Friday 20 October 2023
Labour have taken two safe Tory Westminster seats in a devastating night for Rishi Sunak. The Conservatives were defending majorities of 24,664 in Mid Bedfordshire and 19,634 in Tamworth. The swing to Labour in Nadine Dorries' old seat was 20.5 per cent, while in Tamworth it was 23.9 per cent. Both constituencies will now be Labour marginals going into the general election, with majorities of 1,192 and 1,316. Turnout was 44.1 per cent in Mid Beds and 35.9 per cent in Tamworth.
While it is fair to say that both by-elections were brought about by acrimonious circumstances caused by two MPs clinging to the gravy train for as long as possible, this can barely dampen a huge turnaround by Keir Starmer's candidates.
The long drawn out departure of Nadine Dorries would have frustrated many of her constituents, with claims that she was neglecting them while continuing to take home her Westminster salary. Dorries had previously announced her 'immediate resignation' back in June, but subsequently changed her mind in a protracted attempt to receive a peerage pledged to her by Boris Johnson. As pressure grew on Dorries to make good her resignation, 'missing' posters were put up across her constituency. She eventually resigned at the end of August, but as the Commons was in summer recess the by-election was delayed still further.
The new MP for Mid Bedfordshire is Alistair Strathern, a university graduate and ex-teacher. He was serving as a Labour councillor on Waltham Forest Council until last month, when he resigned ahead of a move back to his native Bedfordshire. It is not clear if this was linked to his candidacy, seeing as his chances of victory were obviously slim.
In Tamworth the resignation of Chris Pincher was also a long time coming. Allegations of sexual misconduct first emerged way back in June 2022 and would become the straw that broke Boris Johnson's back. Pincher had been appointed deputy chief whip, despite prior knowledge of the alleged misdemeanors. The revelation that Johnson had appointed him anyway led to the PM's downfall.
While Pincher resigned his whips' post in June 2022, following a 'drunken incident' in which he is alleged to have sexually assaulted two men, his resignation as Tamworth MP did not transpire for another 15 months and only came about when it was clear he would face a recall petition. Pincher had been the MP since 2010.
Tamworth's new MP is Sarah Edwards, an art school graduate and Unite union official from Birmingham. She defeated local councillor Andrew Cooper, an army veteran who was raised on a council estate.
Labour's double by-election gains follow on from their crushing defeat of the SNP in Rutherglen earlier this month. There is little to suggest that the general election will go anything but Labour's way. Mid Bedfordshire had been held by Conservative candidates since 1931.
Mid Bedfordshire Parliamentary By-Election
Alistair Strathern (Lab) 13,872 (34.1%) +12.4%
Festus Akinbusoye (Con) 12,680 (31.1%) -28.6%
Emma Holland-Lindsay (LDem) 9,420 (23.1%) +10.5%
Gareth Mackey (Ind) 1,865 (4.6%) New
Dave Holland (RefUK) 1,487 (3.7%) New
Cade Sibley (Grn) 732 (1.8%) -2.0%
Ann Kelly (Loon) 249 (0.6%) -0.2%
Antonio Vitiello (EngDem) 107 (0.3%) New
Sid Cordle (CPA) 101 (0.2%) New
Alan Victor (True) 93 (0.2%) New
Alberto Thomas (Herit) 63 (0.2%) New
Prince Ankit Love, Emperor of India (Ind) 27 (0.1%) New
Chris Rooney (Mstr) 24 (0.1%) New
Lab GAIN from Con
Tamworth Parliamentary By-Election
Sarah Edwards (Lab) 11,719 (45.7%) +22.0%
Andrew Cooper (Con) 10,403 (40.6%) -25.7%
Ian Cooper (RefUK) 1,373 (5.4%) New
Ashlea Simon (BritF) 580 (2.3%) New
Robert Bilcliff (UKIP) 436 (1.7%) -0.1%
Sue Howarth (Grn) 417 (1.6%) -0.4%
Sunny Virk (LDem) 417 (1.6%) -3.7%
Howling Laud Hope (Loon) 155 (0.6%) New
Peter Longman (Ind) 86 (0.3%) New
Lab GAIN from Con
The Tories did not fair any better in Thursday's council by-elections. They lost all three seats they were defending - two to the Greens and one to the Lib Dems. Again, these were huge swings away from the Conservatives.
