Davis and Greens win big in Haltemprice


2:33 am - July 11th 2008

by Sunny Hundal    


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David Davis has won the by-election, according to Sky News, with a total of 17,113 votes. The Green Party’s Shan Oakes came second with 1,758 votes, which is also great news.

A BBC News article says turnout was at 35%, much higher than expected and very high for a single-issue election.

Worth noting:
The turnout was comparable to most by-elections.
This was a single issue by-election;
It faced a lot of hostility from the media
It was a very safe seat and Davis had no opponents who could unseat him.

That makes a 35% turnout much higher than expected.

2:35am: Sky News correspondent says most voters thought it was an important issue to fight over and he was right in calling the election. ConservativeHome won’t be pleased…

3:09am: The final votes: David Davis gets 17,113 votes, a lead of 15,355.
From the BBC:

Among those who have backed Mr Davis’s campaign and attended debates in the constituency were Bob Geldof, Iraq war veteran Col Tim Collins – and a Labour MP, Bob Marshall Andrews.

But the Green Party questioned Mr Davis’s stance on some civil liberties issues – including his support for the 28-day limit on holding terror suspects without charge, increased from 14 days in 2005, and his views on capital punishment and gay rights.

And rape law campaigner Jill Saward, who stood as an independent, criticised his opposition to extending the DNA database and CCTV – which she sees as “the very tools the police need to keep us safe”.

A vote for either David Davis or Shan Oakes (who I supported) was a vote against 42 days. Jill Saward came nowhere.

3:30am: Full result:
David Davis (Con) 17,113 (71.56%)
Shan Oakes (Green) 1,758 (7.35%)
Joanne Robinson (Eng Dem) 1,714 (7.17%)

Tess Culnane (NF) 544
Gemma Garrett (Miss Great Britain) 521
Jill Saward (Ind) 492
Mad Cow-Girl (Official Monster Raving Loony) 412
Walter Sweeney (Ind) 238
John Nicholson (Ind) 162
David Craig (Ind) 135
David Pinder (The New Party) 135
David Icke (Ind) 110
Hamish Howitt (Freedom 4 Choice) 91
Christopher Talbot (Socialist Equality Party) 84
Grace Astley (Ind) 77
George Hargreaves (Christian Party) 76
David Bishop (Church of the Militant Elvis) 44
John Upex (Ind) 38
Greg Wood (Ind) 32
Eamonn Fitzpatrick (Ind) 31
Ronnie Carroll (Make Politicians History) 29
Thomas Darwood (Ind) 25
Christopher Foren (Ind) 23
Herbert Crossman (Ind) 11
Tony Farnon (Ind) 8
Norman Scarth (Ind) 8

Another update: Anthony Barnett is not happy about the BBC coverage:

But its coverage of the count was an utter disgrace and will for the moment serve this angry viewer as a symbol of its appalling conceit and incompetance. It lost the sound when the Sherrif read out the results. Anyone could have run forward with a microphone to make sure they could broadcast Davis’s acceptance speech. They didn’t. Nor was their hapless reporter ordered forward with his own mike. Listen to Davis at his moment of triumph? Hear what he had to say about the issue? No need for THAT.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Campaigns ,Civil liberties ,Conservative Party ,Detention (28 days) ,Green party ,Westminster

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Reader comments


1,758 votes for the Greens is hardly “winning big”; not even Lord Rennard could get away with spinning that as “great news”! In fact it’s not much more than a cursory vote, especially compared to the 1,714 votes cast for the English Democrats.

Still, at least both Saward and the loathsome NF lost their deposits, which suits me, and likewise the “Loony” who stood on a pro-42 days ticket. Wild Willi Beckett would have been pirouetting in his grave at that!

Miss Great Britain got more votes than Saward, which I find especially amusing. Then again, David Icke got more votes than the ultra-Trots of the Socialist Equality Party. 33.8% turnout is pretty dire though, it has to be said.

Well THAT was underwhelming.

Well, it was a single issue by-election, what did you guys expect? Especially when he was running against a bunch of no-hopers.

That turnout is comparable to most by-elections, and given the conditions its surprising it held that high.

1,758 votes for the Greens is hardly “winning big”

In the sense that the top two candidates were anti-42 days. That is important, I’d say.

I’s a shame that the turnout figures aren’t a number we can all instantly recognise as above the normal, but Sunny is right this is still a great result that really puts a nail in the coffin of people seeing this as a stunt. They came out and voted as much in this election when it was clear Davies was going to win, when the money for campaigning just wasn’t there, as other constituencies do to ensure they have an MP after an untimely death or something.

Labour will try to paint this up as something else, but the fact that the turnout wasn’t lower than the norm means they can’t seriously argue that the public don’t care about these kinds of stands, and certainly weren’t annoyed enough at the Tories for making them go through a by-election.

Barnett is right – BBC coverage has been dreadful.
As was (labour supporting) Naughtie’s interview with Davis this morning.
Pathetic.
Perhaps the BBC now knows it’s done for (in its current form) eventually and just doesn’t care.
Whether it’s the trivialisation of serious issues, or the awarding of 100k increases to managers on the verge of retirement so as to boost their final salary penions.
It really doesn’t care any more.

BBC coverage, at national level, wasn’t so much “dreadful” as “non-existent almost to the point of having a D-Notice slapped on it”. As for the BBC Radio Humberside coverage which I was listening to in the background, that showcased all the competence of Alan Partridge combined with the psephological savvy of the Chuckle Brothers.

On the bright side, however, we did not have to endure Jeremy Vine and his pathetic CGI. Be thankful for small mercies.

A vote for either David Davis or Shan Oakes (who I supported) was a vote against 42 days.

Since David Davis has said that he does “not plan to become a ‘single-issue campaigner”‘on civil liberties” (quote from BBC news), any vote for David Davis is also a vote for everything else that he and the Tory party stand for.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I’d been persuaded from a left position to vote for Davis on this single issue I’d be rather annoyed now that he’s promised to go to the back benches and carry on voting as usual. As usual against equal gay rights. As usual against a hunting ban. Avoiding issues on parliament transparency (all from the voting record summary on theyworkforyou.com).

He was standing in a single issue and managed to get support for that issue from all sides. Now, can’t he have the decency to respect the wishes of his voters and supporters?

He is, he is continuing to fight 42 days..the issue he was re-elected on. What’s the problem? Give the man a break, he’s not got *worse* than before he stepped down, and he’s given us some help in pushing the agenda. I honestly don’t believe that the most recent poll would have necessarily been commissioned if he hadn’t have decided to do what he did, for instance. It may still have been for the Lords but they don’t vote just yet so it would be a bit premature.

Yes, he’s still the same scoundrel, but one that on one issue we can say thanks to him for and take the continued momentum his campaign gave and run with it for longer. Stop looking gifthorses in the mouth people.

So turnout was less than half of what it was at the general election. Hardly a ringing endorsement whichever way you spin it.

It has cost taxpayers around £200,000 and has pushed the fight against 42 days not an inch.

Davis will return to the backbenches and the Tories will carry on with exactly the same policies as they had before he resigned. I can understand why you all supported him on the principle, but in practice it has been a complete waste of time, energy and column inches.

“It has cost taxpayers around £200,000 and has pushed the fight against 42 days not an inch.”

Utter bollocks.

Might I also add, it may have cost £200k, but that means that if defeating this legislation means only keeping 5 innocent people from being detained for 42 days then the overall saving to the taxpayer is more than the election cost.

‘utter bollocks’

Okay, well tell me how a month of newspaper speculation about Davis’s leadership prospects, his relationship with the director of Liberty, the involvement of a right-wing newspaper editor, and a huge cast of rentaloons descending on a small town in the North of England has done anything to prevent the legislation going through?

And will the members of the House of Lords be swayed in anyway by a 35% turnout or will they make the same decision they were going to make anyway?

Gemma Garrett (Miss Great Britain) 521
Jill Saward (Ind) 492

As @septicisle points out, this is the real good news to come out of this by-election.

“1,758 votes for the Greens is hardly “winning big”; not even Lord Rennard could get away with spinning that as “great news”! In fact it’s not much more than a cursory vote, especially compared to the 1,714 votes cast for the English Democrats.”

Well, I think the number of votes and the saving of the deposit put this result in the realm of ‘respectable’ for the Greens.

It’s not winning big. What did they get at the general election?

“It’s not winning big. What did they get at the general election?”

Not a sausage; they’ve never contested H&H since it was reconstituted in 1997. Wonder if Shan Oakes will try again there when things revert to type at the GE or whether she’ll get the nomination for one of their three target seats of Norwich South, Lewisham Deptford or Brighton Pavilion?

