Friday, July 24, 2009

Norwich North: Tory win

It's no surprise that the Conservatives have won Norwich North from Labour. All the odds were stacked against Labour having offed a popular and rooted left MP at just the time when the government nationally is about as unpopular as it could be.


Votes 2009 2005 Change
Conservative Chloe Smith 13,591 39.54% 33.2% + 6.34
Labour Chris Ostrowski 6,243 18.16% 44.9% - 26.74
Liberal Democrat April Pond 4,803 13.97% 16.2% - 2.23
UKIP Glenn Tingle 4,068 11.83% 2.4% + 9.43
Green Rupert Read 3,350 9.74% 2.7% + 7.04
Put an honest man into Parliament Craig Murray 953 2.77%

BNP Robert West 941 2.74%

Independent Bill Holden 166 0.48% 0.7% - 0.22
MRLP Alan Hope 144 0.42%

NOTA Anne Fryatt 59 0.17%

Libertarian Thomas Burridge 36 0.10%

Independent Peter Baggs 23 0.07%

Norwich North has been held by Labour since 1997 and no matter how expected the main result it is still a real loss for Labour and an ill wind for the general election when they can lose seats that had more than a 10% majority particularly when the opposition get twice as many votes as you do.

For the Lib Dems to take third place is perfectly respectable and expected although it does leave their claim that it was between them and the Tories (they got a third of the Tory vote) looking rather like something we were never meant to take seriously. I'll bear that in mind in future.

They were rather disparaging about the Greens' campaign during the election. I wonder how it makes them feel that a campaign they thought was useless gained votes hand over fist and yet their amazing leaflet-a-thon actually put people off.

The Greens achieved just over 9% which, objectively, is a good result for us (I think most parties would be happy with more than tripling their vote) however fifth place is disappointing and despite the massive leap in our vote it is an irritant that we didn't get to that magic 10%. Whilst it should not take away from the massive increase in our vote I suspect it will be seen as a failure by many, both friends and foes.

UKIP may not have come second as their election bar chart was claiming (snort!) and were beaten by parties that they had claimed could not win here, unlike them, so they look like fools. Good. However, they can console themselves that they came just shy of the Lib Dems and they've won a council by election in Cambridgeshire. Bugger.

I'm sure Craig Murray will be disappointed with his result although I've no doubt he'll find someone else to blame for the result. Anyway, I hope he has more success in future endeavors and I'm very pleased that he beat the BNP. I wonder if he'll stand here at the General?

Commiserations to Peter Baggs for his 23 votes. Perhaps his electoral run was premature?

Previous result (2005, taken from wikipedia);

LabourIan Gibson21,09744.9−2.5

ConservativeJames Tumbridge15,63833.2−1.4

Liberal DemocratRobin Whitmore7,61616.2+1.4

GreenAdrian Holmes1,2522.7+1.0

UK IndependenceJohn Youles1,1222.4+1.4

IndependentBill Holden3080.7N/A

There was a turnout of 45% which might sound low but is actually pretty good for a by election which is interesting as I thought there may well be wide spread abstentionism.

Some nice pics from Adrian Windisch


ModernityBlog said...

UKIP's 4K is worrying.

Strategist said...

"I'm sure Craig Murray will be disappointed with his result although I've no doubt he'll find someone else to blame for the result."

Not the case!

ModernityBlog said...

It was a good bit of publicity for Craig Murray, and should help him earn a crust, so no harm done.

Strategist said...

Anybody out there interested in what the candidates actually looked and sounded like, might be interested in this clip at

The Craig Murray campaign managed to get the evidence that their chap was the clearest speaker and best debater up on the web about an hour before the polls closed. Ho-hum... Anyway, what use are those skills in today's House of Commons?

It was a scandal that the University & College Union excluded Craig Murray from their own hustings event, despite the support he had given to UCU members under attack at Dundee in his role as Rector there. As a bureaucratic organisation they don’t deserve to be quickly forgiven.

Jim Jepps said...

Well personally I like Murray and have defended him in the past, but I'm not blind to his faults either. He has spent a large amount of the campaign moaning about other people.

He's not the only person to ever do this and when Greens do it I try to put in a word that it's not helpful, but it depends who it is and what they're doing obviously.

His final post was far too harsh on himself. Beating the BNP as the an independent is no mean feat and is a good contribution to the campaign - but his campaign was too negative plain and simple.

There was a comment is free piece by the excellent Cath Elliot the day before that said it was between Read and Murray for her vote (she lives in the constituency) and in the comments she said she eventually voted for Read because of the negative attack leaflet Murray put round the day before. I suspect she's not the only vote she lost with that one.

I'd also say that the Lib Dem and Green campaign were basically bickering with each other for the first half of the campaign which was very unedifying, although thankfully the Greens did a very noticeable handbrake turn and started talking policy which was a blessed relief (thank you to whoever made that happen).

Anyway best of luck to him in the future and I hope he's learned something from the experience

Strategist said...

Jim, I think you're confusing the comments posted on his personal blog with his official campaign material which wasn't whingey at all.

Craig Murray's "moans" during the campaign were justified ones about eg attempts to deny him access to public buildings for meetings (illegal in electoral law), about his exclusion from events dubbed "candidates hustings" (also illegal in electoral law - you can invite who you want to your own event, but you can't call it a "hustings" unless every candidate is invited), about the decision by Newsnight's Michael Crick to butter up the Westminster establishment by making him an unperson.

I think perhaps Craig's defence mechanism against previous much more sinister secret state attempts to smear and harm him had become to loudly and vocally complain on the web to try & frighten the spooks off, and he instinctively used it in this far less high stakes context, in a way that wound you up given its rather mild nature and its similarity to past experiences with the Greens.

About the "attack leaflet" which turned off Cath Elliott, well, I argued at the start of the campaign that the fire of all the candidates should be turned on the Tories' bogus claims. A leaflet drawing attention that the Tories' candidate wasn't quite what she was being passed off as being was quite in order at that stage in the campaign.

However, the leaflet itself was pretty thin stuff, as unfortunately the killer information was not yet revealed when the leaflet went to press - yes, she worked for Deloittes as advertised, but as a secondee into Tory Central Office (reporting to a Tory MP with 24 houses implicated in the expenses scandal). In other words, Chloe Smith ain't the change we need, she's very much part of the corrupt system everyone is angry about. Perhaps something focusing on the organ grinders rather than admittedly rather sweet monkey would have been more appropriate. Martin Rowson's cartoon in today's Grauniad precisely captures the reality.

Anyway enough from me on this. Thanks for your coverage of this by-election, Jim.

Jim Jepps said...

You might be right S. I notice Murray is in the Mail today beating himself up.