Friday, January 14, 2011

Does the Oldham result tell us anything?

Well, it rather depends which all-knowing commentator you read. It could be that the Coalition took a pasting because people feel "betrayed" or it could be that David Cameron stopped the bullet that was aimed at Nick Clegg or it could be that the Conservatives had a dreadful night. Or it could be that Labour is deluding itself by this result. Or, possibly, nothing much was proved by a somewhat unusual by-election, called because the losing candidate complained to the courts that the winner had lied about him in the election literature.

My view of the Phil Woolas debacle was that, while I was glad to see the back of him, I was less than pleased with the idea of courts deciding who should be the winner of an electoral contest. That is the job of the electorate. Possibly people in Oldham shared my view and helped to turn a marginal Labour seat into a fairly safe one though the junior Cleggeron maintains that the Lib-Dims will win it back next time. Hmm. Maybe.

In the meantime, here are the full results. The turn out was 48 per cent, considerably lower than at the General Election but not particularly low for a by-election:

Labour: 14,718 (42.1%)
Lib Dems: 11,160 (31.9%)
Conservatives: 4,481 (12.8%)
Ukip: 2,029 (5.8%)
BNP: 1,560 (4.5%)
Green Party: 530 (1.5%)
Monster Raving Loony Party: 145 (0.4%)
English Democrats: 144 (0.4%)
Pirate Party: 96 (0.2%)
Bus Pass Elvis Party: 67 (0.1%)

UKIP, I am very pleased to say, saved its deposit, increased both its vote and its share of the vote and beat both the BNP and the miserable Greens. Nevertheless, it would be good to see more people actually voting for one of the smaller parties instead of skulking at home.


  1. This was another seat that Dave failed to win in 2010 on his way to forming a coalition.
    Lab 14186
    Libs dem 14083
    Cons 11773
    BNP 2546
    UKIP 1720

    After this election it will be interesting to see where the Conservatives voters of Old and Sad will put their crosses next time. Once people get a taste for tactical voting it becomes addictive. So far Tories have voted for whatever donkey stood at the hustings. This may change. I did not vote for the donkey in 2010 for the first time ever.

  2. It seems that they either voted for the other donkey, the one with the yellow ribbon or stayed at home. And what use is that to anybody?