Opinion: Can Corby smelt a new Coalition?

Louise Mensch’s resignation on 6 August has triggered a by-election in Corby on 15 November. Initially treated as a silly-season oddity, the likely Labour victory exposes the Coalition’s fragility post Cameron’s dropping of Lords Reform.

A tight Tory-Labour marginal, Corby has been a reliable bell-weather constituency since its creation in 1983. Retaken for the Conservatives by A-lister Louise Mensch in 2010, it has a Conservative majority of 1,951 on a swing of 3.6% – less than the 5.6% swing from Labour to Conservative across England as a whole. Given current national opinion polls, and the fact that the seat will be fought as a referendum on the Coalition, Labour is likely to pick up the seat easily.

Post a Labour victory in Corby, the position of the parties would be:


 An absolute Commons majority, however, is 321, rather than 325 seats, after removing the Speaker and his three Deputies and the five non-attending Sinn Fein MPs. On this basis, a Lab-Lib Dem Coalition, supported by their Northern Irish affiliates, Plaid Cymru and Caroline Lucas’s Greens becomes mathematically possible.

At first glance, Plaid Cymru’s position in such a Coalition may seem odd, but there was a successful Plaid-Labour coalition in the Welsh Assembly between 2007 – 11, and all of the parties could easily coalesce around offering Wales the same “Calman Plus” / “Devo Max” powers already agreed for Scotland.

Crucially, Labour gaining Corby means that this can be done without resort to either the Ulster Unionists, who proved such querulous supporters of John Major in the 1990s (and James Callaghan in the late 1970s), or to the Scottish Nationalists ahead of the 2014 referendum.

On paper, such a Coalition would be less stable than the current one operating as it is with a notional majority of 83. However, such a largely left-of-centre coalition would have greater ideological homogeneity than the current government, and with all of the parties committed to Lords Reform, it could push through one of our key priorities.

Labour would benefit on three grounds from such an arrangement. First, it would be in position to claim credit for overcoming the double-dip recession and blunting “Tory cuts”. Second, the boundary review would not be implemented, costing the Conservatives between 20 and 30 seats in 2015. Third, returning to opposition would probably precipitate a Conservative leadership election, and would – barring Boris Johnson’s immediate return – likely result in a less attractive leader. The first and third of these could be positive for LibDems, but would have to be balanced against the inevitable negative press comment that we had created a second “unelected” government.

Personally, I think that the Coalition breaking up after Corby remains unlikely, but the emergence of a realistic alternative Coalition should concentrate Tory leadership minds. Whilst the Tory right bravely talks of pre-emptively abandoning the current Coalition to govern as a minority, post Corby, an attempt to do so would precipitate a Labour-led coalition under the Fixed Term Parliament Act through to 2015. Additionally, the loss of the boundary changes makes a Conservative victory in 2015 considerably harder – a real own goal for them.

Consequently, the pressure on Cameron and Clegg to map out a compelling vision for Coalition Mark II is significant and increasing. Moreover, the Mark II document will need to provide concrete reasons for LibDems to continue to support the existing coalition – suggesting painful concessions from Team Cameron.

An interesting September Conference awaits!

 

* Toby Fenwick is a Research Associate of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), has written extensively on the UK Trident programme, and served on the party’s last Trident Working Group. This article is written in a personal capacity.

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64 Comments

  • Charles Beaumont 9th Aug '12 - 2:35pm

    Love it. Brilliant silly-season speculation (and I write as a committed speculator!).

  • Excellent analysis – I hadn’t realised the Corby election alters the maths in such a delicious way.

    If such an opportunity presented itself, I would imagine we would thrash out a new coalition agreement.

    It would be interesting to see if we include tuition fees in the negotiations – it could mean we have this one brilliant chance to undo that terrible self-inflicted wound on our reputation.

    Also, having Caroline Lucas in the mix would certainly bolster our chances of staying honest on the green agenda, although her presence in any coalition would be difficult to guarantee – the Irish greens suffered badly in coalition and I suspect their English members haven’t the stomach for government. Nevertheless, it would be an almost certainly unique opportunity for the Green party to have significant influence on government.

  • Andy Tomlinson 9th Aug '12 - 2:45pm

    Yep, silly-season sums this up perfectly. Enjoyable to play with the Commons maths, but Ican’t think of a better way to convince every single floating voter that Lib Dems are unprincipled opportunists who’ll do anything to stay in power (as opposed to the current situation where just hardline Labour voters think that…)

    Much more importantly, the word is actually bellwether – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellwether. Why don’t more people know this? Harrumph!

