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Friday, July 24, 2009 

Norwich North thoughts.

The best that Labour can say about the result in the Norwich North by-election is that it could have been a whole lot worse. There were suggestions at the beginning of the campaign that they could slip into third, fourth or even fifth place, such was the disenchantment with the party, mainly because of the way that Ian Gibson was defenestrated, not just the government's performance as a whole. To be sure, to go from a majority of over 5,000 to a Tory majority of over 7,000, a swing of 16.5%, is ghastly, but not so terrible when you consider that all three main parties lost votes on the 2005 result.

The Liberal Democrats especially must be bitterly disappointed and wonder what they did wrong. There were no real scandals among their expenses, they could claim to be the true heirs to Gibson's politics and punish Labour for getting rid of their popular incumbent, and yet they lost close to 3,000 votes, mainly to the Greens and possibly Craig Murray, but also probably to the Tories.

As for the Greens, the claims that they could win the seat turned out be hot air, although ordinarily a vote of 3,350 would be a cause for celebration. In truth their main target is Norwich South, which they hope to win next year along with Brighton and Hove. If they do, they'll be overthrowing Charles Clarke, which will be an extra cause for breaking out the (organic) champagne. Similarly, UKIP must be ecstatic with their performance, which must surely be one of their best parliamentary results in terms of votes, if not the best, getting an impressive 4,068. Likewise, although Craig Murray is disappointed with his result, 953 votes is a spectacular result for an independent, especially one who was completely ignored by the media, and to beat the BNP into 7th place is no mean feat. Most amusing though is the Libertarians, who received a grand total of 36 votes, behind the Monster Raving Loonies. Who knew that turning the country into an Ayn Rand style fantasy isn't popular?

It seems fairly pointless to try extrapolating anything from this result, as the chances of it being repeated next year seem doubtful. Voters that won't have bothered turning out for a by-election most likely will make the effort come the general election, and the parties outside the main three will almost certainly be squeezed except in their strongholds, especially as the fury over the MPs expenses is slowly forgotten. The question remains just how badly Labour is going to do, rather than how well the Conservatives will - whether it becomes a 97 style wipeout, or a result which the party can recover quicker from. Frankly, it both deserves and needs a 97 style wipeout for it to come to its senses, but the pain that will cause is still difficult to imagine.

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"Most amusing though is the Libertarians, who received a grand total of 36 votes, behind the Monster Raving Loonies. Who knew that turning the country into an Ayn Rand style fantasy isn't popular?"

<.libertarianmode>No, it just means that we need to privatise and deregulate more as well as cutting taxes even further on high earners and corporations. That way people will support us!<.libertarianmode>

Libertarians tend to be rationalist, therefore pragmatic and realistic. That means that the Libertarian Party has no chance, as we all vote Conservative.

Oh, and Atlas Shrugged was not about a libertarian society; quite the opposite.

Not the libertarians of the Libertarian party. And yes, I do realise that; too bad Ayn Rand couldn't write for toffee and didn't understand the very basic workings of society, but hey ho.

To be clear, before 1001 Libertarians descend, yes they are rationalist, but I'm not entirely sure that the dreams that some of them have of abolishing the welfare state are either pragmatic or realistic.

Flying Rodent summarised a fair few libertarian blogs when he wrote:

If I believed what I read just on British blogs, I'd genuinely believe that the country was simultaneously powerless before a ravening horde of scimitar-wielding foreign invaders and seconds away from marching all minorities into death camps. I'd believe that democracy itself - an electorate voting in favour of public services and the necessary taxation to cover them - is a psychotic tyranny akin to Nazi Germany. I'd never set foot over my door for fear that I'd be instantly raped in the face by a gang of feral crackheads.

http://flyingrodent.blogspot.com/2009/07/everyone-in-blogroll-excepted-of-course.html

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