Alveley & Claverley, Shropshire Council
LDem: 662 (58.8%) +36.6%
Con: 408 (36.3%) -33.1%
Lab: 55 (4.9%) New
LDem GAIN from Con
Horsleys, Surrey County Council
RGV: 1,095 (39.3%) -8.5%
LDem:: 1,023 (36.7%) +25.2%
Con: 569 (20.4%) -17.0%
Lab: 99 (3.6%) +0.3%
Warndon Parish, Worcestershire County Council
Grn: 1,139 (44.2%) +28.7%
Con: 623 (24.2%) -36.9%
LDem: 579 (22.5%) +16.3%
Lab: 239 (9.2%) -7.5%
Grn GAIN from Con
Warndon Parish South, Worcester City Council
Grn: 733 (53.7%) +36.2%
Con: 340 (24.9%) -28.4%
Lab: 171 (12.5%) -11.1%
LDem: 92 (6.7%) +1.2%
RefUK: 29 (2.1%) New
Grn GAIN from Con
Lab = Labour
Con = Conservative
LDem = Liberal Democrats
RefUK = Reform UK
Grn = Green
Loon = Monster Raving Loony
EngDem = English Democrats
CPA = Christian People's Alliance
True = True & Fair
Herit = Heritage
Mstr = Mainstream
BritF = Britain First
UKIP = United Kingdom Independence Party
RGV = Residents for Guildford & Villages
Ind = Independents
Thursday 19 October 2023
Keir Starmer has once again brazenly disregarded his second jobs policy. The Labour leader has repeatedly committed his party to a ban on MPs having second jobs, most recently in January this year. However, that didn't stop him from attending another book launch for one of his frontbenchers, Nick Thomas-Symonds. The latter was promoting a revised edition of his Clement Attlee biography and his party leader was happy to help with the promotion.
Nick tweeted his obvious delight in the relaunch of his 2010 work.
This is the second time the Labour leader has endorsed a book for Thomas-Symonds. Last year he not only attended the launch of his Harold Wilson biography, he provided a quote for the front cover of promotional copies. It appears that Starmer's second jobs policy will either be kicked into the long grass when he enters Downing Street, or it will contain so many exemptions as to render it pointless. If he had any principle on the matter, he would have already implemented a ban on his own MPs taking second jobs.
In January of this year, when Starmer was challenged about Dave Lammy's array of secondary incomes - primarily from LBC - the Labour leader replied: "I think David does a lot of media work, and I think media work and writing books is all part of the political process". Lammy is Labour's highest earner from secondary income, collecting more than £200,000 since 2019 - in addition to his MPs' salary. He has pocketed thousands as a guest speaker for various organisations, including Facebook and Google.
The Rhondda MP Chris Bryant has also made thousands from speaking engagements, including £2,000 from investment bank Goldman Sachs - a statement of how far modern Labour has diverged from the Labour of Attlee.
Loudmouth gobshite Jess Phillips is also making a mint from second jobs, having picked up £162,000 since 2019. Her appearance as guest host on Have I Got News For You stretches Starmer's media exemption a bit thin. And what of other Labour MPs raking it in? There are plenty of them, with 38 per cent of all Labour MPs having declared additional incomes in the current parliament.
Margaret Hodge collects a £20,000 salary from her role at Royal Holloway University, where she is the chair of its governing council. Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr) takes home £25,000 a year advising the conservative think tank Policy Exchange (yes, you read that correctly). Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Tooting) tweeted in support of Starmer's proposed second jobs ban earlier this year, but in the same tweet contradicted herself by declaring: "I'm proud to do occasional shifts on the NHS front line". Admirable, maybe, but still a second job.
