Friday, 2 August 2019

When the Tories Could Have Won - But Did Not

The Liberal Democrat win in Brecon and Radnorshire has all sorts of fascinating elements. The Brexit Party polled poorly, but just enough for the leave seat to go to the Liberal Democrats. Without the 'Brexit' division, the Tories could have received 49% and beaten the Liberal Democrats 43% win.

That Labour received a 5% vote, just over, helps the narrative that the Liberal Democrats are the second and challenging party. That may not be so as the constituencies are stacked, in that Labour can get a lower percentage and get more seats, but the issue is always the tipping point in a first past the post system. One necessity for Labour, and yet unlikely, is to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader. The more he entrenches himself (he has been as tin-eared as Theresa May seemed to be) the more some Labour MPs may decide to ditch Labour and move along. They may just do as Alistair Campbell has done, which is to leave Labour but go nowhere else. Jack Straw is staying locally Labour, according to local loyalties. Whilst the Tory vote held up due to Boris Johnson being so chest beating about October 31st as the leaving date, the Labour vote did not improve with its further nudge towards remain. The problem is a) no one believes Jeremy Corbyn over this and b) Labour might still negotiate a deal to leave after a General Election, if it ever won (increasingly unlikely).

The Liberal Democrats are still damaged by their association with Tory austerity. It was Osborne rubbing the poor's noses into the dirt that led to a stronger than expected leave vote in 2016. Nevertheless, we are where we are, and the need is to stop the railway train hurtling down the tracks thanks to the rhetoric of Boris Johnson, despite continuing reports of the economic damage this will cause, and the waste of money on 'no deal' preparations, none of which will be significant.

With one Tory less and one more Liberal Democrat, that train might be led by the House of Commons down a siding away from the cliff edge and brought to a halt.

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