Campaign 2009 retrospective

Dearly as I love the acrid smell of cordite in the nostrils, the tattered banners, and the war-like cannon’s martial roar, I must confess to a sense of relief that the long campaign is over at last.  And it will have been my last campaign.  Probably.  Or at least the last in which I stand as a candidate: I look forward to the General Election, and the Referendum campaign, with relish.
 
In the East Midlands we have scored a very solid result.  Compared to last time, 2004, we were up around 4%, to 30%, and Labour down around 4%, to 17.  UKIP was down over 8%.  Admittedly the base period was skewed by the Kilroy factor, but it was a good result none-the-less.  Labour came 2nd in the region (enabling Glenis Willmott to argue that they had “improved from 3rd last time to 2nd”, despite their disastrous share-of-vote).  Nationally Labour came third behind UKIP, and little ahead of the Lib-Dems.  Commentators have said that Labour would be in real trouble if their national share fell below 20% (it fell below 16%), or if they came behind UKIP.  They did.
 
I was pleased that my predictions for other parties proved accurate.  I had estimated the BNP and the Greens at 8%.  In the event, it was BNP 8.6%, Greens 6.8%.  I said that the remaining seven minor parties would lose their deposits, and they did.  Despite the hype, neither Libertas (Declan Ganley’s lot) nor the Jury Rigs (Sir Paul Judge’s initiative), managed even 1% of the vote.
 
It is worth noting that over 60% of votes in the region were cast for euro-sceptic parties.  This was a vote against EU integration, and in favour of a Referendum on the EU Constitution.  It is scandalous that our Labour government has broken its clear Manifesto Pledge for a referendum.  It is doubly scandalous that Labour is flying a kite for a referendum on electoral reform instead.  The people don’t want a referendum on PR: they want a referendum on the EU Constitution.  The people don’t want electoral reform: they want a General Election.
 
Above all this was a vote against a failing Labour government.  Gordon Brown is relying on the dysfunctional Labour Rule-Book to keep him in power.  It has been designed to make leadership challenges well-nigh impossible.  He is clinging to Number Ten by his fingernails, hiding behind a technicality, while more and more Labour MPs and former ministers call for him to go.  The only story in British politics is whether Gordon can hang on for a week, or a month, or overnight.  And it will remain the only story until Gordon goes.  The business of government cannot resume until we have a new parliament, a new government, a new Prime Minister.  So the message to Gordon is: if you won’t listen to your Parliamentary Labour Party, then listen to the people.  Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once!

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