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Wings Over Scotland


Our English correspondent writes

Posted on March 01, 2013 by

We’ll be brief about the Eastleigh by-election result.

ukipe

For all sorts of reasons.

1. An overwhelmingly Lib Dem area (40 out of 44 councillors) shed almost a third of its vote share and a whopping 12,000 actual votes. The party’s president Tim Farron appeared on BBC News this morning likening this result to scoring a hat-trick in a World Cup final. (He also repeatedly asserted that the SNP was a “protest vote” party.)

2. The Conservatives, who held Eastleigh as recently as the mid-1990s, lost slightly OVER a third of their vote share, almost half of their votes by number (21,102 down to 10,559) and were pipped to second place by UKIP.

3. Despite this collapse of its two main rivals, and despite contesting the seat aggressively, and despite a comfortable lead in national opinion polls, and despite Ed Miliband’s insistence on Britain being “One Nation”, Labour was able to increase its own vote share by just 0.22%, and secured fewer actual votes while falling from 3rd place to 4th.

(Those who caution about over-interpreting by-elections in a national context might be advised to contemplate this in the light of Labour selecting a high-profile, articulate, funny and likeable candidate who ought to have been able to secure at least some progress on the basis of personality.)

4. If just a fifth of UKIP voters had voted Tory, or vice versa, the Lib Dems would have lost the seat.

5. On the strength of this result, only the UK’s broken electoral system poses a threat to a Conservative victory in 2015. UKIP voters are essentially very right-wing Tories. Only if they split the Tory vote out of spite will Labour or the Lib Dems be able to gain/hold seats.

If UKIP’s support reverts to the Tories in a general election, the Tories will win. If it instead reaches the tipping point at which it starts winning seats (a point it’s already very close to – in 2010 it got as many votes as the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru put together, at around 920,000) the party will back the Tories in a coalition in exchange for even more extreme right-wing policies than the Tory/Lib Dem coalition is enacting now.

Only if it stays exactly where it is now will it offer any comfort to Labour. That’s a thin straw for the (notional) left to clutch at, especially given that in 2010 almost half a million people voted BNP and might be tempted by a party with an anti-immigration policy and a realistic chance of winning seats. How close UKIP came to victory last night could be a complete game-changer in that regard.

6. Eastleigh is one of the most liberal constituencies in England, yet the parties of the right still secured far more votes than those ostensibly on the centre-left (22,000 to 17,000). Unionists continue to assert that Scotland and England do not have different political characters. We beg to differ.

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    35 to “Our English correspondent writes”

    1. Bob Howie says:

      Unionists are still living in the Dark Ages, they have no new proposals for the Union it is the same as they were trolling in the last independence referendum, England can do what it wants but Scotland and England are two very different countries with different attitudes and problems. When the riots were spreading throughout England, there was nothing in Scotland because we don’t do riots, when the G8 was on, that was incomers that caused most trouble, if not all.

    2. Hetty says:

      Thanks for this. If it wasn’t for the case of having the Lib-Dems next to the Tories at the mo, things would be even worse and more destruction would be wielded over the decent people of these lands. Small consolation however.
      Labour have sold out, I mean who would willingly agree and go along with the devastating actiions of their supposed enemy? It’s like killing your own family!
      Scotland must have Independence for it’s own survival.
       

    3. muttley79 says:

      I have never been able to understand why unionists have argued, and do argue, that Scotland and England have the same political character, or at the least a similar one.  Since the late 1960s Scotland has had a significant party that supports independence.  There is no comparable party in England.  Some unionists would argue that both the SNP and UKIP are “separatists.”  However, UKIP is extremely right wing, and principally wants out of the EU.  I don’t really see how anyone could argue that the two parties as comparable.
       
      I would be very worried if I was in the unionist wing of Scottish Labour (as they have the most to lose from a Yes vote on independence).  They are not faring well against right-wing and very right-wing parties in England, while in Scotland they have been beaten by the SNP going moderately more left-wing than them.  This circle cannot be squared, something has to give, and not even John Curtice can argue that the recent polls on the EU north and south of the border make for a comparable political character!  It looks like we are witnessing longer term divergences in voting behaviour between Scotland and England.  If we vote No in our referendum then it is looking ever likelier that we will be taken out of the EU by the UK.  

    4. james morton says:

      If anything it cofirms my fears that the English are moving further to the right politically and that Labour could very well lose the next GE, unless it is prepared to position itself to the right of UKIP. Despite the anger caused by conservative policy there does seem to an appetite for this down south.

