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Eastleigh: Pivotal bye-election or sideshow for anoraks?


Astral Peaks

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This day next week the voters of Eastleigh in Hampshire, UK will go to the polls to elect a successor to the now infamous Chris Huhne, who resigned after the director of public prosecutions announced he would face a criminal charge in connection with allegedly dodging a speeding offence.

This bye-election represents the best chance the Lib Dems have to arrest their slide over the last two years and prove, at least to themselves, that they are still capable of winning seats in their core areas. Can they do it?

Candidate list here: BBC News - Eastleigh by-election candidate list

Back in 2010, Huhne had a majority in Eastleigh of 3,864. He took 47% of the votes, against 39% for the Tories' Maria Hutchings, who is standing again, and 10% for Labour, whose vote has been squeezed by the Lib Dems over the years. Ukip was a distant fourth, with 4%.

So all the indications are that it will be a straight fight between the coalition partners, despite recent surges for UKIP nationally and Labour's selection of a "celebrity" candidate in John O'Farrell, comedy writer of Spitting Image fame and author of the "Fever Pitch" for politics junkies and diehard Labourites, "Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter." (Thoroughly recommended, by the way, a rattling good read.)

So, what do the posters of P.ie think? Been following this at all?

Great article on the state of play here, by Martin Kettle. From that:

If the consensus is right, however, a Lib Dem win in Eastleigh will be a pivotal political event, and by far the most important byelection result of this parliament. Its effects will be felt in several different ways through to the next general election and beyond.
Read the article to find out why.....
 
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Astral Peaks

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Interestingly, in addition, Huhne resigned the seat on the 4th Feb, and his successor will be elected on the 28th.

24 days.......

A lesson there for Irish politicians?

When is the bye-election to fill Shane McEntee's seat scheduled for?

What, it hasn't been?
 

NeilW

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The short time-frame was a political choice by the Lib Dems who felt it improved their chances of winning (and if it bounced the Tories into selecting Mad Maria then they got that right). Contrast, for example, with the Mid-Ulster by-election which is a little longer in the waiting.
 

Verhofstadt

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********************
Interestingly, in addition, Huhne resigned the seat on the 4th Feb, and his successor will be elected on the 28th.

24 days.......

A lesson there for Irish politicians?

When is the bye-election to fill Shane McEntee's seat scheduled for?

What, it hasn't been?
What a shameless bump!

It shall be interesting.. I wonder if the tradition Labour supporters who have previously tactically voted Lib Dem in large numbers will do so again this time and if not will the seat get pushed into Tory arms?
 

Astral Peaks

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The short time-frame was a political choice by the Lib Dems who felt it improved their chances of winning (and if it bounced the Tories into selecting Mad Maria then they got that right). Contrast, for example, with the Mid-Ulster by-election which is a little longer in the waiting.
Aha, didn't know that, thanks....

As to Mad Maria, did you see her shambolic interview with Allegra Stratton last Friday? Incoherent is only the start of it.

The Tories wouldn't even let her do the candidate debate today, for God's sake..


John O'Farrell
Verified account‏@mrjohnofarrell
Doing Radio 5 at 10am with other #Eastleigh candidates, except Maria Hutchings who's locked in a cupboard at Tory HQ with tape on her mouth.
 

Amnesiac

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Interestingly, in addition, Huhne resigned the seat on the 4th Feb, and his successor will be elected on the 28th.

24 days.......

A lesson there for Irish politicians?

When is the bye-election to fill Shane McEntee's seat scheduled for?

What, it hasn't been?
The Cowen FF strategy of delaying bye-elections is still an option for any government. This should not be tolerated. There should be a hard deadline. Two months would be fine. Three tops.
 

Little_Korean

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Colin Bex is the leader of the Wessex Regionalists.

The party wants to secure self government for the area of Wessex - an ancient area of England covering Hampshire, Berkshire, Devon and Dorset.
???

Are these the heirs to Alfred the Great?
 

Astral Peaks

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What a shameless bump!

