Stoke-on-Trent Central By-Election

Last week, I wrote a preview of the upcoming (23 February 2017) Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, one of two taking place on that day

https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/stoke-on-trent-central-preview/.

Now that the main candidates are declared, I am ready to expand on that and to predict the result as best one can a month before polling.

The Stoke Central constituency has existed since 1950 and the Labour Party has won every election since then. Until Tristram Hunt appeared in 2010, the Labour vote varied between 48% and 68%. Hunt’s votes have been 38.8% (2010) and 39.3% (2015). Stoke Central has moved from being a Labour safe seat to one which can be regarded as marginal:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoke-on-Trent_Central_(UK_Parliament_constituency)#Elections

The Labour vote in 2015 was about 12,000, that of both UKIP and Conservatives about 7,000. The Liberal Democrats, until 2015 the second party, crashed to fifth place (behind an Independent) with 1,296 votes. In fact, the LibDem vote in 2010 was 7,000, the same as the UKIP vote in 2015, perhaps a sign that the “protest vote” bloc at Stoke Central is around 7,000 or so. Arguende. The LibDem candidate for the by-election is Zulfiqar Ali, a consultant cardiologist, who lost his deposit (vote share 4.2%) in the 2015 General Election.

Tristram Hunt, the outgoing-going-gone Labour Party MP, was never very popular in his own constituency, though London TV studios loved him. He made no bones about despising the leader of his own party, tried and failed to formulate policy of his own and was surprisingly bad (for someone of his background and education) at arguing his points when (as so often) being interviewed.

Hunt stepped down as MP in order to take a job as Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. MP pay is about £74,000 (plus generous expenses); the V&A Director presently gets a package worth £230,000. Hunt may be getting more. No wonder that he said that “the V&A offer was too good to refuse.” So much for political conviction, vocation and, indeed, loyalty (whether to party or constituents). Stoke Central is well rid of him.

The Labour candidate in the by-election is Gareth Snell, a still fairly young former leader of the Borough Council of Newcastle-under-Lyme (3-4 miles from Stoke-on-Trent). His selection indicates that Labour are going to play on local roots and try to pretend that God is in His Heaven and Jeremy Corbyn far away, Corbyn being (arguably?) an electoral liability (seen as a credible future Prime Minister by only 16% in a recent poll).

The Conservatives have not been even the second party at Stoke Central since 2001. This by-election is one which will be decided between Labour and UKIP. The recent Theresa May Brexit speech may well have shot UKIP’s fox overall, but at Stoke Central no-one is expecting a Conservative win or even a Conservative second. The Conservative candidate is Jack Brereton, 25, who was elected at age 19 to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Since the 2001 General Election, the second and third-placed candidates at Stoke-on-Trent Central have received very similar numbers of votes (behind victorious Labour).

UKIP, joker in the pack. Paul Nuttall, a Northerner who was recently elected leader of UKIP, is the candidate. He must have a chance despite his partly-“libertarian” views (of which Labour is making the most, of course, claiming that Nuttall believes in NHS privatization). UKIP has a steep climb in the by-election, but it is possible. This is a by-election. The result will not affect who governs the UK. People can protest with their votes. Labour is now seen as the pro-mass immigration party and the pro-EU party. Stoke Central voted nearly 70% for Leave in the EU Referendum.

If turnout is low, if the 2015 Labour vote halves to about 6,000, if the 2015 UKIP vote mostly holds up at 7,000 or not much less, then UKIP can win. If.

It is not credible to imagine a win for the Conservatives or LibDems and they will vie for most votes not going to Labour or UKIP, but this is very much a Labour/UKIP contest. If enough people (eg 2015 Conservative voters) vote tactically for UKIP, UKIP has a good chance. On the other hand, many 2015 LibDem or Green voters may also vote tactically for Labour.

In 2015, an Independent got over 2,000 votes. Will those votes go to UKIP, now that that candidate has not renewed his candidature? Open question.

Unemployment is high, immigration is high and having had Labour MPs for 66 years has not prevented either in recent times. There is strong cultural resistance in the seat to the Conservative Party. UKIP is the insurgent here.