  • Chris Stanbra 9th Aug '12 - 2:58pm

    Instead of speculating, why not come to Corby to help the Lib Dem Campaign. Email me on [email protected] for details.
    Chris Stanbra
    Leader, Lib Dem Group
    Corby Borough Council

  • Lorna Dupre 9th Aug '12 - 3:42pm

    Having led two different coalition administrations on a local authority, I fail to see anything ‘realistic’ about a coalition at Westminster involving such a ragbag of different interests. It would be incredibly unstable, and wouldn’t last five minutes. I may be guessing, Toby, but I suspect you’ve not actually done any practical politics?

  • QTWTAIN.

  • Malcolm Todd 9th Aug '12 - 4:06pm

    Well, I ain’t done any practical politics either, but I know nonsense when I see it! Quit dreaming. There’s no way anyone’s forming a government without the Tories in this parliament. There are options, but this isn’t one of them.

  • David Allen 9th Aug '12 - 4:07pm

    QTWTAIBN (no, but).

    No, but it is nevertheless a very good idea to talk about it. In Major’s later years, the way his majority got chipped away by a series of byelections, and it became increasingly hard for him to govern, was an important part of the story. For good or ill, it influenced the way Blair made his case and prepared (or didn’t prepare) his party for government.

    We need to use every opportunity to put the skids under a disastrous Coalition – and cautiously explore the alternatives.

  • jenny barnes 9th Aug '12 - 4:08pm

    A bell-wether is a male sheep with a bell on, which leads the flock. Metaphorically, anything that leads a trend. A bell – weather is homonymous, but wrong. Maybe it’s a thunderstorm which rings bells?

  • David Allen 9th Aug '12 - 4:08pm

    Embarrassing typo

    QTWTAINB = (no, but).

  • Dave – I agree she’s a socialist, and some of their so called ‘green’ policies are counter productive on climate change, but she might be able to ensure aviation doesn’t expand – Labour were far too keen to expand Heathrow.

  • I confess I did do similar maths in May 2010 and conclude that such a coalition would be de facto workable, if not ideal. It would firmly have lacked legitimacy though, given that there was no obvious candidate who could call themselves the elected PM.

    That said, I’m not sure I agree with the maths above –
    Labour 255
    LibDem 57
    SDLP 3
    Plaid Cymru 3
    Alliance 1
    Green 1
    =320, and leaves it dependent for a notional (if barely workable) majority via the whipless Eric Joyce.

    Now, it’s an interesting situation nonetheless and a good stick with which to beat right-wingers in principle, but I’d rather see a few more Conservative losses before trying it out.

    (The other side of this is that, whatever my feelings about Cameron for PM, Ed Milliband? Really?)

  • LibD were right to join the Cons in Govt. for the sake of the country.
    Unfortunately, it has not been politically good for either party.
    You did the right thing. Stick with it.
    Good luck in Corby.

  • James Sandbach 9th Aug '12 - 4:29pm

    Good piece Toby, and nice though totally unlikely scenario – as you know I’d far rather that we were working with Labour any day, but we do need to work out in narrative terms what what our party really stands for and believes in and how we project, communicate and advance (our own cause) for any short or long term left/centre realignment to get of the ground – I’m not sure there’s any appetite in the UK for the default position of a HD Gensher style liberal party permanently in Government as junior coalition partner, but with only a very small core vote of its own and no clear principles apparent to the electorate for the political choices made other than parliamentary arithmetic..

  • George Galloway has made warm noises toward Labour. Whilst he’s no friend of the LDs, he may be persuaded by Labour to adopt the government whip in return for some pork barrelled deals for Bradford.

    Also, once a government is formed, we wouldn’t need to sustain all 321 MPs for every vote. The vast majority of votes can be passed by Lab&LD combined as the DUP and SNP are unlikely to vote together with the Tories regularly. This would give such a proposed coalition a majority of 17 over the Tories alone, which should shield it from small rebellions on the Labour benches, or threatened departures from Plaid, Caroline, George etc.

    Not that I’m particularly keen on this deal – I despise Labour – but I don’t think the idea should be dismissed on the basis of how the maths work out .

  • Are you people saying you would NEVER work with the Green Party?

  • Toby Fenwick 9th Aug '12 - 5:23pm

    Thanks to all for your comments.

