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Bombshell #NorthShropshire by-election result: MORE reactions

Boris Johnson: “Today I have mostly been combing my hair with a toffee apple and drinking Special Brew” (not This Writer’s comment but it seems to sum up his reaction to the loss of North Shropshire).

You’ve already read my opinion on the North Shropshire by-election (or you can if you click on this link), but that’s no reason not to have fun reading the many other comments that have sprung up since the result was announced!

Let’s start with the Tories:

(We’ll come to Labour very soon!)

I’ve enjoyed seeing people dissecting the Liberal Democrats…

It seems only fair to remind people of what the Yellow Tories did with the Blue Tories – for five years between 2010 and 2015.

But that’s not to let Labour off the hook for its failure in the present day:

(Was the candidate the previous three times a socialist, by any chance?)

Of course, some of it is absolute bilge:

For Corbyn supporters, the real priority has always been defeating the Conservatives. They were foiled in that aim by people who now support Starmer. And Starmer himself has proved unwilling to fight them; the North Shropshire result is a symptom of this.

So defeating the Conservatives requires Starmer to step aside – or be removed – and Labour to adjust its policies so they fall in line with what the majority of people actually want. Sadly those are long-term goals at the moment. It’s how Sir Keir and his supporters want it.

So it seems clear that Mr Corbyn, and his supporters, aren’t the problem. They never were. The problem is Starmer and his people. They are the Tory enablers.

It’s time people like Mr Hopkin, above, realised this – or accepted that they’re pushing a lie.

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#LiberalDemocrat wins #NorthShropshire by-election in hammer-blow to #BorisJohnson

Helen Morgan: the newly-elected Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire.

Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan has taken North Shropshire from the Conservatives in a shock by-election result that is a hammer-blow to Boris Johnson, asking serious questions about his right to continue as prime minister.

The Liberal Democrats turned a Conservative majority of almost 23,000 in the 2019 election into a majority for them of nearly 6,000.

That is a massive swing from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats – apparently the seventh-biggest in by-election history.

It was more than just another by-election – it was a referendum on the leadership of Boris Johnson, and the result was decisively against him.

Sure, turnout was down from the general election’s 67.9 per cent – but high for a by-election at 46.3 per cent.

Looking at both election results in terms of proportion of the electorate voting for the different parties – which is better when the number of people voting varies, in 2019 Conservative Owen Paterson won the support of 43 per cent of the electorate, while Labour had 15 per cent and Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan just 6.9 per cent.

Yesterday (December 16), the same Liberal Democrat candidate was supported by 22 per cent of the electorate, while the Tory candidate had 14.8 per cent. The Labour vote evaporated almost entirely, with that party’s candidate gaining just 4.5 per cent of the possible vote.

The Conservatives lost nearly 24,000 votes – 28.9 per cent of the possible electorate – in a stroke.

Ms Morgan gained many of those Tory voters, along with many Labour supporters who lent her their votes in order to send a clear message to Boris Johnson: “You are not wanted here.”

The winning candidate elaborated on this in her speech. She said Johnson was “no leader”, that his government is “run on lies and bluster” giving the UK a “nightly soap opera of calamity and chaos” and that, for him, “the party is over”.

But it seems clear that the party may also be over for Keir Starmer, over at Labour.

Starmer didn’t bother much with North Shropshire. He certainly didn’t put the campaigning effort into the constituency that the Lib Dems and the Tories did – possibly because he agreed that the Lib Dems stood a better chance of defeating the Tories (even though Labour came second in 2019).

He seems to agree with other parties an awful lot. This seems to be coming across to voters as a lack of confidence in his own party that is putting them off supporting it.

And the Liberal Democrats seem to have become the palatable alternative. They used to be considered the middle-of-the-road party for people who weren’t as right-wing as the Tories or as left-wing as Labour; now it seems they’re the opposition to two right-wing parties that are suddenly finding they can’t take their tribal voters for granted any more.

