I think Labour’s fortunes at Eastleight depend very much on WHO stands for UKIP. If it IS Mr Farage, I think the Conservatives will be very worried indeed.

      I think the fate of the Lib-Dems very much depends on the attitude of their current voters. Will they regard Huhne as a one-off liar (and a very foolhardy man – who in their right mind would risk asking their partner to pervert the course of justice, when it seems to quote the Bard “his spirit move to new fancies” (Othello). The other famous quote also applies “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. And not just his ex-wife, according to today’s Independent, she wasn’t the only member of the family likely to spill the beans:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/text-messages-between-chris-huhne-and-son-reveal-family-split-behind-the-speeding-points-scandal-8479526.html

      Yet here we have a man who was still prepared to keep up the pretence until two days ago. It once again gives the impression that politicians are men (and women) without honour or conscience. Also, once again, it shows that it is the cover-up of an offence rather than the original offence itself which causes more damage.

      If I were a Lib-Dem voter I would feel very angry and humilated and my instinct would be to stay at home on election day or vote for another party.

      I don’t think it would be easy for Labour to win, but I certainly don’t think it impossible (especially if an unknown candidate stands for UKIP instead of Farage). In any event I would give it my best shot. They need to choose the candidate with care, but given the dislike and fragility of the current coalition (not to mention their ineptitude), who knows?. Also of course, the next GE is only two years away now. You might find that if you could severely dent the LD Con/UKIP vote badly enough you could take the seat in two bites, so to speak.

      I offer this advice in friendship, as I doubt the Greens will even stand a candidate in Eastleigh and they would not win anymore than they would in Havering. I have no ulterior motive as a few people on LL seem to think. It is a genuine opinion.

      • John Reid

        Alan Do you live in the Gooshays ward, there’s going to be a bye election

  • Brumanuensis

    Here’s a more interesting question: what will happen to Labour – Lib Dem switchers.

    Huhne held Eastleigh at the last election because large numbers of Labour voters switched over to stop the Conservatives winning. One of the great unknowns in discussions about the Lib Dems potential performance at a future General Election has been what will happen to such switchers, mainly in the South East and South West. Will they continue to vote anti-Tory, or will they decide there’s no difference and vote Labour instead, potentially giving the seat to the Conservatives?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Crow/688777864 Terry Crow

      I agree – thousands of would-be Labour voters voted LibDem to keep the Tory out. How must they be feeling, given the LibDems have enable a Tory government?

      Personally, I didn’t vote – no literature from the Labour candidate, appalled at New Labour, and on enquiry of other Labour members, found that he supported academy schools. What was the point?

  • http://twitter.com/ElliotBidgood Elliot Bidgood

    This one could actually be a very key test of dynamic that’s been widely warned about that could have a major impact in 2015, and it could be excruciatingly difficult for Labour to get right in terms of strategy and expectations management.

    As Polly Toynbee, Joan Ryan and tons of others have warned, a Lib Dem collapse may not unambiguously benefit us in terms of the fact that perhaps 2/3rds of current Lib Dem seats are Lib-Con marginals, with comparatively fewer where we will be direct beneficiaries (the question as to how many Lab-Con marginals could be swung to us by Lib Dem defections is of course trickier). Eastleigh is a prime example of one of those many Lib-Con marginals, and here are our two options in the by-election as I see it:

    A) Don’t contest it and reluctantly look the other way with gritted teeth while the Lib Dems bomb the constituency with “it’s a two-horse race here in Eastleigh” leaflets to keep their potential Labour defectors tactically voting for them, so that the Lib Dems will deny the Tories an extra seat. This is what we’ll unfortunately have to do in many of those Lib-Con seats in 2015 and doing so now could send a message about that (Polly Toynbee recently said on a visit to our CLP that “our voters are smart, they’ll figure out which way they need to vote to keep the Tories out”, but with hatred of the Lib Dems as strong as it is, I’m not so sure). However, at the current time in the case of this one by-election, the Lib Dems successfully doing that will make us look weak, give them a chance to claim the talk of mass defections from them to us are a myth and do severe damage to Labour’s current position. Also, if the Tories take the seat anyway but the Lib Dems still perform relatively strongly, Labour really doesn’t gain anything at all, as the Lib Dems will still claim moral victory at our expense

    B) Contest it, draw off ex-Lib Dem voters and call our gains a moral victory, while throwing the seat to the Tories. Since we came in at 9% last time and Huhne was on 46%, it’s not even a given that Labour is even second-place to the Tories in this scenario, though UKIP could be a wild-card as someone else pointed out. Meanwhile, we’ve sent a message that we intend to contest these sort of seats, and if we repeated this strategy in Eastleigh and elsewhere in 2015, it would gift a lot of seats to the Tories and deny us a majority

    Our options aren’t great either way, but I’d lean towards A for now to avert the immediate image damage we would suffer as a result of not gaining ground in a by-election, despite being the official opposition to a weak government. But we certainly shouldn’t contest Eastleigh or similar seats in the general election, and we’ll have to hope our voters hold their noses then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Crow/688777864 Terry Crow

      LibDems are enabling a Tory government – therefore no point in voting LibDem.

      So long as the Labour candidate brings a breath of fresh air – 100% support for NHS, no tail-ending the Tory/LibDem, the they stand a chance.

      PS I live in Eastleigh and rejoined LP after the 2010 election – in which I spoiled my ballot paper as Labour candidate supported academy schools (that’s all I could find out about him).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Crow/688777864 Terry Crow

    I live in Eastleigh constituency – I’m a LP member, too, rejoining after the 2010 general election.

