Battered, bruised and humiliated – but enough of my private life; it’s safe to say that last night did indeed turn in to a long, dark night of the soul.
It’s one thing to expect a defeat, but even I was shocked by the spanking we received last night. To lose the seat was bad enough, but to see such a massive swing towards the Tories confirms my worst fears as to just how unpopular Gordon Brown and the government really are amongst a section of traditional Labour voters.
We really must now finally wake up and realise that not only have we lost those Tory voters who were happy to support Blair in the absence of a credible Tory leader, but that we are also losing traditional, long term Labour supporters from all parts of society.
This wasn’t just about voters wanting to give the government a damn good kicking; I’m worried that there are now actually Labour supporters who feel that they would be better off under a Conservative administration.
Of, course, this by-election has been a fairly easy process for the Tories – after all, we’ve done most of the hard work for them by being so bloody inept. One must also look at a poorly conceived and run campaign, which unfortunately dominated the headlines, taking away any serious message that Tamsin would have been able to put forward. The Tory campaign team couldn’t believe their luck; such is the hatred for Labour at this present time, they found it easy to fight a campaign without actually having to say much in the first place.
However, in saying that, I still feel that too much has been made of any potential fall out from a negative, childish and ill thought out campaign. The facts are simple; the large turnout shows that suburban Tory supporters are now coming back out to vote for Cameron; this coupled with the ever increasing amount of pissed off Labour supporters now switching to the Tories could well spell disaster, and as some are now saying shows a real change of tide in the countries political landscape.
As for the Lib Dems, I had expected a section of the Labour vote to transfer to them as a form of mid-term protest, (looking back - I wish it had!), however, this didn’t occur. It now seems as if they also lost votes to the Tories, something that I’m not awfully surprised by. Still, this does not bode well for their chances at the general election.
One thing I would say however is how much dignity Tamsin showed last night following her defeat. I’m sure many of us were very moved by her speech, and I hope that the party can show a bit more of the fight and commitment to socialist values that were not only showed by her late Mother, but by her also.
More to come when I’ve had chance to recover and get rid of my Tory induced hangover……