Prediction

The bookmakers still have Labour as odds-on to win the by-election and it would be tempting to call it as a Labour-UKIP-Conservative 1-2-3, but I am going to be bold and say that Paul Nuttall and UKIP can crack this. The seat must be one of the best chances UKIP has had or will have: anti-EU, pro-Leave, anti-mass immigration, disenchanted with the System parties and very much a “left-behind” area. Also, Tristram Hunt abandoning the seat for a quarter-of-a-million-pound job must sit badly in an area which is one of the poorest in England. In addition, Nuttall has the cachet, such as it is, of being his party’s leader.

In sum, I see the 1234 as: 1.UKIP; 2.Labour; 3.Conservative; 4.LibDem.

Effect

If the result is as I have predicted, it will push even more anti-Corbyn Labour MPs to jump ship and it will weaken Labour even further in the North (it being of little importance now in Scotland or most of the South of England). If Labour hangs on to win, then everything depends on the majority obtained but it might well be just a slower car crash.

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3 thoughts on “Stoke-on-Trent Central By-Election”

  1. Just listened to your talk to London Forum on YouTube.

    It was very good and most informative. Thank you for taking the trouble and making the time to speak.

    Perhaps it would be better you start putting together the embryonic political party that you desire.

    Nationalism in the form of social nationalism has no match in the UK today.

    In fact nationalism per se is in dire straits the way things are.

    While London Forum and the various other Forums are useful talking shops they do not offer any cohesive opportunity to develop outside its box.

    That you may not desire to lead such a party you most certainly have the intellectual and professional ability to establish a sound foundation for a British Social National Organisation.

    Sound foundations would be a good start and something you would be competent carrying out.

    As matters gain momentum people tend to turn up. Surprisingly an initial targeted leafleting is always good for generating new party officers, if there is no other way open to you.

    Anyway…thank you for speaking and thank you for making it interesting and informative.

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      1. You put together the legal structure, the skeleton, and then become the Deputy Chairman. Then you find the appropriate Chairman and/or President. You need good social contacts for this, a cool head (which you have), and some form of spiritual support beyond companions.

        It is the total lack of a spiritual factor in Nationalism today that is the problem. Most churches have been taken over by (((them))) or church leaders are more concerned with political correctness than spiritual correctness and church traditions.

        Most alternative religion operates on the same basis and framework as feminism does to disrupt and destroy, and is usually promoted or controlled by (((them))).

        The political/economic/social structure of Nationalism is not the critical factor for success. It is the spiritual. Not that everyone shares the same spiritual path, though that clearly helps as history tells us, but that a spiritual element is included as an integral part of the whole.

        What made Europe were the Crusades. They established criteria to unify differing peoples with dissimilar concepts in to one establishment that ultimately became the foundation stone of the European Establishment…it kept the white Christian west going for another 600 years.

        Only with the advent of first the Jewish control of banking via privatised national banks and the Bank of International Settlement, followed by Zionism in 1898 and the sort of manipulation of our politics by Netanyahu in the UK and USA as we experience today, has this unity been broken.

        While Nationalism in the form of National Socialism as espoused by Feder is a sound foundation for society in general, and Social Nationalism [the true Nationalism (((they))) are really afraid of] as defined by Strasser, is almost the perfect ideal, but without a ‘spiritual element’ to it, it is of little value. Most Nationalists today do not understand this and to a great extent it is this lack that is the real debilitating factor for the movement.

        In some way, perhaps even metaphorically…we need a new crusade to unify the European peoples. The original ones were to free Jerusalem from the Moslems. Perhaps today it should be to free Jerusalem from the Jews! To make Jerusalem Christian again.

        We could bring the Moslems onside by stating we would establish a Palestinian state according to the old borders and by forcing the Jews to either live in Madagascar (which was a concept originally accepted by Jewry at one time), or forcing them to live in the Siberian Jewish State that was set aside especially by Moscow a few years ago.

        What would the Moslems give for a Palestine without Zionists and Ashkenazi Jews? Would they agree to a Social Nationalist Europe? I understand that Mein Kampf is a top seller in the Middle East! In this way we could turn the tables upon our (((enemies)))!

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