Bland and treacherous LibDems surge to take seat from chaotic Tories. Bland and treacherous Labour loses more than 56% of its vote share
Last night’s result in the North Shropshire by-election is being hailed by the media as a triumph for the LibDems and a disaster for Boris Johnson after the LibDems almost halved the Tory vote to beat Johnson’s party by more than fifteen points.
But the bigger disaster was that of Keir Starmer’s Labour. In an election created by the resignation of the previous Tory incumbent in a scandal, Labour didn’t just fail to win the seat but lost more than 56% of its vote share at the last election under the supposedly unpopular Jeremy Corbyn.
Starmer and his factional allies have, of course, been vigorously rewriting history to suggest that Labour lost the 2019 general election because of Corbyn’s supposed unpopularity ‘on the [mythical] doorstep’ and greeted Starmer’s accession as the turning point that would show how much the country was clamouring for their diseased version of Labour.
Well, last night the LibDems showed that a bland, toxic and treacherous party can win a by-election – if the governing party manages to be even more toxic – but that there’s only room for one.
The LibDems are forever tarnished by their collusion with David Cameron’s Tories in the 2010-2015 government and in particular their betrayal of young people in the student fees fiasco and of the poor in a succession of Tory cuts while the LibDems held Cameron’s coat.
But even they could win last night – while Labour’s vote collapsed.
The message is a grim one for the right’s whole shtick. If people want Tory, they’ll vote for the ‘full-fat’ version. If they want ‘not-Tory and we don’t mind bland and treacherous’, they have the LibDems to vote for. So the right’s attempts to mimic the Tories and the LibDems in the foolish hope it would win them seats from either have put them in a position where nobody’s buying the weird mix they’re offering.
In other words, people saw through Blair and they have no interest in his cheesy tribute band.
People expect Labour to offer an alternative. They saw what that can look like when Jeremy Corbyn made and won the political argument on austerity and presented an actual vision for actual change. Starmer’s taste-free snake oil has no appeal when it comes to the actual event of putting an ‘X’ on parliamentary ballot paper.
Tragically, a country in desperate need of real change has none on offer at a parliamentary level. Starmer’s destruction of the one vehicle of hope for that change is unforgivable and last night voters got the chance to deliver him the message yet again. And after Starmer-driven disasters in Hartlepool and Chesham and Amersham and a dirty, racism-based scrape-through in Batley and Spen, the already-threadbare excuses just won’t wash.
It’s time for him to go while there’s still an outside chance he might be replaced by a genuine Labour MP.
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