Saturday, 21 January 2017
Welcome To The Cheap Seats?
Where has this delusion come from, that Copeland and Stoke Central are safe Labour seats?
In 2015, the Labour majority over the Conservatives at Copeland was 2,564, while the Labour majority over UKIP at Stoke Central was 5,179.
The by-election at Copeland was already being fought on the NHS, which is the biggest issue there. Or, indeed, anywhere else at the moment, and possibly always.
UKIP's selection of Paul Nuttall means that the by-election at Stoke Central will now be fought on the NHS, too.
Brexit is just not what parliamentary elections are about, have been about since 1983, or ever will be about. That was why there was a referendum.
Labour and the Conservatives both campaigned for Remain, but they both accept the result, so there is really nothing to discuss there.
At least until such time as the huge Remainer majority of Conservative MPs removes the current Leader, whom they had thought was one of them.
The Remainers on the Labour benches have already staged a Leadership Election in which one of the few policy differences between the candidates was that one of them wanted a second referendum.
The one who had called for Article 50 on the day after the referendum beat him by a mile, and Labour now campaigns on the NHS, as the electorate always wishes.
Of course, inveterate Remainers can vote Lib Dem. And they will. But that is a whole other story.
The Conservatives would of course survive a failure to take Copeland, although Theresa May shouldn't and quite possibly wouldn't.
But Stoke Central is UKIP's last chance. If it doesn't win there, then it's over.
National polls have nothing to do with anything.
Britain or even England has nothing resembling a national political culture.
It never has had, and it is now further away from that than ever.
If the Conservatives do not win Copeland, then they cannot hope to win any seat that they did not win in 2015.
The loss of the tiniest handful of those seats would result in a hung Parliament, but the Conservatives are on course to lose scores of them to the Lib Dems in the Remain heartlands of the South.
And if UKIP does not win Stoke Central, then so much for Paul Nuttall, unable to win a working-class seat that was won twice by Tristram Hunt.
At that point, UKIP, which is already nearly bankrupt, ought to be dissolved, and probably will be.
Meanwhile, since Jeremy Corbyn had become Leader, Labour would have successfully defended seven seats in the House of Commons.
As many as Nigel Farage has sought without success.