    5. Not that it’ll matter for much longer if we win in 2014, but I can’t help wondering why opinion polls tend to cover all of Britain, rather than treat England and Scotland separately.
      They’re already excluding Northern Ireland from opinion polls because they have completely different political parties there.
      The reality is that UKIP is becoming a significant force in English politics, but they’re irrelevant in Scotland, and the Tories and the LibDems are just minor parties here.  Also, the political discourse is completely different.
      What this means is that whether UKIP gain or lose ten percentage points in Scotland is unlikely to make any difference to the actual election result.  In the same way, if the LibDems are losing all their support in Scotland but increasing their vote share in Tory seats in England, they might appear to look static in the opinion polls, but they’d actually be about to lose a lot of seats.
      I think it would make much more sense to do separate opinion polls for England and Scotland.

    6. Robert Kerr says:

      Scotland WILL survive.
       
      It shall even prosper after independence. It’s coming yet for a’ that !
       
      Be not of faint heart Hetty !
       

    7. Davy says:

      You must be pretty peeved off with either of the con-dem-lab parties to want to vote ‘ukip’ with the numpty thats in charge of them.

      But thats a problem for down south to worry about, we on the other hand have Danny Alexanders new conversation for Scotland to contend with, yep another scottish labour MP who thinks he just has to speak and everyone will automaticly believe him.

      He was on radio Scotland just after 08.30am this morning spouting off, but when asked about ‘new powers for Scotland’ appearing to be “jam tomorrow” promises he dodged answering the question as usual.

      His full speech is on the resurgent ‘labour hame’ site to which I believe my comments about “two facedness” will not appear, and may I advise you take popcorn & jucie when reading it as it does drone on forever.

      UKIP & Danny Alexander, two very big reasons to VOTE YES.
       
      Caesar! Gu snooker loopy!.  

    8. Doug Daniel says:

      More to the point, what about the 2014 European Parliament election?
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(United_Kingdom)#Results
       
      The Tories got just under 4.2 million votes, but this was when they were still the opposition in Westminster. There’s no reason to think they’ll get that many votes now.
       
      Labour got just under 2.4 million, and although they took a bit of a pounding for being the government, Ed Miliband has done nothing to make you think they’ll see a sudden upsurge in votes.
       
      Lib Dems got just over 2 million votes. There’s surely anywhere between 500,000 to 1 million votes to be dished out to non-mainstream parties there.
       
      The BNP got just under 950,000 votes. Those are 950,000 people seeking a party that offers anti-immigration policies.
       
      UKIP got just under 2.5 million votes. Between BNP voters seeking a more “credible” anti-immigration party, disaffected Tory voters unhappy with their party’s dilution by the Lib Dems and ex-Lib Dem voters seeking a new home for their protest vote, there’s a lot of votes there for UKIP to pick up in their quest to become the UK’s biggest party in Strasbourg.
       
      If they manage, what will this mean for voting intentions in the referendum a few months later?

    9. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I agree that the tories are going to have to break UKIP.
      Based upon opinion polls and this result the threat of a referendum alone in 2017 is not going to do it. The only way will be to promise a referendum and start promoting a no vote. That will mean the City of London becoming an official off-shore tax haven. Screwing exports and widening the gap between the rich and poor. At least we in Scotland have a choice.

    10. naebd says:

      Basically, Cameron’s Tories have alienated the Tory core vote by the Coalition governing as a mildly more right wing version of New Labour.
      I disagree that, if UKIP were to win seats in 2015, we could see a Tory/UKIP coalition. FPTP makes that highly unlikely. Any UKIP seats would be subtracted from the Tory’s tally. In many more constituencies a high UKIP vote would mean a LibDem or Labour MP. Remember, this is just a by-election though.
      More likely is that a high UKIP vote share would split the right-wing vote and let in a not-that-popular Labour with a majority – possibly even a large majority.
      Obviously that’s less scary, so less frisson-generating.

    11. MajorBloodnok says:

      Rev – Just a point of clarification – in paragraph 1 did you mean UKIP rather than SNP being the “protest vote”?  If so, I hadn’t realised the SNP were standing down there….

    12. muttley79 says:

      I agree with Doug Daniel.  The European election results in 2014, just months before the referendum could be interesting (much more than previously zzzz).  It looks like the British Labour Party is going to go further and further to the right to combat the rise of UKIP in England.  UKIP will be hoping to do well as they have momentum, and Cameron has signalled that a referendum on the EU is likely.  The SNP usually do well in European elections.  It will be interesting to see the unionist commentators reaction if the expected happens next year in the European elections.  I have a feeling they might set a world record for political contortism!

    13. gerry parker says:

      Closer to home:-
      Coatbridge ward 9 result.
      http://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=26379
       
      gerry p

    14. John Lyons says:

      Labour were 66/1 for a win. Given those odds any increase is good. This is an area that has had a BlueTory MP from the 50s until the YellowTories took over in the 90s. I don’t think Labours minimal growth is transferable to any other election. It’s a bit like being surprised the Blue Tories grew by only 0.22% in Govan!
      The UKIP Story is a bit like the SNP story. Eventually they will have their Hamilton.
       
