Coffee House

Labour’s safe seats stay safe

30 November 2012

In the end, the threat from smaller parties came to nothing, and Labour easily retained all of the three safe seats it was defending yesterday. In fact, they extended their vote share in all three as well. Respect could only manage a distant fourth in Rotherham and sixth in Croydon North, where former Ken Livingstone adviser Lee Jasper lost his deposit. Instead it was Ukip who came second in Rotherham and Middlesbrough, and third in Croydon North.

Both coalition parties saw their vote collapse in all three seats. The Conservatives ended up fourth in Middlesbrough and fifth in Rotherham (their worst results of this parliament), though they did manage to hold onto second in Croydon North. The Liberal Democrats fell to third in Middlesbrough, fourth in Corydon North and eighth in Rotherham.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the results is the share of the vote claimed by ‘others': the parties other than Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories. At the last General Election, they amassed just 8 per cent between them in England. Yesterday, they totalled 15 per cent in Croydon, 23 per cent in Middlesbrough and 46 per cent in Rotherham.


These results may well spark another round of speculation about a Tory-Ukip pact — despite it having been rejected by the Conservative leadership. If that speculation does return — with Fabricant’s claim that Ukip cost the Tories ’20–40 seats’ at the last election — it’s worth remembering the words of politics professor Justin Fisher, who called it ‘the politics of not understanding data':

‘This idea presupposes that all the people who voted for those parties would otherwise have voted Tory. And it ignores the damage such a coalition can do to a party’s support among other voters.’

And polling expert Anthony Wells dismissed the claim as ‘lazy nonsense based on unsustainable assumptions’.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • abbop

    Separate out the postal votes from those who voted in person and you’ll see what happened.

  • Daniel Maris

    Yep the politics profs and psephologists are running scared. Let’s not pretend they are objective.

    The truth is, it isn’t that difficult to determine where UKIP are getting their votes from.

    From everything we know I would say the majority come from people who would normally be expected to vote Tory. Whether a Tory-UKIP pact would lose some Tory votes remains to be seen. I doubt there would be a net loss.

    HOwever, the pact is NOT going to happen, because the metelite – people like Osborne, won’t allow it.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Why is Jones so desperate to isolate and denigrate UKIP? He writes pathetic hatchet pieces ‘that they are not Libertarian’ and persistently tries to undermine the idea that the Tories might offer UKIP a deal. Yet he avoids the most obvious reason why UKIP and the Tories would never agree a pact?

    Why on earth would Farage and UKIP want to forge a pact with a party thats clearly on the slide and who they beat in 2 of the 3 by elections last night. Moreso why have a pact with a party who they now seem to stand a good chance of beating in the Euros?

    What the Tories want is irrelevent, Farage has said no. He would be daft to make the same mistake as the Libdems and would likely suffer the same consequences as a result I.e. a loss of well over half the party’s vote).

  • roger

    UKIP seems to have what used to be called the ‘working class tory’ vote, naturally conservative with a quirky mix of populist elements, the modern ‘conservative ‘ party is too elitist at the moment to recapture them. Looks like Labour in 2015 unless the ‘Conservatives’ change direction and embrace their real ‘one nation’.

  • Jez

    Listen Jonathan.
    No matter how much you try, you will never be as shit as Korski.
    Stop trying too hard.

    • Noa

      Bwarrggahhhh! (Exist stage left heaving as though afflicted by Nanovirus.)

  • Swiss Bob

    If I may I’d like to comment on the release of Sgt Nightingale.

    As a nineteen year old I was allowed to run around NI with a 9mm, round in the breach, cocked and with only the safety to stop me shooting my dick off and yes there were plenty of NDs (Negligent Discharges), happily most seemed to have involved officers.

    Now I’m not suggesting that like Switzerland all soldiers should have their weapons at home, although I think it’s a good idea but the idea that an experienced, long serving member of the SAS shouldn’t have weapons at home seems to me somewhat bizarre.