Ian @ 15 (and septicisle) – spot on. Just how much conniving was there by the tabloids and/or the Labour Party behind Saward’s nomination? Much muttering but no hard evidence just yet…

Well done the voters of Haltemprice, and well done Sunny.
This _is_ a historic achievement for the Green Party, and damn good news that the Party coming second to Davis was MORE radical than him on the issue on which the byelection was fought.
See my full analysis here:
http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2008/07/runner-up-spot-green-partys-historic.html

1. It was £80,000 which isn’t bad. Think how much it costs to run political ads and campaign ads. Think too of the acres of publicity and the volume of debate sparked – media coverage which if paid for would have cost over £8 million.

2. Despite the lure of the 150th Yorkshire Country Show, attended by the Queen, the dire weather ( it pissed down all day in Yorkshire) and the fact that 5000 students had gone home for the holidays and couldn’t vote, lots of peopel cam eout to vote, and the top 2 were anti 42 days.

3. Rumour is he’ll get VC of the party and head a Committee on advising re. civil liberties. Thus the liberty agenda has been lashed firmly to frontline politics.

4. Bravo Eliza Manningham Buller for firing the fatal shot to 42 days in her corruscating maiden speech in the Lords.

42 days is now unofficially dead. Those who were against it should be well chuffed.

80,000 was just the standard byelection cost. The cost of sending out election addresses puts the total bill at around £200,000. Which would have been fine of course if it had actually done anything substantial for the cause, but it clearly has done very little, if anything.

As it is, a fine speech from a fellow member of the house will probably have done more to sway the minds of the Lords than the Davis sideshow was ever going to.

If he had stormed home with a huge turnout then I could see that it would have had some serious influence not just on the bill but on the future policies of political parties as well. But as it is a 35% turnout is pretty meaningless and only narrowly avoided being a net negative for the campaign against 42 days.

And I’m afraid making excuses about wet weather and students being away doesn’t quite cut it when you have embarked on a one man moral crusade.

Again, I can understand why everyone got behind him on such an important issue. However, I still feel that all of the time and effort wasted on this would have been much better spent on campaigning and lobbying Lords and MPs on the issue rather than on this ultimately pointless and almost disastrous byelection.

You can’t say that because the leading two candidates were against 42 days that it’s in any way an accurate representation of support. Sure, people might be against 42 days detention. I know I certainly am. But it was a safe Tory seat with no well known opposition. And it was a by election. NOT a referendum. Regardless of what Davis tried to make it, it was a by election where people voted for individuals.

Wouldn’t money and effort have been better spent on working out some way of genuinely guaging public opinion and, you know, asking a vaguely representative sample of people?

Wouldn’t money and effort have been better spent on working out some way of genuinely guaging public opinion and, you know, asking a vaguely representative sample of people?

For what purpose?

23. douglas clark

Adam @ 20,

Ths issue of 42 day detention was aired. Davies stand attracted attention to it, whatever you or I might think of his views on other subjects. So, contrary to you, I think it is quite a good use of taxpayers money for this issue to have been pushed up the media agenda. Somewhat beyond the usual suspects of the liberal left. It is no longer stuck in the closet.

It is, after all, only the equivalent of 20 MP’s designer kitchens, also paid for by the state. At least H & H had some identifiable political purpose.

Attempting to find out what people actually think about the issue? Wasn’t that the point of Davis quitting and causing the by election? In the hope that Labour would stand, so he could make it effectively into a referendum on 42 days detention? Or was it just to raise awareness of the issue? In which case it was entirely a publicity stunt. I can’t say that I ever quite understood why he did what he did.

Jack. What people actually think about this issue is as relevant as what people think about going to war. It is nice to be able to say the public is on your side (which Brown attempted to do) but in reality on these issues you have to do what is right. If what is right is to lock everyone up in their homes for a month every year I bet there would be little support for it, but it doesn’t make it any less right.

As it happens every expert and worthwhile opinion out there has said 42 days is a farce, unworkable and/or unnecessary. It doesn’t matter what the public actually think, as long as no-one thinks the public definitely support it which is what the latest poll has already achieved, and what the H&H election has gone some way to also proving (with anti-liberties people getting very few votes ultimately).

There were several things that it could have become, Jack, and maybe the closest description *is* a publicity stunt. Through it we had a poll that suggests if asked about innocence only 27% of people actually support the measures…landing a serious blow to the “public support” argument, and we’ve kept the debate going. Through it we managed to get the red tops to pretty much universally denounce the government plans as part of a nanny-statist plot that doesn’t do anything!

