Henley and cash.

The Henley result was poor, but not as bad as Winchester, in 1997, where our vote fell to 1.7%, as Mike Smithson points out. It is also exactly the same share of vote as we got in Romsey in 2000 so some perspective is required.  Luke is right when he says when you start froma poor third place in a by-election, don’t put national resources in place and are having a tough time nationally, these kind results are not unexpected.

The big change between Romsey and Henley is the differing performance of the Tories and the Lib Dems. It’s clear that Conservative supporters are motivated and keen to vote and the Lib Dems are not able to mine the rich seam of dissatisfaction with the Conservatives that existed in much of middle england over the last decade. The Lib Dems can still squeeze the Labour vote in such seats, but that’s not enough to win. If I were a rural Lib-Dem MP I’d be pretty nervous today.

The same process has implications for Labour too, of course. Those implications are the same as Crewe’s.

It makes it ever clearer whose preferences will decide the battles of the next election – the aspirational, working family, probably home owners on a salary, trying to cope with both one or two children and a tight budget and looking to build some assets to secure their future.

What we  offer to them, how we improve or impact their lives and reduce their burdens and how we communicate to them is all important.

Which is why having the funding and resources to campaign matters. I’m sure one of the reasons the party spent so little on the Henley by-election was simply that with very limited resources decisions about prioirites have to be made, and while a bad headline (or ten) today is painful, it’s as nothing to the salary of a party organiser for a year.

So if you’re a Labour supporter, do what I’m doing today and take this chance to donate to the party. Whether it’s five pounds or fifty pounds, know that every penny will make a huge difference to the result of the next election.

and If any of you are slightly higher on the financial food chain, why not bid for a lot at the Labour Sports auction?


It’s easy to be sarcastic about fundraising like this, but this event will help candidates in marginal seats in the next election. And besides, I think Newmania would be a rather fine character name in Alistair Campbell’s novel.

(Actually that’s not a bad I dea. When I next do fundraising I’ll promise to include an option to be a character in my first novel for the top sponsor. Naturally I don’t have a plot, a publishig contract or anything as mundane as that, but the principles the same.)

7 Responses to “Henley and cash.”

  1. newmania

    Why not just increase the modernising grant to the Unions and in general do as you are told .Or…change the rules to outlaw funding , or….. make a deal with the Public sector to look tough now and collapse when you are in…
    Sorry Hop I`d love to help but all my ideas are taken. Kamfner was talking about how Brown could prepare the ground for Milliband and Purnell today . I really thought Geoff Randall put his finger on the astonishing impact or really mild economic conditions although they may get worse. It was the tipping point for a decade of lies . Crime immigration, inflation, unemployment , waste , democracy, WMDs , we have not had a word of truth for some goodly while .We have just had spinners like you contorting and twisting like expensive whores form a circus background. So……

    ….I ask you to be upstanding to toast the apt quote below and the Conservative administration to come…

    Goebels “ If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating people will eventually come to believe it “ ok you know that but he added this …“The lie can be maintained for only such time as the state can shield the people from the political , economic and /or military consequences of the lie “

    Gentlemen you may smoke
    But not here ( Caroline Flint won’t let you)

  2. newmania

    We have just had spinners like you contorting and twisting like expensive whores form a circus background. So……

    Sorry that was a bit much … I don’t really think you are expensive

  3. adammcnestrie

    Labour’s 3% share of the vote in the Henley by-election is one of the most shocking statistics that I ever heard. In 100 years time it will be one of those scarcely credible statistics that historians use to make a more general point about the period – like the one about no one voting at all in Scotland in the 1826 General Election.

    3% is a fringe party; it’s almost within the pollster’s margin of error. It’s what a crank or a weirdo gets when they insistently force themselves upon the attention of an electorate. It has to be watermark. I think that it marks the beginning of two mutually reinforcing phenomena, both of them affecting Labour supporters: shame and despair. Quite suddenly it has become shameful to profess to support Labour. You need to have some courage to do it publicly, and anyone wanting to vote Labour has to bear up under the weight of that shame. The despair comes out of the feeling that Labour is doomed, that going down to the polling booth and registering a vote for them is a pointless twilight act, a sort of pantomime of a once significant act. The Labour electorate is beset now by faithlessness.

    And the word is that ill-health is about to trigger another by-election in a “rock-solid” Labour seat in Glasgow. More grist for the disaster mill.

    Read more of my views at my blog, Just who the hell are we? on wordpress.com, at:

  4. asquith

    Actually our hope is your fear, Britain’s liberal future. It is coming :)

  5. newmania

    Piece by Janet Daley supporting the Poly Clinics Hop , along the lines you said but look how much more appeallingly she puts it …ie as an attack on the BMA and its trade Union , she also supports your contention that the Conservatives are not going anything like far enough to call their Policy a break with Labour .
    This is a time lag on the politically possible I suspect and we are likely to see more in government .


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