I don’t think the Liberal Democrats are going to jump to over-optimistic conclusions about this result; they know this was a protest vote that may not be replicated in a general election unless their new MP makes a big impact, standing up for her constituency in Parliament.

But both Labour and the Conservatives have to be scared by this result because it means the public don’t like the direction taken by either main party.

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Ed Davey elected leader of the Party of Mischief

Irrelevant: Ed Davey (right) with former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who led the party to a crashing defeat including the loss of her own Parliamentary seat in the 2019 general election.

It doesn’t really matter who the new leader of the Liberal Democrats is; as an electoral force, that party is over.

Nowadays it has proved more useful to the Conservatives, as a way of ensuring Labour cannot get the seats the main Opposition party needs to win an election.

No doubt you’ve seen the literature that spews forth from the Lib Dems at every election saying “Labour can’t win here!” illustrated with the infamous Liberal Democrat block graph that has been doctored to make Labour’s share of the most recent vote look less than it actually was.

Most recently, both newly-elected party leader Sir Ed Davey and his rival Layla Moran outflanked Keir Starmer’s newly-centrist Labour Party by advocating left-wing policies including higher taxes for the rich and a Universal Basic Income – Corbynite policies that Starmer dropped like hot coals.

Davey will never be in government to enact those policies – but his party’s support of them shows up Starmer’s Labour as having abandoned its core support base.

The result is likely to be a drain of support from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, ensuring further victories for the Conservatives.

And that’s despite the fact that the current Conservative government under Boris Johnson gives incompetence a bad name.

Source: Sir Ed Davey wins Liberal Democrat leadership race – BBC News

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Starmer gets approval rating boost – courtesy of Tory and Lib Dem voters

Keir Starmer: if Tories and Liberal Democrats like him, he’ll be electoral poison for Labour.

How humiliating for new New Labour leader Keir Starmer.

A survey by Tory-run pollsters YouGov has given him an approval rating of +23 – higher than that of Boris Johnson – partly courtesy of people who vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat and have a vested interest in duff Labour leadership.

It is no reason for anybody associated with Labour to feel proud – and certainly doesn’t bode well for the party’s election chances.

New Labour leader Keir Starmer has been given a boost thanks to YouGov polling today that shows he has a net approval rating of +23, which is higher than that of Boris Johnson.

Asked whether they thought Keir Starmer was doing well or badly as leader of the Labour Party, overall 40% said “very well” or “fairly well” and 17% said “very badly” or “fairly badly”.

More Conservative voters said he was doing well than badly, at 34% and 25% respectively. Lib Dem voters were very positive about Starmer, with a higher percentage saying well (63%) compared to Labour voters (54%).

Source: Approval rating of +23 gives boost to Keir Starmer – LabourList

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Grown-up politics? CCTV shows ‘resurgent’ Lib Dem canvassers stealing other parties’ leaflets

Is this the “grown-up” politics Layla Moran was crowing about on the BBC election coverage?

Is it the reason the Liberal Democrats have gained 397 seats in the 2019 local government elections – cheating?

Look:

https://twitter.com/superseveriano/status/1123926197094768640

And here’s another:

Of course, there’s a big problem with this behaviour:

But then, perhaps we should not be surprised at this behaviour from the Liberal Democrats, in the light of this point by Dave Barlow:

Fair point!

UPDATE: I’m told the Lib Dem candidate in the first clip won the seat. Who said cheats never prosper?

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If the Lib Dems are the Party of ‘Remain’, why are they suddenly supporting Theresa May?

Vince Cable: It’s so long since he was newsworthy, this is the most recent image of him that I have. One can imagine him going into Downing Street in this hat and scarf in an attempt to be incognito.

In a perverse way, it seems we should be grateful to Vince Cable for clarifying the Brexit mess.

We had been let to believe that Theresa May was determined to force vote after vote on her Brexit deal, in an attempt to wear down MPs who hate it – and that Jeremy Corbyn would table motions of “no confidence” every time she lost: Brexit limbo.