    I don’t claim that such a rainbow coalition is likely – or, given the risk of being forever reliant on regional parties, necessarily desirable.

    My point is a broader one – perhaps poorly expressed: Cameron has assumed that there was no alternative coalition – and until Corby, he was basically right. If the Conservatives lose Corby, the position is considerably more acute for the Prime Minister, as he cannot assume that the only two choices are the current Coalition (which, despite the pain, I support) or a Conservative Minority.

    And Chris, thanks for the invite – let us know when we can come and help.

  • While Corby is unlikely to be a tipping point, there are likely to be several more by-elections before 2015, due to deaths and resignations; and if Labour continues to gain advantages, it would be likely to make the coalition increasingly unstable.
    And while a Lib-Lab-plus coalition would certainly be very uncomfortable, every Lib Dem needs to ask just how comfortable the Lib-Con coalition is right now.

  • Mark Argent 9th Aug '12 - 6:14pm

    The maths might make a new coalition possible — and more possible with further by-elections — but electoral sense does not.

    The idea of a fixed term is to stop the prime minister calling an election timed to his party’s advantage. The idea of needing a vote in the Commons to dissolve parliament pushes in the same direction and means that (for example) it would be possible for Cameron to press for a vote on boundary changes and loose it without having to resign.

    If circumstances dictated a change of government, it would be strange indeed if we didn’t go to the electorate at that point. Put very bluntly, it would be absurd for the people of one constituency to cause a change of government: if the by-election created a situation where the government ceased to be credible, it would be for the whole nation to vote in a way that enabled a new administration to be formed.

  • Toby Fenwick 9th Aug '12 - 7:26pm

    Mark –

    The Fixed Term Act is drafted explicitly to give another coalition a chance to emerge – over up to 14 days – before a GE is called. This suggests to me that there was every expectation that in the case of a hung Parliament that there could be a transition of Administration without a GE.

  • Labour would need to lose their collective minds before going anywhere near this.

  • The only sensible comment on here is Chris Stanbra’s.

    Get out and campaign in Corby or you will have no-one to blame but yourselves if it is lost deposit and laughing stock time again.

  • “Given current national opinion polls, and the fact that the seat will be fought as a referendum on the Coalition, Labour is likely to pick up the seat easily.
    Post a Labour victory in Corby,”

    Well thank you – that’s probably made it much easier for us to fight. “Lib Dem police expert says Labour set to win” will be featuring on leaflets very soon. Do Centre For Um not require Research Assistants to engage basic political sense before putting pen to paper?

  • “Well thank you – that’s probably made it much easier for us to fight. “Lib Dem police expert says Labour set to win” will be featuring on leaflets very soon. Do Centre For Um not require Research Assistants to engage basic political sense before putting pen to paper?”

    Maybe it just doesn’t require them to refrain from stating the obvious for partisan reasons – and perhaps it even discourages them from falling prey to the delusion that blog posts have any significant effect whatsoever on the results of by-elections…

  • Peter Watson 10th Aug '12 - 1:07am

    Interesting article, interesting posts.
    Two questions occur to me …
    1. How many by-election gains by Labour ( or other non-coalition parties ) before an alternative coalition or a general election become feasible or inevitable?
    2. Should we have a candidate in Corby or should we get behind a Conservative candidate in order to keep out Labour and avoid weakening the coalition?

  • Re George Galloway (since someone’s already mentioned his name)…the guy is a complete troublemaker and wouldn’t be able to work with anyone because of his massive ego. Labour can’t stand the sight of him. He represents a party which tries to paint itself as representing Old Labour, but in reality is a repository for extremist Muslims.

    The Corby by election won’t amount to a newly formed coalition. There’ll be too many minority party interests to cater to and would fall apart in no time. The only certainty is that Labour is dead cert to regain it. And if UKIP fields a candidate, be sure that the Tory vote is screwed.

  • Richard Dean 10th Aug '12 - 3:57am

    It would be ridiculous not to put up a candidate. It would be a message to the country that we’re not committed, that we haven’t got a distinct way forward that is different from the other parties, that we’re only interested in being a weak partner in a coalition. Every election is winnable, it’s cheap to compete, and at worst a losing candidate and activists gets a bit of exposure and experience that can help in subsequent contests. We must get choosing, and campaigning!

  • @Papworth
    “It also becomes a charter for tiny minorities to extract wealth off the majority. ”

    Where have you been for the last couple of decades. Have you seen how much money London has extracted from the regions in subsidy? The massive bail-outs, absurdly disproportionate infrastructure spending in the south east, the Olympics and London weighting have combined to rape the regions. Does anyone in London actually earn their keep?

