Paul Nuttall of UKIP: A Tory by any other name [Image: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images].

Tories talk a load of rubbish – especially when there’s no name behind the words, which makes This Writer wonder if there’s no person behind them either.

According to the Huffington Post, they’re trying to claim that crying off the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election is a sign of strength. It’s true that, with a majority in the House of Commons, they can choose their own battlefields – but that doesn’t equate with being strong.

Look at the claims in the article (below). If the Tories are less well-off than Labour “in pure resource terms”, that’s an admission of weakness, not strength.

If they want UKIP to win Stoke, it’s an admission that Labour are stronger than the Tories. That’s not appearing “strong at all times”. It’s being weak in Stoke.

And how did this strategy work last time it was tried, when the Tories – wanting to appear strong – ran away from the Richmond by-election in the belief that Zac Goldsmith, a former Tory MP standing as an independent, would win. What happened there?

The seat went back to the Liberal Democrats.

In that election, the Tories proved themselves weak. Clearly they intend to do so again in Stoke Central.

And they will lose outright in Copeland, where they are fielding a candidate (gosh, how strong of them).

Labour has to contest these elections because it needs the seats. But it also has the advantage “in pure resource terms”, including numbers of members on the ground.

UKIP has parachuted its leader, Paul Nuttall, into Stoke – a man who has no connection with the place and whose main policy position – apart from Brexit, which Labour has accepted as the will of the people, so it is no advantage – is that he wants to privatise the National Health Service.

He’s an out-of-touch, over-privileged, right-wing Tory from a party of the same and he is heading for his fifth consecutive failure in a Parliamentary election.

And when Labour wins, who’ll be the strong party then?

The Tory party is set to give UKIP a clear run in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in a bid to maximise Labour’s chances of defeat in its heartlands.

Party sources say that they are instead pouring resources into the Copeland by-election in Cumbria, which will be held on the same day next month.

A senior Tory MP told HuffPost UK the party was not as well off as Labour “in pure resource terms”, so had to ration its cash.

“Ukip will win Stoke. If we are seen to put in too much effort it will be awkward. The new message is to appear strong at all times”, a Tory insider told HuffPost UK.

Another party insider told HuffPost UK the real reason was “the embarrassment factor” if the Tories were seen to try and fail.

“Labour is so weak – we want to appear strong. It’s similar to not putting up a candidate against Zac”, they said.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed and Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt formally resigned their seats on Monday. Both by-elections are now expected to take place on February 23.

Source: Tories Write Off Stoke-on-Trent Central By-Election, Party Sources Say

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