Most of the commentators and the chattering classes seem to think that Labour is a no-brainer for the Corby by-election on November 15th, following the unlamented departure of Louise Bagshawe/Mensch.
After all, it was a Labour seat for years. Conservatives won it with a small majority (less than 2000) in 2010, but their candidate did a runner in 2012. Since 2010, the Tories are down in the polls, relative to Labour. Many voters, including floating voters who may have switched to the Tories in 2010, are disillusioned with the Coalition’s performance. It’s more than just mid-term blues. The Tories keep talking down the UK’s prospects, and it’s dawning on voters that while George Osborne may have a plan for the deficit, he seems to have no ideas at all about growth, despite many commentators (including this blog ) offering him low-cost growth policy ideas.
Added to that, voters resent it when they’re forced into a by-election on the basis of the mere caprice of the candidate they elected last time. More time with her family? Maybe she should have thought of that when she offered herself for selection. If she’d had a valid reason for going — perhaps a serious illness — they could have forgiven her. As it is, they feel used by a woman who clearly had no interest in Corby, merely an interest in self-promotion.
They can’t punish Louise, but they can punish the Party that foisted on them a candidate who lacked commitment to the constituency, and let them down. And they will.
And of course the Lib-Dems will come nowhere. Hardly worth them fielding a candidate. Voters know three things about the Lib-Dems. They’re part of the governing coalition. They’re petulant spoilers, obsessed with issues that mean nothing to voters. And they broke their word on student fees.
There is only one party that offers common sense policies on a whole range of issues. A party that agrees with majority British opinion on Europe, on immigration, on the need for affordable and secure energy supplies. On the need for lower taxes to stimulate the economy. A party that can honestly claim not to have contributed to the economic mess we’re in. And that Party, of course, is UKIP.
I believe that Conservative voters in Corby (and anyone who doesn’t want to see Ed Miliband finding his way to Number Ten) will work out that there’s no point in voting Tory because the Tories can’t win in Corby. What we need to do is to persuade the anti-Miliband vote to coalesce around UKIP. Then Corby can do two things: stop Labour. And create history by sending the first elected UKIP MP to Westminster.