Sunday, May 09, 2021

Two reasons Labour deserved to lose Hartlepool

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Twitter is not Britain, they say. And that's just as well.

Much of the reaction I've seen on the platform from those disappointed at the result in the Hartlepool by-election has involved attacks on the town's voters. They are stupid, they are racist and so on.

But what if Labour got pretty much the result they deserved? What if they had a disaterous recent history on the local council and imposed the wrong candidate?

Here's a paragraph from the magisterial preview of the by-election that Andrew Teale wrote for Britain Elects:

Then the wheels really started to come off the clown car that is Hartlepool council. This is complicated, please bear with me. In 2018 the five UKIP councillors walked out of the party and, eventually, rebranded as a new party called the Independent Union. 

Just before the May 2019 elections the ruling Labour group suffered a huge split, with most of the leadership group walking off to join the Scargillite Socialist Labour Party. The electorate were not impressed, and in May 2019 ... Labour lost six of the nine wards they were defending and overall control of the council.

And here is Ailbhe Rea reporting her visit to the town in the New Statesman:

"Have you heard about our fantastic candidate, Dr Paul Williams?" a keen Labour activist asks an elderly gentleman who has answered his door in Seaton Carew, a seaside village a few minutes’ drive down the coast from Hartlepool’s centre. 

He is not voting Labour, he tells the canvasser, saying he has read that Williams was involved in the decision to close critical care at Hartlepool hospital (Williams, an NHS doctor, was indeed on the board that consulted on that decision).

Sometimes in politics you get the result you deserve.


Anonymous said...

In all the shemozzle before and after the Hartlepool result I would have liked to have seen an interview with H'Angus the Monkey, i.e. former elected mayor Stuart Drummond. He won the election for the post three times, I think, and I am sure he would have had something interesting to say. Perhaps Lord Bonkers could give him a call?

Phil Beesley said...

Well done, Mr Starmer, for randomly sacking a few Labour folks. I think it is called catharsis. It doesn't fix anything in Hartlepool, and you missed to kick somebody before you were thrown down the stairs.

Prospects for a murky coloured coalition -- red, green and orange? Mostly contempt for one another, but hate inside the reds.

34% for the Lib Dems at a by-election to 1% at a by-election surpasses the decline in Leicester South.