Norwich North shows we are nowhere near replacing Labour….
So, the votes have been counted and Norwich North has a new Conservative MP. I can’t pretend I was surprised we came in third; not least since I predicted as much yesterday but I was surprised by the poor showing from the Green’s who have to be disappointed with their 5th position. The 16% swing gained by the Conservatives seems on the surface to be impressive but when you look at the actual figures does not show a rush of popular enthusiasm more as a rash of apathetic discontent from Labour supporters.
They gained 6.3% vote share but Labour lost nearly 28%. Big winners were UKIP with 9% gains and, slightly contra to what I wrote above, the Greens gained 7%. I would still say given that they control the council I would still expect the Greens to have done alot better than this, especially given our disastrous loss of 2.2% of the vote. This brings me neatly onto our performance which was truly dire; if Nick Clegg is serious that we are replacing Labour then this result should give him pause for thought.
Up against a faltering Labour vote we lost voters. This says it all and no more need be said. So much for the hype machine which as usual was in totally ridiculous overdrive. Why we fielded a candidate who can best be described as ‘vulnerable’ on the expenses issue is a complete mystery. Clegg’s own comments on the results reflect an inability to see through his own spin and let me just see this week has been an absolute calamity as far as his leadership is concerned.
He openly briefed for his own position against that of the Federal Policy Committee in the interview with The Independent and was openly shown in the later piece on the BBC to be at loggerheads with Evan Harris who he accused of being ‘ahead of the debate’ when it is Clegg himself and the leadership whom has lost this debate on at least two seperate occasions. Clegg writes as if we are already ahead of Labour – we aren’t and Norwich North has shown that we are not; in fact, along with them we were the only major party to lose votes. Maybe it is time he stopped buying into the hype and launching cock-eyed attempts to change policy on the hoof.
Norwich North is a wake-up call….