Mr Cable has stepped in to break this deadlock, as Evolve Politics revealed:

So once again the Liberal Democrats are propping up a Conservative government. Does that remind you of anything?

But this raises a hugely relevant question about the Liberal Democrats. As the self-styled “Party of Remain”, isn’t it a huge contradiction for them to be supporting the enactors of Brexit?

This discrepancy was picked up by the Twitterati:

And Helena Bowie tweeted: “Just proves what I’ve been thinking since the coalition. You would think they would have learnt after getting wiped out.”

Then it was suggested that Mr Cable may be trying to force Labour into supporting a second referendum:

Of course, the so-called “People’s Vote” is a trap for Labour. The party’s policy is to push for a general election but, failing that, to support a second referendum (if I recall correctly). So if Mrs May announces another plebiscite, then Labour will support it. There’s no need to propose one directly, and in fact that would harm Labour’s electoral chances:

As it is, it seems Mr Cable has sealed electoral doom – not for Labour, but for his own party. And he didn’t even get a bung out of it:

Last word on this goes to Mark Adkins:

“Does Vince Cable really miss the smell of a brand new ministerial car that much?” Well put! Especially as it seems he really does.

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Here is another death to add to the DWP’s body count

Amy Nice.

Does anybody remember a song by The Police called Murder By Numbers? One of the verses went like this:

You can reach the top of your profession
If you become the leader of the land
For murder is the sport of the elected
You don’t need to lift a finger of your hand.

That certainly rings true in the case of Amy Nice, who took her own life because she feared that her Universal Credit would be sanctioned away from her because pen-pushers at the Department for Work and Pensions might think she wasn’t doing enough to find work.

This is a young woman with kidney disease and attendant severe depression and anxiety. She should have been classified as having a long-term illness – and eventually was, but too late to do any good. DWP assessors had pressurised her into an early grave.

Ms Nice’s terror of losing benefits was due to the ratcheting-up of the sanctions regime at the DWP. On Twitter today, I learned a little about how that had happened. It seems the Liberal Democrats had agreed to it while in coalition government with the Conservatives in 2014 – in return for agreement to place a 5p tax on plastic bags at shops. Here’s Polly Mackenzie:

The Liberal Democrats had no qualms about increasing the threat to the lives of benefit claimants; they wanted a boost for their environmental credentials in time for their party conference – and nobody had to know about their grotty little deal.

Well, now we do.

It is because of this deal that people like Ms Nice have been going to their deaths with a regularity that makes the government that has been in place since 2010 one of the worst-ever killers of its own citizens. Thousands have died.

But nobody in power will ever admit responsibility; they’ll say these people took their own lives. And the reasons for suicide are complicated.

Coroner James Newman doesn’t seem to think so. He made it perfectly clear that Ms Nice took her life because she was “under pressure from the Department for Work and Pensions” and accepted that this “would play massively on a young woman’s mind with a young child and history of physical and mental illness.”

Read the story for yourself:

“A struggling young mum took her own life after she feared losing her benefits under the Government’s Universal Credit scheme, an inquest heard.

“Amy Nice, 21, had been suffering from severe depression and anxiety following a diagnosis for kidney disease but had felt ‘pressurised’ to find work under new rules for claimants.

“On October 24 last year, after months of financial worry, Amy wrote a suicide note saying she ‘couldn’t see a way forward’, dropped off her young son at school then hanged herself in woodland near her home in the village of Coppull near Chorley, Lancashire.

“At an inquest into her death, a coroner ruled the tragedy as suicide saying the risk of losing benefits would ‘play massively on a young woman’s mind with a young child and history of illness’.

“Coroner James Newman said: “She was under pressure from the Department for Work and Pensions – a source of income she relied on. The pressure was to get back to work or be able to prove she was searching for work.

“”In a person with her mental history I could understand that would be difficult. There is pressure that she could run the risk of losing her benefits and I can see that financial matters would play massively on a young woman’s mind with a young child and history of physical and mental illness.””

To the DWP and its lower-than-vermin minister Esther McVey, this means nothing.