  • Simon, I am not surprised at your comment – you seem to have a genuine inbuilt fear of “the left”.

  • Lovely report by Michael Crick last night on C4 News showing Ed Miliband exhorting the people of “Rampton” to “get this lot out”. Surely he mean unlocking the cell doors for the good people of Thrapston, a small town outside Corby, from the apparently perpetual, and soon to be permanent, absence of Louise Mensch.
    “Bell-weather” has nothing on this blooper, and provides a lovely soundbite for Chris Stanbra & Co., as does the one from the leader of Corby Council (and possible Conservative candidate) who feels that the MP has let people down. Is admitting to camera that he asked whether his candidate was going to quit enough to save the coalition partner candidate’s deposit, or is UKIP waiting to push us into 4th place again.?

  • “mean” should read “means”…. God, what a pedant I’m becoming in le beau temps.

  • Another bit of exciting speculation could be that If we get pushed into 5th place at Corby will Clegg go?

  • Lets just list the particular policies we should be promoting that the others aren’t already nicking:-
    scrap Trident
    raise the Income Tax threshold to £12k
    reform the Lords
    fair votes
    scrap Council Tax
    Land Value Taxation
    scrap student fees
    invest in Public Transport
    no 3rd runway at Heathrow
    no Boris island
    continue to invest in Sport
    commit to continued overseas aid
    commit to reform EU, from within
    prison reform
    fair trade for British farmers
    support British manufacture through govt procurement
    – there must be more, but we need someone to turn them into a tasty package that the voters of Corby will go for.

  • Alex Macfie 10th Aug '12 - 1:13pm

    I think Peter Watson’s suggestion of standing aside in Corby to “avoid weakening the Coalition” to be absolutely crazy (and if this or anything like it happens, my cut-up membership card will be winging its way to George Street); are a good idea as others have said, this is an opportunity to campaign on the undiluted Liberal Democrat message, to practise our arguments in advance of the next general election.

    But the idea of withdrawing from the Coalition to negotiate a new one of the centre-left is also a bad one. We cannot withdraw from a coalition with a working majority to one that could lose its majority at the next by-election. I agree with Andy Tomlinson that it would make us look very bad, as it did for Ireland’s Labour Party when it switched coalition partners mid-term in 1994, and thus squandered the electoral gains it had made in 1992. [I mention Irish Labour not because of any ideological affinity to the LDs — it is the ideological equivalent of UK Labour — but because it was Ireland’s third party, and kingmaker in an inconclusive election.] And we mustn’t touch Galloway with a bargepole.

  • Peter Watson 10th Aug '12 - 3:50pm

    The day after the by-election, will it be a victory for Lib Dems if Labour win with a share of a vote less than the tory and LD vote combined?
    Is it better to offer the voters clear Lib Dem policies if we risk the ignominy of coming 4th, 5th, 6th, …?
    Will the policies we stand on be different from those we’ve implemented in government?

    The clarion call to stand and fight as Lib Dems in Corby is certainly attractive, but unfortunately we now have to think about how to make the best of a bad situation. I would love the LDs to stand as they have always done, as an alternative to Labour and especially the Conservatives. But have our leaders really left us wih that as an option in every seat? In any seat? Might they seek an electoral pact in the selfish interests of their own political survival?

  • Alex Macfie 10th Aug '12 - 5:47pm

    It will be a victory for the Lib Dems in the Corby by-election only if the Lib Dems win the by-election. I do not expect that to happen; however, that being the case, it really doesn’t matter which of the other two parties wins. It will not affect the strength of the coalition, and even if it did, it’s irrelevant as we are not fighting elections on behalf of the coalition, but as Lib Dems.
    Although I do not expect us to win, I doubt we will come 4th or lower. Previous by-elections where this has happened have been in ultra-safe Labour seats. Corby will be the first by-election in a Conservative-held seat this Parliament [Thirsk & Malton was not technically a by-election, although our vote held up there.] We will lose some support from left-inclined voters, but I suspect we’ll pick some up from LD/Tory waverers.
    And obviously the policies we stand on will be different from government policy, because we can only implement a few of our policies in this government — it is really a Tory government with a small amount of Lib Dem influence.
    Standing as we have always done, as an alternative to both parties, is the ONLY option for the *party’s* survival. Even if the other option might save the jobs of some of our MPs, it would also be the end of the Liberal Democrats as an independent force in British politics forever. And even if the leadership wanted an electoral pact, how do you think they would get it past party Conference? At the risk of sounding like Matthew Huntbach, what makes you think that lifelong Lib Dem activists who have been fighting the Tories locally all their adult lives are suddenly going to start delivering Tory literature in seats such as Corby?