    The Liberal Democrats literature always says “Labour can’t win here”, with a chart to show the voting pattern in the General Election – this is opportunism in 2 ways. Firstly, it is a message to Labour voters to vote Liberal Democrat to keep the Tory out (and thousand of would-be Labour voters, seeing nothing to vote FOR, have voted against the Tory in this way). But it is a message to those who might vote Tory if Labour stood a chance, too.

    There is no point in Labour voters voting Liberal Democrat to keep the Tory out – BECAUSE THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ARE KEEPING THE TORIES IN POWER.

    In other words, this tactical voting by Labour supporters for the Liberal Democrats will evaporate in this by election.

  • ColinAdkins

    What have we got to lose? Whatever our support in the last election (no doubt our vote was squeezed by LDs) our support now will be higher. Do the old SDP claim of saying we feel a surge – people like to backing the winner. Adopt the opportunist tactics of the LDs – they will be running against the Coalition whilst being part of it. Turn it into a referendum on the LDs. Identify every ‘loser’ from government policies through profling and squeeze the vote. Run a scare that the LDs intend to review pensioner benefits.

  • Pingback: Who Loses Most From Huhne’s Downfall? « A Mad Man With A Blog

  • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.barry.7 Gerard Barry

    I think that the Eastleigh seat is very similar in make up to several of the wards in Stockport where the Labour vote collapsed in recent years to the point where they were struggling to get into double figure percentage share. In 4 years in
    Offerton, which Labour have never come close to winning for years, they went from 4th place to taking the seat from the Lib Dem leader of the council. In Stepping Hill ward, Labour went from 6% in 2008 of the vote to 22% of the vote last May, in a seat seen as a battle between the Lib Dems and Tories. There are several other examples. Despite Lib Dem leafleting about wasted votes, the Labour vote can increase if there is a good ground campaign and enough dissatisfaction with the Liberal Democrats. Many Lib Dem voters are naturally Labour voters and this byelection should be seen by the party as a chance to reclaim their allegiance and give them a real choice between the governing parties and the Opposition.
    I think a good campaign could set the party up for impressove local growth in the County Elections.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

    The Libs have just confirmed that they want to move the writ tomorrow and have the byelection on the 28th Feb.

    This is outrageous. None of the major parties even have a candidate yet!

    http://www.libdemvoice.org/liberal-democrats-to-move-the-writ-eastleigh-33092.html

    Just how can a campaign of three weeks with no candidates

  • http://twitter.com/ElliotBidgood Elliot Bidgood

    Terry I read Luke Akehurst’s piece and I must admit I’ve rethought it somewhat – the numbers in Eastleigh aren’t as bad I thought, at least for the by-election. Sorry if I jumped to conclusions (although my concerns for 2015 remain – it is worse for us if Lib-Con seats we can’t win fall directly to the Tories). I was also a student in Southampton up until two years ago, still have alot of friends in the local party and my old uni Labour society who are already making plans for Eastleigh, and I’m suddenly quite up for heading down in one of the next few weekends if I can find anything London Labour are organising. What’s the mood on the ground there like, as a member?

Latest

  • Video Watch Labour MPs get drenched for the Ice Bucket Challenge

    Watch Labour MPs get drenched for the Ice Bucket Challenge

    Over recent days, the Ice Bucket Challenge has swept across the internet, taking with it celebrities as diverse as Anna Wintour, Cristiano Ronaldo in his underpants and George W. Bush. Now even Labour MPs have been dragged in to the viral phenomenon. Yesterday, Liverpool West Derby MP Stephen Twigg filmed himself being doused in ice cold water: Twigg kindly nominated his fellow Merseyside MPs Luciana Berger, Steve Rotherham and Ali McGovern to do their bit in raising awareness for the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Labour’s London bias causes more harm than we realise

    Labour’s London bias causes more harm than we realise

    Yesterday’s National Executive Committee (NEC) election results was yet another confirmation of a London bias in the Labour Party. In his analysis of the results, Mark Ferguson noted that only one of the eight candidates elected lives outside of London and the South. This is by no means a new trend, and I’m not looking to attribute blame (and by no means am I criticising the successful candidates), but we should acknowledge this as a problem. When those who represent […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour lose control of county council after resignation

    Labour lose control of county council after resignation

    Labour appear to have lost control of Nottinghamshire County Council following the resignation of a councillor from the Party. Cllr Ian Campbell last night confirmed on Twitter that he was resigning the party whip, but would continue as an independent. The resignation leaves Labour with 33 seats on the 67-seat council, just shy of an overall majority. It is not yet clear why Campbell has decided to resign – although last week he did announce that he was opposed to the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The reality behind IDS’s unemployment figures

    The reality behind IDS’s unemployment figures

    Figures released earlier this month by the Office for National Statistics show the number of people unemployed falling by 132,000 to 2.08 million in the three months to the end of June.  At 6.4% this is the lowest since late 2008 and down from 6.5% in May. These figures had the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, rushing into TV studios to claim that the Tories’ long-term economic plan was ‘working’ as people were no longer trapped in unemployment […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Scotland How could Labour tackle inequality in an independent Scotland?

    How could Labour tackle inequality in an independent Scotland?

    Labour has worked to reject a central claim of the pro-independence campaign, that an independent Scotland would be a fairer and more equal country. Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has insisted that Alex Salmond doesn’t care enough about social justice to reduce inequality, and Gordon Brown has predicted that SNP policy to lower corporation tax will start a race to the bottom on wages. Despite growing support for independence in working class communities, Labour’s argument seems to resonate. Writing for […]

    Read more →