    Three good things in one day, Cameron is spoiling us.

  • MichtyMe

    Let us not forget the happy contented 70% who found no reason to express dissatisfaction with the state of things and did not vote. The winners by a huge majority.

  • MichtyMe

    Labour candidates returned in labour seats. Nothing to see here folks, move along now.
    In politics success is having power and in government, everything else is failure, whether by an inch or a mile, it matters not if the losers get 2% of the vote or 20%, if you are never to be in office you will have failed.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Oh no, that’s not true at all.

      If UKIP views the Cameroons as lefty clones, then knocking them out of the box opens up the field for non-clones. So UKIP succeeds, even absent any offices.

      If the Left is to be fought, then first, somebody has to fight them, and they’ll have to be defeated in detail. And in the initial engagements, it might be helpful if the Left defeated its own details, as in the Cameroons being exposed and wiped out by their lefty clones.

      But no, obtaining office is only important when you get around to governing. Preliminarily, influencing the party that is governing is the prime mission, which is where UKIP appears to be right now. They may never get around to governing. They may not have to, if they succeed in influencing those who do.

      • ButcombeMan

        Exactly my position, Having voted Tory for nearly 50 years I cannot vote again for a Cameron/Osborne led party. I just do not trust Cameron over Europe and think Osborne a prat.

        It does not matter if UKIP does not win many Wesrminster seats. What is important is that UKIP take enough votes from all parties, to influence their behaviour. A good showing in 2014 EU elections is most important.

        Cameron and Osborne just do not touch the North of England, in fact what we are witnessing is the slow creeping death of “One Nation” Toryism creeping down from the north and in from the West Country. Nothing that Cameron does or says, resonates with what used to be called Mondeo Man.

        He is metropolitan and it shows.

        Cameron will be remembered by history as the person who completed the destruction process.

        Cameron with his redefining marriage has alienated swathes of the Asian vote-quite needlessly.

        Articles here keep talking about a Tory/UKIP agreement. From the Tories that is desperation, for UKIP it would narrow their attraction to everyone else,

        It would be stupid.

        It will not happen.

    • Colonel Mustard

      You seem to have a less than perfect view of how parliamentary opposition works! A healthy state is a government with a small majority and a diverse opposition. Oh, and a public sector not stuffed full of bolshevik placemen – and wimmen.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    That photograph of the Millipede is derivative somehow:

  • MirthaTidville

    One thing that has emerged is that UKIP is worth voting for. Many people,especially in the North, are sick to the back teeth of Labour and appalled by this coalition of the incompetent. So who would you turn to. Lets hope UKIP now start to attract better quality activists and candidates as well as money people. More and more ordinary folk appear willing to give them a chance.

  • HooksLaw

    The state of Rotherham is illustrated by the BNP vote. The Conservatives are well out of chasing that.

    • TomTom

      Which, considering Rotherham is a Slovakian Roma dominion nowadays is remarkable

    • Noa

      Such haughty disdain for a party and a candidate who got more votes than the Tories and Lib Dems combined!

      It seems that, like Cameron, you live in an ivory tower, remote from many of the harsh realities of working class life, unlike Marlene Guest, who has the courage to stand up for what she belives:

  • wrinkledweasel

    Since UKIP is now the second largest party in Rotherham and the beloved Glib Dems are nowhere to be seen, is it the case that Rotherham social services will ban Lib Dems from adopting on the basis that they are a fringe loony party?

    • telemachus

      UKIP remain the fruitcakes led by the bull eyed frog
      Farage is truly a stupid man
      Given the studied Daily Telegraph gift of last Saturday he squandered it by then going on to rile on about immigration thus mitigating the understandable anger against Thacker

      • Noa

        Stupid? Oh, one doesn’t think so.
        You are gettting desparate, to be so abusive, Comrade. Respect is the threat for you.
        I’m surprised you’re not appealing to the Tw’eds to do a deal to maintain Labour’s sorry existence. The offer to replace English common law by sharia with female castration on the NHS might do it.