She’d probably say the Department’s cruel threat of sanctions had “assisted” Ms Nice into a place where she could be happier. I refer, of course, to the grave.

And they will never – ever – consciously accept responsibility, even though it is plain for all to see that this woman died under threat from the DWP, which was acting on the orders of the Conservative government.

The ever-increasing ranks of the deceased are a demand for justice.

When will they get it?


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Naked opportunism by Liberal Democrats over Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ row

Vince Cable: Still helping the Tories.

Vince Cable really is debasing himself and his party.

He knows the Labour Party has less anti-Semitism now – and Islamophobia, come to that – than when Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

He is simply playing up to the media- and Tory-led lies that have been claimed about Mr Corbyn and Labour.

And he won’t profit from it – because Mr Corbyn is more popular now than before his enemies in the Labour Party (and the Tories) kicked off their attack.

And we all know that Liberal Democrats love to support Tories – and lie to the public before they do.

The Liberal Democrat[s] would never prop up a coalition Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s leader adamantly confirmed this week.

Speaking to Jewish News Sir Vince Cable fired a warning shot to the opposition, claiming prejudice, including anti-Semitism seems to be “pretty severe” in the party, as he assured the community of “personal importance” to good relations.

He said “we’re very clear we would not be going into coalition with Corbyn-led Labour. Simple answer on Jeremy Corbyn, is no”, should there be another hung parliament at the next election.

The Lib Dem leader welcomed “attracting people who are disaffected” by Labour’s anti-Semitism row, saying he knows of “members of the community who used to support Labour who are now supporting us”.

Source: Sir Vince Cable: Lib Dems won’t prop up Corbyn


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It’s time to kill this Lib Dem revival – by reminding voters of the facts

Amanda Broom, who defected from the Tories, and Daisy Benson (right) the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate for Yeovil, pictured in Chard town centre. Once again the Liberal Democrats are winning votes by making promises they have no intention of keeping [Image: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian].

It has been said that the Liberal Democrats are winning back votes in a big way because they are positioning themselves as the party of ‘Remain’; they want to stand for those who still want the UK to stay in the European Union.

What a bold statement!

As if the Liberal Democrats had any say at all in the matter. And even if they did, there is no guarantee that they would stand by their word.

Doesn’t anybody remember the Liberal Democrat promise not to increase tuition fees?

They had a chance to achieve this aim as part of the Coalition government they formed with the Conservatives – and what did they do instead?

They tripled tuition fees.

That isn’t all they did, either.

They sold off the Royal Mail – on the cheap – to hedge funds, if memory serves.

They supported the Tory austerity agenda to the hilt, no matter who it killed. That’s right – killed. The Liberal Democrats are as responsible for the Bedroom Tax deaths, the ESA deaths, and the jobseeker deaths, as Iain Duncan Smith and all his DWP minions.

Finally, voters need to remember that the current leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has made it absolutely plain that his party would go back into coalition with the Conservatives at the first opportunity to do so.

The Conservatives have positioned themselves as the party of Brexit. They are determined to steer the UK out of the EU, no matter what.

So what do you think the Liberal Democrats will do, if they go into coalition with the Tories?

That’s right, Remainers – you are following a falsehood.

The Liberal Democrats will betray you at their very first opportunity.

So why on Earth are you voting for them?

Lib Dem strategists are pinning their hopes for rebuilding after the dire results in 2015 on a resurgence in the south-west, their former heartland, where the party lost all 10 of its seats in the last election. Since then, the party has been quietly notching up its best council byelection results in 20 years, with a net gain of 28 seats compared with net losses for Labour of four seats, Ukip of three and the Conservatives of 33 seats.

On paper, this part of the country does not look like a happy hunting ground for the fervently pro-remain party, because of the high number of leave voters in the south-west. Yet more than half of those byelections gains were in the West Country, most recently in Taunton and Teignbridge in early December, with the seats all seeing swings upwards of 20%.

Source: ‘Morale is really high’: Lib Dems scent revival in south-west | Politics | The Guardian

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