The big story from the by-elections this am is a Lib Dem landslide in Somerset and Frome with a 29% swing. Labour also put in a record performance in Selby with the biggest swing recorded for decades. However, the Conservatives surprised everyone by crawling across the finishing line with 495 votes in Uxbridge. Labour say that they achieved this by opposing the extension of the ULEZ scheme, a policy that Boris Johnson originated. However, the Labour candidate in Uxbridge opposed the extension of ULEZ to keep in lockstep with Tory policy on the matter, opposing Sadiq Khan and the entire environmental movement.
Tories voted to kill kids
Someone said that Labour could have won if the Greens had loaned their 700 or so votes in Uxbridge. I think it highly unlikely that Green party members would have loaned their votes given Labour’s capitulation to the Tories on ULEZ, a core issue for Green party voters. This was a victory for people who don’t mind killing children. Given that many young people don’t vote Tory, I can almost imagine the text on Johnson’s WhatsApp messages on his phone “Let the bodies pile high”. Just remember it was Grant Shapps who ordered Sadiq Khan to extend ULEZ.
Ming vase broken
A lack of opposition (Keir Starmer’s so-called Ming vase / ice rink strategy) may not have helped Labour in Uxbridge. Worse still, Labour are asking Sadiq Khan to roll back his ULEZ initiative which affects one in 10 cars in London. Climate denial is not the answer and capitulating to swivel headed loons worse. Sure more help needs to be given to affected people to do the right thing, but this is Tory policy rather than Sadiq Khan’s decision.
I was ambivalent about Labour, as I am a realist but their recent position on climate change has turned me from ambivalence to opposition. Not content with running my kids socio economic futures with brexit, they are now chasing the far right climate denial bus ….
Brexit’s Breaking Britain
Brexit remained the elephant in the room at the by elections. No one discussed it, yet it is at the root of most of our lived experiences in Britain as depicted by the iceberg below. By extension, a lack of opposition on Brexit and the products of Brexit (cost of living, NHS crisis and so on) may well come to bite Labour on their collective bottoms. It’s entirely feasible that a lack of opposition on child benefit by Labour may also have played into the overall result in Uxbridge.
Approximately 2500 votes when to other parties such as Lawrence Fox, other far right parties and some anti-ULEZ parties. I don’t buy the argument that these far right votes would have gone to Labour if these parties had not split the vote. The lesson for Labour here is clear:
Tell the truth
I have just listened to Daisy Cooper refusing to answer a simple question on Brexit on BBC Radio 4. In conversation with senior figures such as Sal Briton and Irina von Weise, we agreed that the Lib Dems need a clear USP on Brexit rather than a mealy mouthed apology (we’ll join when the time is right, yada, yada). Nick Robinson just savaged Cooper live on this point who replied with a word salad of internationalism, environmentalism etc. This is why I’m backing Gina Miller and The True and Fair Party.
To those that tell me that the electorate are stupid and we can’t talk to them about uncomfortable truths such as Brexit, climate disaster, asylum seekers and so on I say horsehit. But we must hold these difficult conversations in a skillful way. Quite why I wrote a book on the gentle art of Brexorcism based on therapeutic interventions supported by psychology and anthropology. A Brexorcism takes skill, patience and time but I have 1000’s of hours experience in changing minds on Brexit. The approach applies just as much to other difficult issues. Labour and Lib Dems ought to be in the business of confronting racists, climate deniers and so on rather than chasing their votes.
Nonetheless, however many Tories attempt to spin the election results, it is a crushing defeat for Rishi Sunakered. We have not yet seen the outfall of this shocking result. No doubt Nadine Dorries, Liz Truss, Kemi Bad Enoch Powell and Penny Morduant will be sharpening their claws. John West sums up the outcome: