To lose a 16000 majority, bad, but to have the LibDem majority of over 8000 is worse. Labour cannot be happy with 622 votes either. LibDems are traditionally good in bye-elections. Personally I am surprised that 13489 people still voted for the nasty party.
So analysis – Nasty Party will ignore it as a blip, but are we seeing a shift win the geography of politics in the UK. The so-called red wall of labour voting working class northerners has fallen. Now is it the turn of the blue middle class south to show that they cannot be taken for granted. HS2 may have been a major factor, but this swing is just 4 weeks after the local election went solid tory. Maybe the basic philosophy of the people is still conservative with a small c, whilst they are dismayed at the incompetence and cronyism at Westminster. Toughing out criticism of mistakes wears thin when it becomes a habit.
As for Labour – embarrassment of the highest order. Johnson seems to have managed to convince the electorate that Starmer is just a whinger with no policies. Which is probably near the truth. Whist there has been much to whinge about it has been to long with no agenda. I believe the electorate was winnable with Corbyn’s policies, it was just that he could project himself as the person to deliver them. Starmer offers nothing.
The LibDems obviously did a lot of things right. Now they have the challenge, like Labour, of coming up with a coherent policy that the electorate in full will get behind. I am not sure they have the best leader (Sir Ed Davey is it? If you had asked me yesterday I could not have named him). I just read (Saturday) that the LD’s put a lot of emphasis on the Governments planning policy changes – basically I think the people of South-East England may have become disenchanted with the number of houses being built in the countryside.
Greens should also be disappointed – 1480 votes is a bit pathetic for a party with intentions of influencing nationally.