I decided last night to watch the Welsh by-election. As somebody who works from home, the time running up to the by-election results was not wasted. And I’m a night owl.
Well it got to 1:55 a.m. and Sky Television, the only channel said it would cover this event, started to show Liberal Democrat supporters with their diamond-shaped placards. Okay, there was a big cheer when the Pink Lady [Ed: the Loony Party] turned up.
Time moves on to the 2 o’clock news summary. From there to 2:17 a.m. when the results were announced the only visuals on screen were Liberal Democrats hugging, kissing, shaking hands with Ed Davey. Davey, the defeated Liberal Democrat leader, clearly jubilant a quarter of an hour before the announcement, looked like the cat that got the cream.
At this point the returning officer appeared, and gibbered away in Welsh. Still in Welsh, he gave the results:
Liberal Democrats – hoity-toity (silence)
Conservatives – whoJoc epiphany (silence)
Brexit party – gobbledegook (silence)
Labour – Yannis Ngami (silence)
UKIP – 242 (in English)
Monster Raving Loony Party 334 (in English)
‘I hereby declare Jane Dodds duly elected et cetera et cetera.’ Cheering.
Onto the winner’s speech. When at school I was forced to read Shakespeare. From the many hours and weeks that I will never get back, I decided never ever to read that rubbish again. Dodds used the Julius Caesar ‘play line’ spoken by Cassius – ‘Brutus is an honourable man’ – modified to ‘we demand better’.
It was only after the winner’s speech, that Sky Television started to get some voting numbers together, to put on the screen.
Liberal Democrats – 13,826 – 43 percent share
Conservatives – 12,401 – 39 percent share
Brexit party – 3,331 – 10.5% share
Labour – 1,680 – Retained deposit (!)
UKIP – 242
Monster Raving Loony Party – 334
Some background comments on the voting:
Plaid Cymru and the Green party both supported the LibDem and didn’t put forward a candidate of their own. On the other hand, Liberal Democrats, who are hell-bent on remaining in the current market, campaigned in this constituency that was calculated to have voted leave at the European elections.
The Conservatives negative was they put forward a deselected expenses cheat as though nothing had happened. It’s a sacking offence in practically any private industry company. Great tactics eh?
The Brexit party had a news blackout by all the media. They did, without doubt, pinch votes from both Conservative party and Labour party.
Poor old Labour at the back, might be slowly but surely getting the message that their leader, to the left of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is past his sell by date. As Jeremy Corbin himself might say – out brother out.
UKIP unlike many of the other candidates, parachuted somebody in. With no leadership, no money, and no local candidate, they are on a hiding to nothing, and gone past the point of drinking at the last chance saloon.
Was it worth staying up? Probably not, and that brings us back to Billy Shakespeare.
“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,
oh you hard hearts, you cruel men of Brecon And Radnorshire,
knew you not Brexit?”
Respectfully, Brian Scott
~~~ OOO ~~~
Here are the Brecon results in full (as reported by the Evening Standard):
Jane Dodds (Lib Dem) 13,826
Chris Davies (Conservative) 12,401
Des Parkinson (Brexit) 3,331
Tom Davies (Labour) 1,680
Lady Lily The Pink (Loony) 334
Liz Phillips (UKIP) 242
If the big issue is Remain versus Leave, as it actually is, the Remainers were smarter than the Leavers here:
The Greens and Plaid Cymru abstained from fielding their own candidates and backed the LibDem, forming a Remain Alliance, so as to get a win for Remain.
The Leave vote was divided, between Tory, Brexit and UKIP. And so the Leave side lost. If we tot up the votes in each “camp”, however, we get:
The Leave camp consists of: Tory + Brexit + UKIP = 15,974. If united on one candidate, we win – versus The Remain camp consists of: LibDem + Labour = 15,506. Even if united on one candidate, they lose.
Not unlike Peterborough, where Brexit + UKIP + English Democrats + P. O’Flynn’s tiny party, if united on one candidate, would have beaten the Labour candidate by 5 votes. Just 5 votes can be the difference between winning and losing a seat!
This is the implacable logic of First Past The Post (FPTP).
When will we learn? The British system is FPTP. This was confirmed in a referendum, so is practically graven in stone. Only a Parliamentary majority can change it. You can only get a Parliamentary majority by electing MPs, and you have to do that on the FPTP system. MPs who have won their seats on this system, are unlikely to vote to change it. So this is the system we have to work with, however unfair we may think it is.
With FPTP, the side that unites on one candidate, wins. The side that splits its vote between two or more candidates, loses.
This is a fundamental lesson, which any British politician must take on board, or face failure. The Remainers are learning it. Leavers must learn it too!
Respectfully, Torquil Dick-Erikson