Sunday, 17 February 2013

On the way to Eastleigh

So I'm currently heading south on my way to take part in the Liberal Democrat efforts in the Eastleigh by-election. Well actually, I'm currently on a replacement bus service across to Basingstoke because, as it turns out South East Trains are utterly crap when it comes to putting accurate information about engineering works  on their website and so I thought I'd just be able to catch a train this morning. But never mind. Come the revolution they will all be nationalised and deported to Antarctica anyway (or so a man can dream).

Now I haven't blogged in far too long - life's been keeping me busy and draining my creative juices but that's not really an excuse for neglecting the one platform that gives me a chance to rant freely at an imaginary audience.

So, Eastleigh. A town formed by the merger of two villages around a new railway station and the home of former Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne who, as it turns out, sped several years ago, got caught, and then transferred the points on his license to his wife, committing the much worse crime of perverting the curse of justice and then betraying the trust of everyone in the party and everyone who'd voted for him by continuing to lie about it until the beginning of this month. And, in the process, he also managed to ruin the lives of both himself and his family. All in all, a very stupid man.

And now Eastleigh is home to the exciting by-election where incumbent Lib Dems face off the Tories - our coalition partners - in a brutal, no-holds-barred electoral fight to the death.

What makes it particularly interesting is that since the Lib Dems hold all the council seats in the constituency, if we lose then the question everyone will ask is if we can't win in Eastleigh where can we win? And in those circumstances you can expect renewed unrest amongst the membership, fresh questions about Nick Clegg's leadership, etc, etc.

On the other hand, if the Tories lose then a lot of them will immediately point to the number of votes UKIP got and cry that if only they didn't have a weak lefty like Cameron in charge (yes, lots of Tories genuinely believe Cameron is left wing - if you can credit it) and instead tacked far to the right on Europe, equal marriage, crime, immigration, etc. then they could have got all of UKIP's votes and beaten the Lib Dems. What's more, if the Tories can't win in Eastleigh then people will have to ask whether they can win the next general election given that at least half of the seats they are targeting are Lib Dem ones.

So basically, whoever wins, the other party loses badly. Either the Lib Dems will be thrown into doom and gloom and Clegg will face fresh prospect of a coup de grace, or the Conservatives will be thrown into civil war over David Cameron's leadership and a fight between their nutty Tea Party faction and their centrist faction.

For Labour of course it's mostly win-win - provided that is that the Lib Dems don't manage to squeeze their support leading to UKIP pushing them into fourth place. Because if they end up fourth in a seat in the south east when a Labour general election victory will depend on being able to win seats in the south east again, then Ed Miliband might well face some awkward questions of his own.

But we'll find out who are the winners and who are the losers on the 28th of February. In the meantime I'm heading down because this is the first major by-election which we could win since I joined the Lib Dems in 2009 - we did have a Lib Dem/Labour context in Oldham and East Saddleworth in 2011 but it became unwinnable as soon as we went into coalition with the Conservatives and it took place in the middle of winter at the same time as the tuition fees fiasco so it really didn't have the proper by-election feel to it.

Eastleigh, on the other hand, is a chance for us to kick the tories in the nadgers and that's something that most of us in the south east have been longing to do for a while. In fact, over 300 people turned up to campaign for us in Eastleigh yesterday which is why I'm taking a break from the county campaign in Guildford and heading down for two days - I really don't want to miss out on the chance to take the fight to the Tories in a big way, or to miss out on what I hear is a brilliant by-election atmosphere.

So, best of luck to our candidate, Mike Thornton, and fingers crossed that the anti-abortion, swivel-eyed Tory candidate doesn't get in. Toodle pip.


  1. I think this election is one,were whoever is chosen will be more down to luck,than preference.

    Interestingly,I am reading on Conservative Home,some Tories proposing voting for the LibDems,to get rid of Cameron.

    Now if the Liberals who hate Clegg,take a similar stance,you could have LibDems voting for the Tory Candidate to get rid of Clegg.

    Truly a bizarre situation,vote for the opposition to get rid of your leader.

  2. Interesting Anon. I know that by-elections are a time to vote bizarrely, but that one would certainly take the biscuit!

    George... we're not in imaginary audience...we're all real ... honest!

  3. Isn't it time that British voters woke up to the fact that Miliband and Cameron don't care about them? They just want their votes and then they will forget everything they promised and return to their own self interest. Isn't it also time that they woke up to the fact that Lib-Dems can take public oaths and renege on them? See Eastleigh Byelection.

    1. I suggest you read this:


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