        • telemachus

          Not only stupid but one horse party stupid

          Which other person in the party can you mention who could string more than 2 words* together in front of a camera

          * “immigrants out”

          • Noa

            Galloway and the Islamabad block vote will see you off and Labour will deeply regret its creation of Neatherland.

            • telemachus

              They did well in Rotherham didnt they

              • Noa

                Indeed they did. 8.34% of the vote despite fielding a chowdered British binti. Very haram to the faithful!

                • telemachus

                  If they cannot do better than that in a byelection in prime hunting territory they are finished

                • Noa

                  Comrade. You will find to your cost that they haven’t started yet.

                • telemachus

                  Time to think again about proscription
                  First the revanchists however

                • Noa

                  Thinking is free, as is dreaming on.

                  Be careful not to drop Das Kapital on the cat when you nod off though.

                • telemachus

                  I have it memorised and rarely now need to consult

          • treborc1

            Labour zero immigration, Labour is worried the public do not trust it, Labour safe seat are not going to get Labour in, they have lost a lot of seats in Scotland Wales is not exactly a hot spot for labour anymore, so they have chase Tories by becoming a Tory party.

      • treborc1

        Lot like Miliband really

    • 2trueblue

      Love the Glib Dems. Then we have Liebore and USKIP! The LibDums is another alternative.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Well, roughly by eye, UKIP appears to have picked up 15% of the total votes, or so. That’s about what I’d expect them to shoot for in 2015, on current trajectory. That may not win them many seats, but it would undoubtedly destroy the coalition parties (although I also expect them to pick up a few apostates from Millipedism).

    Double figures seems assured, and the 15% marker is a reasonable goal. A stretch goal of 20%, but it’s far too early to plan for that. I agree with the poster earlier, that the 2014 EU elections are the critical next step, and best for UKIP if they not focus on domestic scuffling just now. They should stick to their knitting, and let it come to them.

  • Austin Barry

    It’s quite amusing to watch the death throes of the Lib-Dems, a party which has given us so many examples of pious, holier-than-thou rectitude: Jeremy Thorpe, Cyril Smith and Mark ” on-me-‘ed, son” Oaten.

    • wrinkledweasel

      It’s Perv Central!

      • HooksLaw

        Cyril Smith was a Labour politician in a Labour controlled council when the alleged incidents happened.
        I delight in Thorp’s embarrassment – but in what way was he a pervert?

        • TomTom

          Trying to murder Norman Scott wasn’t a sign of normality….

          • Vulture

            Yes, and they couldn’t even do that right : an early example of Lib Dem efficiency in action.

            • Noa

              It’s a dog’s life really, being a liberal.

        • Austin Barry

          Well he was a pillow-biter, but I suppose that’s not a perversion any more, but a ‘life-style choice’.

  • Noa

    An interesting take on how UKIP failed to focus on the real issues in Rotherham.

    But the truth is too toxic for any of the three main parties.
    (HT Frank Sutton on the Coffehouse Wall).

    • AnotherDaveB

      I recently read Ferdinand Mount’s ‘The new few’.

      He attributed the decline in turnout to the lack of democratic power, as decision making power has moved from local gov’t to Quangos, and from Westminster to the EU.

      He thought more autonomy for local gov’t, and for local party associations (over choice of candidates/policies) would improve turnout.

      • Noa

        Thank you for that link Dave. On that review the book does indeed appear to be worth reading:-
        “Suppose our small ‘c’ conservatives want to be active citizens and
        play their part in the Big Society by standing for their council. They
        would find that the centre has stripped local authorities of power.
        Suppose they think they can influence politics by joining political
        parties. They will find that party conferences can no longer influence
        policy. Suppose they want to influence their MP or become MPs
        themselves. They will find that MPs’ power has been usurped by party
        leaders and the European Union.