Perhaps the worst offender of all Labour's additional earners is Dan Jarvis. Despite being elected mayor of the Sheffield City region in 2018, picking up a £79,000 salary in the process, he went on to seek re-election as the MP for Barnsley a year later. He served a four year term as mayor, while still an MP, eventually deciding to stand down and pursue a career on the Westminster gravy train.
Money talks, no matter which side of the floor an MP sits. That is unlikely to change when Keir Starmer enters Downing Street.
Friday 6 October 2023
Labour's crushing victory over the SNP in the Rutherglen by-election has implications far beyond the Scottish borders. The SNP's persistent electoral successes have been a major hindrance to any hopes of a Labour general election victory since 2010. Gordon Brown left office with 41 of the 59 Scottish seats still in Labour hands, but Ed Miliband lost 40 of those in 2015. Labour never recovered from that crushing blow and prior to Rutherglen still had just one MP north of the border.
They now have two MPs in Scotland, thanks to a huge 20 per cent swing in Thursday's by-election. If such a colossal swing were to be repeated in the next general election, Labour would surge back in Scotland and potentially deliver the keys of Number Ten to Keir Starmer.
However, things are not all gloomy for Westminster Conservatives. While Labour may be on the up as a result of SNP free fall, things are not so rosy for them in Wales. It is yet to be seen just how fierce the electoral backlash will be in the wake of Mark Drakeford's absurd 20 miles per hour scheme. If Labour were to haemorrhage seats in the still standing 'red wall' of South Wales that could wipe out a potential advance in Scotland. The more densely populated Valleys account for more than half of Wales' 20 Westminster seats and all but two are currently red.
Labour's war on the motorist in Wales, London and beyond could yet be Starmer's undoing.
Rutherglen & Hamilton West Parliamentary By-Election
Michael Shanks (Lab) 17,845 (58.6%) +24.1%
Katy Loudon (SNP) 8,399 (27.6%) -16.6%
Thomas Kerr (Con) 1,192 (3.9%) -11.1%
Gloria Adebo (LDem) 895 (2.9%) -2.3%
Cameron Eadie (Grn) 601 (2.0%) New
David Stark (RefUK) 403 (1.3%) New
Niall Fraser (SFP) 319 (1.1%) New
Bill Bonnar (SSP) 271 (0.9%) New
Colette Walker (ISP) 207 (0.7%) New
Christopher Sermanni (TUSC) 178 (0.6%) New
Andrew Daly (Ind) 81 (0.3%) New
Ewan Hoyle (Volt) 46 (0.2%) New
Prince Ankit Love, Emperor of India (Ind) 34 (0.1%) New
Garry Cooke (Ind) 6 (0.1%<) New
Lab GAIN from SNP
|This month's Time magazine celebrates Humza Yousaf, in|
remarkably poor sense of timing
Tuesday 3 October 2023
It will come as no great surprise that the Tory conference in Manchester has been met with hate and bile from the intolerant left. Green fanatics, trans clowns and Remainiac Steve Bray (aka Drunk Steve from the Valleys) have all been in attendance (the latter deploying his usual tactic of screaming abuse at Tory members in the street). However, it was the appearance of a bunch of black clad, masked indivudals carrying red flags that won the prize for most sinister stunt.
Click below for the video.
This video clip has drawn a lot of views on social media, due in no small part to the left-wing International Magazine. It's interesting to note that while the magazine positions itself as an unapologetically communist outlet, the video does not show the banner carried at the head of the march.
This is the banner.
The viral tweet that carried the video declares: "Workers did not welcome the Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester". Leaving aside the fact that Manchester is Britain's third largest city and only a few dozen 'workers' decided to unanimously dress in black, don red masks and march under a communist banner - how many of these supposedly 'working class' activists are actually 'workers'? Their chant "Victory to the working class" rings a little hollow if those chanting it are actually jobless layabouts living on benefits handed out by the same government they claim is suppressing them.
Of course this is just conjecture. If they are true to their stated principles, they can simply unmask themselves and post selfies on the production line they don't work on.