The Liberal Democrats kept the same percentage of the vote in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election because of the collapse in the Tory vote, meaning both transferring and staying at home. Probably suffering no ill-effects from Phil Woolas being kicked out by the courts, Labour won comfortably, consistent with opinion polling. The problem for the Liberal Democrats is that there won't be such pools of votes to draw upon in so many seats, or especially where they and Labour compete.
In the north Labour declined because it ignored its core vote and the vote of the rising underclass, moving between unemployment and underemployment. Many voted Liberal Democrat. These are the very people the Liberal Democrats are now attacking. Don't be surprised if they stop giving support. The student vote was lost in one fell swoop, though the Liberal Democrats chose a by-election date to mitigate against that effect. So don't forget to add that missing effect here on to the calculations for the future.
I voted for a left of centre, progressive, socially redistributive, liberal party. The manifesto reflected that. What is in government is a right of centre, regressive party attacking the poor, confused regarding redistribution, and a liberal party only in terms of being economic liberal. With Nick Clegg it seems to be enthusiastic about its hook up with the Tories, and whereas I thought this was possible I didn't expect the welding. I certainly didn't expect the Liberal Democrats to be the Conservatives' wooden leg. It's as if a small section of the Liberal Democrats, who could be Tory, but probably aren't because of Europe or are for electoral reform, have taken over the party against the whole weight of its movement in past decades.
I'd have voted Labour in the by election and will in May for local elections, all things remaining the same. The local council is showing signs of wilful and event devious incompetence regarding the cuts. So far I am warm, if lukewarm, about Ed Miliband; I prefer him to his brother.
We haven't had the big economic cuts yet, and we haven't yet had the big drop in incomes and spending coming along. The economy, which is weak, will have some shock therapy that may well weaken the patient much further. We're in that economic phase again where, probably, the best job to be in is that of the stipendiary clergyperson. They are probably the most securely employed now (so keep your noses clean and your mouths shut!).
“One in Love” – Evening Prayer on Essex Pride Day - Sunday 23 June at 6pm Ascension Parish Church, Maltese Road, Chelmsford CM1 2PB Join Changing Attitude (Chelmsford) for a short act of worship to coincide ...