This would not have happened without DD doing this, not even looking in to potential other slight shifts that might have happened that we can’t yet see, and we have to stop being such partisan idiots and recognise the benefits this has brought. Money is wasted all the time by government and political parties, and Labour *want* this painted as a meaningless waste of money. Why, if you’re against 42 days, are you playing in to their hands?

douglas – I can’t remember much discussion of the issue of 42 days in the last month. What I can remember is lots of discussion of his leadership prospects, his relationship with the director of Liberty and with David Cameron, whether or not Murdoch would stand against him, just how many loons they would be able to fit on the ballot, and whether there was a racial bias on his website graphics.

If that had all been topped off with a high turnout then none of it would have mattered and the media narrative would have moved on to how there was an obvious public shift towards cutting down on authoritarianism.

As it is, the result has probably confirmed to the government that there are no votes in this kind of thing and that they can afford to continue along the same lines as they have been.

‘Money is wasted all the time by government and political parties, and Labour *want* this painted as a meaningless waste of money. Why, if you’re against 42 days, are you playing in to their hands?’

Well there is the small matter of the truth of course. Trying to spin this as ‘winning big’ when it is anything but, doesn’t do anyone any favours. Should we pretend it is something that it is not just because it is politically expedient to do so?

DD did win big. If you scale the turn out up then he got many more votes (obviously uncontested by the main parties) than he did at the general election. The Greens kept their deposit and polled second. These *are* big things for both, and as such are positive for the campaign.

Have we won anything off of the back of the by-election? no, of course not. Did we expect to come out of it saying we’ve won the argument it’s all over? No, of course not!

The truth is this money spent has enabled a debate to happen, it’s enabled the people on the ground involved in the campaign to truly get an idea of how people think in one sample of the community, and it’s kept the issue burning. I’ll say it again, it gave us a very positive poll for dismantling one of Browns big arguments about public opinion and it ensured the Tabloids came on board for the time being. If less than a penny of our money each isn’t worth doing that then I don’t know what is.

douglas clark @ 23,

The issue of 42 days detention had been aired in the weeks leading up to the vote in parliament. It had been debated both in parliament and outside parliament.

Surely political parties/individual candidates should use their own/donated money to bring their issues to the front of the agenda, rather than central electoral commission money?

Lee Griffin @ 25,

I actually agree with you on what you’re saying with public support being almost irrelevant. And it’s an issue that certainly can’t just disappear. But, as Adam Bienkov has said, in the past month all debate about the pros and cons of the policy have disappeared. But if being seen to have public support wasn’t the issue then why go for an election? Couldn’t the might of the Tory PR department have done something more productive to lobby the Lords to make sure the correct thing is done and it’s thrown out there?

Although as for doing what’s supposedly “right”, that’s entirely subjective. Iris Robinson no doubt believes what she says is “right”. Same for Nadine Dorries. Clearly we’d disagree. However the absoluteness of morality is probably a debate for a completely different time!

As for your point about the red tops changing their support, does that really matter? They’ve been saying that the government is full of nanny statists who bring in pointless legislation for years. Does anyone (apart from their worryingly high readership) really take much notice of them?

And just because I agree with the Labour Party about this being a meaningless waste of money certainly doesn’t mean that I support their policies on 42 days. Just like I’d imagine when many liberals/lefties supported Davis on this they didn’t also support keeping Section 28 or oppose the equalisation of the age of consent for gay people like he did.

(Apologies for the mammoth post. Other replies came along while I was writing it and this saved me from double/triple posting.)

I am sorry but scaling up votes is meaningless. There was less than half the turnout and he got 25% fewer votes than he did at the last general election, within a contest where he had no major rival.

At best he has avoided disaster for the cause and at worst he has shored up the government’s position.

If it has ‘enabled the people on the ground involved in the campaign to truly get an idea of how people think in one sample of the community’ then fair enough, but that is hardly what it was sold as.

Trying to spin it as a great victory when it clearly isn’t and telling people that they are talking ‘utter bollocks’ for daring to suggest otherwise, doesn’t help you in winning the debate much either.

“Couldn’t the might of the Tory PR department have done something more productive to lobby the Lords to make sure the correct thing is done and it’s thrown out there?”

