Tuesday, February 25, 2014

London commentators misunderstand Sheffield Hallam

First, Labour was going to target Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency.

Now, according to The Blue Guerilla (which claims a 'WORLD EXCLUSIVE' for the story), Nigel Farage is planning to stand there.

Both these stories are nonsense, and we have heard the Farage one before.

Labour has no chance in Sheffield Hallam. I do not believe Farage will stand there, and if he does he will be soundly defeated.

But the fact they gain currency tells us something important about the British political press.

It is overwhelmingly London based, and because of that it knows little about life outside the capital. So it reasons that a seat in the North must be a wasteland of whippets and unmarried mothers where Labour or Ukip will prosper.

This is nonsense. Sheffield Hallam has one of the highest populations of graduates of any seat in the country. Labour has never come even close to winning there and Farage's fact-free populism will have little appeal either.

Before Richard Allan captured it for the Liberal Democrat in 1997 Hallam was a safe Conservative seat that had been held by the Conservatives for as long as anyone could remember. They won there even in 1945.

So there is not chance of either Labour or Ukip - Farage or no Farage - winning it. The only long term threat to Lib Dem hegemony in Sheffield Hallam is a Conservative revival. And of that there is little sign.


Anonymous said...

Agree, but worth noting that 2010 was Labour's best ever effort, and that many LD votes here have long been from tactical Labour voters. A Labour 2nd place isn't unrealistic. Farage has literally zero chance here.

Simon Drage said...

One would hope even the lasest of London bassed journalists could look up some past election results and apply a bit of intelligence to what ever Labour or UKIP spin doctors are trying to sell them. Clearly not.