      I read some news stories online the other day about poor people sending thier kids to school with cold chips for lunch. The comments were all “That’s not poverty, that’s poor organisation. I do this for my kid and I do that.” And “If you can’t provide for your children you shouldn’t be allowed to have then!” All very well and good when you only have one kid, but I have five, and when my last one was born My wife and I both worked. Five years later thats no longer the case.
      (I Know, I’ve gone off on a tangent there, but here comes THE POINT)
      I was struck by the complete lack of compasion in those comments. The bedroom tax and the BlueTory war on the poor are the same. That’s what England is like and thats what UKIP are like and that’s why they are prospering there.
       
      If you want to live in a country that looks after ALL of its citizens, vote yes in 2014. If you want to play with the big boys in the G20 and have Big Boys toys like Nukes and EU Vetos to threaten people with and don’t give a damn about your fellow human being, vote no.

    15. chicmac says:

      Is England lurching ever more to the right? At least in the deep sarf.
      I mean is the Tory + UKIP + BNP share up?
      Scary given mid term and the incumbent government.
      UKIP are just Tories on truth serum.
      BNP are just Tories on a cocktail of Xtal meth and crack cocaine.
       

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev – Just a point of clarification – in paragraph 1 did you mean UKIP rather than SNP being the “protest vote”? If so, I hadn’t realised the SNP were standing down there….”

      I did not. The Lib Dem numpty referred expressly to Alex Salmond and the SNP as “protest votes”. I was just four minutes too late to be able to rewind it on iPlayer and record it.

    17. pmcrek says:

      naebd
      This analysis rests on the assumption that all the votes going to UKIP and BNP are from the Tory vote though. I don’t think this is the case at all for the BNP who are for example, stronger in traditionally working class areas. However it is likely true for UKIP, I did find this polling report info on current UKIP supporters and who they voted for in the last General Election:
      http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/6715
      “45% say they voted Tory in 2010, 27% UKIP, 15% Lib Dem, 6% Did not vote, 4% Labour and 4% other parties.”
      Looking at this tbh, the shift from Lib Dem to UKIP on top of the shafting they are about to get at the next general election is probably close enough to turn a Lib Dem seats into Tory or UKIP one as it nearly did in eastleigh. I suspect also that unlike the UKIP ex-Lib Dems, in Tory marginals, the ex-Tory UKIP voters will likely vote for the Tories.
       

    18. MajorBloodnok says:

      Thanks Rev.
       
      A lib-dem numpty – now there’s a tautology.

    19. McHaggis says:

      Answer –

      Tories lurch further right to appease those voters defecting to UKIP
      UKIP gain a few seats in 2015
      Tory, UKIP, LibDEM coalition forms Government
      UKIP force more right wing policies, Libdems trail along like lap dogs
      None of these parties will be voted for by Scotland
      Scotland (again) gets ruled by a Government it didn’t vote for

      It really is that simple.

    20. Dunc says:

      “You must be pretty peeved off with either of the con-dem-lab parties to want to vote ‘ukip’ with the numpty thats in charge of them.”
       
      It’s really starting to look like having a comedy buffoon in charge is actually a bonus. See also Boris Johnson… I guess regular appearances on HIGNFY at least gets you name recognition.

    21. panda paws says:

      @ MajorBloodNok and Rev
      Well well, looks like the Unionists are rattled if Fallon feels the need to comment on the SNP after a vote in a South of Engand seat that they rather obviously didn’t contest.  I didn’t hear him speak but find it difficult to imagine in what context the SNP would be relevant in an English by-election

    22. Is it time for a British Unite the Right movement, and a merger between the Conservatives and UKIP? Because if this result is replicated across the UK in 2015 there could be a large majority of votes cast for right wing parties but a massive left wing, Europhile majority in Westminster after the next election.

    23. Chic McGregor says:

      Actually I quite like Farage as a character if not his politics, but he doesn’t half pull some gurneys.
      Anyone remember the Jonah character from the Beano?
       
      http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f390/chicmac/JonahFarage.jpg

    24. Morag says:

      Davy said:
      we on the other hand have Danny Alexanders new conversation for Scotland to contend with, yep another scottish labour MP who thinks he just has to speak and everyone will automaticly believe him.
      He was on radio Scotland just after 08.30am this morning spouting off, but when asked about ‘new powers for Scotland’ appearing to be “jam tomorrow” promises he dodged answering the question as usual.
      His full speech is on the resurgent ‘labour hame’ site to which I believe my comments about “two facedness” will not appear, and may I advise you take popcorn & jucie when reading it as it does drone on forever.
      UKIP & Danny Alexander, two very big reasons to VOTE YES.
       
      Sorry, you’re talking about Douglas Alexander, aren’t you?  Danny Alexander is a LibDem, though I know it can be hard to tell the difference.
       