The lords don’t matter. They pass it, the government wins. They don’t pass it, the government uses the parliament act and it wins. What happens in the Lords is nothing more than a statement sent back to the commons (if it does so), and one that in all honesty there’s plenty of Labour MPs have the potential to ignore because they despise the way the house is made up. What matters is the commons, what matters are the few MPs on the edge of their decision making. MPs I’ve listed on my site, as well as others like Cruddas that are supposedly for these sort of issues yet chose to support Labour. And because they are who matter, involving the public matters. Without these last months events MPs could still be sitting there thinking their decision is based on popular opinion, we have now shook that “truth” and can make them rethink their decision when it next comes around.

I also wouldn’t have liked the Tories to have made it a PR thing, it doesn’t involve the public and as we’ve seen on this very site it just encourages partisan behaviours to come to the fore at the detriment of the campaign. The by-election gave people something to actually fight for, because *not* fighting for an anti-42 day candidate was to actually give another argument on a plate to Brown and Smith.

“Although as for doing what’s supposedly “right”, that’s entirely subjective. ”

No, in this case it’s entirely OBJECTIVE, that’s the point. What is the right decision? It is the decision which, while recognising you can’t have all the answers all the time, follows the advice and opinion of experts and users of legislation. it’s not subjective because it is not right to sit there and say you believe something different to what those with more knowledge and experience are telling you.

This isn’t the abortion debate, it doesn’t revolve solely around morals, it is a technical and legal issue that has quantifiable views and arguments surrounding its legitimacy, legality and usefulness.

“They’ve been saying that the government is full of nanny statists who bring in pointless legislation for years.”

And funnily enough when policies have come up that go against the tabloids they have a rough time. Remember road charging? Yes the petitions helped but they were spurred on by the tabloids. The Tabloids, like it or not, hold a lot of sway over the opinions of people, and of the “mood” of the nation (see knife crime). It doesn’t matter if what they say actually matters, only if politicians take notice…which they do.

“And just because I agree with the Labour Party about this being a meaningless waste of money certainly doesn’t mean that I support their policies on 42 days.”

Except when I support Davis on a single issue election there’s no direct link to supporting the other bullshit he agrees with. When you support the idea this was a waste of money, the only link from that is that there was no benefit to the campaign, and therefore that the interest is no longer there for it. Sorry, but if you can’t see the advantages this whole situation has brought then I have to feel you are a little short sighted.

“If it has ‘enabled the people on the ground involved in the campaign to truly get an idea of how people think in one sample of the community’ then fair enough, but that is hardly what it was sold as.”

That was precisely what it was sold as by DD himself, as well as making a stand, which he did…and getting the issue out there…which he also did. Exactly where did this not work exactly as it was intended from the beginning? It may not have exceeded its goals but it met them easily.

I would just like to ask some of the posters on LibCon who think nothing was achieved by DDavis – what exactly have YOU have physically done in any shape or form to protect our civili liberties? And I do not mean making postings on this website

Me? all I did was contribute £30 to DDavis fighting fund, it was not possible to get up there and help canvas and campaign. I know I should have done more but I get the feeling that some of the vociferous critics of the by-election have done f**k all except carp from the comfort of their own keyboards.

Anyway, that nasty man has gone back to Westminster so all us centre-lefties can get back to our cosy blogs and set the world to rights.

34. douglas clark

Adam @ 26,

I thought I was careful in my use of words here. All I said was ‘aired’.

It there were a Top 20 of political issues for the electorate, I’d have thought that this by-election simply moved the issue up into the top 20, instead of ‘bubbling under’ at number 29 or something.

I am not claiming that it’s a number one hit. I am attempting to say that, for us liberal / lefties, it is quite a useful exercise in attempting to raise our interests.

You’ll notice, at the top right of this blog there are ‘Campaigns’. One of which is:

Not A Day Longer: against 42 days

I’d have thought any publicity for that campaign is good publicity. Almost all articles about Davis and his supporters at least acknowledged the issue on which he stood. That is more publicity than Liberal Conspiracy could dream of generating, at least in it’s present incarnation.

So far, so good. Let’s see what the Lords send back to the Commons for round two.

Glasgow East, where this might not be in their top twenty, may return an SNP candidate. That counts as one vote away from the government and one vote for an anti-42 day stance. The margin could get closer. I expect Brown to lose in the Commons over this, absent a catastrophe.

Jack @ 29,

Well, our side lost the House of Commons debate, whilst having right on our side. Did you expect us to pack up and go home? Nadine Dorries hasn’t. This is politics, sir.