  • mark fairclough 10th Aug '12 - 5:48pm

    but why the heck do we have to be automatically Labour fantics , proping Labour up

  • Why not ask the Conservative candidate in Corby to stand aside in favour of the Liberal Democrat? That makes at least as much sense…

  • I think that standing aside is an interesting option because it would give a clearer indication of who was voting for what in the last election and where the dominant partner in the coalition stands,. Mensch was in lots of ways a good local MP and far from typical of the Party she represented.
    On the other hand fighting hard on a lib Dem platform is probably the right thing to do, because the Coalition isn’t permanent.
    This was an interesting speculative article, but realistically such a coalition would be very hard work and unstable.

  • Neither the Lib dems or Conservatives have a chance of winning the Corby by-election.
    For starters Northampton has a very high Crime record and is one of the most violent towns in the U.K.
    It has extremely high levels of youth unemployment.
    And what with the current coalitions weak attitude towards crime, cutting police numbers and to top it all off, the Government are now making plans to move “Call Centres” into Prisons allowing prisoners to earn £3 a day, which will do absolutely nothing to help those living in the real world who are finding it impossible to find work and struggling to make ends meet.

    rest assured Corby will be going back into Labours hands

  • “Mensch was in lots of ways a good local MP and far from typical of the Party she represented.” Definitely the latter thank god, but (as I pointed out earlier) when her own campaign director feels she let constituents down because of her many other commitments and implies that she was too busy for constituents you can hardly claim Louise Mensch was a good local MP.
    Thar this article has provoked such a lot of discussion shows quickly such an admittedly speculative idea needs a hearing. Even the hint of an alternative coalition, however unrealistic after Corby (sorry, Toby), may concentrate not only Conservative leadership minds but also those of the right outside the Bone tendency, many of who think they will be in a ‘straight fight’ with Labour. And before anyone objects to that term, it is the fault of exactly those same Conservative MPs, so opposed to changing our present electoral system, that it is still in existence in politics today.

  • on the matter of electoral maths it’s worth saying that the current Con-LD coalition was not and is not the only option – a grand coalition between the tories and Labour (ie the 1st and 2nd placed parties, both in terms of seats and votes) would have 559 seats.

    Considering their positions as the two established parties, they have demonstrated over a long period they share their primary interest in retaining office irrespective of other considerations.

    Cameron and Miliband have not sufficiently explained why they could not work together in the national interest, and since Osborne is increasingly following the Darling plan for deficit reduction this question has become much more relevant.

  • Thanks, Oranjepan, for raising this idea of a Tory – Labour coalition again. I have spent many hours banging my head against a brick wall here saying that this was exactly what should have happened in May 2010. Two further good reasons –
    1 Lib Dems had immense moral credibility then (not now, of course), and we should have used that to push both sides together, and 2 Paradoxically, being the big dynamic losers of the campaign, LDs could not realistically claim the prize of Govt – it will be remembered how Nick Clegg said he did not want to be kingmaker, in the sense of picking a party and putting it in power. Big losers of the campaign? After the First TV Debate, and hitting the 30% highs, Lib Dems plummeted to 23%. Other parties were gaining then. Labour started their “comeback trail” at this time, which is still in process. And the Tories have largely stagnated.

  • Obviously, in May 2010 the only Lab-Con coalition possible would have been an agreement between David Cameron and Gordon Brown, which for political reasons would have been disastrous to both. Even if Brown had immediately left leadership, no one in the Labour Party would have had the political authority to conclude a coalition agreement with the Conservatives until after leadership elections. So in 2010 a Lab-Con coalition was hardly practical. Which is not, of course, any index of whether it would be possible today; but it would take the departure of the Lib Dems from government to even put it on the table.