        In political as in economic life, Britain feels as if it is ruled by
        oligarchs. Not necessarily malign oligarchs, as Mount emphasises, but
        men and women who hate the clutter and contradictions of a free society
        and want to centralise, standardise and cut deals with other oligarchs.”

        Given, for example, Leveson, the exposure of Common Purpose and Thacker, I think we would disagree with that somewhat breezy conclusion.

        The oligarchs are very malign indeed, as are their trolls.

  • David Cockerham

    I suspect that the main reason for the steady growth in UKIP’s vote is not Europe but the refreshing absence of politically correct bullshit from its policy statements and speeches. UKIP will have served the nation well if it achieves no more than scaring the Tories into dropping a lot of the politically correct bullshit that has crept into their policies and speeches. It would be nice to think they might even scare Labour a bit in that direction, but that’s probably a forlorn hope – unlike the Tories they actually believe in the bullshit and think it worth fighting and going down in flames for.

    • telemachus

      No UKIP do worse than follow politically correct bullshit
      To wit their response to the Telegrph calumny of last Saturday
      In the end they promoted sympathy for Thacker

      • Swiss Bob

        That Thfacker needs sacking, she’s so odious I’m surprised you can find a peg big enough for your schnozz.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree that’s an element in their success. Farage comes across as pretty plain speaking.

  • Malfleur

    Who are all these “Others”? They seem to be doing quite well. Are they the “None-of-the- Above Party”? I hear the English Defence League was running in Rotherham – keep shtumm?

  • Troika21

    Looking at those results its not clear that anything can be drawn from them, these really are Labour strongholds.

    You have to wonder why other parties even bother standing.


      Some people are curiously indefatigable in their love of freedom, and of course have a well-founded loathing of one-party systems.

      • Troika21

        For me the others are the underdogs – I live in a Tory stronghold.

  • dalai guevara

    The political landscape is becoming increasingly diverse, yet one third of the vote in a general election could give you two thirds of the seats in the house. How could we see the fringe finally getting the platform it deserves (left and right, please care to note), without descending into Italian chaos?

  • Rhoda Klapp

    These are mid-term by-elections and as such mean precisely nothing. You can take that line, it is after all true. But what you can’t do logically is to say the good result for one party is of significance, but good results for others are not because these are irrelevant midterm by-elections. UKIP polled more than the tories in the total of the three seats. That is not nothing. It’s a disaster for the coalition and the tories. It doesn’t say much about UKIP’s chances in any other poll though.

    • TomTom

      Cameron can make it an End-of-Term Vote any time he wants

  • Swiss Bob

    Whenever I see Nick Clegg at the despatch box he always looks like he’s about to cry.

    I can’t wait to his expression come the next election as his party disappears without trace.

    They should rename themselves ‘others’.

    • Andy

      And when he loses his seat.

    • Airey Belvoir

      Nick won’t be there to see the Libdems implode. He’ll be troughing in Brussels long before then.

  • Stuart Eels

    I hate to say I told you so but it looks like it’s time for the Lib/Dems to give Cleggy the boot as well as the Tories Call me Dave. Interesting times lie ahead with Council elections next May, the Euro elections and the Scottish referendum, will they do the honourable thing or just sulk as usual?

  • TomTom

    Apparently half the vote was by post

  • Noa

    An interesting feature of the Rotherham result is that the total vote for the Right is greater than the Labour vote.
    In future expect Respect to continue to take the Marxist and lslamic voters from Labour and the alienated post- Neathergate and aspirational working Labour voters to support UKIP as its support centralises.

    • Dimoto

      Interesting, but you shouldn’t call UKIP “the right”. Farage has repeated that they are NOT an extreme right party in his aspiration, and as they pick up more ex-Labour voters, expect a certain amount of trimming to the centre (on everything except the EU and immigration). Nice bit of “big business” baiting next ?