Presumeably David Davies had to put up a deposit to re-stand. The other money that flows after that is a matter of electoral law, is it not? I would be surprised if David Davies has not in fact spent a lot of his own money on this

You will see from the above that I do not think that it is a waste of money. On that we will disagree.

Lee- Surely one of his main goals was to get a huge popular mandate for freedom against authoritarianism.

If he had got just one more vote than the general election then he could have claimed that mandate. He got 25% fewer, even in an election where the voters had no other major party to vote for.

Douglas -On the airing of views, he has arguably succeeded, and it is possible he changed a few minds. Unfortunately much of that was overshadowed by everything else surrounding the byelection and ultimately it didn’t translate into votes.

Obviously I don’t want to offend anyone who took the time to campaign for him. I completely understand your motives and hope that 42 days does not come to pass. I just don’t believe that what David Davis did, will have much effect on the final result.

Adam: That’s the kind of line spun by idiots like Tom Harris that wanted to play down the result before it even happened. To have received as many votes, or to get a similar turn out, as the general election would have been extraordinary. I reality if you scale up the turn out to GE levels he would have received 10,000 more votes than he did then.

And do you know what people would be saying if that happened? That he wasn’t running against anyone with serious political credibility, let alone on 42 days, so he was always going to increase his vote share. And quite right they are too. The *only* important thing, as I’ve said all along, is that the turnout was worthy. I think the BBC showed that in a safe Labour seat shortly after they won power (1999) they had a turnout of 19%. So while it’s nice to compare this result to Henley, where real money was thrown in to the ring because polling and tabloid results were on the line, the real comparison is to places like that 1999 by-election, where asking people to vote for the obvious party where it was expected to happen could only garner 2/3rds of what the H&H by-election did.

You say he got 25% fewer votes. You do realise that even if he got 100% of the share if the turnout was much less he wouldn’t have been able to match his votes? Saying he got 25% less votes as if it means something is ridiculous. He increased his share to 71% of the vote.

Ultimately every little bit helps, and regardless of just how large an impact DD’s campaign had (and we won’t know this necessarily in full, potentially never will) the fact there was an impact is good enough, and is certainly better than letting this issue die. Any chance of the “mandate” happening was lost when Labour failed to stump up a candidate to fight on an issue they knew they’d lose.

There’s winning big and there winning BIG.

This was winning medium.

DD can claim to have struck a blow, the Greens can claim their best ever performance at a by-election, the government can condescend to say it can now happily ignore us.

Nothing has changed and nothing has been put to bed.

All-in-all this has been a textbook consultation exercise.

The people have spoken, so now officialdom can merrily march on.

‘I am sorry but scaling up votes is meaningless. There was less than half the turnout and he got 25% fewer votes than he did at the last general election, within a contest where he had no major rival.’

I strongly suspect having New Labour on the ballot paper would have had the constituency out in higher numbers than the general election.

Labour had no choice but to keep out of the limelight, and run a snidey campaign.

£80,000 or £200,000? Cheap, considering the shit Labour is putting the country through.

Lets have a by-election in every constituency!

Lee- what gives you the right to scale up the turnout exactly? People didn’t turn up because they didn’t want to. You can’t assume how they would have voted if they had. And scaling up the share of votes to general election levels when the two other major parties that would have stood in that general election, didn’t stand this time, is completely meaningless.

The byelection got maximum publicity and was mentioned 400 times in the newspapers, according to Mr. Davis. With all this publicity and with a popular local MP placing his reputation and career on the line for it, he still only managed to get around a quarter of the electorate to turn up and vote for him.

You accuse others of being ‘idiots’ for pointing that out, but it seems to me that you have prejudged this race yourself. You supported his decision to stand, so you are willing to take any result as a victory, even one where he has hugely decreased both the turnout and his total votes. I’m not saying it was a disaster, but it was hardly ‘winning big’ either.

Way up in the comments thread Tez asked: “Wonder if Shan Oakes will try again there when things revert to type at the GE or whether she’ll get the nomination for one of their three target seats of Norwich South, Lewisham Deptford or Brighton Pavilion?”

The people of the area will have a chance to vote for her again next year as she is a candidate in the Euro election.

She wont be standing in any of the three constuencies named for two very good reasons. One, she doesn’t come form round there and so it would be rather random and two, they’ve already selected very credible candidates.