      Dougie Alexander has dark hair and has a sister called Wendy.  Danny Alexander is the ginger rodent.

    25. Juteman says:

      Labourhame is starting to show its true colours.
      I couldn’t believe it when i saw the article from Open Unionisms Henry Hill.
      It’s a pity Open Unionism have shut down comments. There last few articles have been amusing.

    26. JLT says:

      ‘the party will back the Tories in a coalition in exchange for even more extreme right-wing policies than the Tory/Lib Dem coalition is enacting now’
       
      I’ve been saying this for a while now. This is on the cards without a doubt.
      As to the media saying, it was an absolute tanking for the Tories, I must admit, I’m absolutely astonished at that (they were only 3,000 votes behind the Libs), yet, Labour crashed into 4th place, and that appears to be OK (this is after all, the Party in opposition). What makes it funnier, is that a Labour spokesman said, ‘they would double their efforts in the future’. If they did so, they would still be 4th as they only got 4,000 odd votes!! The Tories finished 3rd with 10,000 votes!!!
      For a nation that used to protest like f*** at inequality, England sure has died on its feet….
       

    27. muttley79 says:

      @JLT
       
      I think a big problem is the centralisation of the British state.  Just about all the political and economic power is based in London.  Even there only a fairly small percentage of the population have the power or access to it, namely at Westminster, and the City of London.  I guess generations of people in places like Newcastle have been voting for the Labour Party in the same way as those in Glasgow have been.  However, they get Conservative governments even when their regions have voted against them.  The democratic deficit does not just exist in Scotland.  However, since we voted for the Scottish Parliament we now have an institution we can put pressure on to attempt to produce a better society.  That is why I fear a No vote due to the fact that the Scottish Labour Party leadership at present has turned against it in a very big way, as “it has let the Nats in.” 

    28. JLT says:

      This is slowly becoming a ‘Perfect Storm’ for the Unionist parties.
      1. The Tories are utterly detested in Scotland
      2. The Unionists have just lost their beloved AAA rating, and became AA1
      3. UKIP slowly becoming the 2nd Party of the UK (they could even win in 2015!!)
      4. Labour are a mess north and south of the Border
      5. Cameron won’t talk to the EU about Scotland
      6. The EU are terrified of Scotland becoming Independent
      7. Italy could yet throw a spanner in the works by crashing the Euro
      8. Which would then throw the pound (£), the dollar ($) and just about everybody else.
      9. Which for a laugh …could cause the AA1 rating to drop to AA2, or worse.
      Independence ….no wonder nobody south of the border cares about Scotland. England and Europe have far more worrying things on their mind!!
       
       

    29. ayemachrihanish says:

      Calman Commission Wendy – Danny Alexanders new conversation for Scotland. Why let a policy get in the way of a good waste of time talking. Must be a family thing!!

    30. kininvie says:

      @JLT
       
      You missed out one:
      10) Spain sends army into Catalonia & there’s blood on the streets of Barcelona.
      Which (pray that it doesn’t happen) could crystallise a number of things.

    31. Morag says:

      Wendy’s brother is called Douglas.

    32. Morag says:

      UKIP slowly becoming the 2nd Party of the UK (they could even win in 2015!!)
       
      Are you completely delusional?

    33. Davy says:

      “Morag”,
                      Yes I did mean Douglas Alexander not Danny Alexander, sorry about that folks, but its getting harder to tell the difference between the various unionist factions/liars and what party they actually belong to.
       
      Vote Yes, Caesar! Gu snooker loopy!
       

    34. JLT says:

      Morag says:
      UKIP slowly becoming the 2nd Party of the UK (they could even win in 2015!!)

      Are you completely delusional?
       
      ————————-
      Morag,
      UKIP is a totally different beast to the English than it is too us. A few years ago, people would have laughed at a totally dominated SNP Scottish Parliament and a referendum on the Union.
      With UKIP, I am not laughing, or being delusional.
       
      UKIP have arisen, to be honest, from nowhere, and to the English, they seem to be the party that will solve a lot of problems. From a Scottish persepective, UKIP is alien. To quite a few million English people, they are a Godsend.
      England has an immigration and multiculturism problem. They are also extremely despondent with Europe. So, when UKIP says it will not only curb immigration, but also send as many immigrants home as possible, and at the same time, tell the EU to ‘Eff off’, well, yes, I think UKIP are a force to be reckoned with.
      Certainly, Mr Cameron seems to think so, as he now offers England (and make no bones about it, it is England – NOT the UK) that he has agreed to an EU referendum. The Tories are bricking it from UKIP.

      This is not delusional, and when they finished 2nd in the by-election, I think that should be taken as a warning. Scotland has changed due to the SNP. England could change, thanks to UKIP.
       



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