      • Noa

        And I never said they were an extreme right party. I was comparing Right V Left in a traditional Labour heartland.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Hang on a minute. Not only do you seem to conflate “the right” with “extreme right party” but I’d hardly call UKIP a party of the left or even of the centre since the centre has moved leftwards anyway since the national socialist regime occupied the country from 1997 to 2010. I’d call them a conservative party picking up the conservative aspects of some traditional Labour voters which were always in evidence until the muscling in to the centre of the far left since the 1960s.


    So the Lib Dems come EIGHTH!! Which must mean now that Clegg, forever going on about accountability and proper representation, will eschew his demands for his hour at the Government despatch box and from now on, or going forward as he would say, he should skulk at the Bar of the House for about 5 minutes a day, which on yesterday’s showing, would be his proportionate due.

    If there is still anyone at The Spectator with more than their usual show of curiosity, they should take a look at the widespread abuse of electoral practice – 50%, yes folks, 50% of the votes cast in Rotherham were POSTAL – that wreaks of organised fraud.

    • Noa

      Indeed it does Irishboy. One would be fascinated to know what promises a desperate Labour have and will make to the Imams for the UK rustbelt and Islamabad suburb vote, in the face of their growing front party, Respect.
      And no doubt Cameron’s spinners will now enter into a bidding war with their Labour oppos.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      50% postal!?

      If we had a free press they would be all over that like a rash. As it is Liblabcon are happy to compete for this ‘vote’.

      A ‘cultural’ and ward analysis of this would be most welcome.

      • IRISHBOY

        Some hope! Nobody seemed in the least ruffled by O’Barmy getting 100% of votes cast in some counties! Now even Brezhnev would have blushed at that!

        • Hexhamgeezer

          Certainly ‘Wide of the Mark’ Mardell seemed to ‘miss’ that aspect

    • Cogito Ergosum

      Or perhaps slightly less apathy among postal voters.

      As for fraud, well they are supposed to have the voter’s signature on an outer piece of paper, and these things are supposed to be checked. But for obvious reasons the parties and candidates are excluded from witnessing those checks.

      Perhaps we should call in the United Nations to witness those checks.

  • 2trueblue

    Safely home for Millipede, but that was a given. A disaster for Cameron who really needs a couple of rabbits for his next show. UKIP are taking new ground because a lot of people don’t know where it is all going. You can call it how you want, call them what you want, but most people just want to know who is going to stand up for them. They feel that it is no their country anymore and are entitled to their view. That has become the real issue. UKIP is offering that opportunity and after 13 yrs of PC and pandering to every other viewpoit pople have had enough.Live in any other country and you have to get on with it, fit in, and you certainly do not get a translator to help you.

    • Heartless etc.,

      Thank you 2tb. A fine sight for those of us left watching the disappearing sheep being herded towards oblivion by the Socialist / PC nutters and the H2B. They deserve to be slaughtered.

      And as for translators – it’s your ‘Right’ of course. Has anyone ever counted up how much the multi-lingual industry costs / has cost?

  • Vulture

    Well, its taken almost 12 hours, but at last CH has coughed on last night’s main political story, even if the cough comes from the site’s resident Liberal Democrat – the main losers on the debacle.

    However you cut and spin it, these by-elections were a disaster with a capital ‘D’ for the Coalition parties. The LDs must now kick up even more fuss, oppose more ‘Tory’ measures and generally make the Government even more useless and incompetent than it already is in a futile bid to win back their lost votes..

    UKIP don’t need a pact with the dying Tories – they are doing just fine by themselves.
    To come second in two ( three counting Barnsley_) naturally Labour, northern working class seats mean they can no longer be caricatured as brass-buttoned blazer-wearing Home Counties old farts.

    They are a deadly threat to the Tories so long as the stupid party retain Dave in place.

    • EJ

      Who’d have thought they’d wheel out this character to write about Rotherham!