Caroline Lucas MEP for Brighton, Darren Johnson AM for Lewisham and Cllr Adrian Ramsay in Norwich all of whom live and have been politically active in those areas for many years.

>It has cost taxpayers around £200,000

So what?

£200k is precisely 0.04% of the £500 million just written off by the M.O.D. over the Special Forces Helicopters cockup.

Or rather less than the Wintertons have diddled from their expenses by renting their London house to a trust they run`theselves for the last few years.

Excellent value for money.

And it’s £80k anyway !

http://www.totalpolitics.com/blogs/campaignsblog.php/2008/07/11/how-much-did-haltemprice-and-howden-cost

Matt

42. douglas clark

Adam,

Look to Glasgow East for a battering of the Labour Party. That, I think, is where the future unravels. Correct me if I am wrong?

He didn’t win massively according to the media narrative because the BBC and others decided it wasn’t imporant enough. I was watching the coverage that night and Sky news gave him far more. News 24 basically just stuck to repeating bulletins every 15 min.

The byelection got maximum publicity and was mentioned 400 times in the newspapers, according to Mr. Davis. With all this publicity and with a popular local MP placing his reputation and career on the line for it, he still only managed to get around a quarter of the electorate to turn up and vote for him.

Or alternatively, in an election where he was certain to win and had no strong opponents, the turnout was comparable to most close by-elections. In fact the Southall by-election, which saw regular appearances from top hitters from all the parties (incl David Cameron several times) and featured lots of controversies (defections, embarassing exposes) still only bought a 42% turnout. I believe the average for by-elections is now in its late 30s.

And still he managed to bring out 35% of people to overwhelmingly vote for him on a very specific agenda.

And on top of that he’s now forced the tories to commit to pulling back on 42 days (and also 28 days) as well as other legislation. If they don’t, it’ll expose a major rupture.

I think its still to early to judge the long term impact, if any. I do think he did really well under the circumstances.

douglas – I’m not entirely sure what Glasgow East has to do with David Davis or the campaign against 42 days detention. You suggest it has something to do with Labour unravelling. It’s true that they are. But I don’t see that it has much to do with Davis.

Sunny – ‘the turnout was comparable to most close by-elections’ Yes, but this wasn’t just any old by-election. This was David Davis’s Fight for Freedom. And considering that Henley got 50% turnout with relatively little publicity, then a turnout of 35% is not really anything to shout about.

It was just average. An average result for an average by-election. And considering that Davis launched the campaign in order to score a big hit against 42 days detention then it’s pretty clear that he hasn’t achieved that aim.

I understand that you all put your weight behind him and would have liked him to have made a big dent in Gordon Brown’s plans, but I’m afraid that hasn’t happened.

It’s still possible, and we will all wait to see if Brown uses the Parliament Act once again. But whether he does or not, I still can’t see what real effect Davis will have on the final result.

Talking about percentages at elections, there is one campaign which would be worth running at the next election: the lowest possible voter registration and turnout.

Blair only got 35% at the last election. Lets see how far we get with a government with, say, only 20% support.

If voting changed anything they would abolish it.

Time to face reality.

It was just average. An average result for an average by-election.

mmmm… we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think several factors made it impossibe for a high turnout anyway.

I understand that you all put your weight behind him and would have liked him to have made a big dent in Gordon Brown’s plans, but I’m afraid that hasn’t happened.

I supported the principle behind his action, but I backed the Green candidate, remember? and neither is our campaign solely reliant on DD – we were lobbying way before DD made his bid. Snd it will carry on regardless.

47. douglas clark

Sunny Hundal,

it will carry on regardless.

That, surely is the point.

We are supposed to be carrying a torch.

I’d fail to see what a ‘Liberal Conspiracy ‘ was about, if we didn’t do that.

I am frankly with you, as I suspect most other Conspirators are.

I think, you should stand as a Liberal, somewhere. You have that happy disjunction between Party Politics and what the Westminster Village has to say.

I think.

Douglas, there’s a nugget in what you say which has direct implications for LC coalition-building.

No coalition can successfully be built within the existing party structure because the political system obviates against it and demans any party which gets involved in it.

So if you want to build a movement based on shared ideals it is necessary to stake out new territory or accept you must work within the confines of existing reality.

For this reason I can understand the mistaken rationale for supporting the Greens in H&H, but falling for their rhetoric is to accept the disingenuity of it.

You must choose to support either principle or party – any coincidence of the two is purely incidental to prime motivational factors.


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