  • David Thorpe 12th Aug '12 - 3:22pm

    such a thing would be prod=foundly undemocratic and insulting to the aims and ideals upon which the liberal democrats were founded.
    No one has ever voted for ed millibvand to be Primae Minister, Millions voted for Cameron, Millions for Brown and Millions for Clegg, all would have some legitimacy.
    Milliband has none, beyond his tole as labour leader and Mp, fpor the Lib Dems to use backrrom dealing to create an unelected PM woul,d be disgusting…..we are a party created to decentralise power away from the backrrom and ionto the hands of the public..not away from the public andinto the backroom..
    I dont care what the opinion polls say..Kinnock consistently led major at this stage of the cyle and lost….brown led cameron dfor periods of his permeierhsip and lo9st…we should use that to implemnet the policies people elected liberal democrats to implement..not to make someone no one has voted for PM

    Let lib dems stick close to our roots and promote democracy.

    Thats not to say we cant milk a likley tory defeat in corby for all its worth…..it gives us more leverage in the current coaliton..as the proportion of orus eats to theres increases…..

  • Why do people still go on about unelected Prime Ministers?

    Especially coming from Liberal Democrats who are so wrapped up in our constitution and supposedly all knowledgeable.

    We do dot vote for a Prime Minister in this country, we vote to elect an “individual” MP who may or may not represent a “political party”

    Yes you may possibly be a loyalist and vote for any MP who is representing your chosen party, but we do not vote for Prime Ministers.

    It is up to Members of political parties to vote for their leader of the party, who may or may not one day become Prime Minister.

    If people and especially Lib Dems want to carry on about unelected Prime Ministers, maybe you should add that to your ever growing list of reforms which never seems to gets off the ground

  • Labour had about 55% of the vote in 1997 (I think I saw this recently) so it is likely they will achieve something similar. Under current circumstances it is pretty much a free shot for them. My advice to Lib Dems would be firstly to play it local and secondly to focus on achievable issues in government such as raising the tax threshold, investment in public transport and possibly (since the decision is definitely deferred to after 2015) saving money on Trident. I would also throw in constitutional reform to remind people where we stand and who is obstructing democracy.

  • Martin, you should be more careful when you read / watch TV! Labour’s percentage of the popular vote in 1997 was around 43%. Over the last half century there have been no parties achieved over 50% of the vote. Big majority Govts have generally been in the 42 – 45% range, smaller ones 38 – 41%

  • Tim, I am referring to Corby. I have looked it up: Labour 55.4%; Conservative 33.4%; Liberal Democrat 7.5% with three others making up the rest. This will serve as a reference point. I have heard it said that Labour had chosen a local candidate before Louise Mensch resigned. I wonder if they will stick with him?

    Last time BNP took 4.7% which is alarming. After the expenses scandal, it is reasonable to suppose that many previous Labour voters either did not vote or switched to other parties, with many to Lib Dem.

  • Peter Watson 12th Aug '12 - 11:54pm

    @Martin
    It looks like Corby has flipped between Labour and Conservative. My hunch for the 2012 byelection – unless something significant happens between now and then – is that Labour could pick up anywhere between 45% and the 55% you mention. Worst case for the Lib Dems could be their own vote collapsing, the BNP vote holding up, UKIP standing against the tory candidate, and maybe the Greens or Respect putting up a candidate to grab disaffected left-leaning anti-labour voters: 4th or 5th place and a lost deposit starts sounding quite likely.

  • Sorry, Martin – my misunderstanding.

  • I think those of us actually IN wales would argue that the Nat-Soc coaltion of 2007-11 was ‘successful’ – unless you just mean that it held together, just about, until electioneering started. In most other respects it was worse than useless. I don’t think that Plaid members know what they stand for, beyond brazen opportunism and occasional misty-eyed campfire songs. They pretend now to be left-wing, but the proof is in the pudding.

  • ps: with all respect, am sure saying that the BNP on 4.7% last time simply risks bigging them up – we know from France and elsewhere that extreme nationalist etc parties can get up to about 20% of votes, in the case of Corby, less than 5% is pitiful. As for the by-election, an obvious Labour landslide (even with Milliband), with the Tories a depleted second, about 20% given that their MP left after 2 years. We may come behind UKIP, and will probably lose the deposit.

  • Peter Watson 23rd Oct '12 - 1:31pm

    Just thought I’d reincarnate this thread in light of polling in Corby by Lord Ashcroft (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/6357 and http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2012/10/labour-take-22-point-lead-in-corby/)
    ” The topline figures are CON 32% (down 10 from the general election), LAB 54% (up 15), LDEM 5% (down 10%), UKIP 6%, Green 1%, BNP 1%.”
    Apparently the raw data (i.e. not massaged by the polling firm to account for don’t knows and won’t says) puts Lib Dems further into lost deposit territory.

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