      “The threat from the smaller parties came to nothing” – eh? And so the Speccie PR machine grinds into action.

      UKIP did brilliantly – and this is just the beginning. People are turning away from the Tories en masse thanks to Dave and his thinly-disguised left-wing lunacies. You only have to look at the comments on the Mail website to understand the scale of it.

      And you can’t even bring yourselves to mention the BNP. Wonder WHY they’re still getting votes? No of course not, those voters are scum and they don’t count do they?

      • Salisbury

        UKIP did not do “briliantly”. It did in line with its national showing in the polls in Middlesborough (but behind the vote share it got in Corby) and a long way behind even that mark in Croydon.

        In Rotherham it received a higher share of the vote and that was certainly helped by the foster child controversy and the fact that there were more anti-Labour protest votes going because of Macshane. I suspect that Nigel Farage was secretly hoping to run Labour a lot closer in Rotherham than it turned out, and perhaps even to “do a Respect” and win the thing.

        OK at best these results for UKIP, shading towards the disappointing.

    • Dimoto

      Early this morning, the BBC just concentrated on a bit of smug Labour triumphalism, with nary a mention of UKIP.
      By mid-morning, the story had morphed into a UKIP triumph (somebody must have pointed out that this was a better way to damage the government).
      In fact, as several UKIPpers have pointed out, they are picking up loads of working class (former) Labour votes in the north. Interesting to see how far this will go.
      I suspect the BBC may decide to blank UKIP again soon.
      But, can the canny demagogue keep his serious face on for long enough, in the full media glare ?

    • Framer

      What the BBC, as per ‘Today’s’ blanket dissing of UKIP this morning from the three ‘experts’, dare not think is that this is a sea change, especially in those urban northern areas where the Tories no longer reach or have any purchase. It may take a while for this to turn into Westminster seats but local circumstances like Thacker’s child snatching will help.

  • William Haworth

    For UKIP, this is all about building the brand before the Euro elections in 2014. They will be able to claim that those elections are the only referendum on Europe that Cameron will let us have. A high vote for UKIP will throw the Tories into a spin, and make it impossible to predict the results of the UK election in 2015.

    • MikeBrighton

      Well UKIP are now the party of protest. Much as I agree with everything they say it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans under FPTP.
      Here’s a prediction UKIP will win precisely ZERO seats at the next election. I’d love it if they overtook trhe Tories but it will be a cold day in hell before that happens. Whatever you say they are a single issue party with under developed policies, hated by the media class (proves they have good things to say tho) and a recepticle for protest votes. Those votes will all but evaporate at the next election, it’s delusional to think otherwise.

      The next election is not impossible to predict. On current trends Labour are going to win and inflict upon us a debt crisis. Ed Millidand can’t believe his luck

      • telemachus

        Mike- how can you call it a single issue party?

        UKIP have lots of policies

        I have copied these words from their website

        “…move to legislate for same-sex marriage”

        On Police and Commissioning “Fewer foreign criminals in our jails..”

        Health “Direct the majority of health care spending to elected County Health Boards”

        Small Business: “UKIP believes… that health and safety at
        work is vitally important”.

        Exciting Eh?

  • DavidDP

    “And polling expert Anthony Wells dismissed the claim as ‘lazy nonsense based on unsustainable assumptions’.”
    Facts? You can prove anything with facts. We don’t need facts. We know.


      You Gov is a propaganda organisation, and polls should be banned for the duration of an election campaign, or perhaps pollsters could, with all their psephological brilliance, prove that their work doesn’t skew voting patterns.

  • Colonel Mustard

    One Nation, One Party, One Leader.

    But, sadly, not one nation if you are an English student paying tuition fees, or a Scots nationalist aspiring to independence after New Labour’s devolution, or a foreign benefits tourist who wants British taxpayers to pay for his benefits documentation to be printed in his own language or to pay for an interpreter when he consults the doctor.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here