It shall be interesting.. I wonder if the tradition Labour supporters who have previously tactically voted Lib Dem in large numbers will do so again this time and if not will the seat get pushed into Tory arms?
Yes, interesting question that..

Stratton on Newsnight last Friday asked O'Farrell precisely that question, he had a witty reply ready.....

John O'Farrell

Lib Dem lasagne removed from sale in #Eastleigh - tests reveal it to be 100% Tory. #Newsnight





So no pact or tactical voting there then......
 
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NeilW

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I wonder if the tradition Labour supporters who have previously tactically voted Lib Dem in large numbers will do so again this time and if not will the seat get pushed into Tory arms?
I doubt Labour will do much better than they did at the last GE. There will be strong tactical voting against Mad Maria and the Lib Dems should win as a consequence. This probably wont turn out to be a hugely important by-election (though if the Lib Dems had lost it might have done).
 

Astral Peaks

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I doubt Labour will do much better than they did at the last GE. There will be strong tactical voting against Mad Maria and the Lib Dems should win as a consequence. This probably wont turn out to be a hugely important by-election (though if the Lib Dems had lost it might have done).
Kettle in The Grauniad disagrees with you there?

Most importantly, it will have proved that the Lib Dems can still win elections on their own territory. This has always been an article of faith among Lib Dem activists, even amid all the terrible opinion polls. Yet the claim has taken such a battering in every local and parliamentary election for more than two years that it was beginning to look like a drowning party clutching at a straw. A piece of real live bankable proof – especially in a contest triggered by a Lib Dem high-flier's disgrace – will vindicate the sagging narrative and be a priceless morale booster for Nick Clegg's party.

But the implications go much further. Most Lib Dem MPs sit for seats in which the main challenger is a Tory. Most Lib Dem target seats – even though that is a bit of an optimistic category these days – are Tory-held too. If Eastleigh is a guide, it means the Lib Dems can defend their bastions against the Tories. That could mean that all that talk about inevitable Lib Dem wipeouts in 2015 may be wide of the mark.
 

NeilW

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Kettle in The Grauniad disagrees with you there?
I'm sure many people do but the idea that holding Eastleigh (where the Lib Dems have every council seat and have defended every seat in local elections since they entered Government) tells us anything significant is far-fetched. Losing it would have been important because it might have indicated total wipeout (if they cant win there where can they) but holding it tells us nothing more about their likely chances at the next GE. It certainly doesnt tell us anything about how many seats they will lose in Scotland (most of them) or even to the Tories (where there are other seats that are far more vulnerable to them than Eastleigh).
 

Sync

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Sideshow. It's a safe LibDem seat. It's still a safe LibDem seat.
 

livingstone

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I think a loss for the Tories is potentially bigger news. The seat is a must win for the Tories if they want a majority next time out. If they can’t win in Eastleigh, then they are unlikely to win a majority. People know that. Cameron can take some solace in having a rubbish candidate to blame, but it will up the pressure on him quite a bit if they lose.
 

Astral Peaks

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I'm sure many people do but the idea that holding Eastleigh (where the Lib Dems have every council seat and have defended every seat in local elections since they entered Government) tells us anything significant is far-fetched. Losing it would have been important because it might have indicated total wipeout (if they cant win there where can they) but holding it tells us nothing more about their likely chances at the next GE. It certainly doesnt tell us anything about how many seats they will lose in Scotland (most of them) or even to the Tories (where there are other seats that are far more vulnerable to them than Eastleigh).
Good points, well made.

I defer to your superior knowledge.
 

NeilW

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I think a loss for the Tories is potentially bigger news. The seat is a must win for the Tories if they want a majority next time out. If they can’t win in Eastleigh, then they are unlikely to win a majority.
But that's only news if you thought there was much of a chance of a Tory majority at the next GE in the first place. There isnt right now (though this is politics, things may change).
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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Lib Dems.to hold.

Winchester is a lovely place.


That is all!
 
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livingstone

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But that's only news if you thought there was much of a chance of a Tory majority at the next GE in the first place. There isnt right now (though this is politics, things may change).
Tory backbenchers think there is. Confirmation that there isn't is what will spell trouble for Cameron.
 
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